Branding: Start Here

If you're an individual looking to start up a business, but don't quite know where to start in terms of branding, then you're in the right place. 

In this blog, We offer a quick introduction to branding and offer a frame work to get your brain turning. We love discussing branding so if you'd like further insight, give us a call and we'd love to help! 

Messaging

Your messaging is probably the most important part of creating your brand. Unfortunately, many would argue that it is the hardest part of the branding process. However, it is worth taking the time and doing it right! According to Forbes, 8 out of 10 businesses fail partly due to their lack of clear messaging. So where do you start? 

We are all on our own Hero's Journeys (Joseph Campbell). We deal with issues, come up with solutions and change through the process of attempting to solves our problems. Because of my background in film and screenwriting, I'm all about using story and the steps of a successful story to craft your message:

2000px-Heroesjourney.svg.png

1. THe Hero

Every individual feels that the world revolves around them and in a way it does. Tell your story through their eyes. In order to do this you need to determine your ideal customer. Notice that we're discussing your ideal customer, not a general target audience. Begin to pinpoint specifics about your customer; do not generalize: "people looking to get fit". Instead, target one specific individual, whether it's an imaginary person or someone you know.

2. The Problem

Every individual struggles. What is your ideal customer dealing with when they come across your product? Ex. He is stressed because he doesn't know how to do taxes. She feels ugly in her clothes and needs new ones. 

3. The guide

Every individual wants a helping hand [whether they admit it or not]. You're here to solve your ideal customer's problem. What are you going to do to help relieve their problem and bring joy into their life? What emotional response do you want your customer to feel after using your product and/or services? 

This is a process. 

Do not let yourself get discouraged when you hit a wall. This step is challenging. Keep telling yourself that you're better just for going through it. Here are some ideas to help get you unstuck:

  • Interview your past clients (if you have them) to get into their minds. 
  • Brainstorm with pen and paper
  • Use a voice recorder
  • Get together with a friend and talk it out
  • Go workout
  • Call me up! Would love to help. 

Goal

You want a one liner to describe your business, a medium length description, and then eventually a description that you could give as a speech (imagine a TED talk). Whether you use these words in your branding materials or not, these descriptions will subconsciously play in to your decision making process as you build your brand.

Color Palette

Now that you have a clear message (or at least working on it), it's time to add personality using color. Colors help your audience connect with your brand in a visual way. Consider the following:

  • What colors do you want to represent your brand?
  • What colors do you think your ideal customer will relate with?
  • What do you want your customer to feel when interacting with your brand?
    • Look at the feelings attached to each color. 

Whenever I'm debating brand colors (or anything design related for that matter), I always use Pinterest. For the males out there -- don't overwrite Pinterest as a "female tool", you will be doing yourself a major disservice if you do!

I recommend using some of the following keywords to begin your brainstorming session on Pinterest:

  • Color palettes
  • Complementary colors
  • Brand colors
  • Nature color palette
  • Food color palette
  • Palettes using a color you specifically want: Blue branding
  • Two colors you know you want to use: Blue green branding
  • Just type in one color for inspiration: blue

Want to fast track and not spend time choosing your colors? Use this awesome site that will generate a color palette for you!

Color code

When you find a color you like, it's necessary to figure out the code. This code is used to ensure that your colors are identical across all marketing materials. Most programs that you use (Illustrator, Photoshop, online tool) will have the code listed next to the associated color. 

If you can't find the code for the color, use a tool like this one to find your color and determine the code. You may not be able to find the exact same shade, but you'll be in the ball park. 

If you have an image with colors that you like, use this html code finder to upload your picture and find the code. Or google to find other similar sites. 

Goal

Choose three colors for your pallet. One main one, one secondary and one accent. The more colors, the more possibility that your branding will look cluttered and unprofessional. It's better to stick with fewer colors to begin and slowly progress as you master those three colors. 

Typography

After clarifying your messaging, identifying your ideal customer and choosing your color palette, you can further build personality by choosing your font. I could do an entire blog on Typography alone -- or even a year on this topic as it can get complex very quickly. For now, let's stick to the basics. 

Your best bet when choosing a font is to ensure that your web platform provider (ex. Wordpress, Squarespace, etc.) offers the font that you want to use. It won't do you any good if you choose a font that you can't use! Many web platforms offer the ability to import fonts so if your font isn't on your website platform do a quick google search for "how to import fonts into [your platform name here]." Here are a few resources to get you started:

Goal

You'll want to choose one title font and one font for normal text. 

Tips and resources when choosing fonts

Pinterest is once again a great resource to discovering fonts. If you're sick of Pinterest, go ahead and use Google. Plenty of resources will come up on either platform. Use the keywords, Font Pairing, when searching. Here are some blogs (and resources) I recommend for a deeper dive on typography:

For those of you who want to watch, check out this TED talk on Fonts: