For years I have spent time speaking and educating business owners on the importance of their brand. For social media and marketing your brand can make or break you. Keeping your brand at their top of mind is one of the most essential elements of success in the marketing world.
But for me, I realized I myself was not practicing what I preached. I was so busy helping my clients’ grow their brands online that I neglected my own. Over the past year I have spent an extensive amount of time focusing on reimagining my own brand. You can even see for yourself the progress and changes that have been made in the last year, from investing in Instagram, graphic design, and spending an extensive amount of time in styled photo shoots.
So what I have learned from my own brand re-focus?
Create a Brand Guide
A strong brand is one that you can recognize not just by the logo, but your styling, your font selection…it is all about sticking to your brand guide. Sure you can deviate, but whatever you create and post, does it match your brand? Most people when they are first starting out do all of the work themselves. They have a logo by don’t have anything else planned out. No colors for their brand, no fonts….these things may sound trivial, but these are the things that elevate your brand to something substantial.
So set aside the time to create a brand guide. List out the colors that represent your brand. The fonts you use. Everything that visually represents your company in one place.
With the brand guide in place, the next essential focus is to stick to the guide. With so many DIY programs like Canva and PicMonkey, it is tempting to play with all of the different fonts or find inspiring quotes off Google Images, but RESIST!
If you are going to take the time to post about your brand, make sure that it represents your company. For my brand, I realized that I was simply playing around with DIY tools and there was no consistency beyond making sure I had my website or logo on my graphics. Brands you are competing with today have mastered the art of consistent branding and I realized for me that I needed to step up my game.
Invest in Design
As I have mentioned more than once, when first starting out many people do their own graphics. And honestly I still do a good portion myself, but for many, they do not have the background or expertise to know what is truly visually appealing online. Many as mentioned earlier will simply find inspiring quotes from other people (with the branding of someone else) and share it on their social. This is you sharing someone else brand.
So invest in graphic design. If you insist on doing it yourself, get some training. There are tons of programs online to help get started (like Lynda, Teachable, and so many others). You will get out what you invest in your graphic design. Make sure that everything you share matches you brand guide and is consistent.
For my own brand you can see consistency develop in the last 6 months. Recently I launched my personal brand, Marketing Dame in which I highly focused on branding and consistency (which started with my brand guide, being consistent, and using a designer to help execute my vision).
Create Your Own Stock
One of the last elements that I personally began working on in the last year is the element of creating my own stock photography. Although there are tons of great stock states that are both free and paid, developing your own to match your brand is the biggest step you can take towards an elevated brand.
For my brand, I hired a photographer to assist in styled shoots focusing on the “speakeasy” element of my brand. All social marketers can spew out stats and infographic-style images, but I wanted something that made me stick out and that for me has always been the vintage, speakeasy element of my brand. I took that concepts and intentionally brought it visually into my brand with purpose.
You can again DIY this element of your brand by creating your own mini photo shoot within your home. Again there are plenty of blogs that show you how to do this step by step. The key is to remain consistent and bring in your brand colors and create a style that matches your overall brand.
This new site you are visiting is actually my full culmination of my new brand re-focus. It pulls in all the elements of my brand guide and all the steps listed above. I am back to practicing what I preach and I encourage you, if you have been struggling with your brand to take these next steps. Overall, consistency is key with branding. Wherever I can find you online, I should be able to recognize your brand. If I can’t, it may be time to think about elevating and re-evaluating your online branding.
Don’t worry, if you need more assistance, we can help.