I don't talk too often about the visual aspects of our businesses but branding can play a HUGE role in how our business is perceived. It's so important to make sure that your branding is connected to your overall business strategy so that it isn't working against the goals you're trying to achieve. In this episode, I'm discussing how good branding aligns with your business strategy and how to make sure your visuals are saying what you need them to.
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Welcome to Strategy for Creatives: Business Minus the Bullshit. Whether you're new in business or find yourself in a season of change, get ready to build a strategy, create an action plan and crush those goals. I'm Sasha, host a strategy for creatives. And I help female led businesses grow their brands in authentic, measurable and meaningful ways, without the stress. There's no sugar coated here, I'm serving up real tips and actionable steps you can take to help get you organized, get off the path to burnout and grow your brand like a boss. So go ahead, pull up a chair, grab a notepad, and let's talk business. Welcome to the Strategy for Creatives: Business Minus the Bullshit. I, of course, am your host Sasha. And today I want to talk about branding, I typically don't talk a lot about the visual aspects of business, because to me, while some of it when it comes to marketing, and things like that, can lend itself to business strategy. But a lot of what we visually see in business doesn't have much to do with strategy. They are related, but they don't really have a lot to do with each other. But I did want to talk today about how to brand your business with intention and why when you are in the beginning of your business, or you're rebranding your business branding with your business strategy in mind, is something that you should do with intention and does matter in your business. Because when you look at branding from that aspect, it is very much part of your business strategy. A lot of people when they start their business, and they are coming up with a brand, and they're coming up with a logo and colors and typography and things like that, they don't look at it with the strategy of their business in mind. They are trying to create something beautiful and something pretty, that's going to attract people. But in reality, unless you have your business strategy in the back of your mind when you are branding your business, it's not going to be set up correctly, to get the ideal people into your business and to target the right people that you're trying to attract with your business. So you want to make sure that you're branding with intention. If you have done a brand for yourself, and you've never worked with a brand strategist or a design agency, I highly suggest that if you have the funds, and even if you don't, that it's something that you save up for and work towards, because working with a brand strategist, or somebody who does branding strategy within their design business is essential for coming up with branding that makes sense for your business. When you're using branding as a business strategy, what you're going to be doing is having a brand that's designed for you or if you're doing it yourself designing a brand that is going to attract the right people. It's going to elicit an emotional response from these people. And ultimately, it will inspire action, which is what you want.Your brand and what it visually looks like should create feelings in people. It should be something that's recognizable. And it's going to help people get attracted to your brand into your business. And that ultimately at some point should inspire action from them. An action can be anything, we've talked about this across many of our episodes. But action could be anything from clicking a link, liking a photo, replying to an email, all of those are actionable steps that you want people to take in your business. And so you want to approach your branding from a business strategy mindset. You want to approach it with the same type of things that we talk about when it comes to businessstrategy:
who are you targeting? What's your ideal client look like? What are their interests? What type of activities do they do on the weekend? How much money do they have? When you are working with a brand strategist, they're going to ask you those types of questions to really narrow in on to what your ideal person is and who you're trying to target. But they also back it up with a lot of color theory and things like that. So they know based on who you're trying to target and your business, what colors will elicit that response that you're trying to get from your from your ideal target, and that can help set you up with a logo and branding that's going to match that strategy. Now I do want to clarify that branding is more than just logo. A lot of times when we talk about we want to get a brand design we think of just a logo. And while a logo is the biggest part of our brand, it's the most visible part of our brand, it isn't our whole brand. Branding, is your logo design, it's sub marks - those are alternative logos and smaller logos that you can use based on various settings. It's the colors that you're using for your brand. It's the typography that you're using for your brand. And it's also the way in which you use all of those things together. So for example, if you look at certain things on the By Sasha website, I have a very distinct color palette, it's orange and yellow, and deep purple, and very, very deep blue. And I actually, if you've ever noticed on on the emails, if you're on the email list, I don't actually write in black, I write in one of my brand colors, which is a very dark blue. And that's just to maintain brand consistency. If you go to the website, you'll notice that headers and things like that are in a certain typography. And the text that I use is in a different typography, that sets brand standards. You'll also notice a lot of times and brand strategy, I might use one logo like on an email list and a different logo on social media. All of that is tied into brand strategy. And when you have a brand strategist, they should be giving you a brand strategy guide that's going to walk you through the do's and don'ts of how to and when to use your logos, which ones you should use where the colors you should use. And any good brand strategist will make sure that your logo specifically is designed in a way that it looks good in black and white before any color is used. Because it needs to be able to stand on its own and be recognizable because we don't always see our logos in color. And so we can't depend on our color palettes to really make that visual impact. So you want to make sure again, that you're working with a brand strategist who's going to help you figure out what that means for your business and create something that makes sense for your business. Now, when you have branding as a business strategy in mind, when you're using your branding and connecting it to your business strategy, it's going to do a couple of things for you. Number one, it's going to evoke emotions in your audience. Visual branding helps to build the feeling and the vibe of your brand. And it evokes emotions from your brand, which are very powerful, because that is what creates connections between people. And so depending again, on what that visual looks like, you are going to get a certain set of emotions from your brand. So for my brand, again, my colors are very loud, they're very, I like to call them spicy, and they command authority and that I know what I'm talking about. That is essentially what my brand colors are supposed to do. A lot of that is reflected in my personality. I love being Puerto Rican. I hold my culture very close to my heart. And being a Latina woman means that I love color. I love everything that's bright. I love everything filled with vibrancy, and I'm loud. And I love loud music, and I love loud things. And that's reflected in my brand. Because my brand is obviously a personal brand. So it's reflective of myself. But it also commands authority, which means that when you go to my branding, that visual aspect that you're seeing is that this is a person who knows what she's talking about. Those colors loud and therefore they project confidence. And so therefore, I'm confident in that I know what I'm talking about. So it should project that emotion onto the people who are looking at my branding. And that's how we create connections. If you feel that I'm a confident person, when you visit my website, or when you visit my social media, you're more likely to trust the things that I'm saying and know that they come from a place of authority, or a place that I know what I'm talking about. And so therefore, you're more likely to want to create a connection with me if you're looking for the types of services that I offer. And so you want your brand to invoke emotions that you're trying to get out of your audience. And that comes from having a very clear business strategy. Again, it's all going to go back to who your target audience is, what are you trying to target? Who are you trying to target? And what do you want them to feel when they are coming to your brand. If, for example, you are in the spa industry, you want people to come and feel very relaxed when they visit your website. You want them to feel that if they use your services, they're going to come home feeling refreshed, and they're going to be relaxed. And so you want colors and imagery that's going to reflect those feelings because that, again is what's going to create connections with your potential target audience. And so you want to make sure that your branding is reflective of that. Your brand should also have perception and positioning, that's going to have a big impact on your business. So what does that mean? The way a person perceives your brand makes a very big difference. Branding can position your brand in the marketplace and it affects the way that people perceive it. That's why you can have a lot of people doing the same exact thing, but being perceived very differently. You can look at two different brands for let's say interior design, and depending on the colors used, the logo, and the imagery, without even seeing a website, without even seeing pricing, you would probably have a very pretty good idea of what their pricing is. Whether they are low end designers or high end luxury designers based solely on the visual aspects of their brand. And so your branding can create a perception and position you in the marketplace, whether you mean for it to do that or not. And so, if you are a luxury person, you have luxury services that you're offering or luxury products, you want to make sure that your branding matches up to that. So that way, you aren't showing a perception of maybe being mid tier or lower tier services, but charging luxury prices, because your branding isn't going to match up with the perception that your branding is giving off. And so it's very important that you tie that business strategy that you have of what you're offering, what your offer is, what your marketing is, what your pricing strategy is, you're tying that together with the perception that your brand is giving off, and that it is positioning your brand in a way that makes sense for what you're trying to achieve in your business. Branding can also keep you consistent, and it creates confidence within your business. When you create brand visuals with intention rather than simply following trends or basing it purely on your personal tastes or what happens to inspire you, you're actually going to stick with the things in your branding, that make it consistent and inspires confidence. So what does that mean? You may have seen in the stationery industry a while back that everyone was using a specific type of handwritten style font and it was what was trending at the time. It was supposed to create an air of sophistication, but also luxury. But it was what everyone was using. And what happens when you use something like that? When you are trying to go along with the trends instead of basing it again on brand strategy and what you are trying to accomplish in your business... what happens is you end up getting lost. And you might not have the confidence to pursue your business in a way that makes sense because everybody else looks like you. And therefore you're going to start judging yourself against their business. Go back and take a listen to our last episode that I talked about impostor syndrome, about how to not compare yourself to others in business. But when you are creating branding visuals that are trendy or that are based on what you like, it's going to be hard to actually stick with consistent branding, because our tastes change, of course trends change. But if you are basing it on what your business goals are, what you're trying to achieve and your business, it's more likely to stick around. And you'll be able to create that consistency that you need, especially on social media in order for people to recognize your brand quickly, and associate colors and visuals with you specifically. And lastly, good branding builds a memorable and recognizable identity. I just kind of alluded to that. But it stands out to people; it feels familiar. And as you build that familiarity with people, you're also going to start building trust. I talked about the like, know, trust factor all the time. Trust is so important because it makes people more willing to spend money on your products and services. And that is the whole point of having a business. You want people to feel like they trust you and trust you with their money. That they trust that they are giving their money to a business that's going to provide them a good service or good products. And so when you have consistent brand imagery and brand visuals that are tied to the goals of your business, who you are targeting, who you are trying to reach, then it will create a more memorable and recognizable identity. It will help with that like, know, trust factor. Because people will be more readily able to see what your brand is when it pops up on their feed or when you're in their inbox. They'll say hey, I know who that is. I like their content, they'll start to feel like they get to know you because as it starts popping up more and more, they'll start to recognize it more and more. So then like, Hey, I know exactly who this is. You don't even have to have a logo on something. Sometimes it can just be the colors. And they'll say I know exactly what brand and business this is. And that helps create trust and trust is ultimately what's going to have people spend money in your business. And so for today, what I want your action item to be is to really look at what your brand visuals and your branding says about your business. Is it lining up with your strategy for your business? Is it lining up with who you are targeting? Where you are positioned in your business in the marketplace? Does it line up with your pricing? Is it creating the perception that you want your business to create? Are you really luxury but your perception is coming off as mid or low tier branding? Do you need something that speaks to a higher quality. Is it trending? Is it something that is more unique to you and your business and speaks to who you are trying to reach? Or is it simply following trends and color palettes and things like that. So take a good look at what your branding does. And think about whether or not it's time to make a change in your brand. And to better reflect the business strategy that you have behind your brand. If you're looking for a good designer, I highly, highly recommend Snipes Design Agency. She did not pay me to say this. She actually did my own branding, my recent branding for By Sasha and I love it. It speaks exactly to what I'm trying to do with my business. But she's an amazing brand strategist as well. And she does a great job of really tapping into who we're trying to market to in our businesses. But there are plenty of brand designers out there. Again, I encourage you to look for a brand strategist, or design agency and not someone who's simply going to design a logo for you because there's so much more packed into your brand than just the logo. But really take some time. Look at your brand visuals look at what your branding is saying. And think about whether or not it's saying what you want your business to say. And if it's not, it might be time to consider redoing your branding so that it better aligns with your business, your business strategy and ultimately the goals that you have for your business.Sasha 16:
11 Are you ready to uplevel your business? Join the five day be your own CEO challenge. All the details are available on the website at www.by-sasha.com. If you liked what you heard, make sure you rate and review. It really helps other people find the show. And of course, following subscribe on your favorite podcast platforms. Want to follow me on social? I'm on Instagram and Facebook at Strategy By Sasha. Make sure you tune in next Tuesday for more business tips. Part of the Boundless Audio Podcast Network