10 ESSENTIAL BRANDING STEPS
“I 100% want to work with you, no matter the cost!”
We all dream of that perfect client waltzing through our doors screaming,
“You are the one for me, I don’t care if I have to mortgage my house”… Right?!
Well, we live in a world of overload, everywhere we go we are bombarded with messages and motives. As a business, you need to be able to cut through the crap and stand out from the trash yard of too much. To attract these ideal clients, you need to be supercalifragilisticexpialidocious (thanks spell-check!).
Most people think that the term ‘branding’ refers to your logo, and perhaps your colour palette and typefaces. Although these are super-duper important aspects of branding, I like to refer to them as your external makeover – you’re simply throwing on a nice black dress for the occasion. Now, I’m not devaluing the importance of a well executed logo – Hell! That would be a stupid thing for a graphic designer to do – I’m just saying that there’s no point putting on a LBD (little black dress) if you’ve been on a solid donut diet for the past three months.
Your logo, even a damn sexy logo, is nothing without a solid brand message behind it. Your brand message is what gets people flying in the door saying “I 100% want to work with you, no matter the cost!”
So, what is your brand message and how are you conveying it?
I suggest you pop the bonnet and take a good look under the hood of your business to see how you’re faring with it.
Here’s a checklist of 10 essential branding steps to ensure your brand message is being conveyed.
Work out what your brand stands for. Who are you and what makes you different? What are your core values and what do you want to be known for?
If your business was a person who would it be? Where would they hang out? What products would they buy? What car would they drive? Elaborate on this, think of people who you know in your everyday life!
Research your competition. What are they doing well? What could they be doing better? How can you be different? A great book to read on this idea is Zag, by Marty Neumeier.
Find examples of branding in other industries that you like. For instance if you’re in the food industry, check out some fashion labels that you feel align well with your values and overall brand message. Think about your customer, if they’re buying your product, where else are they shopping? Build a profile of your ideal client and what products they’d have in their shopping bag.
Put together a creative brief for your designer. Consider things like your target market, your unique selling point and the overall look and feel of your brand. Basically, the more we get to know your brand, the better we can represent it!
I highly recommend you make friends with Pinterest. It is a great tool for getting inspired and visually communicating the ideas you have circulating in your head. Create a board and try to be consistent with your collection of images. Annotate your pins, dissecting your chosen images – What do you like about them? What don’t you like about them?
Get to work on your core branding – partner with a design agency that understands your key messages. Begin with your logo and branding, making sure that this 100% aligns with what you’ve outlined in the above steps.
Alongside your agency, design and develop a kick-ass website. We live in a digital age, most often than not, your website is the first impression customers receive! Not only is it your tool for securing leads, but it is your means of communicating with an international audience.
Set up your social channels. Identify the platforms that are appropriate for your business and target market. Be cautious not to get all gung-ho and launch every possible platform. The last thing you want to do is spread yourself too thin and end up doing a poor job on all fronts. Just select a couple and do them exceptionally well.
Work out what collateral you may need. Do you need to update your packaging? Is your stationery feeling a bit drab? Make a list of your touch-points and prioritise which pieces of collateral need the most attention. Consistency is crucial here and it should be your highest priority to get everything looking like a beautiful little collection!
Thanks for reading
I’m Tess, and I am the ringleader of a small circus (read branding agency) called Smack Bang Designs. Officially, my job is to make business decisions and give creative criticism. But really? I spend most of my days dreaming up new and outlandish ideas, hanging with a bunch of really fun peeps, creating cool content for our comms projects, styling up our studio space, looking over my designers’ shoulders in awe, connecting with cool people for collaborations and watering our mini-jungle. But mostly, just watering our mini jungle.