Congratulations!! You made the leap and started your own business, time to cue the champagne! You decided on a name, purchased a domain and are ready to set up your own digital space to start welcoming customers. Now what?
After some time you may come to the realization that your industry is saturated, and finding customers isn’t as easy as you anticipated. Now you have to decide, how will I stand out from the pack?
The answer is: your brand.
Your brand is built slowly over time, it is basically your reputation and how your customers remember you. It is the voice you project in your copy, your website design, your colour palette, the imagery you use throughout your social media and much more. It is how you visually decide to represent yourself and how you make your clients feel when they work with you.
Even though your brand is something that is built over time it is always a good idea to start in the right direction and build a solid foundation for your company to grow.
Whether you are just launching your business, or want to rebrand, follow the branding checklist below to ensure no area has been overlooked.
The Complete Branding Checklist:
1. Clarify your Brand Vision – What is your mission statement? What product or service are you providing your customers? What are your top values as a business? These are just a handful of the questions I include in my brand questionnaire that provide clarity to the most essential aspects of a client's business.
2. Refine your Niche – Who is your ideal client? Who are your competitors and how do you differ from them? Again these are a few questions I ask clients because you can’t please everyone. Therefore you must have a clear description of the type of client you want to work with and what your competitive advantage is compared to another business offering a similar product or service.
3. Logo – A logo is a graphic used by businesses, even individuals, to symbolize ones company or organization. It promotes public recognition and can be used on a variety of advertising material. You want your logo to be legible, timeless and uniquely you!
4. Fonts & Colour Palette – Choose a handful of fonts and colours to use consistently throughout your marketing. Headings and body copy should each be a different font as they have a different purpose. One is bold and eye-catching, the other needs to be clean and easy to read. And colours tell a lot about your brand’s tone. Muted neutrals send a different message than bright, vibrant hues.
5. Brand Photography – You will need many different photos for your website and marketing materials. You will need portraits of you and your team, possibly your office or studio, definitely shots of your products, maybe some that document your creative process! I find brand photography encompasses a little bit of everything. It is also a balance of capturing natural, candid moments as well as styled set ups.
6. Social Media – You want to make sure each platform is consistent with your brand. The captions should sound like your voice and your colour palette should be prominent throughout your posts. This is the perfect place to use your brand photography as social media is all about pleasing visuals.
7. Website – Your website is your most important marketing tool, it is your digital store front. Having a professional, easy to navigate website is essential for customers to take you seriously. This is the place to advertise your services, write about your story, and showcase your beautiful products or portfolio. Your website allows potential clients to inquire and hopefully purchase from you! All the previous branding necessities come together on your website. Your logo should be displayed prominently, and your chosen fonts and colours should be used exclusively. Your copy should speak to your target client, and your brand imagery should be incorporated throughout the layout.
8. Other Marketing Materials – Take your branding one step further by designing additional marketing materials that follow your brand guidelines set above. You may create business cards, a welcome guide, or personalized client gifts that ensure the client experience is in line with your vision and values.
9. Brand Film – A brand film is a way to tell your story and stir the viewer’s emotions. Create a piece that is meaningful, inspiring, and authentic to connect with your audience on a deeper level. More and more people are buying into the “experience” and a brand film is a way to illustrate and immerse potential clients into your personalized brand experience.
10. Your Content – Whether you create videos or write blog posts, the content you create represents your brand and places you as an authority in your field if done correctly. Create quality content your audience finds informative that is cohesive with your tone and visual aesthetic.
I hope you found this brand checklist useful, and can implement it in your own business. If you are looking to step up your game in any of these areas check out the many amazing businesses below! And if you are ready for a brand makeover, complete with beautifully styled imagery and a film that speaks to your audience, I’d love to chat!
If you are planning a brand photo shoot download my FREE Brand Questionnaire I use with clients to define their brand direction. Sign up below to have the PDF delivered right to your inbox!