Your brand is the visual face of your business so it’s important to create a brand you love. It’s the first thing that a potential customer sees and odds are it’s what will stick in their heads long after they’ve left your website.
An amazing brand goes beyond some nice colours and a cool name – it’s the overall vibe of the business. It’s how it makes your customers feel. Through the way you communicate, the words you use, the colours, how you respond to customer emails you can make customers feel amazing and excited to be a part of your story.
A strong brand identity will help you to stand out and will attract your perfect customers and convert like crazy.
A strong brand identity is consistent so that every time a customer comes into contact with your business they will associate whatever it is that you do with your business. This will help your business to stick in their mind so that when they decide they need whatever it is you sell they will immediately think of you, over someone else.
What goes into a brand identity?
Branding is the look and feel of your website and packaging, your tone of voice and how your customers feel when they engage with you.
A well-constructed brand allows your personality to shine through in a way that makes people want to buy from you because they think you are awesome and want to engage with you and your brand. It also makes your products feel more valuable.
There are four areas of a business that should be branded: product, content, style, engagement and story.
Let’s look at each of these:
Your products are the physical representation of your brand. They are the physical manifestation of everything you believe in. Some things that should support your branding: product photos, product packaging, mailers and postal packaging, marketing materials and invoices.
Content includes things like the copy on your website, blog posts, product descriptions, promotional stuff or videos. It’s your brand translated into the written word.
This is how your brand looks. Your website, visuals, colours, logo and font all influence how your brand appears to others.
Engagement is how your brand makes other people feel when they interact with it. Social media, speaking events, press, live events and interviews are all opportunities for you to express your brand vision and engage with others.
The story is your business mission and it is what your brand stands for. A strong story will speak to people that feel the same way as you, it will excite them and make them want to tell their friends about your amazing new business.
When I started my first business I had absolutely no experience with ‘branding’ or ‘graphic design’. I had no idea what I was doing so I tried loads of different things and taught myself crazy cool skills until I settled on something that I felt represented what my business was about and allowed my personality to shine. It took a lot of trial and error but this brand has since been featured in major press like Vogue, Elle Deco and GQ.
Here’s what worked:
Discover what you like
To get started, look around your everyday – look at brands, colours and feelings that you like, go on Pinterest and Instagram and begin building a file of things you like. Keep a notebook with you at all times and when you’re out and about, running errands or getting coffee with friends note down anything that excites you.You can get inspiration from anywhere – a napkin, the line of a doorframe, your best friend’s new haircut. Record everything that makes you smile.
Define your vision
Define your brand vision. What’s the purpose of your business? What makes it different from others? What are you hoping to accomplish? What is its mission?
Pick 3 words that describe your brand
If someone else were to describe your dream brand, what words would they use? Write a list of three words that you want to be used to describe your brand. Funky? Soulful? Fun? Edgy? Once you’ve settled on 3 words you can use these to test all of your visual choices against. For example, if one of your words is ‘happy’ you can ask yourself whether the colours you’ve chosen make you feel happy.
Create a mood board
A mood board is a collection of images that illustrate a theme. You can take all of the inspiration that you’ve been collecting and begin sticking them onto an actual poster board or you can create a Pinterest board. Once you’ve got a decent number of images collected begin looking for themes. Are there particular images, colours, fonts that you keep going back to? Add and subtract images as you go until you end up with a collection of images that a) make your heart happy b) express the 3 words that describe your brand.
Choose your colours, fonts and other brand elements
Every time a customer comes into contact with your brand you want them to recognise your business. The key to this is consistency. You want to use the same colours and fonts absolutely eeeeverywhere. Try keeping it to 3-5 colours and 3-4 fonts. Too many different colours and fonts can make things look busy and distracting.
Find your voice
How will your brand speak to people? Will it be friendly and chatty? Formal? Personal? Will you use slang or emojis?
Create brand guidelines
Once you know what your brand’s vision is, the tone of voice you’ll use and the specific colours and fonts that you’ll use you can pull all of this into a master document that you can reference at a glance. Having the font names and colour hexes means it’s super easy to setup your website and peeking at your vision and tone of voice regularly means that as your business grows it will continue to support your vision.
Don’t forget the website!
Your website is one of the most important parts of your brand. Visually, it needs to be appealing to your ideal customer and make them want to come back again and again while technically potential customers need to be able to trust that your website will take their payment info (+ money) and then actually receive what they ordered. Trust is huge.
To sum up:
Successful businesses have strong brands
A strong business has an equally strong brand that represents its vision and mission. A brand needs to be consistent at every point that a customer comes into contact with it.
Define your brand
Use these 9 steps to help you define your brand, which will be amazing and 100% authentically yours.
Build a strong website
These days, websites are one of the most important aspects of a brand. Seriously. Make sure yours is clean, easy to navigate and encourages your customer to trust you.