1. A Name
Well, duh. You can’t operate with out one. Make sure it’s unique, catchy and legal. And of course, that the URL is available. Godaddy.com has a great domain name availability checker, in case you’re looking.
2. A Story
However your brand came to be, it’s a wonderful thing. Your customers will connect better with you if you’re willing to tell the narrative of how your brand came to be. Put it on your ‘About’ webpage and let them know why your story matters. Whether it’s a long history of excellence or a pipe dream that you brought to fruition, it’s important to tell to add a ‘human’ element to your offering. A well-told story also helps build trust. (See #25)
3. A set of values
It should go without saying that your brand and your business should operate under a set of values, whether you make them public or not. Defining them will not only help you make clear decisions when complicated questions arise, but will also help you grow and hire in a consistent manner.
4. A Logo
It’s great to have a name, but that’s just the first step. A logo is what makes your brand unique and shapes the perception that your customers have. So make it a good one. Do your homework and partner with a pro to develop a fantastic, memorable logo that you’ll love for years to come.
5. A Social Media Presence
It’s pretty much impossible to escape having a social media presence these days. In fact, if you don’t have one, you pretty much don’t exist. To decide which one to take advantage of first, match a social media site’s user base with your audience, and go from there.
6. A personality
Whether you want to believe it or not, a brand takes on it’s own personality and is perceived by its audience with help from the visuals it uses. For example, if your brand’s color are bright orange and yellow, immediately the personality comes across as upbeat, happy, positive. Personality can also be conveyed by the tone of the writing. Using formal language says sophisticated or upscale, but colloquialisms and sarcasm can come across as fun and approachable.
7. A specific palette of colors
Work with a designer to come up with a great palette for your brand. Find the best colors by thinking about who you want to be perceived as.
8. A set typeface
Again, stay consistent in defining your brand and pick a typeface or two. After a while of using it, your audience will begin to recognize your typeface as part of your overall look and feel.
9. An imagery style
A super-specific image style is part of any brand. Think about how you can categorize the types of images you want to use to represent how your brand looks. Whether it’s all black and white, a special filter, or only a specific subject matter, deciding which one you’ll use over an over as part of your brand is important in helping your customers and potential customers building trust with your offering.
10. A tone of speech
Tying back into the brand personality, how your brand “speaks” should be a consistent part of your brand.
11. A branded website
Obviously, in this day and age, you need a website. Most people check out a company’s site before making any kind of buying decision these days, so it’s imperative that you have a presence where they’re looking.
12. A mission statement
13. A vision statement
A vision statement defines what you want the future to hold for your brand. You’ll need it as part of your whole brand, to keep yourself and your stakeholders all driving towards the same goals.
14. An elevator pitch
Ever heard of an elevator pitch? It’s the kind of brief synopsis that sums up what your business does and what pain points you help solve for what audience. You should be able to deliver it in a short span of time, like a quick elevator ride with a prospect.
15. A target market
If there’s one thing you need to define for your brand, it’s your target market. Your target market is the group of people that you want to buy your offering. It should be fairly focused, and the more specific, the better. This will help you when you’re creating messages and marketing as well as other brand elements that speak to that group.
To go along with your target market, a persona is a detailed description of the members of your target market. Personas should include:
- Common behavior patterns,
- Shared pain points (professional, personal),
- Universal goals, wishes, dreams
- General demographic & biographic information
17. A unique value proposition
How does your brand deliver value to your audience? What differentiates your offering? These things should be tied together to make up your value prop, a succinct statement that you can display on your website or in a brochure to let people know why your brand is great.
18. A great set of icons
Icons have become fairly standard across the web to help visually categorize various bits of info. You should have a diverse set with a consistent style, like the examples below. Think about the subject matter discussed within your brand content and then have a designer create a custom set of icons that are unique to your brand.
19. Branded email headers
Each email you send to your list should feel like part of your brand. Make sure to work with your design team to create a library of email headers for various communications like newsletters, updates, sales, confirmations, and the like.
20. Branded social media pages
Your designer should help you put together all of the graphics you’ll need to brand your social media pages. Like your website, potential customers check out your social pages to learn more about the personality (see #6 in this list) of your product or service, so you’ll want to stay consistent and on-brand with the design of these pages as well. A polished social media presence helps build credibility and trust with your customers.
21. Genuine Communication
Communication! It’s what’s for breakfast, lunch and dinner…We’re kidding, but in all seriousness, it’s as vital as a meal. You should know how to communicate with your audience, and they should agree with your point of view – it helps build trust. Make sure your messages and communications, whether it’s via a marketing piece, your website, social media, or even an email correspondence all feel genuine and true to your brand.
While differentiation is one of the main points within your value prop (see #17) you should make sure to spend a good amount of time on figuring out how your brand is different. Find the one thing that you think makes you stand apart and market the heck out of that fact.
If you don’t fully believe in your brand, your brand won’t exude passion. Without passion, your brand is just, well….meh. No one likes meh, and no one spends money on meh.
24. A Set of Brand Guidelines
All of the elements above should be brought together in one cohesive document that spells out all of the various brand elements, how they work, how to use them, and what they look like. These brand guidelines should be used by anyone that works for you, any vendors or partners that will be collaborating with you to represent your brand, and the media who may need to know how to reproduce parts of your brand.
25. Consistent TLC
Strong brands require upkeep and constant love. Make sure someone is keeping an eye on the visuals that you produce – quality checking things like consistency, clarity, legibility and on-brandness. Partnering with a creative professional or someone who can do this for you can take this monster task off your plate and help your brand and corresponding marketing run smoothly.
Ready to take action?
Let’s get you back to focusing on what you love doing. Get in touch today to see how we can help with your creative and marketing initiatives.