We all know how important providing an excellent level of customer service is on the longevity and sustainability of a business in 2020. This is so much more than just being polite and courteous when you are dealing with a customer 1-2-1. It is the overall experience you are creating for your clients customers and tribe to go through EVERY time they come into contact with your business. Branding identity is at the top of this experience.
Your brand identity is the FIRST thing a consumer will encounter, whether it is visual or vocal the way you treat them and the values you express will be loud and clear for all to take in.
So, what exactly is a brand identity?
Well from the shiny sexy stuff like your brand colour choice, the fonts you use and your logo the term brand identity can sometimes seem a little shallow. And yes this is somewhat true as your branding identity is the surface level stuff your ideal customers get to meet first every time they interact with you BUT it is definitely not all there is to it.
Your branding identity INSTANTLY tells your consumer you are for them.
A branding Identity is the communication vessel of your business.
It also instantly tells a person you are NOT for them. So it saves you the trouble of tyre kickers and time wasters sucking up your precious resources and time and allows you to be there fully for the people who are there for you.
A brand identity is made up of the following Visual Communicators:
Visuals and Graphics
Business Cards, Flyers, Letterheads and brochures and so much more
Your business uses visuals ALL the time!
And if you’re not using visual ways to communicate in your business then tell me in the comments just how you are promoting your business and if you are getting the results and growth you really want deep down?
In this ultimate guide to branding identity for small business we are going to look at the
The 4 core components for creating a Stand Out Brand
How to create a Brand Brief so you can DIY your branding identity OR pass it to a designer
Communicating with creatives so it doesn’t end in tears!
How to infuse your individuality into your brand without turning off potential customers
First up let's look at how easily you can create your very own stand out brand.
4 Core elements to creating a Stand Out Brand
Colours for your brand and Colour Psychology
Photography Video and Visuals
1. Colours for your brand and colour psychology
Choosing Your brand Colours when you are creating your branding identity.
Get Clear - The meanings of colours and the associations your customers will make
Attract - How to choose the right brand colours for your business
By knowing how to choose the right brand colours for your business, you can attract the exact ideal customers you want.
Colour is the first thing a consumer will notice about your brand.
95% of brands use only one of two colours in their brand.
5% of brands use more than two colours.
A brief overview of Colour Psychology - The meanings of colours and the associations your customers will make.
Red - visual impact, passionate, energetic, provocative, strong political alignment
Green - Balance Eco - Organic, Life, Primal, Serene, Communicates reliability
Purple - Vision and Purpose, mystery, prestige, royalty, communicates quality
Orange - Abundance and warmth, Vitality, Playful, fun, communicates safety
Yellow - Energy and Strength, Positive, Warm, Vivacious, Communicates creativity and forward thinking.
Pink - Flirtatious and playful, sumptuous, girly and creative, communicates fun,
Blue - Logically and organised, dependable, secure, responsible, communicates trust and clarity, strong political alignment.
Brown - Aspirational, durable, simple, confident, communicates earthy, organic and rooted.
White, black and grey - White is fresh, space, simplicity and elegance, Black is timelessness, value and sophistication, Grey has no positive connotations.
2. How to choose the right brand colours for your business - ATTRACT
My go-to rules for choosing the right brand colours for your business are:
Minimise your colours for maximum impact - Pick out just two main colours.
Pick out an accent colour - Go through your words see what lines up what were you thinking and what is in alignment with you your ethics, your values and your customer.
Here are some tools to help when choosing colours for your branding identity:
Have a play with these, have a look at the pre styled colour combinations and really see what works best for you and your brand. Change shades, find the right tone combination.
Knowing how your brand is visually communicating with your ideal client by being clear in what they associate with the colours you have chosen is the key to nailing your branding identity.
Mistakes to avoid
Don't try to use too many colours 1 or 2 base colours and an accent - the simpler you keep your palette the better
Don't be tempted to opt for current trends - they are called trends because they date as quickly as they create! Keep your brand so you don't have to keep swapping it changing it every 5 minutes.
Don't assume because your competitors are using a colour combination you have got to use it to - create a brand that is in alignment with you, your story, what you offer and the customer you are talking to.
Under used and under utilised in building a branding identity is the power of a great font selection.
Every font is unique each has a different personality and individual characteristics.
Fonts conjure different emotions, some trust and authenticity and others simplicity and elegance.
Different fonts can be used to engage an emotional response. Typography is really powerful.
3 Elements to choosing the right fonts for your Branding Identity:
Keep it simple
Use a base and an accent font
Keep it consistent
Have a think about some words to decide which fonts best represents the personality and characteristics of your business.
How does your brand voice Sound?
What is the Tone? Character? Language you use to express your business?
Your brand voice = purposeful consistent expression of your brand
Words and prose styles can engage and motivate your audience to connect with you.
Being purposeful around your brand voice, you can accurately reflect that in your choice of typography.
Here's a question;
Does the font you have chosen reflect your brand personality?
Brief Overview of fonts for your business's Brand Identity:
most used font type
very easy to read
work with just about any personality type
neutral reliable and dependable / respectful and conventional / trustworthy and reliable feel.
Examples of Brands who use SERIF font types:
SANS SERIF FONTS
easy to read
referred to as a gothic font
contemporary clean and simple
Much more modern feel
Examples of Brands who use a SANS SERIF font type:
has a feminine appeal
curvaceous and care free
Classic and personable feel.
Examples of Brands who use a SCRIPT font type:
Thick and thin transitions and no slanting to the letters
Elegant and refined
stand out and command attention
Examples of Brands who use a MODERN font type:
Fun and playful
unique and individual
very creative mainly seen in logos
very to the point
created and tailored to a companies need
Examples of Brands who use a DISPLAY font type:
Key mistakes to avoid when you are choosing fonts for your branding Identity
Using too many font types takes away your recognisability factor.
Using all capital letters for script fonts. This can make it very hard to read.
Using fonts that are very thick.
Using just one font.
Using fonts on your website that are overwhelming and hard to read. Make it easy for people to stay on your site.
Easily Change your colours, fonts and other design elements on your website
I know it can feel overwhelming to think of changing all your branding colours on your website, social media etc but this is actually a pretty simple process.
Here are some guides, videos and tips to help you understand how to change your colours on your website.
Patterns are a fun and bold way to express your business.
As with all things branding related, consistency is key!
Think about patterns that are versatile for use in all the places your business has a presence.
Sometimes choosing a rose gold marble might work well on a printed business card but translating that to a website might not give quite the same effect.
It is important you understand what to look for when considering patterns.
Adding a pattern to your brand can powerfully communicate your personality, make you more original and add an element of desire.
Here are some Examples of famous brands who have instantly recognisable iconic patterns:
Ways a pattern can be used in a brand
Packaging: Stationary - letterheads, printed materials - can be translated to website pages and web design emails
Logo - timeless patterns - go through your brands journey.
Stores / shops / premises - to replicate a pattern you are using within your brand to bring it all together.
Live video - vlog backgrounds - any time you are representing your brand to think about the background and what's going on around you when you are recording a video.
Social media headers
Buttons on your websites
Overlays for your images
Book covers and freebies - ebooks e guides
Presentation and webinar slides
Why should I use a pattern?
Patterns create interest, they can add texture and balance. Patterns can create a special touch that colour doesn’t give and in turn make your brand more memorable.
Your clients and customers judge a book by its cover. Aesthetics help you stand out and increase your engagement as your tribe are thrilled by your instant recognisability.
A pattern differentiates you from competitors. Creating a pattern will personify your difference - no one else can have it - it makes you easily memorable and distinctive from the crowd.
Here are the key elements of choosing a pattern:
What is your style? For example Abstract / Organised / Fun / Formal / Laid Back / Creative.
What is the way that you deliver your message? For example Structured / Conversational / Playful / In Depth / Simple.
Mistakes to avoid when using patterns in your branding identity:
Using heavy bright or distracting patterns which take away from the text or image
Text over the top of busy patterns
Cluttering up negative space for the sake of covering up the white.
4. Photography Video and Visuals
Understanding choosing the right photographs and images for your brand and the impact this has on the visual identity of your brand.
Using photographs in your brand
Photography is a great way to make an instant connection with your target customers. You can tell a story in a glimpse of a moment which instantly draws in your ideal clients and makes them want to know more.
Great branded photography means you are instantly recognisable to your loyal tribe while making the impact you want every time you post your photo.
Here are some great places to check out for quick and easy stock photographs:
I suggest downloading around 20 - 40 that you can have ready for when you have graphics and social media posts to create, that Gel really well with:
Your brand keywords
Your brands tone and voice
Your brands style and colours
Key elements to remember about using photography in your branding identity:
Look for images with plenty of negative space that you can turn into quote and text graphics.
Look for images of GREAT QUALITY - don’t go for something just because it’s pretty, if the quality isn't good enough do not compromise the brand by using it.
Does it make sense? Does the image you have selected make sense to your brand, your customer, your story and your style?
What is a brand brief and why you need one?
A brand brief communicates the standards of your brand and expression of your branding identity.
By creating a clear brand brief you can either DIY your brand creation with a set of branding guidelines to help you or pass it to a creative of your choice who will be able to work to the specifics you set out during the Brand Clarity Process.
Core Elements of your brand brief include:
Values, Personality Character of your brand
Tone of Voice
Communicating with creatives during your business journey for optimum results.
I like to include some information around working with creatives during your business journey.
Here are some Common struggles I see:
Not clearly communicating goals - how the end product is to look / feel etc
Too much advice
Failure to give any advice
Being surprised by the outcome
#1 Creatives are artists as well as people
#2 Creatives are not mind readers
#3 Your designer needs to create for your ideal customer
#4 Clear and open relationships around money hours and time are vital.
#5 It's not all for your designer to do
#6 Pay the price
#7 Agree on outcomes
Finding the right person to bring your dreams to life is a very exciting process.
Keep in mind you are looking for someone in alignment with your brand vision and your ideal customer.
How to infuse your individuality into your brand without turning off potential customers.
What not to do:
Think that you have to copy EVERYONE else in your industry. Think outside the box you have got to create a brand that is in alignment with you, with your ethics and with this customer that you are uniquely speaking with your branding identity.
Use crazy colours to get noticed - so you don't have to be the most out there in terms of colours they need to make sense, mesh and gel with your story and what your brand is about so don't think that just because you are using the brightest colours that that is going to get you noticed what's going to get you noticed is using colours that are in alignment with that customer that you are talking to.