If your brand hasn't developed buyer persona profiles or robust profiles of your ideal customers, this is the first place to start. Your buyer personas should shape almost every aspect of your brand identity. Define your ideal customer. Think about the following, even if the details. We want to paint a specific profile so you can build a marketing experience around this person.
• Financial level
• Education level
• Shopping Habits (online? In-store? Often? Not so often? Buys and returns? Researches a lot? Etc.
• Types of hobbies
• Fave activities
• Fave restaurants
• Fave shops
• Fave blogs/IGs/websites to peruse
• Fave music
• Fave TV Shows
• Type of vacation(s)
• Fave things to do on a weekend
• Fave podcasts
• What other details can you add about your Ideal Customer? The more, the better.
Your customers don't start looking for your company because their lives are perfect. Chances are, you offer a product or service that will solve a problem. Maybe you offer interior design services, and they need help with their new home. Or maybe you create and manufacture a new line of custom bathing suits, and they're tired of shopping at big box clothing stores. Perhaps you organize spaces, and they need help with an overload of things in their current space. Your customers need you because of an existing pain point, or problem.
Your brand identity should instantly communicate how you solve these problems. Do you offer peace of mind? Workplace efficiency? A confident day at the pool? Regardless of how your brand connects with your customers, your ability to solve problems should be at the core of your brand identity.
A strong, well-defined personality instantly win some likeability points because customers are able to relate to them on a personal level. Human personalities are rarely single-faceted. Brand personalities shouldn't be, either. When you are in the beginning stages of defining your personality, it may be helpful to think in terms of archetypes. Some household brands and associated personality archetypes could include:
• Apple: Rebel
• Taco Bell: Jester
• REI: Outdoors-lover
• Target: Bold
• Whole Foods: Peace-lover
Want some more inspo? Go to 3A and check up to five adjectives.
Competitive analysis can be a helpful first step towards developing any marketing strategy. Brand identity is no exception. The branding lessons you can glean from your competitors can vary significantly according to your industry, and the level of competition you're facing.
Your competitors could be textbook examples of poorly-defined brand identity. They may have little-to-no voice consistency across digital mediums, and a logo that's unoriginal. Perhaps they have an excellent brand identity that's memorable, unique, and incredibly easy to like. Regardless of where your competitors stand, use their statuses as a starting place for creating a brand identity that's objectively better.
When your most satisfied new customers communicate with your sales or account management team, what do they have to say?
Listening to the interactions of new, satisfied customers can reveal a wealth of information about how you make your customers feel. Do they express relief? Inspiration? New-found energy? Perhaps you are just starting out. What do you envision your “client” (from Q1) saying?
The most frequent positive emotion your customers and clients associate with your company is critical information for building a brand identity.
What does your brand offer that your competitors can't? Perhaps more importantly, how can you communicate this in your brand identity? For example, Whole Foods is one of the most visible and well-known organic grocery chains. Their difference is communicated clearly in the brand's logo, which is green and includes a leaf.
It is important to note that simply being different isn't enough, you need to actually deliver a difference. This means actively carving out a niche, and continually playing to your strengths. Anyone who's shopped at Whole Foods knows the grocery chain isn't trying to compete on price. In order for Whole foods to maintain their "niche" of fresh, local, and specialty foods items, they can't compete on price -- and considering their brand identity, that's perfectly fine. You need to define what YOUR difference is and keep them inline with your tenets, established above.
Conducting customer interviews or talking to your sales team can be an important tool for learning why your customers ultimately pick your company. If you are not up and running just yet, consider the qualities you hope clients and customers will define you by when it comes to trust and care.
The factor that leads to prospect trust and customer conversions can provide important clues to your brand identity. Your company's unique trust factor could be, for example, transparency, expertise, flexibility. Use this "trust factor" as an important tool for defining why your brand is different, and building an appealing brand identity.
Brand stories are an important component of branding. This includes both your literal history -- such as how and why you were founded -- and the story of the role you play in your customer's life.
Your brand's story should ultimately make your customer a hero. Perhaps you're able to make them more effective at their jobs, so they receive tons of compliments from their boss. Maybe your design savvy helps them to feel more confident in their daily lives, etc. This story can be an important basis for your brand identity and marketing content.
What make this new business you are creating or reimagining “feel” more than just a job? It is the values that you have defined (and will follow!). Your company’s core values tell the world what you are about. They give you a visual road map to success as well as your customers a reason to cheer for you. What do you personally believe in that is translated through the lens of your brand? And how can this be interpreted through to the customer and client experience? Make a list of your core values, or beliefs. This literally will be your company foundation and philosophy.
Here’s an example of a Zappos’s list of core values, or tenets, that they not only believe in but live! Remember, values can look great on paper, but to truly make a difference they’ve got to further. That means acting on them daily, holding yourself and your team to them, and hiring with them in mind.
You don't need to look towards brands with similar products, services or customers. Developing a list of brands you admire can offer various types of lessons that can be helpful. Perhaps you admire Boxed Water for their values-forward branding and minimalist aesthetic. Maybe you're a huge fan of Zappos for their intense focus on company culture and customer service.
These concepts can be translated to companies in a different sector. Make a list of at least three brands that you admire and why. Is it their service? Their packaging? Their longevity? Try to get in the weeds with this one and really think about why.
You most likely are not a logo designer by trade but you certainly know logos. You see them every single day. Take your list of brands above that you admire and think about their logo. What do you feel when you see it? And why do you think this is? What do you want people to feel when they see your brand/logo?
Do you know exactly what you are offering? Funny question but would you believe that so many business owners cannot put their own service into words. You 100% need to know this no matter what so let’s get this down on paper.
Let’s write down what are you offering by way of service or product. But let’s go deeper. Provide a lot more detail in your answers by sharing your service and product AND THEN what challenge/obstacle/issue/desire you are solving for your customer or client. What are you doing to empower them?
Once you've developed a brand identity (logo!), or even thought about the colors and styles, let’s take it for a "test drive". I encourage you to perform research on how colors, fonts, and other aspects of brand identity are perceived by the public. Existing marketing and psychology research can provide brilliant insight into your brand's future perception.
What are the words and terminology your customers use to describe your industry, products, and services? There's a good chance they don't head to Google to search for super specific services but rather the general topic. For example, “custom jewelry in New York” or “interior designer kitchens San Diego”. Let’s work on honing in on what your customers are searching for so we can weave these key words in through your copy
Your company's logo is one of the most important aspects of your visual brand identity. Ultimately, you don't "own" your colors and font. Your logo will be one of the few original aspects of your visual identity, and an effective logo can create a lasting impression. Let’s write a few sentences that you want your logo to reveal about your business.
Typography communicates a lot more than "just" letters. It can impart feelings of energy, fun, humor, traditionalism and more. Much like colors, humans associated emotions and adjectives with fonts. Here are some common font associations:
• Serif Fonts (including Times New Roman, Georgia, and Garamond): Authoritative, Traditional, Respectable
• Sans Serif Fonts (including Helvetica, Arial, and Verdana): Modern, Clean, Stable
• Slab Serif Fonts (including Rockwell, Courier, and Museo): Bold, Strong, Modern
• Script Fonts (including Lobster, Lucida, and Brush Script): Elegant, Friendly, Creative
• Modern Fonts (including Politica, Eurostyle, and Matchbook): Fashionable, Stylish, Exclusive
Most brand's visual guidelines include a list of three or four fonts. For your Squarespace site, we will select 5 font collections:
• Heading 1
• Heading 2
• Heading 3
• Body Text
• Quote Text
• Button Text (sm, med, lg)
Humans associate colors with emotions. Your brand's primary and supporting colors are an important component of your visual identity. By selecting colors that are associated with your brand values, you can instantly communicate your company's mission. Common color associations include:
• Blue: Integrity, Trust, Tranquility, Loyalty, Intelligence
• Green: Money, Growth, Freshness, Environmental-Friendliness
• Yellow: Happiness, Originality, Energy
• Purple: Royalty, Spirituality, Luxury
• Pink: Femininity, Compassion, Playfulness
• Red: Power, Strength, Passion
• Orange: Courage, Originality, Success
• White: Cleanliness, Purity, Freshness
• Black: Elegance, Drama, Strength
What do you want your brand to feel like? Let's talk in color.
The voice you use to interact with customers via social media and content marketing is an extension of your brand voice. Are you humorous, or straight-to-the-point? Do you respond to questions with experience, or links to peer-reviewed studies? Your brand guidelines should include instruction for social media and customer interactions, in order to deliver a consistent brand experience.
It’s so hard to talk about ourselves but this question is the perfect opportunity (and time!) to give this a shot. Take some time to think about your ideal customer. (Remember him or her all the way up at the top of this exercise in Q1?)
What would your ideal kudos from them look like? Would it be about your service? Your style? Your personality? Your management process? Your effectiveness? Your timeliness? Your expertise? Of course, all of these things are fantastic but let’s pick one or two that, based on all of the above work, aligns best with your brand and business goals.
Now write the testimonial from said Ideal Customer. This is probably not the easiest thing to do but definitely try it. It will certainly give you a good perspective -and reminder – about what you goals are and how great it will feel when you accomplish them.
At first, this may seem like a hard question. Though I hope that after spending dedicated time on Q1 – Q19, you are ready for this one. Let’s think about what your expectations are for how branding will affect your business.
Goals. A measure of point A to point B to show time and proof of concept. For your business goals, what is your A to B and so on? Do want to generate sales? Are you hoping to build your portfolio? Do you want to design your own products? Do you want to build and manage a team? Do you want to partner with Influencers or larger brands?
Let’s start be creating just one goal. And one MAY just be all you have for the year. (Hi, “launching my biz” is a pretty amazing singular goal – with tons of mini-goals right inside of it!) Make sure it is specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and based on a specific timeline. Then, we will go a step further and determine objective, strategy, rationale, and evaluation to make sure you are on track! We are segueing into branding….giving you a bit of support to take your 20 QUESTIONS and to activate them into content pieces. Ok, back to the final questions.
SPECIFIC BUSINESS GOAL:
MEASUREMENT (How will you know that you’ve reached it and is it actionable?):
OBJECTIVE (Restate your business goal but this time add how it will benefit your life):
RATIONALE (What is the purpose of this objective?):
TIMELINE (Realistically, when you plan to have reached this specific goal?):
STRATEGY (What do you plan to do to get closer to reaching your goal?):
MILESTONES (Break up your timeline into mini-goals):
EVALUATION (Now rewrite your goal with the end in mind):
Awesome job on completing Exercise 01. We know it’s not always easy to talk about yourself BUT it is such an imperative piece of your business success. And one that many people skip for some reason.
Now you have a super clear understanding of what you do and who you are doing this for.
Your marketing and promotion can all stem from here now. So good!