I’ve previously shared my top business branding tips, but I haven’t always been so clued-up on branding. In fact, it’s only recently that I’ve put in a conscious effort to learn the ins and outs of business branding. Here, I’m sharing the 5 biggest branding lessons I’ve learned along the way.
7 biggest business branding lessons I’ve learned
Most of the branding lessons I’m sharing here are lessons I’ve learned the hard way. Seriously, I look at the branding for my first business and I cringe – nothing was consistent, we sounded exactly like our competitors and it was all just very wishy-washy. So, basically, don’t make the same branding mistakes I did.
In fact, branding is one of the things I would do differently if I were to start my business again.
Onto the big branding lessons I’ve learned…
Branding lesson #1: Your brand isn’t just your logo, colours and fonts
Sure, the visual stuff is a big part of your branding, but so is the non-visual stuff. The things like how your brand speaks, how it acts, and what makes you different from everyone else out there. Because, chances are, you probably have a competitor or three.
The emotional aspect of your brand is what gives it that X-factor. If you think about some of the great brands out there, there’s more to them than how they look.
For example, Apple has a great logo and their branding is beautiful – but their X-factor is that people see it as an extension of their personal identity. Their devices embody the lifestyle that loyal Apple customers aspire to. Same with brands like Nike and Lululemon; they’re not selling a product, they’re selling a lifestyle.
(Well, ok they are selling a product, but when you buy their product, you’re also buying into their lifestyle).
Branding lesson #2: Clarity and consistency are SO important
Consistency creates trust and it shows people what they can expect from you. So, if you can’t afford professionally-designed branding, at the very least make sure everything is consistent – even if it’s consistently bad.
Clarity is also very important. Your brand messaging should be crystal clear – it should spell it out for your audience in simple terms.
Make sure you create your own style guide. A brand style guide is a one-pager that lists out the fonts and colours and visual elements of your brand. Whenever you go to design anything, it needs to be consistent with your style guide, not just using whatever fonts and colours you happen to like on that day. (Yep. Been there, done that).
Branding lesson #3: Good branding makes everything flow in your business
When I first started Wildbloom, with my DIY logo and colours, and my fairly wishy-washy brand messaging, it felt like an uphill battle. I felt like I constantly had to prove the business to potential clients, simply because there wasn’t anything to really differentiate us from all the other marketing consultancies out there. And I felt like I couldn’t justify charging higher prices to clients, because the business didn’t look particularly slick or professional from the outside.
As soon as I got the branding redone, everything just got so much easier. People stopped questioning our pricing. Clients started coming through the door a lot quicker. And, we started getting brand advocates.
Branding lesson #4: Take your brand into account when making decisions
This is where it really helps to know what your brand stands for (aka. your brand values).
Here’s an example: if your brand believes in supporting local producers and you’re faced with the decision to save a huge amount of money on ingredients for your products, but in doing so, you’d have to import them from overseas, well, you can use your brand values to guide that decision.
In fact, lots of brands have got into trouble for listing values on their website but not actually using these to guide their behaviour. I won’t name any names, but there have been quite a few famous cases of these in the past.
I also recently had a nasty situation in which another brand copied our values word-for-word onto their website. Including the one about marketing honestly, which I found quite ironic and hilarious actually.
Branding lesson#5: Your branding is never “done”
Just like your business constantly evolves and grows, your brand should be too. And if it doesn’t, well that’s not a good thing!
I’m not saying you should jump on every trend and rebrand your business multiple times a year, but occasionally there will be things that need to be tweaked or refreshed. Maybe your brand tone of voice will evolve, or maybe you’ll freshen up your fonts – this is all okay.
February 28, 2019