A brand that blends in isn’t one that will succeed. You don’t want your hard work to go to waste because your brand gets swept under the rug by the others who do something similar to you. You need your brand to stand out, not just to succeed but also to truly match you and your goals.
According to Forbes, “Being successful in business means you need a brand that stands up against the competition as well as stands out from the crowd.”
If you are working on building your brand identity or your brand is in need of a refresh,you may feel at a loss for where to start. We can outline the vital details that you have to nail down first to build-up a well-rounded brand that is both distinct and set up for success.
All about the brand
Whether you are producing music or promoting a lifestyle, figuring out the different elements of your brand strategy is 100% necessary. If you aren’t sure what branding is or how to create an effective branding strategy, you are in the right place to get started. We have helped a wide variety of businesses with everything from individual branding elements to full-scale brand strategy and brand identity from the ground up!
In The Ultimate Guide To Branding, Allie Decker explains, “Branding is the process of researching, developing, and applying a distinctive feature or set of features to your organization so that consumers can begin to associate your brand with your products or services.”
In essence, branding will help your business stick out in people’s minds. For example, think of your favorite rock band right now. What colors do you associate with them? What do you see in your day-to-day life that makes you think of that band? The answers to those questions and others are the branding details that they did well.
Brand strategy vs brand identity
Before we get into the details of what makes a brand a brand, it is important you also understand the difference between strategy and identity and also why brand strategy has to come first.
Let’s start with a question. Who is your audience? Think of a few attributes that might describe your typical/ideal customer or fan. Those details are going to be the things you build your brand strategy and ultimately your identity around.
You need to start with your brand strategy so you can determine the customers you are “targeting.” Figure out what messaging is going to reach them the best. Then start to build your brand identity around that. If you build a brand identity around the wrong types of people and have a strategy that doesn’t fit your identity at all, you won’t get far.
Defining brand details to nail down
If you know what branding is the next step is nailing down those branding details that will define your brand. It’s about more than just a business name. It’s also about…
- Your vision: What are you trying to accomplish? Are you trying to sell jewelry or promote your music? Make sure you have a clear vision for what you are doing because this will guide your branding.
- Your story: The story of your brand encompasses all of the facts and details about how you built your brand. This can include details like how you got to where you are and what is it that is guiding you to do what you are doing. This is more than just a good story for an “About Me” page. It tells your followers/audience members about some of the biggest things that drive you. It makes you real. And that makes you relatable.
- Your voice: If you are an alternative clothing maker who is selling to a goth/alt customer base, you aren’t going to want to use a brand voice that is abundantly flowery. Consider Coca Cola as an example-their brand voice or tone is geared towards positivity and friendliness (hence why so many of their ads involve sharing). Your voice/tone will guide how you write the copy for things like ads, social media posts, and more.
- Brand personality:The personality of your brand is a mix of the traits that make it feel more real to your audience. Usually human characteristics, brand personality consists of things like related hobbies and interests (a boot maker that loves hiking and posts about the National Parks, for example) define a brand’s personality to make it edgy or soft, alternative or mainstream, fun or heavy, etc.
- Your logo or graphics: Your logo or key graphics are imagery that you create which are meant to be immediately related to your brand. These images will appear in your email signatures, headers, on products, and more. This is a key image that will let people recognize you are who you are. You can see some examples of eye-catching logos and graphics with Zig-Zag World or Gene Heino Inc Insurance Services.
- Your slogan or catchphrase: Many of us can recall catchphrases, jingles, or slogans for a myriad of products even if we’ve never even used them. A good slogan or catchphrase can make a huge difference even if it is something seemingly simple like, “The happiest place on earth.”
- Your colors: Brand colors involve between five to 10 colors that will represent your brand. From pastels to neons to a two-tone palette, it is important to figure out your brand colors to guide your social media work, photography, outfits, product packaging and more. You can see a great example of this with Outsourced Fashion Consulting who we helped create a custom palette for as a part of their full package product development.
Questions to ask yourself to help you define your brand
Maybe you have your products and your company name but you are struggling with the other branding details you have to figure out. It can be tempting to forge ahead without defining things like your color palette or your voice but we’d suggest taking a pause.
If you do the footwork of defining your branding now, it will save you a lot of time later on backtracking to get everything into alignment. What’s more, you’ll prevent a lot of missed opportunities lost to a competitor who stood out more because they already had their branding set up right.
If you are trying to figure out your brand elements, it may seem a little tough to pinpoint the exact details you are looking for. Try asking yourself these questions to help you figure out those brand characteristics that will help you discover how to make your brand stand out.
- What are my goals? What do I want to accomplish?
- What do I do or offer that my competitors don’t?
- When a client/customer comes to me, what impression do I want to give them?
- What are three adjectives I’d use to describe my brand?
- What do I want to sound like? Professional? Casual? Friendly? Silly?
- What is a defining moment that led me to creating what I create or doing what I do?
- What colors fit my brand the most? Can I think of two or three that really match my brand?
- What are the key features I want included in my logo or graphics?
- Who is my target audience and what trends do they gravitate towards?
It may help to write some of your ideas and answers down on paper so you can see everything at once. This is especially helpful in cases when you have trouble getting a clear answer to one of those questions we listed.
For added branding assistance, you can also come to the experts. We’ve been where you’ve been and we know how to help you get through the moshpit of ideas and make sure your brand ends up front and center with your audience–and that they never forget it.
Building a distinct, long-lasting, killer brand is not easy. Don’t be afraid to ask for help getting your details nailed down so you can focus on taking your business to the next level. For branding assistance, contact RM Creative Services by sending a message to email@example.com or visiting our Contact page.
Written by Brianna Fries, a California-based writer, editor, bookworm, and mother of two. You can discover more of her work at briwritesthings.com.