If there is one thing we love talking about more than anything else on this planet it is branding. Cue all the HEART EYES for good branding! 😍😍😍
We know that companies can have an incredible business without a clearly defined brand, but we are just here to say that the companies that DO have an epic brand that is easy to see, feel, and replicate are our kind of people! *wink*
Branding is such an important part to marketing that we feel everyone should receive mentorship on establishing a good brand before their business kicks off. And this isn’t to say you can’t develop a great set of brand guidelines by yourself - you absolutely can! But the guidance of experts in this element of marketing will take you far.
So, hi there! We are the experts and we are here to mentor you. Let’s dive in to HOW to create brand guidelines and the benefit it will bring your business!
3 Critical Elements to Establishing Brand Guidelines
1. Tell Your Story aka Spill Your Heart Out!
When we tell you that we get emotional listening or reading the background story of how a business came to be, we are not kidding. It’s incredibly powerful to hear how someone decided to turn an idea into reality or make a difference with a solution. We even tear up reading about the journey it took for that person to get to where they are, their “why” for starting, or the adversities they faced along the way. We are here for the FEELS!
That being said, telling your story within your branding is incredibly important. This may look like having elements to your brand that represent “the journey” or even the struggle to reach this point. This could look like incorporating language, verbiage, or a name that not only resonates with the target demographic, but represents the HEART of your brand.
We love the amazing way that these companies use their story within their brand:
When it comes to telling your story, think about how you would explain the origin of your business to a friend. Dig into the details of how it all came about, what played into this decision, or even the things that fell into place to make it change from a dream to a reality. This is your HEART of your business and should be represented in your branding.
2. Define Your Identity aka Use Your Voice
Your voice is such a powerful tool to use, both in real life and in marketing. Did you know that you are sending messages with words, colors, shapes, and styles? You are! And that’s why it’s so important to incorporate your identity, aka your voice, into your branding.
What does this look like exactly? To us, this means sharing your personality and your mission within the fonts, layout, design, and color of your logo and signature labels. This includes using typography design to show a look and feel to your business (i.e. classy, elegant, funky, eclectic, modern, sophisticated, etc.) Additionally, this looks like expressing yourself (aka your voice) in color, shape, and size.
Are you a bold, vibrant brand that wants to stand out? Or are you a subtle, simple brand that is important and impactful, but soft and behind the scenes? What about, are you a powerhouse, dominating force to be reckoned with that is going to make a difference in your community, never afraid of a challenge, or lifts others up through their wake? Personality and vision are absolutely elements of your brand identity and can be within the folds of your brand!
3. Set Your Palette aka Dress Yourself
Think palette, like an artist's palette of colors! You get to arrange a palette of colors for your brand much like you dress yourself for the day. Your palette should represent the tone, energy, and symbolism of your vision and your voice (much like your outfits represent your mood, emotion, or activity for the day).
One of our favorite activities to do when starting a branding projects is to ask our clients to describe themselves in 5 adjectives. Then, we ask them which of those adjectives best describe their business or their vision for their business. Interestingly, adjectives of an individual often coincide with that individual’s business goals!
Some people have difficulty identifying which colors go with their vision or purpose. Using a color generator (Canva has an excellent one!) can help kickstart your brainstorming!
When it comes to “dressing” your brand, or setting your palette for all things related to your brand market, keep in mind these tips:
Select no more than 4 colors total
Know your competitors color palettes and aim to avoid them
Have at least one of your colors be a neutral color
Test out your palette of colors in various formats
Knowing how to effectively share your story, define your identity, and set your palette will lead you to creating the perfect brand in the most visual and meaningful way. And if you change it along the way because your purpose changes, that’s okay too!
We hope these tips have guided you to feel confident in the next steps of developing your brand. Come back for more on this (our very favorite) topic!
Other helpful brand resources: