Your brand is the single most important investment you can make in your business

Steve Forbes - Editor-in-Chief of Forbes Media

  • A brand is what comes to a person’s mind when they hear your brand name or see your logo. What do you think of when you look at the images to the left? What feelings do they invoke? That is what your brand should be to your customers/ readers/ clients.

    What is a

    brand?

  • To help determine what sets your brand apart from others, define your target customer/audience, the need you are filling, and how your product or service uniquely differentiates you from others in the industry.

    What sets you

    apart?

  • While writers know how elusive "voice" is while writing, with your brand it can be found by looking at the character you want your brand to portray, keep it consistent, and in-line with what your company says and what it actually does.

    What is your

    brand's voice?

  • A brand story is the narrative behind company/ product/ service. More than just marketing, a brand story aims to answer the "who", "what", and "why" of a brand.

     

    —Who started the company?

    —Why did they start it?

    —What makes the product stand out or what problem does it solve?

    What is a

    "brand story"?

  • A brand strategy is how things such as logo, tag lines, & websites align with your business objectives. Consider your target audience, their ages & occupations, & how that meshes with your brand's values. 

    Follow the steps of building a successful brand & you'll find a complete, comprehensive  brand strategy.  

    What is a

    "brand strategy"?

    1.  Web design—your company’s face  

    2. Content Creation—how you showcase your knowledge

    3. Social Media—communicate directly with your audience

     

    (expanded below) 

    What are the three branding essentials?

  • Your brand will give readers the tone/feel of your writing and the reoccurring themes in your books. It is important because it will allow readers to set their first impressions of your writing in a quick and clear manner. Let them know what to expect with graphics, font, and your logo. 

    Why is a brand important to writers?

  • Your brand is not your product, your logo, your website, or your name. It is far more encompassing — it defines the visceral and frequently intangible aspects of your company identity.

     

    It is the way your brand makes your clients/ customers/ readers feel. 

    Always remember:

 

Brands expanded: 

Your Brand Story

Your brand story isn't complicated, once you sit down and look at these key points: 

  • History: Who started the company, and why?

  • Reputation: How is your brand regarded by its customers, stakeholders, and communities?

  • Culture: What values and beliefs does your company personify?

  • Situation: the problem you’re trying to solve.

  • Impact: the effect the problem is having. Without your product or service, what would happen?

  • Resolution: how your product or service helps to solve the problem. 

Remember to tell your story from the human perspective ensuring your customers– not your brand– are the heroes in your story!

The "Three Key elements" expanded:

  1.  Web design: This is your company’s face. Ensure it’s simple to understand, navigate, and consistent with design elements such as font and color palette.  

  2. Content Creation: Content is how you showcase your knowledge. It allows your customers to get to know you, but should also establish your personality, provide value to your customers, and build trust in your brand.

  3. Social Media: Social Media allows you to communicate directly with your audience and establish your brand as trustworthy in their minds. This will create an impression that will define how they think of you for years to come.

 

Other elements to keep in mind when building your brand

Consistency

Do everything you can to keep your brand consistent with the values you want it associated with. People are exposed to a lot of advertising and, as a result, they are generally very good at spotting an inauthentic brand. The relationship you build through your story will be compromised if the consumer feels you violated their trust. So keep the promises you make. When your brand espouses a value, don’t contradict that value. The inconsistent behavior will result in lost customers. Keep your message consistent in all your different marketing avenues, and your brand will be seen as authentic.

Brand Values:  

Make your values part of your brand story; demonstrate why they are important and how you intend to abide by them. Inconsistent values confuse and frustrate people resulting in clients/ customers/ readers turning away from your brand for one that is consistent and trustworthy. 

Logo:

Logos provide an opportunity for customers to automatically associate products or services with any given brand itself. Some logos don’t need eye-catching graphics to stand out. Make sure it reflects you and your product/ service/ themes. 

Colors:

Branding is done well when seeing certain colors immediately calls to mind a particular brand. Choose your palette wisely to fit inline with your products and brand. This consistency will create trust and recognizability.  

Tone and Voice:

What does your brand sound like? Are you irreverent? Silly? Professional? Academic? All of the above? There should still be a unifying factor; a blanket mission statement or mantra that all content adheres to. The voice or tone that a company applies to all their content—or their entire brand—is the equivalent of their brand’s personality. The voice you establish for your own business is an integral part of your website, blog, social media presence, email campaigns, and everything in between. It’s baked into everything that’s done in the name of their brand, and as such, it must be consistent—it must be you!

Images:

The images you share, regardless of the platform, should take into account all of the above points. This means they should reflect the tone your brand has set out for itself, follow a color palette and font style, and include your brand’s logo.

Domain Name:

Your domain name should be well aligned with the brand itself. It needs to be easy for your customers to find. Great domain names are intuitive, they’re short and they help your customer to get access to the information about you they’re looking for immediately.

Branded Links:

A branded link is a shortened URL built around a brand name (or related term) that helps associate the company with the links, content, and information they share online. Simply put, it’s a shorter version of a URL that showcases your company name. Unlike generic short links that are made up of a random string of numbers and letters, branded links reinforce brand awareness and increase trust. They have been shown to increase clickthrough rates by up to 39%. You can also use these custom short links for tracking purposes, attributing the clicks to your various marketing campaigns and analyzing which of your efforts produce the best results.

 

In Closing

When creating your own branding, you should strive for that same consistency. Visually, a brand should include the same elements across all channels, such as logo, color, fonts, etc. But design consistency is just the first step. The most important thing is to set expectations for the experience that customers will have every single time they interact with your brand online. It should transcend each channel (and even the internet itself) to be instantly recognizable as yours.

Image attributions: 

CM FICK

 SFF Author & Designer
Contact CM Fick
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© 2020 by Cas Fick