Branding is the foundation of your entire marketing strategy.
Everything you do as a business, every new initiative you begin, every new product you ship, every new person you hire, every social post you create, every single business decision should derive from one question, “Does this align with my brand?”
Branding usually starts with the name. If you are just in the planning phase of building a business, you need to give the name some consideration. If you already have an established business with a name, there are still opportunities to get creative with naming on products, campaigns, and domains.
But remember, a name is only a trigger. Your brand is so much bigger than your name. A name can be just about anything and have a very powerful effect if your brand is received well.
Zagrun can help you brainstorm on some brand naming exercises to come up with something special.
Your brand logo is your primary visual, graphical representation of your business. Kind of like your business ‘flag’. The logo should represent in colors, shapes and maybe words what your business is about.
Four points for a great logo design…
- Keep it simple – do not put too much detail, colors or effects into your logo
- Make sure your logo is scalable into different proportions, sizes, and colors.
- Have your logo professionally done. Everyone can tell the difference between clipart and a true logo.
- Try to have some ‘meaning’ behind your logo. Someone will inevitably ask you why you chose that logo design – have a cool reason.
Colors have meaning. Colors provoke emotions and memories. Colors depict subconscious values. But don’t worry too much about that. It’s just colors.
Successful brands utilize every color on the color spectrum, so one is not truly better than the other. You could pick a dark poop brown or a puke green color and make a fantastic brand out of it that people will love and follow.
What you do have to worry about is making sure your color PALETTE is configured properly. It’s not the primary color you choose, but the secondary and tertiary colors that make or break a brand color palette. Colors have certain rules – or formulas – that ensure certain color schemes ‘work’ and look good together. There are multiple color combinations (ways of partnering colors) that include modes like monochromatic, triad, analogous, and complementary. Be sure to consult a professional.
This may seem like a stupid or inconsequential issue as a small business owner. Why would someone really care if I chose Arial over Tahoma?
Believe me, it matters. The problem is that you are thinking too small. Your unique font or typography will help mold your brand over time. And in the long run, when your business is booming and tens of thousands of people are following you on social media and visiting your location(s) – they will know and recognize your font-style.
A proper font will help express your brand and its values. If one of the 400,000 unique fonts on the internet don’t work for your brand, you can always have your own custom font created for you and then trademark it. Bottom line: Find your brand’s font and market the hell out of it!
Brand taglines and slogans are tricky things. They are hit and miss. They are good and bad.
Coming up with a GREAT tagline takes times, experience and creativity. You need to come up with something that embodies the essence of the brand while somewhat explaining what problem you solve. Otherwise, it’s just words.
To be honest, this is one of the hardest things we do at Zagrun. The exercise of tagline brainstorming takes a lot of time, effort and ingenuity. I have personally spent over 50 hours on a certain brand just to come up with something that works.
Sometimes it is a specific tagline describing services or products, other times it is a creative but vague way to depict the brand, and sometimes it is a rhyming, jingle type of slogan. But ultimately, it is important to capture a few words or a phrase that makes people ‘feel’ the value of the brand.
Brand personality is an important factor even if you don’t hire a celebrity to do your commercials. Your brand personality determines the messaging you use in your everyday marketing. The main question is, “How do YOU want to be perceived?”
Are you intellectual and educational? Are you fun and a party type? Are you funny and sarcastic? Are you down tho earth and conservative? Are you warm and motherly? These traits of your brand’s personality will be your brand’s ‘voice’. There a couple of good exercises that will help determine what your brand personality is…
- If your brand was a car, what type would it be and why?
- If your brand was an animal, what type would it be and why?
- If your brand was a celebrity (living, dead, or not real), what type would it be and why?
Brand photography is a special area. This type of creativity can depict your brand with NO words – just feelings. Most clients think this involves just using stock photography with people doing stuff they do. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. You should decide how your photography will reveal your brand’s essence.
Are you safe or edgy? Are you elusive or up-front? Are you active or passive? Are you energetic or calm? Are you color or black and white? Are you photos or illustrations? All of these decisions will help support your branding decisions.
Be sure to hire a professional photographer and let them know what you are looking for. The world cannot stand any more standard stock photography photos of people in an office staring at the camera smiling. Be creative and own it!
The brand lexicon is merely an exercise to help determine your brand’s values, goals, and personality. It involves writing down every word that describes your business and then organizing these words into categories. This is one of the first steps in determining your brand.
The process is simple. Start a spreadsheet or word doc and just start listing every single word that describes or encompasses your business. If you end up with a list of over 50 words, and that is a good start – that means you know your business and have an idea of its future. If your list has only 15 words, you need to really work on understanding what your business is about and what value it provides.
A terminology lexicon is an invaluable tool for your digital marketing agency of choice. We will use it to build a proper marketing strategy that will work for you and scale for years to come.
Brand positioning is a matrix grid of 2 parameters that can be used to gauge a company’s value. You have an X-axis for one value, and then a Y-axis for the other. These values can be anything from price, quality, complexity, speed, exclusivity, performance, status, etc.
This matrix helps identify where your competitors live, where your company lives in the space, as well as opportunities that exist. This process requires a lot of honesty on your part, otherwise its just an exercise in self-gratification.
Zagrun can help you build this graph and assist you in understanding where you fall in the universe of your industry – as well as where you CAN be.
Don’t forget to extend your branding to other aspects of your business. Remember, everything your customers see is part of your brand and deserves consistent branding. People remember branded products and tools.
- Branded business cards, envelopes & other stationery
- Branded digital presentations & docs templates
- Branded email signatures
- Branded social profile and cover graphics
- Branded signage for facilities & vehicles
- Branded uniforms and clothes
- Branded products & swag
The BRAND conversation is so important that we are publishing an entire book about it. If you have read this far, that must mean you are really interested in branding.
Sign up for email alerts below to get updates on when this book will be available. You just might receive a FREE copy if you are lucky! (wink wink)
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