Hi there! If you’re reading an article called “Branding for Beginners,” I’m thinking that creating a brand identity by yourself seems a little daunting to you.
If that’s the case, I’m here to tell you that …
I’m not buying it. I know you can do this.
Because you care more than anyone else about how your brand turns out.
For more on this, see last week’s
rant post, Why You Shouldn’t Trust Your Brand to Anyone Else.
If you’re ready to create a brand identity for your business but you don’t know where to start, this branding for beginners post will outline how to move forward, starting from your first baby steps.
Creating a brand identity
The steps below mimic the process that a designer would walk you through to create your brand. Follow them one-by-one and you’ll be creating a brand for your business in no time!
1. Know Why
Before you begin creating a brand identity for your business, dig deep and find your motivation. Ask yourself:
- What do I want my brand to achieve?
- How long do I need this brand to last?
- What is my brand personality? (If you don’t know it, try this quick brand personality quiz.)
2. Know Who
Before you put a single pixel on a screen, or draw the first faint trace of a line on paper, you must understand who you want to reach with your brand.
Here’s what you have to nail down about your ideal customer:
- Their age range: what age group do the majority of your customers fall into?
- Their gender: are there more men or women in the group you’re targeting?
- Their education level: is it high school, college, post-graduate?
- What type of employment they have. Are they self-employed, do they work for a corporation, do they own several business? Are they looking for work?
- Their lifestyle: how do they spend their work and leisure time?
- Their challenges: what do they struggle with? And how can you help them?
Even if you don’t have a single customer lined up, imagine who your perfect customer looks like.
Who needs the solution your business provides, and what are they like?
3. Know How
The verbal and visual elements you use to express your brand are next. You’ll have to figure out:
- What words you’ll use to express your offering. This includes your business name, tagline and “brand promise,” the short text you’ll use to explain what your company does, who you serve and how you help them.
- What colors you’ll use. I recommend developing a five-color palette you can use in all of your branding elements. It’s versatile, flexible, and will give you the right color for every occasion.
- What fonts will represent your business. For more on choosing fonts, read this page. Once you’ve chosen fonts, be sure to use them consistently on the web and in your print materials.
Once you’ve created these brand elements, your focus moves to spreading your brand message.
4. Know Which
When you’re creating your brand yourself, take advantage of the inexpensive (and sometimes free) tools available:
- Open source website software like WordPress.org will help you create a website.
- Open source desktop software like OpenOffice.org will help you create branding materials like ebooks, web ads, graphics, and presentations.
- Online photo retouching and image creation is easy and inexpensive with PicMonkey.
- Social media gives you a free venue to share your brand. You pay with your time, of course, but it’s less expensive than taking out ads, and usually more effective, too.
5. Know More
When you’re responsible for creating a brand identity for yourself, it’s important to maintain a “learner’s mind.”
Stay open and up-to-date with what’s working to build memorable brands today. Like visual marketing!