It’s time. You’ve been waiting to start your dream business since Miley Cyrus still had baby teeth. Nothing’s stopping you now! Except, where do you begin? By creating your brand. But why, you ask? It will help you define your company’s voice and visuals. It will help in keeping all your marketing materials cohesive, and ultimately, it will create the buzz you need to make the sale. Need some help? I’ve also create the above checklist to help you stay on track. Let’s get started!
Define Your Brand In Writing
Make sure that you write down who your brand is. Don’t think you just know it. Write. It. Down. What do you want your clients to think of when your company name comes up? What is your mission, vision, and promise? What are your core values? What would your company reaction to Miley Cyrus’s twerking be? I’m not joking. Your company reaction to her dance moves says a lot.
Define Your Brand With Visuals
Now that you have pages and pages of either an in-depth look of your brand, or the lyrics to Wrecking Ball (why is it so catchy!?), you can either get a designer or try your art skills out and create a couple visuals. A logo is likely what you would start with. Do you want a symbol, wordmark, or a combination of the two? A symbol is just a visual representation of your brand while a wordmark would typically be the name of your company but snazzified. We believe that having two separate items that can then be combined depending on the need is best. You’ll then have to make sure to have different versions of your logo: a square, a vertical, and a horizontal. It all depends on your design but the main reason for having three versions is social media. A logo that looks great on your site might fit horribly on the square Facebook profile space.
Choose Your Brand Colors
We don’t get into colors with our clients until the logo is at least 99% done. Why? We don’t want to throw a distraction into the creation of a logo. So now that you have a black and white version of your logo, your brand guide in written form, and Miley Cyrus’s twerking burned into your memory, we can choose color! You’re going to need to choose one primary color and at least one supporting color. There are many different ways you can choose your color scheme (complimentary, tertiary, just to throw out some fancy lingo) but you just want to make sure they work in harmony and that one is the dominant. Do not stray from your colors or their roles. If you do, your site will end up looking worse than a 13 year old girl’s MySpace page in 2005 (I just realized that was 15 years ago…).
You need a site. Don’t try to say your business is purely word of mouth. You need a site that people can snoop on and that will declare you an expert in what you do. If you decide to go the DIY route, there are various sources where you can go. WordPress and Squarespace are some of the ones we love because the back-end is easy to navigate for those without coding knowledge. But there are three things that you must do when you have a site:
- Have your own domain name. Please, don’t think your customers will trust your professional abilities when your domain ends in “.blogspot.com”. It looks like you couldn’t even spend $10 to $15 per year for a name.
- Don’t ignore the contact page. So your dream client made it onto your site and loves it. She has convinced her partner of your expertise. She’s so excited, she’s almost hyperventilating. And then she can’t find your contact information. There’s not a page, no email address, not even a phone number. Do you know what she does next? She exits your site and moves on. Make sure your site has a contact page and the contact information at various locations.
- Web design is responsive design. It’s not about how you can design a site to be responsive. Web design is responsive design. Make sure your site look just as awesome on a phone as it does on a 27″ desktop. You don’t want your clients looking you up on their phones only to have to zoom in and out on your website in order to just get your information. It will make them frustrated and unhappy. What will they do next? They’ll think, “I’ll just look them up when I get home.” Will they? No! Life happens and they’ll forget all about you. One more time: Web design is responsive design.
Finally, you’ve got your site, your logo looks amazing, and everyone compliments your choice of tertiary colors (there I go with the lingo, again). Now you have to be consistent. Every time you want to change something on a marketing piece or digital content, ask yourself: Does this support my brand definition? Will this help further my vision? Does it stray from my values. Does it sound or look like another company? This will help you stay on track and keep your brand cohesive.
Need a bit more help? Send me a question via email!