So let's talk branding!
I found this to be one of the hardest parts of having an online business and an online presence. It's more than just choosing a name for your business. It is the whole of your business from your social media page down to the vocabulary you use in your media. If you scroll wayyy down on my instagram (please don't) you can tell I was just posting anything that I had. I wasn't thinking about my brand, or even doing anything as simple as staging photos of my products.
But as I got more familiar with other small business pages, I realized I had a LOT to learn. Honestly, I still do, but I'd love to share some of the things that I have learned along the way so you hopefully don't have to make the same mistakes that I did.
First let's talk about some of the most important pieces to branding that I have found. Here they are in no particular order:
Okay okay, I know, I'm funny. Let's talk about the pieces you need think about when creating your brand. For real this time, here's a list of the pieces:
Social Media Presence
It is easiest to decide on some of these pieces before you even start your business, but you can do it at any time.
The first piece, and something I am still struggling with, is to identify your ideal audience. Who is going to buy your product? Who is going to be looking at your page? This can help you begin to form the visual part of your brand, as well as the marketing and even the product-creation side of it.
As you decide on your audience, think about the feel you want your business to have. When people look at your page, what do you want them to think? Feel?
I feel like people tend to match this with their own personality.
Maybe you are all about having fun. You love bright colors and being goofy. You're likely not going to want to have an all black and white page. You're probably going to want to choose some brighter colors and make your page as loud and fun as you are.
If you're like me, you're a little bit more earthy and boho? I don't know if people close to me would describe me that way, but that is my dream aesthetic, so that's what I've gone with for my brand. I want my stuff to give off boho-chic, if that is even a thing.
The vibe your brand/business gives off is one of the things that you're going to want to nail down quickly before you decide on some of these other pieces.
The next piece (and probably my favorite part) of brand creation is choosing a color scheme. I have 9 colors in my brand scheme, but only about 4-6 that I use regularly in creating marketing and other design materials. My husband, on the other hand, has 6 total. It is totally up to you how many colors you go with, but I would limit yourself to a few. You might even start with a bunch and then realize that you can narrow it down to a few favorites after using them for a while.
Use these colors on all of your stuff. Not necessarily on all of your products, but use them on your social media pages and as many marketing materials as you have. If you have business cards or Thank You cards that you send out with your orders, use the same colors throughout. This builds that cohesiveness that I mentioned earlier.
Now how to use this on social media. A great place to put your colors is on your Instagram highlights. I have several of my brand colors as the cover for my highlights that cover things from product questions to book recommendations. Because those highlights are right at the top of your page, they can serve as an anchoring point for the rest of your page. Find a way to use these colors in your photo staging or posts. This is especially the case if you are posting any digitally created content. Maybe you are making an informational post using Canva. Use your colors on that post!
I wonder if you can identify some of my colors just by looking at my IG page?
If you're like me, when you see "brand pattern" you roll your eyes. I think I actually rolled my eyes the first time I saw it, no joke. I thought it was a little over the top for my small little business, but now that I have one, I want to use it on everything! You've actually already seen it! I love it so much I let it be a featured part on my home page of this website. Yep, that's right, the peachy/terracotta floral pattern is my brand pattern!
Now this is not a requirement for your brand. Your brand and page can look totally cohesive without it, but I think it's a fun way to show a bit of yours and your brand's personality. I am plant-obsessed, and it shows in a lot of my products. I also LOVE drawing florals, so a floral pattern in my brand colors is the perfect fit. I use it on my "Thank You" cards when I get an order. One side has a note and one side has that pattern so it can actually be hung up as a print! It's a super fun way for people to get to know your brand, and it's nice for you to be able to change up your look while keeping it cohesive.
Another thing that can make a huge difference is your font choice. People that pay attention to fonts REALLY pay attention to fonts. I will be honest I have seen some fonts on actual billboards that made me physically cringe. Your font choice can say much about you, and you want to make a good impression! A font can change the entire look of your brand.
If you are choosing a font for your logo, pick one that you feel goes with the "vibe" of your business. Remember how we talked about thinking of your audience? We also want to think about how that audience is looking at your logo. Try to match your logo to the feel of your brand.
If you are choosing a font or two for your website, start with the one you chose for your logo. Let that be your bold font for headings, titles, or important things. Choose another font or two that can be used for body paragraphs. Intricate fonts don't work well for this use, so check my post on fonts if you are wanting to know more about how to use certain fonts or how to pair them.
The big thing here is to pick 2 or 3 and use them consistently.
Social Media Presence
I feel like I have already alluded to social media presence throughout all of these points, but there are a few last things that are specific to your media use.
First, are you going to use emojis online? I use emojis in my daily texts constantly, so I never thought anything about them on my Instagram. One day my sister (who so lovingly edits a lot of my IG captions after I've posted them) told me that she felt my use of emojis were a little out of place. They didn't really fit the brand I had created. I tried to be a bit more professional, but I was using emojis. It just didn't fit. And she was totally right. Now I'm not saying that you can't use emojis. Please, if you love them, use them by all means! Simply consider how it fits with your brand.
Another thing I see all the time is the use of "we" from small businesses. I don't care whether you use "I" or "we" when referring to your business. Personally, I use "I" but there are tons of people who use "we." Whichever one you go with, just use it consistently. If you're going to go with "we," use it every time. "WE just launched our newest product!" "WE have exciting news!" and so on.
I know those feel like really small things, and really, they are. But planning out those kinds of things shows dedication to your audience.
The End :)
I could really talk about this forever and have so many other thought trains that didn't quite track here so I left them out. Who knows, maybe I will do a Branding 102 if this seems like something you're interested in!
I'd love to hear your feedback! Comment below and add any points you think I have forgotten!