Branding is SO much more than just using the same colours and logo when creating your marketing materials. It is a combination of distinguishable verbal and written elements that emphasize what your company stands for and allows you to connect with your audience. Throughout our online courses on Simple Desk Business Academy (SDBA), we constantly talked about how creating a deep relationship with your consumers and supporters is the key to seeing results in your marketing efforts and driving up revenue.
Whether you’re just starting your business or have been in the game for a while, having a set standard when it comes to your branding is essential to the success of your business. Let’s chat about how to create a solid branding strategy regardless of your business’ status. Remember, it’s never too late to improve your branding!
1. Create a Logo
At the centre of your brand should be your logo – that recognizable symbol that represents your brand. When creating your logo, keep in mind your brand values and what you stand for. Use appropriate fonts and colours to emphasize those values. Keep your logo simple so that it is easy to incorporate into anything you put together!
2. Brand Imagery
This is when you determine what types of images are appropriate to use when communicating with your supporters. These images work in conjunction with other brand standards you’ve established (colours, fonts, design, etc.) to express your brand identity. These images should also highlight your overall messaging as a business. Images should be appropriate and relevant to your business. I recommend taking your own high quality images or using stock photos to create a seamless look.
3. Colours and Fonts
This may seem like the easiest part of branding your business, but it can actually be the trickiest! Fonts need to be legible and work together. I recommend choosing 2-3 fonts so that your marketing materials don’t get boring, but also so that you can still create that connection with your followers through font alone. For colours, focus on your brand values and mission statement: the colours you choose should be a reflection of that. Colours can represent different feelings and emotions, so do your research before you choose. I also recommend taking a design course OR working with a graphic designer if design is not part of your resume!
Have you ever been told by somebody to watch your tone? This is a phrase to keep in mind whenever you are creating something for your brand! Also known as brand voice, brand tone should be distinct, consistent, recognizable and connective to your audience. Thinks about what you stand for as a business owner: Is it to deliver great quality products/services? Is it about giving back to the community? Is it about improving the lives of your supporters? All of the above?
Whatever it is that motivates you as a business owner, it should be reflected in the tone of your writing and images. Every piece you put together, whether it be social media or print, is a conversation you are having with your followers. If your tone matches what you stand for, you’re more likely to create those deep bonds with your customers!
5. Brand Values/Mission Statement
Identifying and defining your brand values and mission statement should easily be one of the first things you tackle when you start branding your business. After all, these values should be reflected in your digital and print marketing at all times. Your values are what drives your business and the decisions you make, and are uncompromisable. This means that no matter what, you will never compromise your business’ set of beliefs as you navigate the ups and downs of owning a business. Your brand values should be the principles that you establish for your business.
Your mission statement should establish the purpose of your business as well as the goals you aim to achieve through your operations. For example, the Simple Desk mission statement is: To eliminate challenges small businesses face by providing simple outsourcing solutions that are efficient and cost-effective. As you can see, our mission statement reflects our values for upholding standards and making things easier for small business owners to operate, which is the core of our business.
To establish good brand values and a mission statement, take some time to think about why you got into business in the first place. What drives you and what are your goals for your business? Once you have those reasons in mind, create a set of brand values and a mission statement that define them and NEVER waver from it no matter where your business goes.
6. Branding Guidelines
Often overlooked but the key to consistency, brand guidelines should be established so that if you outsource your workload or work with a graphic designer or printer company that your marketing efforts are consistent and reflect all the points we’ve made above. Create a mini-manual to set the standard for how your brand is represented. This should definitely include things like colours, fonts, logos, tone, taglines, etc. The aesthetic you are aiming to create through strong branding should be defined within these guidelines so that nothing is produced that doesn’t reflect who you are as a brand. Take your time to establish these rules, and always keep your brand values in mind.
Collectively, all these elements determine how your brand is represented and seen by the community. It’s important that you get it right. After all, these things will determine how your business is seen by those in your community and can make or break you when it comes to generating revenue. There are other elements to branding to consider such as creative messaging, brand position, brand personality, etc., but starting with the above will help you create strong branding that speaks to your business and allows consumers to recognize you. Remember, ALWAYS keep your target audience in mind when branding your business. How you represent yourself should somehow resonate with your ideal target market at all times.
If you’re struggling with your branding or want an audit of how your business can improve, our team is offering 30-minute coaching sessions on Simple Desk Business Academy. Don’t be afraid to reach out and get your business headed in the right direction. We are here to help you succeed, and strong branding is certainly a necessity for doing that!