Have you ever looked at your visual brand with a super critical eye? Assessing the way it looks, how it feels and the impression you’re trying to make? You have less than 7 seconds to grab a person’s attention – is your visual brand doing this for you and is it appealing to your dream customers?
When it comes to creating an identity for your business, there are a few things you need to consider.
This is an extremely important factor, which a lot of business owners overlook. Or, it could be they know their dream customer is a ‘female entrepreneur’, for example, but that’s about it. The first thing I would recommend you do is spend some time looking at your dream customers in more depth. Really look at their characteristics and demographics, but go really deep into who they are as people. What’s their occupation, income, location, do they have children, where do they hang out online, which brands do they love? What are their values? Knowing all of this and more can give you a real insight into what they like and dislike. Armed with this knowledge, you can think about what is going to appeal to them visually.
A common mistake I see all the time is business owners creating their brands to their taste and in a way, you do need to love and feel confident about your brand, but it also needs to have your dream customers in mind. It all needs to be in alignment with one another.
As a small business, you ideally need to have five brand values and you need to be able to infuse your brand values through your products and services. Some questions to ask yourself – what’s important to you? What’s important to you when it comes to your customers, suppliers, employees?
There are SO many brand values out there, but I would choose the ones that appeal the most to you. Having researched big brands, they all ensure their values are on their websites together with a mission statement. I adore the brand values from Kikki K, DREAM. DO. ENJOY. SHARE., because you can see these values being reflected through everything they create.
Have you ever done a competitor analysis? This is where you take your top 3 competitors and analyze their branding, website, social media. This can be really insightful as you can identify the threats they pose within your marketplace, if any and you can also see any gaps that you could potentially fill.
Positioning is also in regards to where you want to be positioned within your marketplace. What do you want to be known for? What experience do you want to give your customers? Think about pricing, quality, qualifications, experience, customer service, brand experience.
The way you visually brand your business can also depend on your future goals. Are you wanting it to just be you within your business and stay as a solopreneur, or are you wanting to create a global empire with team of employees? Where do you see yourself and your business in a year’s time? How recognizable a brand do you want? How well known and visible do you want it to be?
Once you have these four aspects clarified, then you can start to look at your visual brand. There is so much more to the aesthetics of a brand than just making it look pretty. It involves all of the above and everything needs to be in alignment.
Visual brand – what will yours look like?
Well, your visual brand is made up of your logo (giving your business an identity), colors, fonts, photography and graphics.
You first need to consider the look and feel you want to create with your brand, taking into account all four elements above. Are you wanting your brand to be light and airy or dark and moody?
A great exercise to do here is grab a notebook and pen and write down 10 words for how you want your brand to look and feel, then choose 3 non-negotiables. These are 3 words that truly represent how you want your brand to look and feel on a daily basis.
Now how can you reflect all these elements through your visual brand?
You’ve heard of vision boards right? Well, why not create a vision board for your brand! This can really help you determine the look and feel you want to achieve with your brand and using a tool like Pinterest can help you do this. You could create a secret Pinterest board and think about all of the above and start searching for images that relate and start pinning! There are loads of vision board examples on Pinterest where you can gather inspiration on colors, fonts, imagery and more.
Once you’ve created this, leave it and go back to it after a week and unpin anything which you don’t like the look of and see if there is any commonalities between your pins – it could be specific colors but in different shades, style of fonts you like etc. If you can start to narrow your pins down to certain shades of color, a certain look and feel then you know you’re on the right lines.
The stage from here would be to talk to a graphic designer to help you create your logo, palette of brand colors and more.
So why is it so important to give your brand an identity?
Well, this is where it really ties in with your future goals and how recognizable and visible a brand you want to have. Giving your brand an identity which is all the visuals brought together and used in a consistent manner creates a professional, cohesive and recognizable look. If your goal is to create more brand awareness, give a real and memorable experience, attract your dream customers, help more people (I could go on), then having a cohesive and professional looking brand is of utmost importance. It means you can stand out from your competitors and within your marketplace with a distinctive looking brand. You can position yourself as an expert within your field and the go-to person by having a distinctive and professional visual brand for your business.
A logo, brand elements, even colors and fonts can create an association with your brand. So for example, if I said what’s the first color you think of when I say ‘Coca Cola’ I bet you said red within seconds. If you’re wanting to achieve instant recognition of your brand like this, then the visual side of your brand is just as important as the content and service/products and brand experience you provide.
I would recommend spending some time working through the above, getting really clear on each area and start pinning!
Hollie is a freelance graphic designer with over a decade of experience working within the design industry. Specializing in premium branding services. Hollie works closely with success driven female entrepreneurs to ensure the visual brand for their businesses is distinctive and recognizable so they can start to get their name out there more and attract those dream customers from the very beginning. You can find Hollie hanging out on Instagram most of the time or within her community!