You’ve done enough reading to know that to be a success, you’ll need an Instagram account, a sweet-looking website, and a consistent brand personality. The problem is, and it’s a big one, you’re not really sure what constitutes a “consistent brand personality”.
Your “brand” isn’t just your name or your packaging – although this certainly contributes – it’s actually more intangible than that. It’s the feeling someone gets when hearing your name or seeing your packaging.
“[Your brand] is about abstract attributes and values which present themselves in concrete ways,” explains Google product designer Bruno Bergher.
He goes on to offer an example. Think about what you know of IKEA, without ever seeing it explicitly plastered on a sign: values of simple, affordable and clever design with a proud Swedish heritage. You aren’t “told” a brand is a certain thing, you “feel” it. That’s why representing that in your branding is so important.
Here are four places you should start to get a little clarity around your brand:
To find who you are, find who you’re not
You can’t be everything to everyone, and that goes for your branding too. As The Beach People cofounder Victoria Beattie told our Masterclass audience last week, this will come down to the brand archetype you slot into. As Victoria explained: if your brand is positioned as a ‘creator’, like Apple or Adobe, you’re hardly going to ham up how safe your products are. You’ll be focusing on innovation and how you’re changing the world with your brand.
Is your brand a jester, looking to have fun and entertain people, à la Zoe Foster Blake’s Go-to skincare range? Or is it more of an explorer, such as leading adventure company Patagonia, who lives its supportive, outgoing values right from its products through to its corporate structure?
To find your voice, find who you’re talking to
So you know who your customer is, but do you know what that customer is like outside of the context of your product or service? What do they like wearing, eating, discussing? These concepts may seem arbitrary and unrelated, but in terms of how you’ll speak to them, understanding their language is of the utmost importance. If you’re aiming high-end, you’re never going to speak in defs and lols, are you?
To find your image, find your values
A company that’s about reliability is hardly going to reach for a glittery letterhead, in the same way that a brand that wants to promote fun isn’t going to up the serious navy blue in its comms. Your colours, typeface, layout, and images are all linked with the “feel” of what you are at your core.
So try and narrow your brand values to five key terms, kind of like the company version of “describe yourself in three words”. Subsequently, you should make any branding decision based on the filter of your chosen value set – if it doesn’t fit with any of the terms you’ve carefully chosen, it’s not consistent. And therefore, not for you.
Finally, always follow the three rules of good branding
Considering the impressive list of stockists and widespread social following (in excess of 360,000 mind you), Victoria and The Beach People surely know good branding. The three most important aspects? Consistency, authenticity and clarity. Does it follow a clear thread? Does it represent us truthfully? Does it accurately show our values and product? Ask yourself these questions when any branding question pops up.
Hear Victoria Beattie talk more about branding at Kick Start Smart 2017. Click the banner below for tickets.
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