BRAND VS. BRANDING: THERE IS A DIFFERENCE
BRAND VS. BRANDING
Brand is the feel, while branding is the look.
Brand is a marketing tool, while branding is an action.
Brand is the essence of the company, while branding is the act of creating a brand.
Brand is the destination, while branding is the journey.
Your brand represents who you are, what you do, what you stand for, and how you’re perceived. It’s what other people say about you when you’re not in the room. Sally Hogshead’s book, How The Worlds Sees You is an excellent in-depth resource on the topic.
Branding is the art of aligning what you want people to think of your company, and what they actually do think of your company.
FIVE ELEMENTS THAT MAKE UP A BRAND:
- Knowing Your Ideal Client
- Message Clarity
- Marketing Tool
- Client Experience
FIVE ELEMENTS THAT CREATE COHESIVE BRANDING:
- Design Style: Imagery, Icons, Graphics
- Consistent Voice
“The value of a brand is extraordinary. Once you have a brand, you have the most valuable asset on earth.”TONY ROBBINS
DEFINE YOUR BRAND
Building a brand starts with YOU. I believe wholeheartedly that your brand is a reflection of YOU. And so, creating an aligned brand identity begins with self-awareness. The more honest you are with yourself, the more aligned your brand and business will be.
Why is this important? There are so many reasons, but it boils down to energy. You only have so much energy to give on a daily basis. When you’re spread thin doing tasks you don’t enjoy and working with clients who are out of alignment, it will deplete you of all of your energy and will lead to burnout, resentment, and feelings of disconnection.
When you’re doing tasks that you enjoy while working with ideal clients who resonate with your message, you’ll experience a cyclical flow of energy. There will be an equal give and take—mutual respect. You will feel expanded.
You and your clients will activate each other. Communication will be easier. You will better serve them, and they will be happier.
Take a few moments in a quiet space for some self-reflection and answer the following questions:
Why do you want to own a business and be an entrepreneur?
Why is growing a business important to you?
What does success mean to you?
What are your core values?
What are your core beliefs?
What makes you your higher self?
From there, ask yourself the following questions about your business.
What is your brand promise?
What are the benefits of your products or services?
What are the features of your products or services?
What are your company values?
What is your company’s mission?
Give your ICA—Ideal Client Avatar—a name, gender, and location.
What are their core values?
What are their core beliefs?
What inspires them?
What are their dreams/hopes/desires/motivations?
What keeps them up at night?
What’s their biggest pain point as it relates to your niche?
What is the story behind this pain point? How long have they been suffering or going through this struggle?
How does this struggle affect their daily life, work, relationships, and energy, and self-care?
How would solving their struggle improve their life?
What’s at stake for them if they continue living in this struggle?
What problem can you solve for your ideal client?
What is their primary reason for wanting to buy from you and not someone else?
Your message comes through you and is usually something you believe to be absolutely true based on life experience. My message meaning is two-fold. When I started my business ten years ago, it wasn’t 100% in alignment and I struggled. I had settled on a direction because I didn’t feel worthy of the direction I really wanted.
The voices in my head sounded something like this, “There’s no way I could ever have that, so I’ll just do this.” I’ll just do this….if you ever find yourself saying or thinking those words, STOP in your tracks. It’s a red flag.
The thing I didn’t know then that I know now, is that running a business in general isn’t easy. It’s a lot of work. But it doesn’t fell like work when you’re in alignment. When you’re working form a place of inner alignment and inner knowing—from your dharma—you can work 16 hours straight, forget to eat, and feel energized as all get out.
When you are out of alignment, it feels like you’re running uphill on ice and snow in 80 mph headwinds; 16 hours feels like 50 and you’re completed depleted with no time recovery time.
So my message, BE YOU BUILD A BRAND is a permission slip, an invitation, to completely BE yourself and allow everything to flow through you authentically to create a business, brand, and life that expands you. The deeper you dig, the richer your life will be.
What You Believe to be Absolutely True + Client Outcome = Your Message
For example, my message is BE YOU BUILD A BRAND.
I believe wholeheartedly that your brand is a reflection of YOU.
Belief = BE YOU
Client Outcome = BUILD A BRAND
I help (who) ___________________________________
do (what) _____________________________________
so that (results) ________________________________
unlike (insert alternate result, if necessary) _____________________
because (distinction or why) ___________________________
I help entrepreneurs get to the core of who they are to create a cohesive brand experience across all platforms through photography, website design, and content management to empower, inspire, make a global impact, and monetize their expertise.
All of your content, blog posts, social media posts, and website copy should come from your messaging.
When you hear people tell you to be consistent on social media, they’re not only referring to posting daily/weekly; they’re also advising you to use consistent messaging.
Go to Google and type in your name. What do you see? What stands out? What is your overall impression? Does your brand accurately represent you and your business?
Add your name in the search bar.
Click: CREATE ALERT
You’ll receive alerts via email when people publish anything that includes your name or your business name.
TIME TO CLEAN UP YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA BIOS AND ACCOUNTS
If possible, make your username the same across all platforms.
Update your bios: Use a clear title, list the benefits (use your ‘I help’ statement from the above exercise, include your contact information, and give a free gift.
Make sure you have links to your social media platforms on your website.
Even if you’re not on LinkedIn, make sure your bio and work history is up-to-date. Many people will begin their search there.
And if you haven’t signed up for Pinterest yet, I highly recommend doing so. This has been a game-changer for me. I get more website traffic from Pinterest than Facebook and Instagram combined. I also get email subscribers regularly without spending a dime on ads.
Optimize your Google My Business page. Make sure all of your information is up-to-date, add photos, verify messages, add your services, and be sure to ask your current clients to leave a review. You can also add blog posts and events to your business page.
“A brand is the set of expectations, memories, stories, and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to choose one product or service over another.”SETH GODIN
Get clear on how you’re going to best serve your clients. What is the journey you’re going to take them?
What are your goals for your company?
What is your long-term vision for your business?
What is your brand story?
What are your strengths?
What is your unique value proposition? How is your approach different than your competitors?
What does your brand do?
Your branding identity includes logo, fonts, colors, design, and voice. According to 8ways, you have a mere .05 seconds to make a good first impression. If your photos and design look unprofessional, people will move on to the next option.
If you’re building your own website and are designing your own marketing materials without any design experience, I highly encourage you to spend some time learning about the basic elements and principles of good design. There are hundreds of free videos and articles out there; it’ll serve you well in the long run.
Do some market research and take a look at your competition. See if you can pick up on any patterns, themes, and industry standards across the board. Do not copy. This is research to help you in creating a one-of-a-kind stand-out brand showcasing your unique offerings.
What do you see as your brand’s style/personality? (cool, funky, sophisticated)
What three words describe your brand? (fresh, dynamic, editorial, etc.)
List five websites that stand out to you. Use this as a guide for the look and feel that you’re drawn to.
Keep it simple.
Make sure it’s original.
Make sure it represents you and your brand.
You’ll need three versions: Main Logo, Alt Logo (inline), and A Submark.
Of course, there are amazing graphic designers out there for a fully customized one-of-a-kind design. This can range in price from $100 – $thousands. Stay within your budget. And if you’re just starting out, you may want to wait a year or two before investing a large amount, your logo and brand may change as you get more clear and aligned.
Select two fonts and use only those throughout all of your platforms for consistency.
A serif and sans serif go really well together.
For example: my main fonts are Playfair Display and Oswald. I use Forestea Script here and there for a fun embellishment.
Handwritten fonts with sans serif are also a beautiful pairing. Be careful with some of the handwritten fonts as they can be hard to read. Usually, it’s best to use those here and there for a fun embellishment.
Type ‘font pairing’into the Pinterest search bar for a plethora of examples.
Check out fontjoy.com for a fun experience in selecting your font pairings.
Select four to nine colors. Pinterest and Canva are excellent resources for color palettes.
Click HERE to read about why brand colors are important and how customers respond to colors.
Your colors play an important role in how your brand feels to your customers.
Once you have your color palette selected, make a note of the hex codes and use those colors interchangeably in all platforms and materials: website, marketing, social media posts, business cards, stationery, etc.
Canva Pro includes a brand kit where you can enter your custom colors, logo, and fonts keeping design super simple.
I use the following colors interchangeably throughout all of my platforms.
Check out Concerting Colors website for a really fun way to play with colors.
Personal Brand Photography
Work with a photographer who has specific experience with brand photography. This will save you a ton of time and money. He, she, or they will have a good understanding of how to frame the photos for specific applications and can guide you on what to wear and help you select locations that align with your brand.
Match your outfits to your brand colors. Style your outfits to coordinate with your brand style as noted above; cool, sophisticated, casual, etc. Solid colors are best. Form-fitting clothing looks best in photos vs. loose clothing.
Plan ahead and have your outfits cleaned, ironed, and ready to go the day before. Bring layers so you can get several looks out of one outfit—for example, a nice blouse under a jacket. You can take photos with and without the jacket.
Make sure to pack proper undergarments and bring any props such as a laptop, products, etc.
Make sure to get a variety of close-up shots and wide shots. You’ll need to be able to crop your photos for various uses; website, social media, marketing, etc.
When using graphics and illustrations on your website or in your marketing material, make sure they coordinate with your brand style.
I’m sure you’ve heard just about every successful entrepreneur say, “Show up consistently on social media.” And while they do mean consistently as in daily or weekly, they also mean in a consistent voice. Again, the more in-tune with who you are deep down inside, the more comfortable you’re going to feel being vulnerable in front of your audience, and the more natural it’s going to be to show up in a consistent voice.
Once you get to the heart of who you are, it’s easy to just BE real.
Character: List adjectives describing who you are.
Voice: List adjectives describing your voice.
Emotion/Feeling: Adjectives describing how you want your brand to feel.
Results/Impact: Sentence describing how your clients will feel while working with you.
“Be yourself, everyone else is already taken.”OSCAR WILDE
**NOTE** All products listed above are systems and tools that I personally use and love. Each one of them has helped me grow my business in one way or another. I would NEVER list something here that I do not stand behind 100%. That being said, when you click through these links to purchase any of these products, I will receive a small referral bonus; there is absolutely no extra cost to you. Thank you!