Strong branding is one of the most valuable parts of an organization. When people think of branding, they immediately go to the visuals and logos associated with a specific company.
They’re not technically wrong, but a brand is more than just that, right?
Yes. Branding encompasses every aspect of your company including the name, website, marketing, culture, employees, other peoples’ perception, inside jokes and even the snacks you eat. Everything that makes your company, your company – is your brand.
Branding doesn’t have to be mysterious or overcomplicated — but it has to be well thought out. If you’re looking to create brand guidelines or a visual identity and you don’t know where to start, we’re here to help you nail your branding in 20 minutes.
Where do you start with your branding?
1: Creating your brand identity
Your brand identity is what makes you instantly recognizable to your audience. People will associate your brand identity with your product or service and that identity forges the connection between you and the customers.
When creating your brand identity, you have to dig deep and ask yourself the big picture questions. Before you get to the tangible elements of your brand, you need to know those key elements:
- Your mission
- Your values
- Your brand personality
- Your brand voice
- Your unique positioning
If you’re having a tough time figuring out exactly who you are as a brand, don’t dwell on it. Sometimes a simple brainstorming session is the way to go. In that case, ask yourself:
- Why did I start this business?
- What beliefs and values are important to this business?
- What sets us apart?
- What makes us special?
- If we could describe our brand in three words, what would they be?
- What three words would I want customers to use to describe my company?
Once you’ve locked down these questions, you can bring your visual identity to life.
2: Building your visual identity
The way you present yourself visually is more than just colours, fonts and design – though that’s a big part of it. Brands who are consistent with their visual identity resonate more effectively with their audience than those who aren’t.
In today’s marketing world, visual representation is important now more than ever. As a society, our attention spans have shrunk from 12 seconds to 8.25 in the past 15 years. This means brands are competing for their audience’s time and attention at all times and the best way to do this is through compelling visuals.
No matter how great your business and messaging are, visuals are the most effective way to get your audience’s attention and build brand recognition.
This where knowing your audience comes into play. At the end of the day, the visual elements for your brand aren’t for you. Understanding your audience’s wants and needs is essential for creating a strong visual identity.
Things to consider for a strong visual identity
Nail your logo
Your logo is the face of your brand and is the first thing people see. To set yourself apart, your logo needs to capture the essence of your brand and tell an emotional story that draws people in. It can take a few tries to get this right, but with proper research and testing, you can create a memorable logo.
Create a consistent colour palette
If you look at well-known brands, they all use consistent colour palettes. Carefully choose your colour scheme and apply it to everything you do – your website, social media or printed marketing materials.
Choose a font that matches your brand
Website fonts account for 90% of your website design. Choosing the right font all depends on the tone of your business and how you want people to perceive you. For example, if you run a serious business like a law firm or insurance company, you’ll want to avoid Comic Sans as your font and opt for a more professional Sans Serif font. If you’re working with a branding agency, they can walk you through your font choices.
Make calculated choices with your visual style
When you’re choosing photos and visuals for your brand, make sure they back up your brand messaging and values. No one wants to see a stock photo of two people shaking hands. Building trust with your audience takes time but evoking an emotional response through images and visuals is an easy win. You can even take it a step further and organize a professional shoot and show off your personality.
Are you looking to get started with branding or for a better way to do it?
Get our free branding and identity workshop deck.
3: Thinking about your company culture
Company culture. They’re buzz words we hear all the time in the business world, but what do they really mean? Company culture is the ethos behind your organization. It’s the way people feel about the work they do, the values they believe in, where they see the company going and what they’re doing to get it there. All together, these represent the personality – the culture – behind your business.
So, why is it important for your brand?
The average person will spend one third of their life at work. When people work for a company with a strong culture that aligns with their own personal beliefs and values, they’re more likely to work hard and stay with you for the long haul. Companies that actively manage their culture have 40% higher employee retention rate.
If a company doesn’t reflect an employee’s personal values, they’re more likely to leave – or worse, stay with the company and underperform.
Why your company culture matters to your brand
It doesn’t matter if your company culture is friendly or competitive, analytical or nurturing. When your culture and brand are driven by the same purpose and values, you will win the battle for customers and employees, future-proof your business from downturns and create an organization with integrity and authenticity.
When you think and operate in unique ways internally, you can produce the unique identity and image you want externally. You need employees who understand and embrace the distinct ways you create value for customers, the points that differentiate your brand from competitors and the personality that your company uses to express itself. When your team is empowered by your values and reinforces them through the work they do, your culture and brand fuse together to create a unifying force.
How do you build company culture?
Whether it’s intentional or not, company culture is a naturally occurring phenomenon, so that’s why it’s important to start early. When building your company culture, it’s important to:
Establish core company values
Until put into practice, core values are just words written on paper. Before choosing them, it’s important to understand the ‘why’ behind your organization and research values that you identify with.
Set company goals
This doesn’t just mean your quarterly KPIs, but the goals that make up the foundation of your organization. How you communicate these goals to your employees has a big impact on company culture.
Involve your team
The general attitude of an organization’s workforce is one of the primary drivers behind company culture. Getting your core values and goals right paves the way to fostering a positive culture. A few proactive steps you can take to keep attitude and productivity high is:
- Show appreciation to your team. Everyone gets busy, but a little recognition goes a long way.
- Find out what motivates your employees and provide them with opportunities they’re looking for.
- Even the best employees need help sometimes. Show support to your team, whether it’s professional or personal.
Level up your branding in 20 minutes
Creating a successful brand identity takes a lot of work and collaboration – but it’s worth it. An important part of implementing your brand identity is to use a brand style guide that displays all your visuals and explains your brand’s voice, tone and values. This keeps your brand cohesive and empowers your team to do the best job possible.
We created a branding workshop that shows you the ins and outs of brand identity and how you can create one for yourself.