How to create an effective brand

Branding is the actions taken to create a strong brand

Creating an effective brand is important. You might ask why and it’s a good question, so here’s why I think branding is important – why you should bother.

Branding helps your business to stand out. It gives a good impression. It adds value. It helps you get recognised. It creates loyalty. It gives YOU confidence. It gives your audience confidence in you. It creates connection. It helps you look “like a real business”, it engages with your customers.

Branding makes a big difference to your business.

Branding is the actions that you take to create a strong brand. A brand is what others think, feel, remember and say about your business. So yes, it’s all of that lovely visual stuff which makes your business look great and helps to influence in some way those things – but it’s also all of the other stuff that you do. Or don’t do.

So how you treat people, how you write, the way you craft your social media posts, the messages that you are conveying at each interaction with your audience. Your brand is about all of those moments where someone is connecting in some way with your business – what people take away from that moment.

Can you have absolute control over each of those moments?

Of course you can’t. Branding is your attempt to try.

This is why before we can even THINK about heading into creating the visual part of your brand, it’s worth thinking about what you WANT people to think, feel, say and remember about your brand. It’s about determining how you want their experience of connecting with your business to be. It’s about figuring out what matters and who matters and using those things as a basis.

So your first step is to understand your values. Values are the things that really encapsulate what you’re all about. They’re the words or phrases that describe what’s important – what makes you stand out – from other businesses doing the same thing. You might create beautiful wedding dresses for people, but what makes you different from the other people also sewing away? You might do admin for small businesses, but what is it that makes you special compared to other VA’s out there? Perhaps you make cakes for children’s birthday parties – what’s important to you about doing this compared with the next cake creator in town?

This all comes down to what makes you, you. What do you value in your business? This isn’t about being “professional” or providing “high quality” -we all do that. It’s about what makes YOU different. So not using obvious words – as a wedding dress designer you’re expected to be creative. That won’t cut it, but maybe it’s important to you to only work with brides who

PERSONALITY

Working out your brand personality helps your brand to be more relatable. This is about YOU. Are you loud or quiet? Are you funny or serious? Are you ditsy or organised? Are you friendly, helpful, blasé, thoughtful, bouncy, happy, down-to-earth?

If you’re not sure ask people who know you how they would describe you, check your testimonials. Then figure out the main words you want to use as the basis for the human element of your brand.

If you are positive how can you share that positivity? If you are helpful how can you help people? If you are funny how can you inject humour into what you do?

FEELINGS

How people feel about your brand is REALLY important. Feelings stay with you in a way that actions and words do not. You might feel a certain way about a business yourself and you may or may not remember why.. it might be a really strong feeling or more vague but how you feel about a business will affect your decision to recommend them or shop there yourself. These feelings are often led by experiences, so they are attached to memories.

Think about how you want people to feel about your business. Perhaps you want people to trust you so you can work on being as transparent and trustworthy as possible. Perhaps you want people to feel relaxed so you could get some comfy sofas and paint the walls a calming colour. Perhaps you want people to feel excited so you can up the enthusiasm in your social media posts?

IDEAL CLIENT

Knowing who you’re talking to in your business is SO important. Do you know who you ideal client is? If not, then find out. Take a look at those people that you love working with the most – and who help your business to keep going – and focus on them. What do they have in common? Perhaps they’re all in the same industry? Maybe there’s an age similarity? Do they all love reading detective novels? Do they care about food? What is it that ties them all together? Find out what they care about and start linking that with your content, grab their attention and get them interested in you.

DECISIONS

You can’t have an effective brand without making decisions. Once you’ve decided what your values, personality, and feelings are and who your ideal client is write this down.

Then make some decisions about the visuals. You need to be consistent (because repetition leads to recognition, this means you’ll be remembered and referred. It’s worth it.) and you can’t be consistent if you don’t know what you need to do. Every time.

So choose your colours and your fonts. Make decisions about layouts. Decide on the style of icons, symbols, patterns etc.. that you’re gonna have. Save all of your assets in one separate place. If you use Canva upload the lot there.

Write down your colour codes and fonts.

Keep this information somewhere accessible. You don’t know when you’ll need it, and you don’t want to be using a this’ll-do-blue when the perfect shade is only 6 digits away.

Now you have all of this written somewhere, you have NO EXCUSE not to be consistent – which means your brand will be more effective.

All of this work? Totally worth it.

Mini Series: Five steps to grow your brand
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