Establishing a brand identity and keeping it consistent across all channels is one of the most important things you can do for your blog or business. Whether you’re posting on Facebook, designing a feature image for your latest blog post, or talking to a customer, your brand is vital. Your brand isn’t just a look, or a design. Your brand is a feeling. Your brand is a personality. Your brand is a person. A living, breathing identity that you should be able to define.
When building your brand you need to not only establish a consistent visual presence, but also a personality. Think about it this way – if you were to grow and expand to become a thousand person company, every time one of those workers communicates with a customer, they should be representing and embodying your brand. And how do you ensure this? You come up with a guide to define your brand. Not just a style guide with colours and fonts and logo variations (though that is vital as well) but a brand guide – that has a description of who your brand is. Then, once you’ve got your brand guide created, print it off, and hang it on the wall. It should be there every time you look up, reminding you of who your brand is and what you stand for. Below are a few things you can use to get your brand guide started.
1. A Style Guide
This is the one most people think of when they hear ‘brand guide’. It contains things like your brand colours, fonts, logo variations and patterns. This should be on your wall as well so you always have something to look towards to visualize your brand. It’s also handy to have around while you’re designing too, since remembering HEX codes is usually pretty tough.
When you think of apple, you think modern. When you think of Disney, you think family friendly. When you think of your brand, what do you want people to think of? Come up with a list of adjectives that you want to associate with your brand. These can be anything you want. My brand adjectives are words like modern, creative, colourful, flexible, passionate, friendly. I want people to know that I’m a free spirit, creative designer, who loves what I do, and that my work is professional and personable. And I need my brand to convey that. Think of your brand as a living body, and what you would want people to describe it as if they were asked about it.
Part of your brand guide is also your ideal audience. When you start your blog or business, you should know what audience you are targeting. This can be a broad range of people, but it’s also great to narrow it down. Narrow it down so far that you can describe your ideal audience as one person. Think of who he or she is. What age are they, what do they do with their spare time, what is their job, even what they look like. Write a summary of who this person is – they are the embodiment of your idea audience member. Put that description on your brand guide, and maybe even find a stock photo of someone to help you visualize them.
Now that we’re thinking about your brand as a person, think about what kind of friend they are. Your brand should be a friend to all your customers and readers, so think about what kind of friend you want to be. Is your brand a reliable friend? Are you logical or creative? Are you serious or fun? Use words like these to describe your brand’s voice. Then use this voice in everything that you write and say to your customers. In your posts, comments, replies, social media posts, and even something as small as your tweets. Your brand should have a voice that your customer can rely on and relate to.
There are many more things you can add to your brand guide, I think of more every day. Just visualize. Start to think of your brand as a living organism with a mind and personality of it’s own. Think about who you want your brand to be, and what kind of people you want to interact with it. Write down everything that will help you to visualize your brand and keep it consistent. Then, make it pretty, and hang it on the wall. Whether you write your guide by hand, or design it on screen, it should be something that makes you proud of your brand, and you should be happy and excited to stick to your guide.
Here is the brand guide that I established before my launch, and today I’m working on my voice and ideal audience. I want to perfect them before adding them to the visual of my guide, which will be hanging on the wall in my new workspace soon!