Your Branding is not just a logo
Solid branding goes far beyond your logo... it includes your fonts, colors, voice, underlying message, images, packaging and customer service, among other things.
When it comes to branding, there are many aspects you should think about. If you're just starting out, or wanting to refresh your focus, I thought it would be helpful to give some tips to help guide you through your branding... to help guide you through the overall process of establishing an easy DIY strategy for better branding as a whole for your business/service/venture.
What Nike can Teach About Good Branding and the Success of Your Business
I want to stress how crucial solid branding is to the success of your business. Establishing a consistent, professional appearance is absolutely an integral part of every successful business.
Nike would not be what it is today without it's awesome, powerful 'Just do it' branding campaign and killer modern athletic imagery and streamlined look, vision, professionalism and message. Through consistency and state-of-the-art branding, Nike sends a clear message, attracting clients who want to experience a certain feel of innovative, fashion-forward athletic wear.
They do this by creating a feeling for their viewers.
I invite you to check out Nike's website. Take note of the strong fonts, contrasty colors, clean, professional imagery and overall consistent usage of branding elements throughout the site.
Have you ever walked into a Nike store? How did you feel the moment you walked in the solid glass doors? You were probably engulfed by upbeat, motivational music streaming from their high-end sound system, wooed by ambient lighting, and in awww of the larger-than-life dramatic photographs of gorgeous, muscular athletes in motion.
This full experience is Nike's branding. And you were most likely inspired to buy a new pair of sleek runners or a new pair of crazy performance wear that would have the imaginary power to bring out your inner athlete... at top dollar, of course. If you purchased something, you probably enjoyed the feel of being an athletic champion simply by wearing their symbolic 'swoosh'. Nike makes people feel modern, innovative, powerful, hip... all this is the power of good branding.
Effective branding will create a feeling and evoke emotion in your ideal client.
Is it possible To Create Effective Branding without a Corporate Budget?
Chances are, if you're just starting a new business, or working as a solopreneur, you don't have the crazy corporate budget that Nike does for branding. More likely, unless you've set funding aside, you'll settle for DIY branding until you get things off the ground. I highly recommend that you hire a professional branding company as soon as you're able to... a good branding company will do much more than establish a nice look... they'll understand your target market and create an aesthetic that will that will attract the right people, and connect with them on an emotional level.
A quality brand designer will cost $2,000+, and I don't recommend investing until you're confident about your business and offer. Let's face it, most of us have a 1-2 year period of fine-tuning our direction, business setup, product and market position before we're really solid on our identity and offer. If you're in this stage, you should know - it's totally normal. You're not alone. In fact, you're right on track.
However, even if you're still figuring things out and/or on a start-up budget, it's essential that you start out looking professional from the very get-go.
Why? Because an unprofessional appearance is the fastest way to lose your prospect's trust.
In this day and age (with the world wide web), there is way too much competition for anyone showing up online with an unprofessional appearance to make it.
You need to give prospects a reason to choose YOU over anyone else. And the first way to do that, is to wave a beautiful, shiny thing in front of them (because people are visual, and notice visuals first), grab their attention, and then relay a message they can resonate with.
That ol' excuse I hear time and time again - I'll invest when things get off the ground - needs to come with a follow up - which may never happen, because noone will trust me enough to invest in me, if I'm not confident enough to invest in myself.
This doesn't mean you have to spend your retirement on a pro-designer right away. Like I mentioned - I don't recommend that when you're first starting out. But you should invest in learning how to establish your brand foundation and design a more professional appearance.
One thing I'd like you to keep in mind while you're going through this process...
Your branding MUST match your price point.
Meaning... do you think Mercedes Benz would allow their dealers to use selfies as their professional headshots, and iPhone photos to advertise their cars? What message would that portray to potential buyers looking to purchase a new car? They'd probably expect to find low-end used car dealership discount prices, not top-of-the-line high-end precision vehicles on a top-dollar sales floor. Mercedes Benz uses only professional, gorgeous photography and branding that they've paid top dollar for, because they're offering top-dollar product and expecting to be compensated accordingly.
So, keeping that in mind, let's get to it...
Here are the 10 easy steps to DIY branding
- Identify your target client
- Choose your 'Tone Words'
- Create a 'Mood Board'
- Pick your Colors
- Choose your Fonts
- Do your Research
- Implement your Personal Style
- Design your Logo
- Be consistent
If you need guidance through the branding process, I teach you how to uncover the best look for your business in my step-by-step quick start course, Branding Your Business.
The best part - I teach you only what you absolutely need to know in order to create a visual appearance to connect with your dream clients and reflect your brand essence. You can get your brand done in as little as a weekend.
If you're ready to move forward with your DIY branding, jump to the next step here: DIY Branding in 10 Easy Steps: Part 2 - Identify Your Target Client
Let me know in the comments below what you struggle with most when it comes to branding.