Need to Know: Branding

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If you’ve decided to take the step and start your own company or brand, you have definitely found yourself thinking about your logo. While it’s easy to get caught up in that part of your visual representation, there’s much more to developing your branding than just your logo.

Think of your branding as an iceberg. Your logo is the part you can see above the surface, but there's much more beyond that!

So, if that’s the case, then what is your branding made of? A brand can be broken down into four different areas, which we will be addressing:. When all four elements are put together, and are used consistently, they create a well-formed brand.

    • Logo
    • Voice
    • Visual Representation
    • Values

Take a second to think about a popular brand that you really like. Go to their website, their Facebook, their Instagram. Go to their store, if they have one. Go to YouTube and watch some of their commercials. Take note of EVERYTHING. Look at their logo, but look at everything else they show and read everything they say. Do you notice anything? 

No matter where you look, you’ll find that everything is consistent. Their voice is the same, the graphics match, the colors are on brand…it’s as though they were created all at once, seamless. That is the goal when it comes to your brand. 

Logo

Everyone knows this one! A logo is the graphic representation of your company. This is the piece that your clients/customers will recognize and come to know as your “brand.” Because of that, most brands stop right there. That’s a mistake. 

Before diving into logo creation, you need to take a step back and evaluate everything about your brand. We recommend starting with three things: what do you do, who do you want to reach, and what’s important to you. Your logo needs to touch on all of these things. 

Your logo needs to be visual stimulating to the people you’re trying to reach. If they don’t like it, then they won’t like you! That’s a tough statement to read, but that’s the truth. These days, there are so many brands pushing their way into your lives and we mentally can’t take in everything – it’s too much! So, when you know who you’re trying to reach, you’ll know how to capture their attention.

TIP: Avoid using cliches, aka don't go with your first thought. Chances are, your competitors are probably went with that same thought. Dip a little deeper.

For example, let’s consider our brand: Elevated Design Co.
What we do: digital marketing
Who is our target audience: small business owners and non-profits
What’s important to us: ignoring the price tag to help our clients grow their brands

While most companies out there with the word “elevate” tend to showcase that idea through arrows, we dug a little deeper and decided to create a logo that shows that the sky is the limit! We use clouds, stars, and the moon to showcase the idea of elevating.

If you’re doing your own logo, definitely spend some time really thinking about how you want to be represented to your future clients. If you’re hiring a designer, be sure to tell them as much background information as you can!

Voice

While this may sound difficult, don’t get stuck here. This step is fairly simple! Establish the key terms that you want to represent you and your brand…and use them!

Start by looking into your target audience. Since you want to connect with them, you need to talk like them. If you aren’t speaking the same language, they won’t be interested in what you have to say. Don’t you have a hard time connecting to someone who is literally speaking a different language than you? It’s almost like you’re having two separate conversations. The same happens when you aren’t using the same voice as your audience.

Establish early on how you’re going to address your company. Will you say “we” or “I?” If you flip back and forth too much, people will start to be confused. Is your company large or just a person? Whichever you choose for your brand, use it consistently. 

Where do you use your voice? Everywhere. This is how you’ll write your copy on your website, the captions in your social media posts, and how you verbally communicate with your clients. 

Visual Representation

This goes hand-in-hand with your logo, but needs to be considered a separate item. The colors and icons used within your logo need to be used everywhere else. You don’t need to go overboard here, but definitely consider the key elements that represent you and your brand.

We use the stars and clouds a lot because they enforce the idea of “the sky is the limit” and are fun ways to connect, visually, back to our logo. What connects back to your logo?

 

TIP: Keep things simple. If your logo is busy, you need to reevaluate. Too much is not a good thing. It can make things too hectic and can keep you from the consistency you're aiming for.

So, to have a strong visual representation, you need to have consistent fonts, colors, and icons. These all should be within your logo, but used everywhere you’re able! In social posts? Yes. On your website? You betcha. In emails? Maybe not for the sake of professionalism…but you get the idea! 

Choose your elements and then rock them – show them proudly to the world. After all, that is who you are!

Values

Speaking of who you are, something that sets you apart as a brand is the values you hold. This can be personally or professionally. What’s special about you?

Here at Elevated we know that small businesses and non-profits often lack in the digital marketing departments because their budgets are significantly smaller. That bothers us, a lot. So, we decided that it was going to be the core behind our business. We want to work with these brands to fill the gap. 

What about you? What do you hold dear? Identify that and embed it into your business. 

People are looking for something for something authentic and real. They don’t want your fluff about how great you are and how eager you are to help. They can determine that for themselves. What they want to know, what they need to know, is what makes you so special. In the end, that’s why they want to give you their money. 

 

TIP: Be real. No matter who you are or what you're doing in your business, it's important that you remain true to yourself. People don't want, and don't trust, fake.

If you’re feeling a little overwhelmed, that’s normal. We would love to assist you as your dive into branding! To get started, download our FREE branding workbook. It guides you through all of these steps, and more, to help you establish your brand.