5 Must-Know Branding Tips For The Creative Online Business Lady Boss
“Our job is to connect to people, to interact with them in a way that leaves them better than when we found them, more able to get where they’d like to go.”
Branding your business is necessary if you want to attract the right people, and contrary to popular belief, branding isn’t just designs for marketing and a logo. It starts with gathering information so that a tone can be set for your business. It is kind of like the beat to your favorite songs…without that, you would only have lyrics, right? And, I am not a good hummer or singer!
So, to get everything working together in a way that makes your audience want to hire you for your special skills, you need a start, middle and finish. Your brand is your audience’s perception of your business. This is where your Brand Touch Points come into play. These are your website, landing pages, launch graphics, podcast episodes, social media marketing, your blog, customer service, any printed pieces, such as your business card, coasters, post cards, thank you cards, gift tags…the list is pretty endless!
If you have been wondering what you need to do to make branding your online business work for you or your clients, I have 5 simple steps and handy tips that will make the process fun!
#1 | ASK THE RIGHT QUESTIONS
Your mission is to understand your perfect-for-you client, so you can market straight to them. You need to make them feel like you are reading their mind, when in fact, you have done your research!
Whenever I start branding for myself or others, I use the same system. I always start with a thorough questionnaire for clients, so if you are branding yourself, the same thing applies to you. Because your brand needs what’s called a voice, or in everyday terms, a personality, you need to get the facts to create that voice. Don’t skip this step! You will be backtracking many times if you do.
Here are some of the questions that I ask:
What is the goal of your business?
Who do you want to work for and with?
What problems are common to your target audience?
What solution can you provide that will help them sleep better at night?
What 10 adjectives would describe your brand?
These questions are used to create a client brief. A client brief directs the entire project. For it to work for both parties, you both need to understand that you are a team. Clients and designers alike benefit from following this format.
Here is a creative brief from my last full brand client:
Ideal Client | Your ideal client is a busy mom that balances work and family. They aren't doing exactly what they want in life. Maybe that is just in some areas. Your strengths will help them and they will see that in your brand. You are a strong woman that overcame adversity and you are here to tell your ideal client that you have been there, done that. The goal of your brand is to make your audience feel that you have the strengths, creativity, compassion, passion, and understanding of the complexities of life, so that they will turn to you for guidance. Because your target market is busy, sometimes stressed and tired from balancing work and the kids, they need a safe place to fall.
Brand Style Goals
My goal was to balance your bold, elegant, and creative side with the client's need for a clean, modern, inspirational look. The colors and style can be bold with soft modern touches that would appeal to your 30+ client, such as brush strokes + geometric patterns. Since they shop at Target and Nordstrom's, the use of patterns and abstract art (for example, Oh, Joy! at Target) could be used. Your brand will be a mix that is not too professional, or stuffy and more like Marie Forleo.
Your love for red will be balanced with black so that it is not too overpowering.
Combine strong fonts with a scripty, classy font, such as the one in the brand board above.
Modern/Classic/Feminine, but not too girly.
Your brand's mood board embodies encouragement, empowerment, energy, joy, high self esteem, style and a zest for life.
List of Adjectives:
A good, solid branding questionnaire template helps me get started. You too? Lucky for you I am sharing mine!
#2 | CREATE A MISSION STATEMENT
I also call this the elevator pitch.
This is a statement that tells:
Who you are
Who you help
What you do
For example: “I am Jean Coelho and I help creative entrepreneurs plan, design, and market to the perfect-for-them clients.”
This little statement changed a bit, until it just felt right. Now, I can give my elevator pitch without worrying that I will fumble my words. Don’t worry if you do. Just keep at it. Being consistent is key and those questions on the questionnaire will help you nail this down!
#3 | CREATE A MOOD BOARD
Armed with your goals for a business that is unique to you, and all the info from your research, you are ready to create a mood board. Now, here is one bit of advice that I don’t see out there that much, and that is if possible, use the images that you are going to use in your brand to create more of a direction board.
A direction board vs. a mood board
A direction board uses the brand photography that is to be used in the branding. Fonts and colors can be tested in the board, but using the styled stock photos or professional brand photography saves time and is a true representation of the brand-to-be. If you want the client to provide you with photography, make that clear in your talking points and contract. If you are DIY-ing your brand, hire a brand photographer that fits your brand’s voice, or choose styled stock photography that give you a cohesive look across all of your touch points.
A mood board gets the creative juices flowing! It is a fun creative exercise that unlocks the answers without using words. It works a part of the brain that identifies like and dislikes. The trick is to go to Pinterest, and create a secret board. If you are doing this for a client, give them access in the settings. See below.
Click on BOARDS.
Click the CREATE BOARD - The red plus sign
Name your board and click the button so it is on the right and black is on the left. This turns on the secret option.
Click the red CREATE button.
To get a variety for a well rounded mood board, type keywords in the search bar like:
The colors that were discussed in the client’s creative brief
Choose close-ups, and shots that are further away
These are just examples, but be sure to keep to what was discussed in the brief. This will help you and/or your client choose the right images.
As you find image that you undoubtedly LOVE, pin them to the secret board. Set your timer for 25 minutes and put on your favorite music. Your only job now is to find things you like without overthinking it. You are going for a gut reaction that applies to you and/or your client’s brand.
#4 | Revisions + Brand Board
Give yourself or the client 2 to 3 revisions. The first board will help you draft the brand voice with images, colors and patterns that you choose from the pins on the secret board. If you are creating a direction board, use the brand images that the client wants to use.
Here is an example of my first mood board for the creative brief that I shared with you above.
First mood board: I LOVED this one, but she was concerned about using red. So I reworked the board a bit. She decided she would use the red after she saw mood board #2. (See below)
Final Brand Board Design
Revised Mood Board
1st Brand Board
Revised + Final Brand Board
#5 | Create Launch Graphics
You are literally dressed for the party up until this point. Now it is time to make your appearances!
By using all of your pretties in your website, social media graphics, hero images with calls to action, in a launch plan, and in your emails. The sky truly is the limit. But, because I came here to give your a framework, I will give you the basics for your launch graphics. I know how hard it is to figure out #allthethings! So let’s get you ready to fly!
Choose the platform or platforms that are your favorite on social media. You do this so that you know what designs you will need created.
Head to @creativemarket and type “Social Media Graphics Bundle” into the search bar. Choose the best one to customize for a unique and cohesive look that will take you to influencer status. If you need one template type such as Insta Stories Templates, type that into the search bar.
If you want a high-end look from one of my favorite designers, the one below is my top pick. Angela, from Saffron Avenue has the best quality, design, and service around! This is not an affiliate link. I just love her work!
Click on the image below to see her other templates. They are STUNNING! (I can even do this for you with her templates, including using her Launch Kit tailored to your needs!)
After you have chosen your template bundle, assign the task of customizing these, to your Virtual Assistant, or customize them yourselves, or hire me to create a styled launch plan that is unique to you! Check out my package pricing here.
Not seeing anything that fits what you’re looking for?
Contact me for a virtual coffee chat, so I can listen to your needs and see if we would be creative biz besties!
I love launches and geek out over creating plans that fit each client according to their specific needs! Seriously! I told someone that I loved launch styling and strategy the other day, and she asked, REALLY?!
How do like to brand and launch? There are lots of ways that work and I love hearing what others have found that works for them!