One of the main things to starting a business that a lot of people just skip is branding.
What is Branding?
I love the way MorganTimm describes what branding is in her blog post.
“So the easiest way to describe branding is it’s what people recognize you for. When you hit publish and put your work out into the world, you want people to see it and instantly recognize that it was created by you. A real-world example of this is Apple. Their brand is sleek, simple, and stamped with the apple logo. You see the logo and you instantly know who it’s by, but even without the logo a lot of their work is recognizable.”
First off, your business name should be the URL name, and that name should be the same name across all of your social media accounts. Your name needs to be super easy to find.
Designing To Delight really talks about some great key things to think about before you really start deciding on everything I am about to tell you.
You really need to figure out your strategy, and what you want your business to be based on. What is your morals and values of your business? What do you want your business to be known for? Write all these ideas out on a paper is really good to just get all those ideas out there in one spot.
So now that you have all these ideas written down, go online and start finding pictures that describe everything you wrote down. There are two ways to figure something out, write it down, and visualize it. This is where you have now created something called a “mood board”. This is your dream of starting at scratch. Starting from nothing. You know that Drake song “Started from the bottom & now we here”, trust me girl, you are going to be there very soon!
This is one of the most important parts of branding. These are the colors that will represent your brand. The colors you choose will be the main colors you choose to represent your brand for the rest of your companies life. Think about the colors that best represent the mood board for your company. A good tip to helping you choose the right color scheme is to look at your mood board and ask yourself what are the top 6 colors you see the most in all of these pictures? Write that down, and now you can come up with a good looking color scheme.
Professional Tip: If you find colors you like but you have no idea how to find the code for it. You can upload the picture here, click the color, and this site will generate a code for you! Canva is really good at generating color codes as well!
There will be people that tell you to do your logo before your colors, but I have never really understood that. Your logo needs to have some color in it, and of course, it can have one or two colors from the color schemes you chose. I highly suggest making a “main” logo that is more detailed, and bigger. But then to also have 1-3 “baby sister” logos. Why am I saying this? Because as you make different graphics you will notice some of the logos will not show up as good or will show up too well, or maybe it just doesn’t look good. So I think it is a good idea to have a few options. Now for both of my companies, I do not have this done. But when I work on other people’s companies I encourage this, and you will see some very large companies that do this.
Choosing a logo is going to be one of the next hardest decisions to make because this is the picture that will represent your company to the world, forever! You want your logo to be the BEST & to really represent your company. It’s a good idea to make 3-4 different logos that you like and then you can choose your favorite one. I also think it’s a good idea to even ask your friends and family for their opinion as well.
Professional Tip: I make all of my logos on Canva. They also have a great program where you can get any logo made transparently, which is super helpful when making graphics!
A brand board is everything you have done above put onto one piece of document to fully represent your company and the guide you will follow to make anything and everything for your company. There are a few different ways you can make a brand board, and what to include in it. Personally, I try to make it as basic as possible because it’s only ever used as a reference but when you are trying to make other things. Brand boards are also good to have for when you outsource a project to someone else they will have a “feel” for exactly what you want your company to look and stand for.
- So on the top, you will have your logo.
- Now your color schemes will be added.
- Choose 4-6 photos that match the color schemes that inspired you to go with this theme. People will call this the “inspiration” area because we are getting to know the theme of your company.
- Now you will have 4-6 photos that show the textures or designs of graphics that you want to be used on your graphics. This is really important to follow so all the design will match evenly & nicely.
- The last thing I like to include in your brand board is the font. You want to use the same 2-4 fonts on all of your graphics + your website. Again this makes everything have a very nice design.
Business Cards & Brochures
You need to always have several business cards on you ready to pass out to people. You can even leave them at other people’s offices, or hang them up on business boards. If you are part of the Chamber of Commerce or any other business club like that you will want to have brochures and other formers of advertisements to pass out to others and to teach them about your business. This is a huge investment in your business.
I highly recommend using Vista Print for any of your supplies.
Back to MorganTimm I really just fell in love with how she described other ways of branding in your post, so I just copy & pasted the whole thing for you to read!
“OTHER WAYS OF BRANDING YOURSELF!
Branding yourself doesn’t end with awesome graphics and a great theme for your blog. Your brand carries over into the content that you create and your social media.
As far as content goes, you want to consider what we talked about earlier in terms of writing style and finding your voice. Your voice is basically just the tone you are writing in.
- Some people are super casual with their readers, using shorthand, emoticons, and might be a bit lax in terms of grammatical rules. This can work for some brands. But if you’re looking to grow yourself as a business you may want to stay away.
- Example: “omg! You guys have to try out this tip I found on Pinterest!!”
- The foil to the super casual blogger is the blogger who types in a very scholarly tone, this works for a lot of people, but it can seem a lot less personal so tread carefully here!
- Example: “In case you weren’t aware, you can grow your traffic by 5000% by adhering to these simple rules…”
- And then you’ve got the in between. Most bloggers fall between those two extremes, and for good reason. Each extreme works great for specific people and brands, but for the most part, you’re going to want to stay away. Ideally, if you’re blogging for business you want to establish yourself as an expert without sounding superior. The tone most bloggers aim for is,”Hey, I know a lot of awesome things and I want to teach you awesome things!” and that is great. You’re being helpful without being a know it all. But you’re talking like a friend without discrediting yourself as an expert.
After you find your tone, find your quirks.
No two bloggers are going to write the exact same (and we wouldn’t want them to!) A great blogger will be recognizable by their words alone. But you need to be consistent for that to become possible. Most of us have quirks in the way we speak. Those quirks can be carried over to your writing in order to define your brand. These quirks can be:
- Phrases you use. I feel like everyone I know has a certain phrase or word that is very ‘them.’ My boyfriend is full of strange grammatical quirks, as are two of my roommates. It can be as out there as you want so long as it’s authentically you.
- Punctuation. A lot of times the punctuation I use would make my English teachers cringe. I like to add commas where they aren’t technically needed, and I spend a lot of time typing within quotation marks. I’m technically breaking rules, but that’s part of my voice.
- Formatting. You may have already noticed, but I’m pretty ‘bullet-point happy.’ I use a lot of bullet points. I just like the way that they break up the post and help make everything so much easier to read. Another example of a formatting quirk is playing with paragraph sizes. I tend to keep mine fairly short, but great storytellers can have long paragraphs that keep readers entranced!”
Isn’t this all really making sense now? Branding is a lot of fun, its all about creating and making it actually real with the business you are trying to create!
Let’s Wrap This Up!
So just a few extra things I want to mention to help you really define your company and your brand.
ArtisticDestiny talks dept into creating pitches, and how to introduce your business to others. Because let’s face it, most of the time you will be repeating yourself when you are marketing. So you want to make sure you have your pitches, and descriptions down to the T. Of course, you will tweak each pitch differently specifically to match each company you are trying to collaborate with.
FabiPaolini talks about brand auditing. Which is extremely helpful because this post seems to help you wrap all your ideas up to make your branding perfect. She mentions several different things for you to check out to make sure you are doing your branding correctly.
For almost all of my graphics that I make I make them on Canva. If you do decide to go with Canva, I highly suggest to only create your own stuff. Do not use any of the premade graphics because other people will have those. When branding your company you want everything to be different and unique specially made for your company! But I also like to use Photoshop, and Envetos sometimes as well!
Once you have your website branded, its time to get your social media on the same page. You want to have all of your pages look the same. People need to be able to notice you and your brand when they see it, as I mentioned before in this post.
If you have not started branding your company yet, that is fine. Now is a good time to start! If you feel like you need some help with branding your business and putting all of your ideas together that is why I am here! As a business owner, I completely understand that we have a million and one things going on. It’s okay to outsource somethings to other people and get help. If you are interested in working with me, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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