Whether you’re making $50k a month or not yet breaking four figures, one thing will always be true: Your brand is how people remember you.
Your brand also influences how they feel about your brand, their experience working with or purchasing from you, and even the amount of money they decide to spend with you.
Every business is online now — it’s no longer an option not to be. Just having a website or cheap logo simply isn’t enough. Now, it’s having a brand that resonates with your ideal audience that’s important. No matter where you are in your business, a strong brand can be the difference between being booked out and struggling to land clients.
I often see established entrepreneurs thinking, “I make great money! I’ve gotten this far with the branding I have. I don’t need to focus on my branding anymore; it’s been good enough to get me where I am.” I wish I could tell every single one of them: Think again!
Let me give you an example. I’m sure you’re probably reading this on an iPhone or a MacBook (or you’ve used one before). And look at how Apple has evolved over the years.
If they stuck with their colorful apple from 1977, Apple probably wouldn’t be one of the biggest tech companies in the world.
Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t think people are buying Apple just because of their logo. People buy Apple because their products are easy to use, they’re beautiful, and they love how seamlessly the products work together. (Have you ever had to share a Wi-Fi password with someone and your phone just knows another Apple user is in the room? #PureGenius).
However, with every product they introduce, Apple is constantly elevating the customer experience — and they evolve their branding right along with it.
Like any company, Apple is about a lot more than their logo, but making these thoughtful tweaks to their design represents a lot more than the color of an apple. Investing in their brand shows the world that they’re evolving, growing, and constantly becoming better.
Whether you’re selling a service or a product, this is exactly how you have to think of your brand. Just like you improve your processes or enhance your deliverables, you also need to elevate your brand.
You can do something as simple as tweaking the fonts or colors or something more substantial like changing your entire website design — as long as these changes are done strategically and thoughtfully, they will help position your brand for even more success.
The biggest brands in the world take branding very seriously; imagine where you could be if you did, too.
If you’re now thinking, “Sounds good, Tina. I want to level up my branding, but how?” I got you!
1. Ask yourself these questions.
No matter what stage in business my clients are in, I always ask a series of questions to help them understand their brand. Even if you’ve answered these before, write down your answers to these questions. I want you to really think about these!
- Who is your target market? Has it changed from when you first started?
- How do you want people to feel when they enter your store/website?
- Write down a few keywords that describe your business or your ideal business (ex. Luxurious, elegant, authentic, cozy, fun…)
- What brands/companies are you attracted to and why?
2. Pinterest is your best friend to find your vibe.
Once you’ve completed these questions, your next step is to head over to Pinterest. Create a private board and begin pinning everything that inspires you. This can be logos, websites, and fonts, but you can also include interior decor, photography, and art.
Using keywords such as “neutral aesthetic” can show you hundreds of options. (Pro tip: Anything with the word aesthetic at the end will usually show you great ideas.)
You will begin to see a trend amongst your images. This, my friend, will be your vibe!
3. Find your fonts.
You want to look and feel like you’re worth that $10k? Start by steering clear from free fonts.
Free fonts are great to use as subhead or paragraph fonts, but for your logo and title fonts, I always recommend purchasing a high-end font. You can spend as little as $40 on a gorgeous font that will speak volumes.
Some of my favorite places to shop for fonts are creativemarket.com and myfonts.com. Find inspiration from your Pinterest board and purchase one that really aligns with the answers to your questions from step 1. You can use Canva Pro to upload your fonts and colors to your brand board and begin designing from there — it really doesn’t have to be overly complicated.
4. Find your colors.
Wondering how to find your color palette? Head over to coolors.co, a fun place to find your color inspiration!
You can add an image from your Pinterest board and grab colors from it. It’s so easy and you won’t have to wonder what colors go best together. It’s a free and fun platform I always recommend to anyone who wants to DIY.
5. Design your logo.
You’re probably thinking, Where do I even start?!
My best tip is to stay simple. You don’t need to have illustrations, flowers, bubbles, and all the fancy things to stand out. Going back to my Apple example (or even any high-end luxury brand), everything is simple.
Your brand is more than your logo, so don’t try to put every aspect into a logo. You can add other design elements that mean something to you throughout your website, but your logo should be simple, classic, and you. Start with your brand name in a straight line and build from there: Try stacking the words, moving them side by side, forming them into a circle, or anything else that comes to mind. Once you have a few options, you can take a step back and see what your customers would truly connect with.
6. Elevate the brand.
Now that you’ve completed your branding, use what you’ve come up with for a badass brand photoshoot!
High-quality photos are a must. Imagine if you were ready to splurge on a designer bag but on a website you find, all of the product pictures of the Prada bags looked like they were shot with an old flip phone — yikes! You probably wouldn’t feel super comfortable handing over your hard-earned money to a site like that. It wouldn’t seem trustworthy.
That’s why you need to invest in a photographer that can bring everything in your brand together. These images will not only do wonders for your brand on social but also your new website. They’ll show your future customers who you are and build trust and connection.
My best tip is to choose a photographer based on the style that you like. If your brand is light, bright, and airy, choose a photographer that specializes in that. If your brand is editorial and edgy, choose a photographer with that vibe. You won’t be happy trying to match your brand to a photographer without that style, I promise.
Last but not least, I want to share a few common mistakes I see among rebrands.
- You’re using a cursive or script font in your logo and title. Steer clear from fonts that are difficult to read. Even if you think it’s easy to read, some people will disagree. If you really love a script font, use it sparingly for accent words if you must.
- Your logo has trendy illustrations. Stay away from frilly extras and illustrations; they will likely feel outdated in just a few months. If you want illustrations, use them as highlights in your marketing, and make sure to hire a professional illustrator for custom work.
- You’re more than a little “inspired” by a favorite brand. Don’t copy someone else’s work; it’s more obvious than you think. Be you, because people will recognize your authenticity and love your brand that much more.
- You’re scared to change. Never stay in the same place, even if you’re seeing success where you are. Continue evolving your brand the more you improve and the bigger things get. When it comes to branding, be like Apple!