Brands have become a part of every single person’s day-to-day life, especially as an entrepreneur. Every single thing we touch and see is a brand. That is why it is so very important that your brand stands out. Your brand needs to become memorable in every way possible and a part of people’s lives.
Most designers, like myself, have a love/hate relationship with branding. The colour choices … the endless fonts … the pretty moodboards … the website themes and plugin options …! But even more so the hard questions like, who is my brand for? What do I offer to the world? How do I want to be seen and remembered? It is all an amazingly beautiful process that tends to start long before you even pull out the colour swatches.
So, now matter what type of entrepreneur you are – every single interaction with your audience says something about your brand. From the tone of your voice, to the words you use, to the way things look. With a little brainstorming, some hard work along with a handful of thought-provoking questions, you can create a brand that tells your audience exactly what you want them to know. And it all starts by laying down the foundation …!
Brand is the promise, the big idea, the expectations that reside in each customer’s mind about a product, service or company. Branding is about making an emotional connection. ~ Alina Wheeler
So where do you start?
You will want to grab a notebook and pen for this one …!
- What is your product or service? What is the message you want your brand to portray to the world?
Consider what exactly you are offering. Articulate your vision. Vision provides guidance, so know why your company exists (or is about to). Next step … narrow your thoughts down to the top 3 things your business has to offer. Then try to get your message down to one sentence. You want this to be short and sweet. Not a 10-minute speech when people ask what you are all about.
- What is your story? Who are you and why are you here? What do you care about? What do you do? Why does it matter and how is what you’re doing making a difference? How are you different than your competition?
A great brand story helps differentiate you from everyone else. It is also something you can share with your audience to fully explain your place in the business world (NOTE: add it to the “About” section of your website). This great story is like taking the raw materials of your business and shining them all to a polished diamond. Your story will help bring your brand into full focus and make it memorable. Start by creating some rough notes on how you became to be where you are at now. Then push those notes into full thoughts.
- What is the tone of your brand? How do you want your brand to make people feel? What do you want them to take away? How do you want people to remember you?
Consider your brands “feel good” words. Next step … narrow those words down to 2, or maybe 3 at most to keep things clear. Following this, create a moodboard (this is an arrangement of images, materials, text, colour samples, fonts, etc. intended to evoke or project a particular style/concept) around colours that resemble the words you’ve just chosen. If you don’t know much about moodboards, I’ll be covering this topic next month.
- Who is your target market?
Start by creating a list of characteristics of the viewers you want to engage with, sell to or possibly even work with. Once the identifiers are there you can begin to determine how to begin channeling to them through the right communication methods (email campaign, digital marketing, social media, radio, etc.). By doing this you will have more success in engaging interest in your business’ product/service.
- Do your assets work?
Now, it’s time to think. Think about your business’ name and logo, your website, your colour scheme and font choices as well as your chosen social media platforms, email signature, etc.
–> Do all of these pieces represent your brand as a whole and keep the same look and feel throughout or are they messy?
–> Do they represent your end goal?
–> How are they helping you reach your audience?
Take a few moments to create a list of the ways all of these pieces help you obtain the feeling you want your audience to experience and think about or even feel when they hear and/or talk about your brand.
- Have you researched the competition…? How do they talk about what they offer? How do they look? What are people saying about them?
If you do not know the competitors in your space, make Google your friend and do a few searches for terms you would expect your audience to use to find your company. Review their website as well as their social media platforms and make notes.
Developing a new brand or revamping your current one can be exciting, but it is also a lot of work in order to do it the right way. This list is by no means an exhaustive list of everything you need to get started and build up your brand but it will hopefully provide you with a starting point of “must do” tasks to ensure that you are ready for your launch.
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