Branding process – 3. Creation

Last week we looked into research, which is really important to make sure you know what you’re doing. Take a good look at all the information you’ve collected. You should now have:

– a completed brief so that you know what your values are, who you serve, what your likes and dislikes are and what your brand personality is. Amongst other things.

– an analysis of your competitors. Who they are, what their brand is and what it looks like, what they do to spread their message

– imagery related to your business or brand

– a colour palette which highlights your brand personality and adds a strong layer of meaning to it

– a selection of typefaces which fit your brand

 

If you don’t have a logo then this is the moment to work on that. Do lots of doodling on paper. Don’t even look at the computer. I generally write down the key things I want to communicate – the values and personality and any specifics about the logo, and then doodle around them. Put anything and everything down, make sure that you include the bad ideas with the good just so you can get them out of your system. You never know, they may not even be as bad as you think! Keep referring to the brief to make sure that you are keeping focussed.

Once you’re ready then you can take the best of these ideas onto the computer and work with them until you have a final logo. This should communicate what you’re about, what your values are and be relevant to your target audience. The next stage of the process, develop, would be where this part would really happen, but this is a post about branding not logo design! When you signed up for my Design Success Toolkit to help you with part one, you’ll also have received the Logo Design Checklist, so maybe take a look at that 🙂

 

The logo is only a part of your brand. I’ve discussed this before too, so won’t go into too much detail. Your brand is the whole perception of your business. There are so many different definitions for what a brand is. Essentially it’s the feelings, memories and expectations that people have when they experience or think about your business. So it’s not just your logo, it’s really everything. The impression they get when before they even open the door, when you answer the phone, when they visit your website, check out your Facebook page, read your tweets, see your ad in the magazine or hear it on the radio, when they see your exhibition stand from across the room and of course, when someone describes to them what it was like working with you. All this and they’ve not even engaged with you yet. When they do then your brand needs to be consistent, so if you were extremely polite and friendly on the phone and then when you meet them in person you forgot to wash your hair, or if the ad for your shop is squeaky clean and beautiful and they turn up at your shop to find that the floor hasn’t been swept, or your website is so beautiful that it makes them want to buy something and then when they item arrives it’s obvious that no thought has gone into the packaging – that’s all going to give the wrong impression.

 

So your next task is to list every single way that a customer connects with your business. There’s some starting points above (isn’t that handy?) but what happens next? This includes:

– First impressions

– Bricks and Mortar impressions (what their experience is like at your premises if relevant – including outside the premises ie. your neighbours)

– In person impressions (what their experience is like when they meet you  – or any of your staff – face to face. Include on the phone, Skype, webinars etc…)

– Online impressions (what their experience is like online – on your website, by email, on social media)

– During sales impressions (what is the sales process like?)

– After sales impressions (how long do they wait, what’s the packaging like, how do you communicate with them after the sale? Include what the product is like, how it performs or how valuable the service you delivered was)

– Follow up impressions (for those who bought and those who didn’t, what do you do/ can you do?)

 

That should be quite some list!

 

There are various ways of doing this, but the most straightforward and easy to grasp is probably to look at the senses. So for each item on your list think about how you can use that moment as an opportunity to enforce your brand. It’s unlikely that you’ll use every sense, but who knows?!

So an example could be:

Your potential customer is standing outside your cake shop. They’ve not been before.

Sight – your shop is beautiful, the colours emphasise your brand, your windows and doors are clean, the pavement is clean, the shops on either side of you look beautiful too, the cakes in the window look delicious, the shop assistant looks happy.

Sound – being outside they might not be able to hear much, but maybe when the door swings open they can hear music which complements your brand?

Touch – again, there’s not much to touch, but you can do something about this by using textures which make people want to go up to something and stroke it.  So there’s brightly coloured bunting in different fabrics,  cake cases stacked in the window that look like they need to be touched and of course the cakes themselves.

Smell – it’s a very good cake  shop – you make the very best cakes in town, so the nearer they are to the shop the better the smell. Come in, come in!

Taste – again, it’s a cake shop. The cakes should oooooooze “eat me” messages, similar to Alice in Wonderlands cake, irresistible. There might even be samples available. (That would be nice, I love samples)

This is a very helpful exercise which I’ve covered before.

 

The next thing to do is to look at your logo, look at what you’ve just done and consider everything that’s visual. So you can either just gather everything together or make a list. Next, evaluate how consistent it is.

– Do you use the same logo throughout?

– Do you use the same font?

– Do you use the same colours?

– Do you use the same sorts of imagery?

– Do you tie everything together in the same way?

You need to make some firm decisions on what you are going to do to make sure that every single part of your visual representation is consistent. It should be obvious – even without the logo – that it’s from your business simply because you always do things the same way.

Make notes, scribble things down, refer back again and again to your brand values and personality and come back next week to tie all of this together in your brand style guide.

 NEXT >> Development

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