Good morning everyone! I am thrilled about today’s guest post! Lisa from Step Brightly is here to share part one of a three part series. Today’s topic is one we can all learn more of – the Top 5 Branding Basics.
A positive and successful brand will generate pictures, words and feelings in the minds of your clients, just like a good story. As much as we can purposefully guide what we want the public to think of us, it is ultimately their interpretation that creates what your brand becomes. Word of mouth, positive customer service and standing out from the crowd play a huge part in the success of your brand. Here are my Top 5 Branding Basics to follow as you build your business.
1. Don’t be afraid:
Fear is paralyzing. It will stop you in your tracks, get you off course and next thing you know, you have wasted your precious time. Have faith in yourself and your ideas AND have a plan. Having a plan in place for how to roll out your branding campaign will help you sleep at night. This is the first step I take my clients through before putting a pencil to paper.
When I create a logo for my clients I generally provide 2-3 choices that start at what is expected in their industry and move towards an aspirational solution. “You may not think this is appropriate now, but in 5 years THIS is where you want your brand to be!” To be honest, it makes my clients nervous, and me too! No one can predict the future, but that is the leap of faith you are taking by starting your business and diving in head first, right? It’s all a risk and the bigger the risk, the bigger the reward.
2. Be Creative.
Easier said then done, right? Your products are creative and so is your ‘big idea’ but marketing and selling yourself? Help!
This is where you should hire a professional. Professional graphic designers, marketers and PR reps can help you understand your market and see the spaces in between to make you stand out from the crowd. All touch points of a brand are up for grabs here. Look at Anthropologie; from their store windows to the gift certificate fabric pouches at the counter each brand touch point is highly designed, well planned out AND relates back to who they are: vintage, bohemian and artful. Did you know that each Anthropologie store has it’s own in-house designer that creates the windows. This added touch makes each store unique to their neighborhood community. Very smart!
3. Be Personal.
Did you know that a website’s “About Us” page is the most visited page on any site?
People want to know about you, who you are, what you like to do outside of work, and they love to see pictures of people. It is hard to write about yourself, so ask your friends, or your child or a client. See what funny things they have to say about you. The moment you say you are cool, you aren’t. But if someone else can say it, it makes you trustworthy and cool at the same time.
4. Be Consistent.
Your brand voice communications through your products appearance, logo, packaging, marketing, what you say on twitter and so on. Consistent use of your product’s brand characteristics across all touch points will establish a constructed image of your brand in your customer’s mind.
5. Be Ahead of the Game.
It is easy to get caught up in the creative side of your business, I know I do! But, it takes a both sides of the brain, left and right, to be creative and to logically run your business. If you aren’t marketing your products or services, who is? Take the time to look at your competitors and aspirational brands outside of your industry to see what they are doing. How are they ahead of the game and how do you get ahead of yours? Planning! Plan out next season, and the season after that. Try a targeted sample of social media programs. Hit up your friends and family for new contacts.
At the end of the day remember to have fun, own your ideas and express your business in the best possible light! I love to talk and give advice (obviously:) so please feel free to connect with me and we can talk about your ideas and where your business opportunities are in terms of design, marketing and brand. Talk with ya’ll soon.