by Brandie Larson, founder of Graphic Brewery.
If you ask most entrepreneurs what branding your business is, you might hear 10 different replies. Your brand is not just a trademark, logo, package, or product, so-to-speak, it is also the feeling it brings to mind. Branding starts in the brain, where your businesses brand essence is born.
When I mention Coca-Cola, what comes to mind? I think of refreshment! What might a Mercedes car make you feel, luxurious, perhaps? And who doesn’t feel loved when they receive a Hallmark card? Are you picking up what I’m laying down here?
Brand Essence is the sweet spot where the heart-and-soul of your brand align. You will need to step back and figure out some of the most pivotal features of what makes your business tick to bottle your special branded brew.
Product profiling is one ingredient that is critical to your overall brand. What is so unique about your product that makes it different from your competition’s product? What makes your widget the best one ever on the market? Is it manufactured better, is it healthier for you, does it make you hella sexier?
Think about how companies manufacture computers, yet Apple is probably the most thought of name. We could argue features all day, but they are ninja marketers and create a brand that people wait in line to be the first to have it.
I’m here to tell you, my Samsung Galaxy S7 works just fine, yet my teenager is bummed she has an almost $600 Samsung phone and it isn’t an Apple. That however is a matter for an entirely different blog post, stay tuned for why kids don’t need cell phones in an upcoming blog post, yes, I jest.
So now let’s move on to Service benefits. Why should your clients work with you, so that they can…. what? Finish that statement. Will they be more successful because of your service, will they sleep better, will they be more productive? What pain points will you take away? What problems do you solve?
You need to sell your customers and it might look like this! If they work with you, you are better than your competition because your business mentorship will make them more profitable and they will use their time better.
Who doesn’t want more time and money?
Sweet, you sold them on your services. But who is your market, anyway?
Zeroing in on your Target Market is another angle you need to consider. In order to understand your businesses brand voice you need to know who you are talking to. Why does this matter? If you don’t know who you are talking to, neither will your audience. If you aren’t crystal clear, they don’t know to contact your for your web design services or that you are a super zen yoga instructor. Your message will fly right over their heads if you are not zoned in on delivering to the proper people.
So who are these people? Where do they hang out? What hobbies do they have? What keeps them up at night with worry? What causes would they support? By figuring out the demographic of your crew, you can dial in what matters to them the most and what their habits are. If you think branding your business doesn’t matter, you could spend time, money, and precious effort marketing your fantabulous widget to the entirely wrong market!
Your brand will start to take shape as you learn about your peeps. If you primarily serve young people, your businesses brand will be fun, whimsical and bright. Comparatively, if you are a lawyer your clients might not appreciate the bright website with comical articles. Your brand image needs to match your brand mood in all facets. So now, yes now, you can start thinking about color, your logo, and the fun stuff.
Sit back and find the feeling your business conveys. Is it energetic, good for the environment, peaceful, sterile, vibrant, colorful, adventurous? I could go on, but my point is, choose colors and fonts that speak to these feelings. It wouldn’t hurt to look up color some color theory to help guide you along. My website color use tends to be white on 60-70% of my website and then I may have 2-3 accent colors that comprise the rest of my design.
Always think legibility, especially on websites. Light fonts are hard to read on light backgrounds, and using a dark background with light text is tough for people to read. When I design ads, I will make the add much smaller than normal to make sure everything is legible.
As a graphic designer I choose 4-5 colors to use in my branding guide. Make sure your fonts also match the vibe you are throwing out there. If your products are vibrant, don’t use a thick, gothic font and drab coloring. Think something more energetic and fun! Your branding should look the same wherever you utilize it, your site, social media, and even business cards.
I tend to also use the same fonts, determining your main heading font is one step. Make sure you use this only for titles or headings that are generally a few words long. Decorative type fonts can be tough to read so don’t use them much more than that. Heading or title text should be a bit larger than your body font.
When determining your body font, it should be extra clear. Centering or using all caps too much is also tough for the eye to skim over. I worked on website for a medical industry and learned that more people than you think have a tough time with small, unclear text. Even if someone needs bifocals they can have a tough time reading if they don’t know how to enlarge your website text.
I hope this gives you a better feeling of what branding your business is about. It isn’t just colors, logos, etc. Every aspect of your business exudes your brand. People don’t stop to think that your brand is represented even when your phone is answered by an employee or your business card is seen. These touch points, or points-of-contact where people are exposed to your brand are also a part of getting the brand essence message across. Being mindful of how you represent your services, products, and even yourself should make your message much more clear.
Now it’s time to start branding your business!
About the Author
Brandie Larson is the founder of Graphic Brewery, her services help customers with branding and design consultations for their websites. Graphic design is also a large part of her service line-up. She worked as a professional website and marketing consultant for a large website company serving the United States and Canada.
Across 7 years she assisted 4-5 customers a day with their branding and design messaging. She designed for high-end powersports brands utilized by her clients. Websites and Ad designs were done for well-known companies like Polaris, Can-Am, Honda, Suzuki, Harley-Davidson, Fly Racing and hundreds more.
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