branding 101: the basics in 3 simple steps

branding 101: the basics in 3 simple steps

Branding to most is considered to be your logo - yes it is a part of your branding, but only a very small part. 

Branding starts with a brand strategy, which is where you establish your brand. You can have a brand strategy guide professionally done and pay thousands of dollars for someone to create it for you where they put together this perfect pretty book of information, OR you can create it yourself. However you approach the process, it is definitely an important process of your business journey.

Ok, Ok, now every graphic designer is going to hate me for this one. Spending tons of money on a pretty pamphlet of information is not worth it to me unless you have a large company, a major corporation, or have a huge budget. Having that information compiled together is a great tool, it just doesn't need to be all perfectly polished to apply that information to your brand & to get started. Create it yourself! Buy a template off creative market or use a Canva template.

You will notice in my logo packages that I personally do not offer a brand strategy guide - AND I like it that way. My business strategy works for me and is geared to MY ideal clients, that is what matters. I like to cater to the small business that is just getting started and doesn't have the budget to spends thousands of dollars on branding. I also guarantee you I will give you the same quality work as the designers charging thousands of dollars. With my brand discovery questionnaire you will dig deep into your business and I will make you think of things you have never even thought of. You will have a clear idea of what branding is when you work with me. 

ok, so what is a brand strategy?

This includes who your company is, what your goals are as a business, your business plan, your target audience, and how to position the brand. It is the art of shaping the perception of the brand. You want people to feel something and to connect with the brand on an emotional level.

Even if you understand what branding is and can identify it when you see it, it can be difficult to describe exactly what branding entails. In a crowded, competitive world where you're competing for your customer's attention, time, and money, you can't afford to be invisible.

So how do you create a brand that connects with your customers on an emotional level and turns them into a fan base or your ideal client? Let’s dig into it.

1. define your values

There is no single recipe for creating a successful brand, but a good brand starts with some key ingredients, and identifying your values is an important step. You need to find out what your business values are or what they will be. What do you want to be known for? How do you want to be perceived by your customers? How do you want your customers to feel from the onset? All these are related to your values. If you are a transparent person, everything about your brand should be transparent. Your values determine how your customers will perceive you and what they will say when YOU are not in the room. 

2. design your brand identity

Your designs are a huge part of your branding and should speak volumes about who you are. Let me break it down for you. The designs, videos and social media post that you use to market your business is like your brand voice, and it should incorporate YOUR voice. Are you a sarcastic person, professional and straight-to-the-point, or a sassy person? Whichever you are as a person should feature that in your designs. When I talk about design, I am not just referring to your logo but also your typography, patterns, color palette, marketing, social media post, etc. Your designs are an important branding element, and should be associated with your business and what will come to life when your customers connect with you. You don't want people to look at your brand and think that looks like a DIY project, you want them thinking "wow this looks professional." Be authentically YOU and your ideal clients will attract to you. 

3. be consistent yet flexible

If you want your brand to succeed, your audience needs to have a consistent experience with it whenever they come into contact with it. Your brand should be consistent across your website, your social media, your print materials, your packaging, and your logo. Anything you create for your brand should be aligned with a clear and consistent brand strategy. That includes having color and font consistency, and the style of your marketing material. Are your post on social media easily recognizable that your clients know it is coming from you whenever they see it because they are familiar with your style? That should be a goal to have. 

Think about it this way. Let’s say you were looking to hire a social media agency for your company. You checked out their website and you were embraced with neon colors but you looked up their Instagram page, it was an all neutral color palette with a boho theme.  How likely are you to work with such a company? This creates an emotion within prospective clients and that emotion is probably confusion. Most likely you won't be using their services. Apply the same scenario to your business, are you consistent or are you possibly chasing customers away because they don't see professionalism they are confused AF. 

It is important that you create a consistent experience across all your platforms. This is key when building a brand that is going to drive your ideal clients to work with you.

Now, consistency is important, but so is flexibility! If something isn't working for your brand, you must be willing to modify it—and as your brand develops and evolves, so must your branding, your approach, your style, etc. 

Consider rebranding if your brand isn't connecting with your customers. Large corporations do this all the time. Think of Pepsi, how many times have they changed their logo but kept it recognizable to their clients. They kept the basic elements, and changed the font over the years. Change your font, or keep the font and change the colors. Take a different approach at your brand voice if your audience does not respond to it, rethink your marketing or social media strategy. Continue to fine-tune your brand until it is operating well. Now this doesn't mean that a week goes by and you don't see anything happening so you get discouraged. Remember building a business takes time. However, if a significant amount of time goes by and nothing has changed, it is time to start changing things. 

ok I lied, maybe 4 simple steps 

This isn't necessarily about branding entirely, this is about obedience and hustling, and it is the most important of all. Do NOT give up, keep going!  You will never reach your goals if you give up when things get tough. I see it all the time, people are pumped to start their business, then the sales just aren't coming in like they intended. Instead of fixing their strategy and working harder, they quit. DO NOT QUIT! This is the first step to being successful, do not by any means quit. Keep going for your future self. Be the one that wants to know what can happen if you don't quit. My business has had some bumps and turns along the way, and I kept going. I have been stressed beyond belief, cried, screamed (well more like silently in my head screamed) but ironically, each one of those detours lead me to something better. The thing is, it just didn't feel like growth at the moment but ultimately it opened my eyes to something I was missing out on and my business succeeded through it. 

Keep going, you will rock this if you do! 

xoxo, 

Megan

if you are interested in purchasing a branding strategy template so you can take a DIY approach, please email me at megan@emmasuebowtique.com OR use the contact form. My digital downloads are not yet listed in my store and are coming soon. 

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