If you’re starting up a new business or trying to grow your current venture, you probably have a lot on your plate. There are products to produce, services to provide, offices to rent, employees to hire, and much more. So when you’re told how important it is to “build your brand,” you might think to yourself, “Hey, I’ve got bigger fish to fry!”
But those who ignore their brand do so at their peril. Your brand is more than just a logo, tagline, or color scheme. It’s who you are as a business. It’s your purpose, your personality, and your promise to your customers. So while it might seem like gaining clients and customers, monitoring inventory, or sending out invoices should be your biggest priorities, brand building really ought to be at the top of your agenda.
Define who you are and what you’re about
In order to build an effective brand, you first need to do some hard thinking about why your business exists in the first place. For example, if you sell yoga apparel, you can’t just say: “I exist to sell yoga apparel” and call it a day. You need to get to the heart of why you started your business and why the world needed another yoga apparel company.
Did you decide to sell yoga apparel because you love yoga and believe in its power to heal? Did you feel like the yoga clothes that were available were lacking in style? Did you want to provide high-quality, well-crafted goods at an affordable price? The answers to these and other questions will all go towards creating your brand.
By the end of this exercise, you should come away with a clear idea of your company’s purpose, personality, and promise. For example, maybe you’re selling yoga apparel that’s made with high-quality materials and specially designed to fit all body types. You want it to be affordable, so people of all income levels can partake in the spiritual and health benefits of yoga. And you want to offer clothing in bright, bold colors and wacky patterns because you want to add a touch of fun and whimsy to people’s yoga practice.
Identify your target audience
The whole purpose of brand building and figuring out what your company is all about is to reach your target audience. Your brand is what will speak to them and convince them to become one of your customers or clients. So you’ll need to gain a clear picture of exactly who your ideal customer is. Here are some of the attributes you’ll want to address when defining your target audience:
Of course, some of these characteristics are easier to identify than others. For example, if your shop is located in downtown Seattle, then your target market lives in the Seattle metro area. And if you only sell women’s clothing, then you’re only targeting women. Income and education levels are a little trickier, since sometimes people with lower salaries and no college degree will still be interested in “aspirational” products.
Also, pay attention to things such as goals, values, behaviors, and needs so you can try to figure out what’s in the mind of your potential clients or customers. Going back to the purveyor of yoga apparel, they’re likely looking for people who can’t find reasonably priced, well-made clothes that make a strong fashion statement. Therefore, they’ll want to create a brand that speaks to those needs and desires.
Create a brand board with visuals, colors, fonts
Translating all of this information about your company and your target audience into an actual brand is the challenging part. Let’s say you’ve decided that your ideal customer is a female millennial who has a college degree, makes $70,000 a year, loves dogs and Zumba, and feels like she can never find jeans that fit. What color schemes would she be attracted to? Would she prefer a serif or sans serif font?
Obviously, the answers to these questions are totally subjective. With millions of colors and thousands of fonts, where should you begin? One way to dive into this project is to go online and start collecting images that remind you of your target audience. Select a few and put them into a collage, which will ultimately become your brand board or moodboard. Do they have anything in common? Do you see any repeating color schemes? Look at some of the brands that your demographic likes. What fonts and colors do they use? Once you have a collection of images, you can grab colors and begin creating a brand color palette.
When choosing colors for your brand, it’s a good idea to do some research about color theory, since colors tend to convey certain feelings and ideas, and you’ll want to choose appropriate ones for your business and target audience. Same goes for fonts, which also connote concepts and emotions that will have a big impact on your audience.
Translate your brand into design assets
If you’re taking the DIY route and not hiring a designer, we highly recommend that you take advantage of our wide selection of templates when creating your assets. All of our templates can be customized with the colors, fonts, and imagery that you’ve chosen and placed in your brand board. With a template, you can start off with a solid design that’s nicely formatted, well proportioned, and sized right. Of course, you can also start from scratch with a blank canvas if that’s your preference.
Using our template sets is also something you should consider. Template sets offer a range of templates for various purposes with a consistent look and feel. This will help you maintain your brand across all of your assets, including your logo, social media posts, website, and ads. The goal is for everyone who visits you online, whether it’s your Instagram feed or your homepage, to see a unified brand, with the same colors, fonts, and imagery throughout. Gradually, your brand will become recognizable to a larger swath of people. Your brand personality will come through and people will feel an affinity for your company. Most importantly, you’ll establish trust, which is critical for converting people to customers and clients.
Create a logo for your brand
Probably the first thing you’ll want to create is your logo. This design will appear everywhere—from marketing materials to ads to social posts to websites—so you want to make sure it truly captures the essence of your brand. Check out this handy article on how to make your own logo with PicMonkey templates for some great ideas and inspiration. You should also peruse our collection of logo templates to find one that’s closest to what you’re looking for.
Create social assets and posts for your brand
PicMonkey has tons of templates for all your social channels, including Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, and YouTube, as well as templates for your website, ad campaigns, marketing materials, and more. You’ll be able to store all of your designs in PicMonkey and quickly customize them whenever you need them. Here’s a great introductory article on how to use our design templates to get your started.