First off, what do I mean by brand consistency? I’m talking about a brand aesthetic and brand ethos that flows together to communicate exactly who you are and what you stand for with no ambiguity or confusion to your audience. And making sure these elements are clear everywhere your brand shows up.
What it definitely doesn’t mean: That we’re rigid, uncreative, inflexible. Nahh, that’s dull. Our businesses are ever-evolving, pivoting, diversifying. That’s what we love about small biz, hey? But at the core of that, there are values and missions that stay true, regardless.
So what can we do, when as small biz owners, we don’t feel that our brand is ‘tied-up’ enough but aren’t sure what to do about it? Here are five steps that can get you on the path to feeling 100% consistent and confident in your brand again…
Spend some time thinking about your brand values and why your brand exists.
You’ve got to know who you are for your customer to understand who you are. It’s obvious, yes, but it’s where so many brands fall down. So do some groundworks and spend some time focusing on the way you communicate your brand and the passion and values that are behind it and drive you.
- What’s the ‘fire’, the passion you have that drives you to do what you do, or sell what you sell. Go deep. Get right to the core of what you love about your biz. Write it down. Ask yourself: is this passion clear to your customers, without guesswork?
- The bigger picture. What do you stand for on a larger scale… are you somehow improving others’ lives/the world through doing what you do? Perhaps you love serving women in biz because you strive for equality, perhaps you believe in buying small and supporting independents rather than the retail giants. Write it down. Again, assess whether you’re making this bigger/longer-term mission clear to your audience?
Make sure you keep it relevant to your biz. And always have these back-of-mind when talking to your customers, so they know what you truly stand for.
Identify who your 3 x ideal clients are.
When embarking on a brand identity project, I’ll ask clients to imagine their three IDEAL customers just walked into the room—all with varying requirements. And then I ask them to describe these customers in detail.
- What they are like as people, how they dress, talk, act. Then ask: does your current identity align with them? If not, why not, and what could you change?
- Which other brands are they interacting with… and why do you think this is the case? Why are they drawn to these other brands? This can help to think about the personality of your brand and what you might also be trying to portray when you speak to them. Do NOT, however, try to be something you’re not. Faking it is never easy, being authentic 100% is, and is so much more fun and makes for real connection.
- What they’re going to buy from you and why you’re going to LOVE them being a customer/client. We want to attract our ideal clients, right?! ‘Cause that’s where the real fun is.
Now make sure everything you do aligns with these dream customers. Revisit these ‘profiles’ regularly to make sure they still align with where you’re heading.
Then identify where these customers are and focus on showing up there…. in a clear and consistent way.
It’s time to assess where most of your business is coming from, how these ideal customers are finding you. Let’s say most of your work is coming through Instagram and your bio links through to your website. You also have a mailing list sign-up. Now focus in on these main communication channels and make sure they tie-up: the look, the voice, the messaging. Refer back to points 1 & 2. Put aside a day or two to audit all your social and marketing channels, go through them all and take time to make notes on what you’ve been doing right and what you could change. Then make tweaks and commit to getting it all feeling a bit more tied up again from here on in. Trust me; you’ll feel more confident in your brand as a result.
Then, when you nailed this, go through other secondary channels, say it’s Facebook, Twitter, etc. and mirror it in your profiles there too. Hopefully, a bit of cut/pasting and you’re done.
Now it’s time to go in on your ‘look’…
Have a colour palette and brand fonts and stick to them.
If you’ve invested in an off-the-shelf logo or your logo came without colour/font recommendations this can leave you feeling lost or a bit ‘all over the place’ when it comes to creating content, marketing and web graphics. Especially if you’re not particularly creative. Put some time aside to pick a colour palette you love or, if you’re really not creative at all, ask a graphic designer to work with you on creating one. It’s not a huge task but could help you so much with your visual direction and reignite your visual identity. Be creative with your colour palette but don’t change it up every two weeks because you get bored. Your audience will come to recognise your look when scrolling, and that’s the kind of recognition we’re going for. Make sure this palette flows through all your channels.
Same with a font. Find one or two complementary fonts and stick to using them. Google fonts is a good place to start, but there are sooooo many out there. Have a play then, when you’re happy with how it looks, stick to it.
Tip: If you use/upgrade to Canva Pro, you can upload these fonts and colours into your brand profile for ease of keeping continuity. It also allows you to upload your own fonts, not just the basic offering. So you can be more individual… which is always good 🙂
Don’t design something ‘new’ every time you need to design something.
Simplicity is key, and getting a good set of templates together for publishing your regular social posts/graphic content means you won’t lose a day a week getting creative (and frustrated). A simple design is a good design. Trust me. It’s my day job:) You can hire a graphic designer to set you off on the right foot or just follow a few simple rules such as:
- Having a set place for your logo on social posts
- Don’t use fonts that are hard to read
- Not changing font size/alignment every time you create a new post.
- If you run regular ‘features’/content give those graphics a style and stick to it over and over
- Keep it simple, and don’t over-busy it.. If you’re no designer, keep it super simple.
- When you share others’ content on social, take time to check out whether the source has a brand ethos and visual that is somewhat aligned with yours.
Where you can find me:
About your author
Louise is a branding pro and graphic designer at Lulacreates. She works with female founders and small biz to create stand-out and holler-worthy brand identity and marketing graphics so they feel 100% confident in their brand.
You can find out more about Louise and her business here.
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