For those who don’t know, being a Fashion Marketing and Branding graduate, I studied brands in extensive detail during my time at university to learn how to better market them for various projects.
Rule 101? Brand identity is everything.
What exactly do I mean by brand identity?
I mean, quite simply, the identity of your brand and the visuals and values associated with it.
Your brand identity is the first thing that your consumers or, in my case, freelance writing clients come across.
It’s so important to create a simple yet powerful brand that other people can easily relate to, and recognise, in an already crowded marketplace.
A successful brand identity helps you to stand out from the crowd. It’s the bread and butter of effective marketing.
I don’t think there’s enough emphasis out there in the small business community about just how important it is to be spot-on with your personal branding. After all, if you’re a service-based business like myself, your clients have to want to buy into you, and if you can’t effectively present yourself – then why should they bother?
I know it can seem challenging at first, but it is possible to create a distinctive and effective brand identity for your small business – there are just a few steps that you need to take.
Come up with a strong and unique name.
The name of your business is the first thing consumers or potential clients will come across. It needs to be short, snappy and to-the-point, because all the best brand names are simple yet striking.
But does it need to make sense? Not necessarily.
For example, did anyone know what Nike or Google meant before they arrived onto the scene? Of course not.
Do they know now? Well, I certainly don’t. I just associate these words with what the brand is and what they sell.
And that’s how you know that you’ve got a good name!
It doesn’t always have to be something totally weird and obscure; in fact, it’s better to choose a name that stands out, but is still reflective of you and what your business does – especially when you’re new to the market.
Just don’t choose something too self-explanatory. For example, “Katie’s Writing Business” didn’t quite cut the mustard when I was trying to come up with my bad boy.
Develop a consistent and distinctive brand handwriting.
What do I mean by brand handwriting?
I’m talking about how your brand looks in its promotional materials: its colour palette, the typography used, font size and all that saucy visual stuff.Your brand handwriting is how you distinguish and define yourself to create an impactful brand identity. Click To Tweet
It all has to fit together seamlessly, be consistent across all your advertising channels and look generally kick-ass to be considered successful.
It’s all about promoting a desired image and values through your visuals to create the ultimate statement amongst your consumers and/or clients.
You then use these same visuals across all of your marketing materials for a cohesive brand message and experience.
Create a logo.
Once you’ve chosen a cool name for your small biz and had a play around with fonts and colours to create your brand handwriting, it’s time to get down to the real nitty gritty.
It’s time to finalise a logo for your brand.
It goes without saying that your logo needs to be easily recognisable and instantly translate to potential consumers or clients who you are as a business and what exactly you do.
It helps if you have a visual emblem in there as well as your name, like some kind of signifier, to indicate what line of business you’re in if you’re completely new to the game.
For example, my Dream Scribe logo has a quill which is immediately associated with writing, and that’s exactly what I do as a business! Ta-da!
If you’re really struggling to create a decent logo or develop a solid brand handwriting, you could always hire a graphic designer to do the work for you. After all, it’s their area of expertise!
Think of a tagline.
A tagline is not always necessary for brand new businesses; however, it certainly helps!If you’re up to the challenge, you should try to pick out a tagline that people will remember as soon as they hear the name of your business or see your brand visuals. Click To Tweet
It’s also good to state what your business does in a few short and simple words, until you build up more of a name for yourself.
I mean, what exactly does “I’m Loving It” mean for McDonald’s? The answer is nothing, if you don’t know anything about McDonald’s. However, if you do know about McDonalds (which, let’s face it, everybody does) you’ll know that it refers to the fact that their customers love their yummy fast food.
So, in the beginning, you should always try and hint at what your business does through your tagline. For example, mine is “turning content dreams into reality”, which also relates to my name and purpose.
Ya feel me?
Showcase your brand handwriting via your website.
When you’re a business that’s purely online, like I am, your website is essentially your shop window. Therefore, you need to make sure it’s attractive and immediately reflects who you are and what you do through the visuals.
You must integrate your brand handwriting throughout, and use the same fonts and colour palette for every aspect.
For example, my logo colours are black and gold, therefore the fonts on my website and blog are always black and gold. I then like to weave the pink in as an accent colour, because it’s pretty, it’s feminine and it’s a nod to my gender.
It’s a good idea to try and stick to the same colour palette throughout your website and blog, and try not to go too off-course if you can help it.
(Need some assistance setting up a website that’s reflective of your brand handwriting and what you do as a business? First of all, set yourself up on SiteGround as a self-hosted blog on WordPress, and then make use of their amazing customer service team. Afterwards, try using a fancypants website design from Bluchic for simple-to-install, effective themes – I’m in love with mine!)
Integrate your brand handwriting across all your promotional channels.
Once you have your name, logo, brand handwriting and website up and running, it’s time to transport all that good stuff across to your other promotional materials.From your social media channels, to business cards, to email newsletters, to flyers you might want to put through your neighbours’ letterboxes - everything needs to be consistent and cohesive.Click To Tweet
Otherwise, your visuals will look super disjointed and start to confuse your customers or your clients. After all, who can trust a business who has a photo of a handbag in their logo, but pictures of laptops all over their Facebook banner image?
See? It just doesn’t make sense! In that case, it’s not clear what the business is selling and consumers will look elsewhere, especially if they don’t know the brand.
Use simple, clean and relatable visuals. Always.
The final thing to do is make sure that you use imagery across your website, blog and other online channels that ties in directly with your brand handwriting.
For example, I just couldn’t put a really colourful cartoon-looking photo in the middle of one of these blog posts, could I? I mean, I could, but it’d look really out of place. It doesn’t go with my brand handwriting in any way, shape or form.
That’s why it’s better to stick to the same “theme” if you like when it comes to your visual communication. Always. And let me tell ya – you won’t go far wrong.
I can’t stress enough just how important it is to take the time to build your brand in a way that’s easily recognisable and effective to your target audience.
Branding is everything, my friends.
If you don’t have a distinctive brand identity, then you don’t have anything.
Because it’s not clear who you are or what you do as a business. And if you don’t know who you are, how are your consumers or clients supposed to know?
Presenting a successful brand identity is all about building trust with your target audience, which forms the foundation for a long and prosperous relationship.
And that’s what we’re all ultimately striving for, right? 🙂
(Please note that this post contains affiliate links which help me to run this blog.)