Brand is a word that gets often thrown around a a lot: brand your business, brand yourself, consistent branding, etc. But when it comes to the design-side of things, "brand" is often used as an equivalent to "logo", or "logo, and additional graphics". It's partly true: your logo, and any graphics you use on your website should be part of your brand. But your brand doesn't start there.
This article could be endless with all the aspects of branding you have to cater to, but I've decided to focus on two major ones: your brand's identity and when to level up your brand. I hope you find this information useful!
Your Brand's Identity
A brand is the identity that a company, service, or product present to the world. It's the tone and feeling you want to communicate to whoever comes across it. You can decide to brand your business or your blog as its own unique idea, or you can include yourself in it. You can control how much of yourself people will see in a brand, or if you want to completely disappear behind it and have your service or product talk for itself. And either way works, it's a matter of what you want to achieve with it.
You can control how much of yourself people will see in a brand, or if you want to completely disappear behind it and have your service or product talk for itself. And either way works, it's a matter of what you want to achieve with it.
When you are branding yourself, you are offering a service or product that will be closely linked to you as a person. I decided to brand myself because my web studio is not an agency with different people that come and go, but a one-person service where my individuality is an essential part of it. If you want my service, you will be working directly with me. The mission and goals of my business align with my own personal values. The way I talk on my business' social media is how I would talk to you. I add elements from my own quirkiness to my business, like the little stars here and there or the emoticons on my social media posts. My business has a human side to it, and it's meant to be one of its strengths, so, that's why I am in it.
Quick note: your business does not need your name on it to be able to brand yourself. I know plenty of businesses where the name doesn't relate to the person at all, but you can definitely see the person behind the brand, close to it all the time.
But that doesn't have to be your brand. Maybe your are wanting to brand a project that represents a community. Or maybe you have a product that will solve many people's problems, and you want to put it out there for other's to see, but it doesn't need you as a part of it. Or you started a small business, and it's being growing so fast that you are planning to expand it along other people, or even sell it to someone bigger-branding yourself won't be ideal in that scenario.
You have to decide where you want your business to be in the future, how much of yourself aligns with your business, and determine if you want to brand yourself or not.
Leveling Your Brand
Depending on where your business stands, your brand may or may not need certain things. When you first start out with a business idea, especially if it's a side job and you're trying out to see if things work out, you mostly need a name and that's it. Don't spend money on fancy graphics if you don't even know if you want to run your own business yet. Choose a name, a few colors and a font, keep things simple but consistent, and try it out.
Once you decide you like this business idea, and you want to grow it, start with something simple. Create a Pinterest board with ideas you like, choose a color palette, find additional fonts. Read some tutorials and articles on basic branding, and try creating a simple logo for yourself. If you are not creative at all, find a virtual assistant that emphasizes in graphic design and have them help you come up with a simple brand. There are countless of Facebook Groups where you can receive feedback on your work, and where you can receive recommendations to people who work with small businesses like yours. Invest in your brand a bit, the results will pay back.
If your businesses idea worked, and you are becoming more established, it will be time to level up again. Find someone that not only can help you with a logo and graphics, but someone who can actually guide you through a branding plan. Work with designers and copywriters (maybe even social media managers and SEO specialists) that will help you determine the tone and feeling you need to attract your ideal clients. It's time to upgrade your graphics and pay attention to the details. Make sure you work with people that provide high quality. People won't see you as an established business unless you play the part well. Your service and product can be really good, and that's what helps you grow at the beginning. But at this level, there will be more businesses with good services and products as well, so, you need you brand's help to stand out.
Find someone that not only can help you with a logo and graphics, but someone who can actually guide you through a branding plan.
Now, depending on your business and its goals, you might be good at this level or you may want to reach up once more. You are an established business now, and you want to level up in your market to cater to higher end clients. For high end clients, you will need high end branding. You won't have time to coordinate with different freelancers, so, look for someone who can offer you solutions to all aspects at once. Someone who offers you strategies, design, SEO, and everything else. Find someone with a portfolio that you love, and reach out to them, ask what they can do for you. This will very likely require a higher investment, but it will worth it.
And if you are at the point where you need to level up again, you probably want to hire a big agency that has enough experience and staff to cover all your needs. I'm talking, like, Coca-Cola kind of big! But hey, everything is possible, so, keep up the hustle!
Applying this to your Brand
My intention with this is to help you understand where your brand is at. If you are starting out, don't worry about hiring a lot of people and trying to have the fanciest brand. Worry more about identifying whether you will brand yourself, or just your service. Worry more about your service or product, make sure it will be something you want to keep doing. There's nothing wrong with DIYing your own brand when your business is not producing any profits yet, we all start somewhere. But you also have to realize that you can only get so far with DIY, it's good to delegate. If you are wanting to establish your business better, look at your branding and determine if it's time to level up.
So, before you head out looking for virtual support, try to understand first where your brand and business are at, and try to determine what it needs. If you made it here, thank you for reading the whole article, good luck!
Before you head out looking for virtual support, try to understand first where your brand and business are at, and try to determine what it needs.
If you are starting out your business and want some insight on what you'd need to DIY a basic brand, consider joining my course's beta test program. It has two sections, Web Design with Emphasis on WordPress, and Branding, so, it's meant to be a guide for anyone who is at the first stage of their business.
Need to align your brand with your project?
Check out my course Find Your Brand designed to help you redefine your brand, from setting a strong foundation, to finding the right way to visualize, and beyond.