When people think of branding, they think, “Oh, that’s my logo.” It’s much more than that, though. Branding is the way a brand looks, speaks and behaves. So, how do you brand yourself?
Get a personality
Most major brands have very distinct brand personalities. They have human personality traits that set them apart from competitors and call in a specific kind of consumer.
For example, Nike and New Balance sell athletic gear, but the companies have very different personalities. One is bold and embodies the attitude of a champion; the other is about finding balance and takes cues from a zen master. Your decisions on how to brand yourself should show the same kind of personality.
If you’re a creative type — especially if you’re a one-person shop — then your brand personality is about you.
- Are you funky and cutting edge?
- Are you techy with a little bit of geek chic?
- Are you classic and dependable?
- Are you earthy and outdoorsy?
Try to pick a part of your personality that is going to speak to your target audience, but that also makes you different than your competition and play it up, baby! Personality is often why people chose one brand over another, so really start to emphasize yours.
Make it visual
Once you’ve defined your brand personality, learn how to brand yourself visually. People tend to skim on the web, so give them some eye candy. Personalized images, custom typography and other stylized elements get people focused and excited about your message.
The Alison Show does a great job of using stylized elements and writing blog posts with personality!
At minimum you want lock in:
- A logo
- 2 colors
- 2 typefaces
You can also choose some reoccurring graphic elements such as patterns. If you are hiring a designer, a seasoned professional will ask questions about personality and possibly create a mood board before they start designing. If you are going it alone, try checking out my typography and color theory sections for more information on how to brand yourself or your business.
Don’t go a’ changing
The most important lesson in how you brand yourself is consistency. People trust what they recognize. They like when you meet their expectations.
So, pick your colors and fonts and stick to them. Don’t throw a stray font or color here and there (I know — it’s tempting). If you want a little variety, decide up-front to switch one or two elements occasionally and limit your experimentation to those elements. Always use your brand voice in your copy and correspondence, even in quick e-mails.
Keep a cheat sheet with your fonts, color and brand personality references and use it everywhere.
I mean EVERYWHERE. Yes, this means your website and business cards — but also your social media profiles, newsletters, e-mail signatures, invoices and packaging.
Bri from Design Love Fest does a great job of being consistent with her branding.
If you send snail mail, custom rubber stamps or stickers turn ordinary envelopes and boxes into custom pieces that have your special touch. It matters. People often tweet pictures of my packaging because they feel like they just got a present.
Go! Start Now!
Now you have the basics — personality, visuals and consistency. So, get going! You have the tools to become a lean, mean branding machine. Go make me proud.
If you still need a little help, shoot me an e-mail and we’ll get started on your free consultation.