And exactly what creative direction is...
Since the pandemic the world has grown a whole lot of start ups. You might be reading this article because you’re in that very position, but unsure where to start when it comes to your brand.
Whether you’re working with a designer, building it yourself, or DIYing what you can and contracting where you can afford, follow these 7 prime factors into building a brand that will build you a good business.
Before we start, you need to know that a good brand is not just the right colours and a decent logo. If a real brand is what you’re looking for, there’s a lot more to the foundations of your visual identity.
1. Know your Purpose and Values
You know your business idea and the model to execute, build and grow it. Now, flesh it out with why you want to build this business, and the values that will form it.
‘I made my home-made health supplements brand because I wanted to make good health accessible to everyone, without the cost big brands and their additives have on the body, or the cost of time it takes to do it yourself at home. My business’ values are natural ingredients only, complete transparency in my home-made process and improving health from the inside.’
2. Know your Target Audience and Exactly Who They Are
Okay, now that we have our health brand purpose thought out, who are we selling to? Start with your demographic, and then really hone it in with their lifestyles; what does your target customer do for a living? Where do they live for that matter? What do they do on the weekends?
If you’ve even heard the name Tik-Tok, you’ll know ‘clean girl living’ is huge on there right now, and taking Gen-Z and Millenial lifestyles by storm. So let’s use that as our example.
My target customer is are girls and women aged between 18–28. They live in cities and have busy 9–5 jobs, most likely in marketing.
On the weekends they like to go for brunch, maybe a pilates class, they love to buy candles and probably go for dinner and drinks on a saturday night.
They subscribe to the #cleangirlaesthetic on social media and curate their lifestyles, homes and image just as Hailey Bieber would, but on much more of a budget.
If you were to talk directly to them, you might say something like this: ‘My supplements take everything you’d add in your morning smoothie, and capture it in one little pill you can take while you’re headed out the door.’
3. Know your position within your market
So health supplements and everything associated is huge right now, and has been for a while. It’s only growing with the access social media gives us into healthy living insights, so it’s a busy market. Well, we know our target audience cares about their health and their image, but they’re busy girls and don’t hours of extra time to spend making morning smoothies. They have enough money to invest a little into their health, but not so much that they’re buying completely personalised dietician plans. so:
The supplements are affordable, so much so that our customers would buy it through the Tik-Tok shop or on Instagram, or would simply add it to their basket among their usual beauty and health buys.
We know here that we’re positioned for women, who care about their image and health, and their buying habits are influenced through social media.
Now here’s where a good designer comes in:
4. You have a clear creative direction that aligns with your brand’s strategy
What is creative direction? Creative direction informs how your business is perceived visually, using your strategy to do so. It’s how the creative vision is formed, and how your brand is presented across everything associated with your brand, whether it be your logo and image use, or your brand social media content and e-commerce website. We’re very solid on our audience and position now, and we know that we revolve around true, home-made health in a completely natural way. So:
Our creative direction balances feminine visuals with natural, health-focused ones. We combine colours that girls and women are most attracted to, with classic, feminine fonts and imagery that depicts health-focused living in a modern, working lifestyle.
Now you have a good visual outline of what your brand will look like, and be able to eliminate what it will not look like.
5. You have a strong visual identity and assets
Now you can begin with that pretty logo you’ve been dying to see. Let’s assume you’re working with a designer here, because you’d be amazed at the difference they can make. From the overall design concept to the tiniest details, good brand design makes a good difference.
You’ve just spent 2 months working with your brand designer and have a beautiful baby brand. You have a logo or logo suite (a collection of logos and brand marks that your brand can be identified by), your colour palette perfectly crafted, your font choice selected and custom-made graphic elements. In our health supplement case, these are beautiful line drawing illustrations depicting our supplements and the girls we cater to. We even have stock imagery sourced for us that we can use in our social media content, website and email marketing campaigns.
6. You have clear visual cohesion
This is where the difference of a DIY brand and a brand created by a designer can really be seen. A good brand designer will provide you with guidelines at the end of the project that give you clear instructions of how to use all of your visual assets, and in different circumstances. It might not seem important to ensure all of your writing sizes are the same, but these details make a brand look professional and like they know what they’re doing, and that’s what tells your customers that they can trust you. I.e, they want to spend their money on your products and services.
My friend also started a business, but he didn't pay a designer to create his brand, he did it himself. He made a decent logo and found some fonts on microsoft word. Everything looks fine and he’s able to start selling his services quicker.
However, he doesn't understand the sales tactics behind accessible design and colour theory. He made a google ad with his logo and ad copy on a colour background that doesn't show the actual content of the ad very well at all, or at least not in a way that makes it instantly easy for his target audience to read it, click on it, and buy it there and then. He didn't make any sales from that ad, but it was because of his lack of brand cohesion.
I however, have brand guidelines from my brand designer that show me what font and background colours from my curated brand colour palette work really well together. I made sales because no one struggled to read what they were buying from me.
7. You have your brand tone and voice perfectly crafted to speak directly with your audience
It might sound tricky, but it’s perfectly easy because we already know who our audience is. And, chances are that you are your own target audience because you started the business for them in the first place. So you already know their language.
What is brand tone?: Imagine this as your brand’s mood — are you serious, funny, happy, calm? Pick yours and create a list of keywords that describe your brand tone. (Again, a good brand designer will do this for you.)
What is a brand voice?: This is the actual words you use. Not just your product names or uses, but also the whole conversation you have. Imagine you’re having a conversation with your dream customer as your brand. Our health supplement brand is like a best friend to our audience, so:
‘Hey girl. We had a stressful week because it’s our time of the month, and needed a major pick me up to get going again. We thought you might be needing the exact same too, so here's 15% off our whole supplement range to make you smile.’
Our voice is friendly and informal, so we used terms of endearment our customers would use with their friends, and a woman’s common ground as a connection.
One further tip to help you in this process:
use key words and images at each stage to out line what each key point means for your brand. This can be either to inspire your answer at each point, or to round up after as an easy remember.
So, have all of those tips cleared up why your brand might be lacking in sales right now?
If you want to talk about how to make your good brand better, get in touch with us here so we can help you out, and see what branding services we can offer.