Defining your business’s brand is one of the most critical steps you can take to advance your company and up your marketing game. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of misinformation out there about what exactly a brand is.
It’s Not Just a Logo
One common misconception is that your brand is just your logo. In some ways, this makes sense. Your logo encompasses everything your business is (or, if you’re working with a good designer, it should). You’ve carefully selected the graphics, font, color scheme, and all of the other fine-tuned details.
A brand is so much more than just your logo. In general terms, your brand is everything that makes your company unique. That can be your work space, your slogan, any marketing materials you use, the products and services you provide, employees who keep the company moving forward – you get the picture.
But, when we’re strictly talking about marketing and design, a brand is what defines your business’s identity. Let’s go over a few things that go into your brand, and how you can adjust them to better represent who you are and what you’re about.
This should be a given, but many people pick their brand’s color scheme arbitrarily. Yet color scheme is one of the most important pieces of the puzzle that is your brand identity!
Colors evoke emotion in our audience – and you want to pick colors that are both aesthetically pleasing and representative of the emotion you want your potential customers to feel. It’s also important to look around at the competitor’s in your industry – how are they using color? How can you draw in the same kinds of customers while still standing out? Don’t be afraid to think outside of the box!
Consistency builds trust, and trust builds relationships with potential customers or clients. One way to create a consistent brand that inspires people to work with you is to select one or two fonts that you use across the board. That means these fonts go on your website, on any titles or headings of pages and documents, in marketing materials, on your social media banners, and more.
Fonts also elicit an emotional reaction within people, and it’s important to pick fonts that are both complementary to each other while still projecting the appropriate vision for your brand. For example, you wouldn’t use Comic Sans to advertise a law firm. That’s because Comic Sans is appropriate for comics – not a professional law agency.
Slogan, tagline – whatever you want to call it. This piece of your brand is especially important. It’s a place for you to briefly express everything that encompasses your business – which is a tall order. You can use a slogan to convey how you work with clients, the kind of experience you provide, your values, what you’re passionate about, or the overall feeling you want people to get from your business.
Some slogans are informal and playful, others are serious. Regardless of what your slogan needs to encompass, one thing is certain: it needs to be short and to the point.
Your overall tone is incredibly important. Whether you realize it or not, you’ve probably already been developing this critical piece of your brand. When you evaluate what you want your business to represent, you naturally create website copy, social media copy, and writing that matches that tone.
However, people tend to fall down when it comes to consistency. (Remember: consistency builds trust). The key is to ensure your business’s tone is consistent across all platforms. Taking our previous example of the suit-and-tie law, professional law firm above – you wouldn’t expect them to have a joking, sarcastic social media presence. In fact, that might make you incredibly uncomfortable. Just remember to stay consistent – no matter what your brand’s tone is.
Just the Tip of the Iceberg
These things are just the tip of the iceberg that is your business’s brand. And, yes, your logo is part of the brand, too. When developing a brand, the two things we recommend you focus on are:
Consistency. (You’ll get sick of hearing this, but it’s important!)
Whether you’re working on selecting your color scheme, your fonts, or your tone – authenticity is key. If you’re always being your authentic self, and staying true to your business’s values, consistency will come naturally. More importantly, your ideas will be more original, more engaging, and more likely to draw in your ideal customer or client. And, in the end, isn’t that exactly what a brand is meant to do?