A prime nightmare scenario for any emerging small business? Being totally off-brand or clueless on where to start on branding. You may feel lost on content creation, maybe just putting random colors and logos on your marketing materials. Maybe today you’ll post something in green. Or in purple. Or maybe yellow. There’s no method to your brand, and it’s driving you nuts!
It’s no surprise that creating a cohesive brand is an artform, and one of the rules of that says consistency is key, not just with your messages but with every aspect of branding. Think color tones, graphic elements, market positioning, mission statement, audience research, brand messaging, etc.
Building a cohesive brand means creating a unified image both intrinsically and externally, which is important because it establishes expectations and helps consumers determine the type of experience they will have with your company.
For example, Starbucks has created a consistent brand that is reflected through their famous logo and colors. You can probably visually see the logo in your head without even reading a description of it. No matter which Starbucks you visit, you walk in knowing you will see the logo on almost everything; packaging, menu, their barista’s aprons, even their tissues! They never stray from that legendary green. You’ll also realize that they have that chill vibe accompanied by country-relative tumblers ready for you to collect. No matter which country you’re in, Starbucks ensures that their customer experience is the same everywhere.
Now that is consistency.
If you are looking for simple ways to establish a more solid, cohesive brand for your business, read on. Psst! You can also download the freebie template right away here:
Do not stray too far from your brand colors. In fact, it is best practice to stick to your colors like glue. Thosehues are a part of your identity – remember, repetitionis key to make it stick among your audience. I know these colors can be hard to find across various platforms, but remember that each color has a hex code (a series of numbers starting with #) attached to it.
So, make sure that you have those handy whenever you’re creating content or marketing materials as a part of your brand. Take note of those codes and use themconsistently. When you work with a graphic designer, social media manager, content creators, etc. let them know your hex codes. You should also know how these colors blend best, as well as your color ratio.
It is best to choose two social media platforms and focus on building them up in the beginning. Make sure you choose wisely. If you are a writer, Twitter should be in your top picks. If you are a food blogger, Instagram is a must – you get the idea.
It is difficult to put all your focus on more than two platforms when you are just starting out. Plus, narrowing your focus allows you to build a solid presence as well as streamlining your contents. Growth will follow you to the next when you decide to expand, making it easier for your next platform to succeed because then you can redirect your already existing audience to your new platform.
You should always have more than one version of your logo on hand. Have a designer create your primary logo (that you use for almost everything) and several variations of your logo (that you use for holidays, special events, different social media platforms, perhaps stationary needs, etc). Keep in mind that this is not a completely different logo, but it is a sister design.
You’d ideally want to have 3 logos: one primary logo, one alternate logo (usually this logo has a different orientation from the first, giving you wider access to different platforms), and a brand icon. This is of course, not limited to only ‘logos’. You can also create a family of illustrations or graphic elements that are related to your brand, to enhance your visuals. The key is to keep them variative, but still a part of an aesthetic family.
Whether you previously worked with a visual brand designer or you brainstormed everything by yourself, you should always have a brand guide that details your strategy, sensory elements, vision statement, mission statement, tone, and online content plan (among other things). This is like a fall-back document that you can also refer to, so you won’t stray away from your brand visuals, story and messaging.
Hold this document dear and use it whenever you are producing content. It will serve as a reminder of “who you are” and what goals you are aiming to achieve, as well as who you’re speaking to. Remember to tweak this brand guide alongside your brand growth.
A golden tip of consistent branding is to use templates. Any business owner or marketing guru should make use of templates to make life easier. They help you produce content way quicker and save you the headache of putting random stuff with different aesthetics in a single content. Think Instagram post templates, Pinterest templates, service brochure templates, presentation slide templates, and so many more!
The great thing about having a template is that it’s like having a blueprint, and it is as easy as plug-and-play. Just add your photos, edit the texts and ta-da! You’re good to go!
Want in on a super easy-to-use, Canva editable Instagram template for your business? Check out what’s in store for you!