The ins and outs of creating your brand
I've had quite a few conversations with entrepreneurs about developing branding strategies, creating a website, and building presentation decks. I thought it might be helpful to share a guide about the mechanics behind building a brand story. I recommend getting these things down on paper (aka a Google Doc) and using that document to populate all your marketing materials from there.
We’ll look at four areas to understand and learn how to build your brand story.
- What is a Brand Story?
- Why is it important?
- What are the elements of a Brand Story? (there’s quite a bit…)
- Tips to make your Brand Story powerful
What is a Brand Story?
A brand story is everything you do to represent your brand. It's the big picture, and it's the details. It's everything from the colors and texture of your packaging, to business cards, to the content on your website, to the team you bring on. It's all a part of your brand story; every element should reflect the truth about your brand back to your audience.
Why is it important?
When it comes to the age of digital technology and social platforms, your brand story matters. Your brand story tells 'the why' behind your company. It creates the most important thing you can have with a customer, trust and authenticity.
What are the elements of a brand story?
The essential elements of a brand story are grouped into identity (how you look) and storytelling (how you sound).
Identity (How you look)
- Ownable - Is the name protectable?
- Meaningful - Does it have some degree of meaning infused?
- Memorable - Is the name easy to remember?
- Distinct - Is the name radically different from the competition?
- Likable - Would the target audience respond to the name?
- Intuitive - Is the name easy to say and spell?
- Flexible - Will this name inhibit the business in the future, or is it too limiting?
- Tone - A logo is a way to tell a brand story in as few words as possible.
- Versatility - A great logo should look good at any size.
- Simplicity - Is the logo as simple as possible?
- Distinctiveness- It's a bit of a challenge to make a logo mark both simple and distinct.
- Timelessness - A logo should avoid any apparent fads.
Fonts and Typography:
- Serif font - Serif fonts carry feelings of trust and respectability.
- Slab serif - They're associated most frequently with confidence, solidity, and a sense of bold attitude.
- Sans serif - Sans serif fonts are clean, modern, and engaging.
- Script fonts - Intended to provoke ideas of femininity, elegance, and creativity, thanks to their hand-written nature.
- Modern: Designed to be simple and legible.
- Display or decorative - casual, direct, fun, or unique.
- Your tagline should capture the essence of the value you provide to your customer in one or two concise sentences.
- Red - Confidence, youth, and power.
- Orange - Friendly, warm, and energetic.
- Yellow - Happiness, optimism, and warmth.
- Green - Peace, growth, and health.
- Blue - Trust, security, and stability.
- Purple - Luxurious, creative, and wise.
- Black - Reliable, sophisticated, and experienced.
- White - Simple, calm, and clean.
Once you have nailed down a specific look for your brand, it will be a guiding light for all of the visual elements you create. Having one unified look and feel will help your startup go much further.
Storytelling (How you sound)
History: Your why? How did your company come to exist?
Mission: Describes the purpose of your organization and how you'll achieve that purpose.
Vision: The view in 10 - 15 years - An aspirational statement that outlines your long-term objectives and goals over time.
Values: Operating philosophies/principles that guide a company internally and externally. They are the "soul" of the organization and provide a moral compass.
Culture: It is the personality of your company. It defines the environment in which employees work, employee participation, and management style.
Brand Promise: The tangible and intangible promise you make to your customer as a result of using your product or service. It's why your customer should believe you.
Positioning and purpose: The space you occupy in your customer's mind relative to your competitors and whether customers believe you're the best option to meet their needs.
Brand personality: Brand personality refers to the human characteristics, emotions, and attributes embodied by a brand.
Once you have spent time defining each of these elements, you can input them into your specific marketing and team document.
Tips on making your brand powerful
- Make it meaningful: What value will this provide to my audience?
- Make it personal: How does your brand improve their life?
- Make it emotional: Have you been able to get on a different level?
- Make it simple: Are you focused on one person or one problem?
- Make it authentic: Are you being transparent?
- Make it active: What space have you made for them to be on the journey with you?
After you’ve developed each of these brand elements you’re ready to dive into storytelling of your brand. Whether it's a website, a pitch deck, a business card, a sales doc, you have all the elements to jumpstart your storytelling.
Need more help? Check out these helpful resources!
- Simple Strategic Plan
- Simple Budgeting Template
- Building A Brand Story - by Donald Miller
- Mailchimp Brand Guide
- Photos at Unsplash
- 75 Tools to build a great brand identity
Building a Marketing Team - Startup Style