THIS IS STEP THREE IN A SIX-STEP SERIES ON HOW TO BUILD YOUR BRAND. TO LEARN MORE ABOUT WHAT YOU’LL DISCOVER IN THE SERIES, VISIT OUR INTRODUCTORY BLOG POST HERE, AND STAY TUNED FOR MORE FREEBIES LIKE THESE AS WE UNRAVEL YOUR BRANDING POWER STRATEGY!
Over the course of this 6-step Power Branding series thus far, we’ve learned about the importance of branding, how to identify your target audience, and how to craft powerful brand messaging. In this step, we look at how to create a visual brand identity — our favorite step yet!
Many people think of branding as purely the visual representation of one’s business, but as we have learned in our previous posts, a brand is much more than that. A brand encompasses a consumer’s whole perception and attitude toward a business, and there is a lot more thought and research that goes into brand development before a single pixel or drop of ink is set in place.
“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
Once you have a solid sense of your business offerings, differentiating factors and target audience, it’s time for the fun part — the creation of your visual brand identity. Your visual brand identity includes your business’ color schemes, logo design, textures, layouts, shapes, font selections, photography style, and more. As you begin dreaming up the visual representation of your business, you should keep both your business’ standout characteristics, style and values in mind, as well as those of your consumer. Here are just a few quick and easy steps to get started on your brand’s visual identity:
Step 1: Get Inspired
To get started on building your visual identity, take a look at brand designs that appeal to you online or in industry magazines, select color schemes using resources like Design Seeds, and collect your thoughts on mood boards like Pinterest that you can easily share with anyone involved with the creative or brand development process.
Step 2: Prepare
If you choose to work with a graphic designer or branding company for your visual identity, make sure you are thorough and detailed about your vision up front. Often, the contracted designer will issue a creative questionnaire covering various aspects of your business, your industry, and your target market or conduct an interview-style consultation to drill down on the precise look and feel you’re seeking for your brand. Don’t neglect this opportunity to get your vision across to the designer, as it will save a lot of time and headache down the road!
Step 3: Create
As you whittle down your various design directions into a single, cohesive brand identity, it is important to document every element of your brand’s design. Keep your brand identity consistent by using the same color codes, font styles and other design elements each and every time you craft a new ad, brochure, website, stationery, or any other piece of branded material. At Huckleberry, we provide our clients with a branding style guide complete with exact print and digital color codes, correct and incorrect logo usages, and font families to make sure each client’s brand remains consistent, portraying the same coherent message and familiar style across every marketing channel to every customer every time.
Step 4: Measure
The goal of your brand is for your customer to instantaneously associate the symbol, design, tagline or name used to represent your business with a defined set of values, attitudes and attributes. Measuring the effectiveness of your visual identity is crucial in order to ensure your brand’s intended message is heard loud and clear. While you might believe your brand’s visual identity sends out one vibe, your customers might think otherwise. Discrepancies in a brand’s message is natural, but it is critical to understand what these discrepancies are and how your brand comes across to those who matter most — your customers. If your brand perception analysis reveals that your brand does not exude the values you want or appeal to the right target audience, some tweaking might be necessary.