Your business image, your brand style, your brand identity – whatever you want to call it, is an essential part of your business. Without a consistent and attractive look your business won’t be as effective, compelling or as easy for you to show your ideal clients that you are on their wavelength or to demonstrate to them what you have to offer.
When you’re busy concentrating on all of the other aspects of your business – and lets face it there is always so much to do isn’t there? Creating a brand identity and styling your brand can sometimes slip by the wayside – too much to do or maybe you feel that it’s not in your skill set – but it’s crucial to ensure that your business is portrayed in the best possible way so that you can:
- – appeal to the right people – those people you reeeeally want to work with or have buy from you. They need to feel a bit of oomph when they see your brand.
- – make life easy for yourself by making all the decisions up front and creating templates to speed up the process – who doesn’t want an easy life?
- – have the confidence to send people to your website or hand out leaflets – because you’re no longer embarrassed about how your business looks. We’re all been there.
- – look professional. This is a business you’re running not a jumble sale. Let people see that you are not some fly-by-night outfit, but the real deal. This will also…
- – help people to trust you by looking as though you know what you’re doing (of course you know what you’re doing, but you need to help other people believe in you)
So how can you make sure that your brand does all of that? Here’s some tips to help you style your brand so that it looks better than it does now:
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THINK ABOUT YOUR AUDIENCE
Start at the beginning. Who do you want to work with? Who is going to buy your products? These are the people you need to aim everything at. Appealing to the right people means that the right people will notice you and pay attention. If you know who the right people are then that helps. Maybe you provide fun language classes for children, so you need to reach their parents and help them see the value in what you offer. It would be useful to know what these parents are interested in. Presumably their children’s education, maybe travel, perhaps they want their kids to have a good grasp of another language because they’re moving abroad or want their kids to have further career options, maybe they read holiday brochures or shop at a specific set or shops, perhaps they drive a certain type of car or maybe they only eat food that’s been hand picked by Pink Rhinos in Paris – you get the idea, if you can gather a picture of your ideal client then that gives you something to aim at. Something to pin your brand identity to, something to throw all you’ve got at. And that will help you appeal to the people who are most like your ideal client. Which means that those people will find out who you are and keep coming back for more until they become clients. There’s not much point in starting to design anything until you’ve thought about this, or you might design something which repels rather than attracts, and that wouldn’t be very good would it?
Want to know how to work out who your ideal client is? Click here to read this post.
DECIDE WHAT YOU WANT TO BE SEEN AS
So this section is a pretty big deal. It’s great that you know who you want to speak to – but do you know what you want to say? Spend some time thinking about the important things that make your brand YOU. What differentiates you? What are your values? What are the benefits of what you do? Why should people buy from you? What is your vision for your business?
Check out the Design Success Toolkit and fill in the brief to get really clear on what your business is all about, so that you can make that into a brand identity.
If you haven’t solidified your brand identity then you’re probably hopping around between different looks. Pink one day, green stripes the next week, gold sparkles another, different fonts, different trends – maybe you’re trying to test things out and see what works, and if that’s the case then think about what HAS worked and use that to your advantage.
The thing is that whilst trends might change all the time, your business is still going to be the same business now and (if it’s your plan) in the future. Do you want to be seen as a business that can’t make it’s mind up, that isn’t reliably the same from week to week, that isn’t recognisable? Sticking to trends, trying new things all the time – well it’s exhausting and possibly expensive for you trying these things out, but most of all it’s confusing for your audience. So stick to one thing, one style, one way to do things, and you’ll be noticed, recognised and remembered this week, next week, next year and for the long haul.
There’s a quote that says it take seven touch points before someone makes a sale. Recently you may have noticed that Russell Bunson has written a book called Expert Secrets. I knew who he was, I think I may even have liked his Facebook page – and recently he’s been all over my newsfeed being interviewed or spoken about by other people related to his book launch. It took me until this weekend to buy his book. I don’t know how many touch points that was – but it certainly wasn’t the first or the fifth. Having a consistent brand image means that he stands out each time “O look there it is again!” – and so I remembered that he’d written a book and eventually I got ’round to clicking on a link. If each time the cover had been different do you think I’d have remembered or connected each moment? Nope.
KEEP IT SIMPLE
Think about the big brands out there. They don’t have anything too complex to them do they really? They’re clean, they’re simple. Apple is pretty definitely one of the cleanest brands there is. You can’t get much simpler than white with plain grey text can you? And everyone knows who they are, they have raving fans (like me! My iMac keyboard just broke, and no, a non-Apple version is not going to cut the mustard thank you, I’m replacing it with the real thing…)
Think about how you can simplify what you have. You don’t need to make everything complicated, keep it super simple, bold and relevant. Pare back, declutter and simplify. This will help your brand to look strong and focussed and this will help you every time you design anything too! Not only will you be able to communicate better because everything is clearer, but you’ll find that throwing designs together takes next to no time as there’s less to do.
It really helps to be consistent. I am SO passionate about this, so if you take ONE thing from this post take this – BE CONSISTENT. Always do one thing. As I said it doesn’t have to be complicated – but it does have to look the same each time, have a common style. If, for example, you use a blue square with white text in it for your Instagram posts then do that EVERY time, and make sure it’s always the same shade of blue, the same font and the same text juxtaposition. If you do this over and over and over again, then people will see your posts as you without having to read your name. They’ll recognise your business when they see the blue square. They’ll remember your business when they’re talking to someone else. They’ll recognise where they are on a different platform because you look the same. They’ll buy something from you because when they want or need what you offer, they’ll remember where they can get it.
You don’t want to rejuvenate every so often like Dr Who, changing how you look, your mannerisms, the way you speak – yet essentially still being the same person with the same memories and experiences – how confusing for people who’ve met you before and don’t know who you are! It’s like starting all over again each time. If you stay the same for as long as possible then people won’t have to get to know you again, they’ll just keep getting to know you better.*
*There is a place for a rebrand. But not every five minutes! Read this post for more on that.
Once you’ve worked out who your audience is, what your business is all about, decided not to rely on the latest trends, chosen your brand colours, fonts etc… and applied them consistently on everything then you’re ready to go out there and create consistent, compelling and client attractive branding that catches peoples eyes and makes them want to know more about you.
If you would like to have a chat about how I can help you with this then please book a Discovery Call here or send me an email.
Amy Purdie is the founder of Whiteacres (where you are now) she can help your business become irresistible to your ideal clients so that they can’t wait to work with you.
Amy has been enjoying designing logos, brand identities, illustration, print work and websites – since 2007 fuelled mainly by tea and chocolate.