I believe that a strong brand is the foundation of a successful business.
But what makes your brand successful? And how do you know once it is truly effective? Is it a gorgeous color combination? Or does it have to do with a well planned out business plan? Or is it your logo?
Truthfully, it's none of those things. They do help, don't get me wrong. But, a logo doesn't build a brand. A business plan doesn't foster a community. Colors will never make up for what your brand is missing in order for it to survive.
So, with no further delay, here are the seven steps to ensuring your brand is effective in all aspects:
1. Mission Statement
A mission statement is a brief sentence that describes your business. It provides information on who you are, what you offer and who you serve. Without a mission statement you don't have a basis for your brand. It becomes exponentially harder to create a product, write a blog post or speak directly to your audience without creating your brands baseline.
2. Brand Voice
Your brand voice is the purposeful expression of your brand through words. This means the way you write blog posts, Instagram captions and how you reply to emails is all a part of your brand voice. More importantly, the definition of brand voice points to your purpose behind the words. Your brand voice is an easy place to get lazy when you're creating a lot of content. Challenge that. Choose your words carefully and with intention to foster a community and elevate your brand.
3. Target Audience
Your target audience is the group of people you direct your marketing towards. Identifying your target audience, and speaking directly to them, allows you to effectively create products and services they need. Without a target audience, you end up screaming into the abyss. In order to communicate with them effectively you'll need to understand their demographics and psychographics. The demographics are the measurable traits: age, income and location. The psychographics are the immeasurable traits: hobbies, interests and values.
4. Professional Design
To exhibit a professional business, it's vital to invest in a professional design. A professional design creates a sense of authority, experience and trust. At the beginning of creating a business, investing in a professional designer isn't always possible. But, that doesn't mean you can't exhibit professional design. There are numerous resources that aid the "design-challenged" in this realm.
5. Brand Style Guide
A brand style guide is the compilation of all your brand elements. This includes anything from: logo variations, fonts, color palettes, icons, patterns, brand collateral, etc. I suggest also utilizing any inspiration that was gathered during the design process. Keeping your inspiration at the forefront reminds you of the overall aesthetic of your brand rather than just showcasing the "rules".
One of the most important and effective steps of creating a brand is integration. You don't research, plan and design a brand without using it. You created secondary logos for a purpose, so don't rely solely on your primary logo. For example, include your secondary logo in your email signature, promotional graphics or website footer. It's important to create a brand, but it's more important to use your brand.
Last, but definitely not least. Consistency. Consistency builds brand recognition. Brand recognition grows your audience. A large audience means increased income. (Yay!) But, consistency goes farther than a consistent brand appearance. Using the color palette you created is easy. Consistency means showing up with a new blog post when you say you're going to. Sending an email to your clients when promised. Sharing tips and inspiration on Instagram when you've set a pattern.
Consistency can be hard, especially in your first year. So, take it slow and under promise. No one minds when you over deliver.
And there you have it loves – My Seven Steps to Effective Branding!
With Love | Nikki xo