You’ve taken the leap of faith, submitted all of the paperwork and are ready to get down to business! Now it’s time to focus on your BRAND, but before you hop on Pinterest and start pinning all of your favorite color palettes and Instagram worthy images, let’s take a step back. What do you think of when we ask you “What is your brand?”. Is it a description of your colors, logo design and what your office space or brick and mortar store looks like? If it is, you are missing a crucial piece to your business…your WHY!
Believe it or not, more customers in 2020 chose to work with businesses that they can relate to and who’s story inspires them! Before you do anything else, we want you to start focusing on your story as a business owner, your ‘why’ and what your goals are with your business. Once you can identify and confidently tell your story to a room full of strangers, then you have your branding!
To help you get going, we have compiled a list of steps to help you build your brand but starting with your story and then diving into the colors, mood boards, logos and everything else that comes with the visual identity of your brand.
- Focus on your story
Take a minute to think about some of your favorite businesses and why you follow them or buy their product/service. We bet it’s not only because they sell a GREAT product/service but they are also fantastic story tellers! With the rise of social media, came a more personal approach to sharing your business with customers and big corporations started to adopt the new emotional and personal marketing strategy. If you are a small business owner, then this is one of the greatest habits and tools to get into! So, sit down and type out your story. Where did you come from? What lead you to start your business? What trials and tribulations have you been through? And what are you excited about, when it comes to your business? Get your story solidified and that will be the start of your branding!
- Write Your Mission Statement
Once you know your story like the back of your hand, it’s time to shrink it down to one or two sentences. Your Mission Statement should be to-the-point and easy to understand and easily explain what your business is trying to accomplish. We always encourage our clients to add something fun or unique about themselves to their statement like, “A southern California digital marketing agency fueled by tea and Spotify playlists, ready to help you brand your business online.” Adding in something a little more personal makes you more memorable.
- Define Your Ideal Client
You’ve probably heard this a million times, but it really is KEY! If you are just starting out or really trying to scale your business, you need to know who is the perfect client looking for your service. It’s important to strictly define them so you can focus your marketing and branding to the RIGHT type of people. How old are they? What do they do for a living? Where so they live? What are their pain points that you are trying to solve? Think about all of these and come up with a way to describe your ideal client in one sentence.
- Create Your Mood Board
Now comes the creative part! You’ve got your why defined, your mission statement set and you’ve defined your ideal client. Now it’s time to start finding out what colors, images, patterns and other brands that inspire you. Take a few days to pursue Instagram and Pinterest and start saving images that inspire you or you think fit your business. Be careful and don’t choose colors or images that are extremely vibrant and don’t appeal to your ideal client. For instance, if you are solely looking to work with women recovering from childbirth then light pinks and blues might be great, but if you are trying to target solely men, pink may not be the right color. A quick hack we like to use is color sampling from images. Select an image you like and use Canva’s photo color finder to hone I on the best hue! Try selecting one main color and then an adjust color that is either a close hue or pastel of your primary color. Then branch out from there and select 2 or 3 other complimentary colors to go with your primary colors! It’s more fun than it sounds, we PROMISE!
- Create your logo
You’ve now spent some time getting together some creative inspiration, know who your ideal client is and feel confident about your businesses’ story. It’s time to put together your logo! First things first, think about if you want your logo to have an icon incorporated in it or some design element that further explains what your business does. Chances are you have already doodled some ideas of a logo on a paper napkin or in your journal, but take a moment to make sure that this logo enhances all of the pins and work you have done so far. If your logo does not need an icon, then be sure to create a version of your logo that fits well into a circle for your website and social media platforms and be sure to get the usual white, black and grey versions of your logo so they can be put on anything!
- Put Together your Style Guide
Ok, so you now have your colors, your logos and a few pins (or maybe a full pin board) that show off what colors and visual aids you want your business to present to customers. It’s time to put it all together on one page. This is such a crucial step that allows you to se if all of the moving puzzle pieces fit together to create the perfect visual representation of your business. You might have to change out some colors, switch up the hues and inspirational images but it’s part of the process. Devote ample time to really reviewing your style guide and then put it to the test! Send it out to your friends and family with the simple question “What does it look like this business does?”. If the answers you get back are similar to your product or service and embody your why, then you know you are on the right track! If not, don’t worry. Do some more fine tuning and try again.
- Apply your Style Guide to your website and social platforms
The hard part is over! Now you have your businesses story, mission statement, logo and style guide to follow with all of your other marketing materials! It’s time to get that on your website, add your logos to all of your social profiles and start creating content that is an extension of your style guide. Don’t worry if down the line you need to change your guide, it happens! Your business will pivot with time and so might your story and brand, so it can change! Just be sure you stay true to your story of why you founded your business!