When it comes to branding, things can be very confusing. What shall you focus on first? How can you make sure your brand has long lasting impact? How can you be confident you’re going to reach the growth in your business you desire? How can you reach the right people at the right time?
Luckily, I’ve worked with so many businesses and people that I’ve learned how to help you gain clarity when it comes to the direction of your identity and overall brand. This clarity has its roots in the answers to the following three questions…
1. What are your biggest concerns or pain points when it comes to your existing brand identity or the identity you're trying to build (if you are just starting out)?
Before starting any meaningful work when building your brand, it’s important to take a moment and write down all the fears and concerns you might have regarding your business.
- What are a few things that in your eyes would make your endeavor a failure?
Is it not making enough sales? Is it not gaining the fans you are hoping for? Is it not being able to serve your community right? Is it not being able to continue making beautiful things?
- What are the biggest struggles you are facing right now?
Is it aligning with the right audience? Is it having a professional and well polished image? Is it not being able to figure out this whole marketing thing? Is it having a few ideas regarding your brand image but not knowing which one to pick and stick with?
Whatever the answers are – no matter how silly or big they sound to you – it’s important to write them down and communicate them to the person or agency who’s going to help you with your branding efforts.
This way, it will be much easier for us to align with your needs in order to create a product you are going to be absolutely delighted with!
2. What are the things you admire the most about similar brands or competitors?
Another important piece of the puzzle is knowing what you like (and don’t like) about your competitors’ branding or similar people in your industry.
- Is it the minimalist style of their website?
- Is it the colors used in their logo and throughout the entire visual identity?
- Is it the use of standout photos to enhance the engagement with their followers on social media?
- Is it the ease of use of their shopping cart (if you want to start an online store)?
- Is it the playful way of addressing certain topics (if you are a blogger)?
- Is it their stage presence, artist persona or incredible tour visuals (if you are a musician)?
- Is it the use of videos to explain product features or to support their audience’s type of lifestyle?
I always encourage my clients to make this vision as real as possible because it minimizes so much the risk of getting delivered a piece of design that you either hate or doesn’t even come close to resonating with your target market.
In today’s age is very rare to be the absolute first to come up with an idea that no one has thought of before. That’s why the accent is more on taking into consideration what others have done before you and making your brand THAT much better than theirs.
Any powerful brand has its foundation on the belief that even though things are ok right now, they can be improved and pushed even further in a unique and meaningful way.
3. What is the story behind your brand and what is the message you're trying to share with the world?
Nothing connects people more than well crafted stories. Stories in branding take many forms, from actual written stories to thoughtful imagery or impactful videos.
The perfect brand story is a combination between the reason you decided to follow the dream of starting your business, the purpose it’s serving and the things you stand up for (or try to achieve).
- Are you writing songs based on your life experience and trying to inspire people?
- Are you starting a clothing brand that is based around limited edition hand crafted pieces?
- Are you trying to encourage people to live a certain lifestyle?
- Are you creating recipes designed to help people lose weight or have more vitality?
- Are you making edgy and bold accessories that push the boundaries of imagination?
Regardless what your “why” is, let it be one of the backbones of your brand and share that as much as you can with the world. No great branding is devoid of a story or mission, and it’s usually this story that sets the tone and the mood for your entire identity.
For example: I was at Homegoods today and I came across these scented candles from Sand And Fog. It was a fairly unknown brand (at least unknown to me, haha) and I got attracted to it because of its beautiful packaging.
The frosted glass jar paired with a gradient effect, the wooded lid and the modern and clean label intrigued me, so I immediately wanted to know more. When I discovered that this luxury candle line was created by interior designers who’s philosophy is that homes should be a place of relaxation and peace, I was already hooked. And not only that, but the scent was soft, soothing and absolutely divine. At this point I simply HAD to have it!
In other instances I would’ve gone for the more popular and well known brands that I’ve tried and tested, but the combination of appealing design (image), high quality product (content) and a meaningful story (mission) made me give this new brand a chance.
Hey there, I’m Andreea Kay (aka Klangwelt)! I’m a Creative Director and Visual Designer creating outstanding branding identities – from scratch! – for luxury, lifestyle, fashion and culture brands. I’m passionate about all things art and design. I’m also a fashion and style blogger: Style Unsettled. Follow my adventures!