Business Mum Branding Part 1: How to discover your Brand's Story
If you read this post (which you really should BTW!) about The Two Things that will make your Website Truly Awesome you will know that design is a super important part of your website. And your branding is what determines 99.9% (ok, that's a made up statistic, but it's got to be pretty accurate!!) of your site's design.
So, today you are going to discover what a brand is, how your brand communicates with your customers and how a strong brand will grow your business. Oh, and how to discover your Brand Story of course!! (Click here to read Branding Part2: Creating your Brand Visuals) And, to help you out, I have made you a free Branding Inspiration Worksheet! (<< Click that link to download it! PS; Totally free, no email required!)
And if you read that blog post I just mentioned - I was telling you about how you need a Brand Style Guide. LOOK what I have here! A Workbook and Guide for creating your very own Brand Style Guide!
To get your hands on it, you need to join us in The Badass BusinessMum's Club (which you do need to give me an email address for. BUT, in exchange you get access to the exclusive Badass Biz Lessons Archive, the private Facebook Group, all the Business Idea to Business Beginning Bonuses AND weekly actionable Badass Biz Lessons sent direct to your mailbox! So I think you're getting a good deal there!!)
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Let's get started on defining your Brand Story...
What is A brand?
Branding. It's a big thing at the moment in the World of online business and blogging. But what exactly is your brand? It's all to do with your logo and colour palette and fonts isn't it? Well yes, that's a part of it - but it's so much more than that too!
Your brand is your business' public face. And your business presents a brand image to anyone that encounters it, whether you want it to or not! Everything about how your business looks, your business interactions, the products you sell, how much you sell them for, the content you share on your blog - everything all adds up to create an 'image' of your business.
When you actively work on discovering your brand's story and then work on how you tell that story you are putting yourself in control of of that image of your business!
Your business' personality
Your brand is your business' personality. Is your brand vibrant and loud? Is it potty - mouthed and aggressive? Is it quiet and calm? Your brand's personality with affect how your potential customers view your brand and will help them make the decision to become a customer (or not!) Someone who is quiet and introverted will probably be overwhelmed by a full on brand personality, whereas someone with a strong outgoing personality will feel attracted to and encouraged to work with a full on brand.
The experience your audience / customers have with your business
Every time your audience interacts with your business, you are giving them an experience. If they arrive on your website and it's beautiful, easy to navigate, has useful free content and everything works properly, you've created a positive experience! If they arrive and your site is confusing, slow to load and is full of pixelated photographs, that's a negative experience that they're not going to repeat!
Similarly, if they email you and you reply quickly with a helpful answer you've re-enforced that positive vibe. But if they've emailed you from a pretty website full of floral photographs and pastel colours and you've replied with an email where every second word is f*ck and you've signed off with a gold sparkly signature they're going to be wondering what the hell is going on and did this email really come from the same company.
An inconsistent experience is as off-putting as a straight up negative experience, especially if you are a freelancer or selling services such as coaching where your customers will need to work closely with you for an extended length of time.
How you want to be known to your customers
What do you want people to say about your brand? What sort of experience do you want to create for your clients and customers (apart from the obvious 'no hassle, excellent service' type of experience)? Do you want your customers to feel energised and excited after interacting with your brand? Do you want them to feel thoughtful and inspired?
A lot of how you want to be known will depend on your type of business, your products and services and your customers. But even taking all that into account you still have a choice about what you want your business to be known for. And you brand is what creates it.
how a strong brand identity will improve your business
So know you know how your brand is presented to your audience (even at a subconscious level!) how will having a recognisable brand improve and help you grow your business?
Makes you instantly recognisable in a crowded online marketplace
There are a lot of businesses online. And there will be lots of other people with similar businesses to yours. Having a brand that stands out will make your business recognisable in a sea of Pinterest images, Tweets and Instagram photographs.
If someone has already visited your site and you've created a positive experience for them, when they come across your content in other places online, such as their favourite social media, they are more likely to see what you're currently up to! Creating a strong brand, with both your brand visuals and your brand story, is going to make it easy for your fans to spot you in a crowd!
Customers know what to expect from interactions with your business.
A big big big thing about branding is consistency! When customers have had an awesome experience with your business that remained consistently awesome at all times, it's pretty much a no-brainer they're going to come back for more from you!
By keeping the second and third impressions of your business consistent with the first impression you make people feel 'safe' around you. It's like meeting a person in real life that you instantly connect with. If they appeared to have had a personality transplant the second time you met them, it's going to be, "bye, bye, new friend!" But if whatever it was that created that instant connection remains, the friendship is only going to get stronger.
Builds trust through repeated experiences
Trust is massive in getting (and keeping) customers in online business. Your customers have never met you, all they have is your website, social media and maybe emails to get an impression of you. For all they know you could be a scammer with a pretty website who is going to steal all their money and disappear to the Bahamas with it!
Trust - "Firm belief in the reliability, truth, or ability of someone or something. Acceptance of the truth of a statement without evidence or investigation"
To build trust online, you have to show your website visitors that you are reliable, safe and honest before you can covert them to customers. And you do that with a strong, consistent brand that shows over and over again you are what you say you are.
Easy to recommend you
Building trust, creating consistent experiences and being recognisable all makes it easy for satisfied customers to recommend you to their friends.
And it's not a coincidence that more people will make a purchase based on a friend's recommendation than a business' advert.
How to 'create' your brand
So now you know what your brand is, how it affects your customers and how strong branding will improve your business, how do you go about creating your own 'brand story'?
First of all download and fill out your Brand Story Inspiration worksheet (<< Just click that link or the image below. Oh yes, and it's totally free - I'm not even asking you for your email address!)
Putting you in your brand
You are a major part of your brand - especially as a Solo-preneur! Including your own personality in your business branding also makes it a whole lot easier to remain consistent and genuine in your brand message! Take some notes about the most important and distinctive features of your personality that you want to include in your business brand.
Include aspects of your style and image, common words and phrases that you use, quirky mannerisms and strong morals and ethics. What are your favourite colours, ways of relaxing and ways of working? Are you an energetic go-getter? Or a dedicated planner?
How do you relate to your audience?
How you relate to your audience is very important. Think about how your customers are currently feeling about the situation you are helping them out with. Do they need a calming presence in their lives or someone who will give them some tough love?
How can you brand your business to be what they need? How will you speak to them? What colours and imagery will they find inviting? How does your personality relate to your audience's personality?
(PS: One of the Business Idea to Business Beginning Bonuses you get as a Badass BusinessMum Club member is a Workbook and Guide to creating an Ideal Customer Profile. Just Saying ;-))
What is your background story?
How did you get to the point in your business where you are today? Is it years of industry experience? A personal journey? How can you relate your personal story with your audience's journey.
Sharing personal stories are an amazing way of making connections with people. If your audience recognises themselves in your story, they will have more trust that your products or services can help them get to where they want to be (eg; where you are now)
3 words to describe your brand
This is a fun exercise that really makes you narrow down what you want your business and brand to represent. Think of three words that describe what you want your brand to say to your audience (eg; mine are 'Bold', 'Deliberate' and 'Unapologetic'.
Keep these words somewhere to remind you of the image you are creating and consider using them in your tagline and in your content.
Why and how to create a brand Inspiration board
Creating a Brand Inspiration Board is the first step towards making sense of your Brand Story. By pulling all your visual inspiration for your brand together in one place, you can see which elements fit together. And which ones are waaayy off!
The next lesson is about Brand Visuals so I will talk more in that lesson about adding to and refining your inspiration board to make your final Brand Design decisions. For now, you are concentrating on your overall Brand Story - your Brand's personality.
Now, start collecting your inspiration. I use Pinterest and create a secret board to pin my images to. Ask yourself, if your blog/business was a person, what:
Would it wear
What style would it identify with
Would it drive
Would it's house look like
Would it's ethics/morals be
Collect around 20 images and narrow down the ones that you think best represent what you want your Brand Story to communicate and use this smaller collection of images to create your Brand Story Moodboard.
I created my moodboard in Photoshop Elements using this free moodboard template from Rekita Nicole Design Studio + Blog. I’ve pinned a variety of different moodboard templates from different designers on my ‘Your & Your Brand' Pinterest Board.
If you don’t have Photoshop, check out this blog post by HubSpot about 5 easy-to-use tools for creating moodboards (3 are free!)
And lastly, just before I leave you to go and create your own moodboards, here is a comparison of my own Brand Inspiration Board and one I created for a fictitious business selling handmade Wedding stationary (this fictitious business crops up quite a lot during Business Idea to Business Beginning!)
Even with just a small selection of images it's easy to see these two brands are very different, both to look at and their overall vibes.
Time to Take Action! It's time to take control of your Brand Story. Get yourself on Pinterest, go old skool and cut up magazines - just start collecting inspiration for your Brand Story. Download your free Brand Inspiration Worksheet and decide what story your Brand is going to tell!
Read Part 2 here: The Newbie BusinessMum's Guide to making your Brand look Amazing!
Related Blog Post: From Blah to Badass: The Badass BusinessMum Blog Re-brand
Join us in The Badass BusinessMum's Club to get access to a detailed Style Guide Workbook (as well as all the other Business Idea to Business Beginning bonuses, access to the exclusive Badass Biz Lesson archive, the private Facebook Group and weekly actionable Badass Biz Lessons delivered direct to your inbox!)
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