How to Start Branding Yourself and Your business

Branding is undoubtedly important. I could point to a hundred articles that explain why . While I think it’s important to understand why – I...

Branding is undoubtedly important. I could point to a hundred articles that explain why. While I think it’s important to understand why – I’m guessing you understand why or you wouldn’t be here – in this post I will show you how to start branding yourself and your business. I tend to use business synonymous with brand and yourself. In many cases we are both, aren’t we?

Start by choosing 4-6 words, but not just any words.

I like to use “personality” to describe these defining words. In addition to thinking about what your business looks like, you should also consider how it interacts with or behaves around others.

Your brand is more than just a delivered product or service, it’s who people perceive you to be. And you have the power to drive that perception.

Note to designers: this is a big part of my design process! I would encourage you to integrate this exercise into your client process to give you a springboard for your client’s visual brand.

Before you start visually branding your business, you need to know who you are selling to and what you are selling. If you’ve worked out these 2 things, then you’re ready to move on to defining how your business looks.

How to choose the right words

Just like you shouldn’t guess at what your clients are thinking, you shouldn’t whip out words just because they sound good or they align with a current trend. These words will be the foundation that will guide the rest of your visual brand.

Get your Fascinate Profile

This brand perception test measures how others see you at your best. It has given me insight into my clients and the nuances that make them unique. Take the free test and you’ll receive a printable result with strengths and positive character traits you’ll want to amplify.

I’ve embraced my Fascinate profile. Using words from my Fascination Report as a foundation for my visual brand has helped me a create a brand that feels very true to me. A deeper understanding of how I draw people to myself and then capitalizing on it with the right visuals has helped me draw “perfect fit” clients.

Describe your brand like it’s a physical location

I ask my clients – If you could have anything you wanted in an office space or brick and mortar store – what would this space look like? What would customers feel when they walk in the door? It’s often hard for clients to describe something intangible, like a future website. So in asking this question, I’ll be able to pinpoint the emotion my client wants to evoke from her potential customers. A desired aesthetic will begin to form. Answer the question for yourself and add some of these words to your list of choices.

Describe your brand like it’s a person

I ask my clients – Describe your brand like it’s a person. How would he/she behave? How would he/she dress? What values would he/she live by? In asking these questions, I’m trying to get an idea of how the client sees her business interacting with customers. It’s not only about defining physical traits, but also about gaining insight into the brand’s engagement with others, a key piece of the whole experience. Ask yourself this question and add descriptive words to your list.

Define strategic anchors

Strategic anchors are the criteria that guide the decisions you (or your team) make throughout your business at every level, now and as it grows. What 2 or 3 things are at the core of every major decision you make? What are your core values? I find these words often help define the overall brand experience. They are the common thread that runs through the visuals, messaging and interaction. Words like collaboration, integrity, intention, excellence, encouragement. What are your anchors? Add them to your list.

Now choose

This might be the hardest part – narrowing your choices down to your top 4-6 words. You’ll use these words to guide everything you create, so take some time in this process.
A few tips to help you choose:
  • Look at the synonyms of your favorite words – try – maybe you’ll discover a word that’s slightly better.
  • Search image banks and Pinterest using your chosen words and see what you find. Search using your word + brand, or your word + logo, your word + home decor, your word + fashion (you get the idea). Does the resulting imagery line up with what you have envisioned for your brand? If not, keep tweaking.
  • Try out the words in your messaging. Can you see yourself using them on a regular basis? If not, consider axing in favor of a descriptive word that comes more naturally to you.

So now what?

Congratulate yourself for pushing through this process. These words are your foundation. Over the years, I’ve used my brand personality words to dictate my messaging, my social media choices and how I create and deliver offerings. Make these words your beacon in the storm of all the busy and the should going on around you. This kind of focus will continually draw the right kind of clients to your door.

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