In an oversaturated, internet-connected world where anyone can start a business, how do you stand out from the noise? What makes you different, and how do you communicate that difference to your audience?
The simple answer is branding. But what is branding, really?
Most people understand the concept of needing a solid logo (although, and I’m going to share an unpopular opinion here, your logo isn’t that important – more on that later). And they understand the need for consistent colors and imagery.
But branding is so much more than the visual elements that tie together your website, sell sheets, and social media profiles.
Your branding is in every way you show up. Whether that’s online or in person. Whether written, visual, spoken, or otherwise. Branding is the voice of your company, and it speaks on both a conscious and subconscious level. It’s also important to keep your audience in mind. What attracts them visually, how do they speak, where do they show up?
We definitely want to get you started with solid visuals. That’s your colors, typography, logo, and image library. But you also need to consider your voice and your public presence. Where do you show up? How do you talk to your audience and meet them where they are? What tools are you using to share your expertise, and how are you sharing that expertise.
So What Makes Up Your Branding?
I always make sure that clients have a solid foundation of their branding and voice before we start to build anything. After all, if you don’t know what the foundation is that you’re building on, you can’t build anything long-lasting.
This is why I often work on-site with clients for the first few months. I get to learn about their company culture, their intended (and unintended) voice, and make the best choices possible about the platforms to use in sharing their expertise.
At the end of the day, there are 3 core categories that need to be considered to communicate consistently and effectively:
This is the category most people are familiar with and would use to answer the question, “What is branding?” These are the graphic elements that make your materials LOOK like your materials – your color palette, typography, logo, and graphic library. And while these elements are certainly important for your brand, they’re only the tip of the iceberg.
Written Elements and Voice
The basic written elements of your brand are probably already familiar – this includes your elevator pitch, your company mission statement, and the content on your website or collateral. But the piece that ties them all together is the voice – or language style – that you use. Are you more formal or colloquial? Youthful or more tenured? The way you speak should be just as consistent as the colors you use.
These are all the places your brand shows up. Whether that’s your website, your social media platforms, outreach programs, or in-person events, it’s important to be deliberate about where your brand exists in order to reach the right audience and stay true to your core tenets.
If you’re interested in digging into your own branding, check out my Branding Bootcamp workshops, or set an appointment to address your own branding specifically (use code FIRSTTIME for a first-appointment discount).