Thursday, September 20, 2012

Branding 101: Consistency is Key



We all know that familiar red dot with the larger red circle around it... Target.  Then the two tailed mermaid of Starbucks which is modeled after Melusine.  The big, bright yellow M, or golden arches, of McDonalds.  How about something more obvious - Walmart, Michaels...the list goes on.  These are all stores or businesses, and also brands.

When I started my foray into re-vamping my business "branding" came up a lot.  And honestly I was at a bit of a loss for what it meant given that the context was never quite clear.  So if you're in that boat let me give you a paddle and help clear things up.

Your branding is the image of your business.  It's the name, the font used, the colors, and any logo used to represent your business.  It's also you, yes your face.  For big brands like the ones mentioned before, being human isn't such a big deal.  For small businesses however, representing yourself & your business as one entity is essential to your success.

The thing about branding is being consistent.  You want your logo, name, image to be so common place, that a stranger sees it and immediately knows who/what it is.  I know this can be tough for the artsy types.  You get pulled into the myriad colors, shades, fonts, and other stylizations to create your image.  The issue is that confuses people.  Sure it may be the same name, but when you used Arial here, then Georgia there, or some block font, or fancy script - it's hard to tell whether it's even the same thing.

As my business coach said to me while we discussed branding, your branding is the clothing of your business.  (Share this tidbit with your followers!)  For me that really hit it home and cleared up all of the vague references I'd been battling with.

So you know what branding is, now what?

Quick Tips for Good Branding:

  • Be consistent.
    • Same font.
      • Super duper tip:  use a font that is free for commercial use.
      • For your website:  stick to 2-3 fonts.  1) Logo font, 2) Heading font, 3) Body text font.
    • Same logo.
      • Use color & black and white.
      • Have several versions and sizes.
      • Save as a .JPG & .PNG.
      • Don't be afraid to ask for help in making a logo.
    • Same colors.
      • Black & white not withstanding, choose 2-3 colors (remember we want to keep it simple) that compliment one another.  For help with this find an artist or someone with an eye for color & check out www.color-hex.com.
  • Be simple & to the point.  (You don't need a fancy stylized graphic.  Your name nicely done in your chosen palette works just fine.)
  • Your profile picture should nearly 100% of the time be YOUR face - not a logo.
    • Why?  People connect with a face, a person, they develop relationships with people not illustrations.  (Is this an absolute, honestly no, but if you want to connect with your audience it's advice well worth following.)
    • Make sure your image is consistent with your branding.  Funny, flirty, serious, ... being out of sync confuses people.

The big picture:  Your branding should speak to your market.  So when in doubt consider who you're trying to reach and what appeals to them most.  And if you've made your branding and you're not selling to who you intended, perhaps it's time to re-think your market!

Praise & Shoutout:  I owe much of my understanding to working with Laura George, a business coach for creatives.  While the information I've provided here is an amalgamation of my own thoughts, what I've learned from her, and research I've done online and through observation if you're needing serious help and can't "do it on your own" I highly suggest hiring her or another business coach.

Happy Crafting,
Aradia
of
Aradia's Hand

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