Chapter 1 – How do I look like an expert online with my brand? (Branding Basics)
I am with you. This branding thing can be a royal pain. Especially if you are a locally well known business, you’ve been in business for years and now you have to “modernize”, “re design” or “digitize” (whatever that means) to update your look for the now.
It can be an extremely daunting task to figure out who can really help you or understand where to start. This is where this guide will help you.
This guide is intended for business owners looking to arm themselves with the best knowledge on how to find the right designer to work with and identify the right process to make sure their brand is going to be the ultimate version of their vision.
Understanding where to begin along with how to navigate these murky waters is crucial.
First, let’s get our definitions on point so nothing can go over your head.
What is branding?
Essentially a brand needs to set you apart and create a stickiness for the eyes and a consistent message that can remain with the customer long after they have seen it the first time.
To us, a brand development starts out with –
- Color Scheme
Simple, straight forward.
What is positioning?
Positioning is how you want your brand/services/product to be perceived and utilized.
WARNING: If you ever think or say “we sell to everyone or we’re for everybody” you are wrong. Even Coca Cola has defined audience demographics that they sell and market to on a consistent basis.
If Coca Cola has to target their audience, then you should too.
Check out this 60 second commercial that is specifically targeting brothers
So many people and even well established businesses usually don’t have the best way their brand could be perceived.
Re-positioning and testing the positioning is extremely underrated.
Yes it can be risky for some, but for many others it’s the one thing holding them back from real success.
Chapter 2 – Researching Tips & Tricks
Researching amazingly, it’s still very much underrated. Very few people actually do it. And I mean ACTUALLY do it.
Why research? If you don’t research, that’s probably a large part of why you don’t know where to go or how to check if who you hired is actually doing a proper job of helping you redesign/develop a brand.
I am going to give you a solid breakdown of we approach researching the current market for a brand so that you can check to see if your team is doing this as a baseline.
There are two types of ways to attack research –
Both are crucial and both are necessary. And both work synergistically with each other half the time.
Let me explain …
I categorize Offline research as
- Talking on the Phone
- Talking in Person
- Go around and looking at logos and branding everywhere in your city.
This is where experience really does help. The biggest thing is understanding which questions to ask at the right time to the right people.
And finding the right people is half the battle whether that’s inside the company or out.
Gather three questions to ask before, such as-
What do you think of our current brand?
How can we improve?
What are some of your favorite brands and why?
This is just a start. Create some for yourself so you can dive deeper.
I categorize online research as:
- Searching online forums
- Searching for articles in the niche or industry
- Messaging people for insight on social media
- Using SpyFu, SEM Rush and keyword searching engines
- Analyzing Competitors via SpyFu or SEM Rush
- Emailing current clients for feedback
Again, you can use the same three questions if you like when trying to email or communicate but all in all you should figure out a way to get this information extracted out of people.
NOTE: You may not have to do ALL of this, but we have used a lot of this when actually trying to develop a brand for our clients. We utilize as much as we possibly can at our disposal.
Chapter 3 – Your Vision is Fuel for Your Brand
This is probably the trickiest part and one that many people often overlook. What are your
This is a constant uphill battle that, unless you are a super brand, you probably have not completely figured out yet. And even huge brands are still crafting their vision.
Apple’s mission & creed is still being revised even after Steve Job developed it.
The truth is, no one can really tell you how to craft your vision. It’s your own adventure and your own journey. Ultimately you will have to truly figure that out or at least notice the opportunity when it rises.
There is no magic bullet for this. You will just have to work hard everyday at fleshing it out. Don’t let it dictate every little thing you do, and on the other hand, don’t forget about it.
I recommend starting with Why. It may seem simple but it is no simple task if you are truly asking the real questions.
Why do you do what you do ?
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Where do you see your company in 5, 10, 15 years?
At LNB broductions we are always crafting the answers to these bottomless questions but one thing is for sure is we won’t stop until we find the best answers for ourselves.
Below are some of my favorite tools to help dive into these various questions.
Chapter 4 – What the Customer Sees (UX) Colors, Typography, Logo
After you’ve gathered research, worked out your vision and begun the branding process, you will need the front end- what the people see to bring everything together.
A few tips on re-branding and or positioning the brand for each of these elements:
Logo – So much of this really comes down to emotion, the marketplace, popular culture, the vision and pure imagination. As an example, I attached one of our most recent client’s, Imagine 4D, branding board so I can comment directly on the idea and conception.
Imagine 4D is a holding company for 4 technologies 2 of which deal directly with virtual reality. Their technology is so advanced and new that they needed help positioning the brand and bringing a super fresh exciting look to the brand itself.
I am a huge fan of science, the cosmos and philosophy, so we went over many different ideas of trying to put the imagine 4D brand into a cool sci-fi twist instead.
Colors – The colors actually came after we collaborated with the company themselves. After going back and forth we decided on a cool neutral color set that you can see below.
Typography – Font is probably the most over looked part of branding of all time. Rarely does anyone really put any thought into it besides just the logo, but it is so crucial for brand continuity and building trust with your audience. Again understanding the market and the competitive landscape can help, and looking to similar companies within the same industry that you can draw inspiration from is important too.
For Imagine 4D we took a lot of inspiration from Tesla and Science fiction.
Below is what a full branding board looks like –
Chapter 5 – Using Media for your brand
Video is starting to become more and more of the primary medium for consumption. It can also act as unique imagery that can set your brand apart and tell a story within a quick glance or two.
Most people seem to be puzzled on how to properly use writing, imagery and video in combination with your website to strengthen your brand’s message to your customer. Rightfully so. It’s not an easy task.
That’s why it’s crucial to have your brand and its positioning down, so you have a solid fundamental base to jump off from.
Lets start with video-
For now let’s think of it in 3 steps:
- If you are having trouble figuring out “what should we do a video of first?”, then start with a video sales letter. A video sales letter is a comprehensive understanding of your overall product or service. It’s an excellent starting place and you can use my copywriting sales formula as a map to construct the page or have your web designer utilize the tools. Check out our article on how to boost your conversion rate on any landing page.
- After reading the sales letter blog, then turn the formula sideways and shoot a video using that as your guideline/script outline. For example, the formula starts off with “headline, opening & credentials.” So you need to figure out a way to communicate these things so your customer will quickly understand your offer.
- After you have finished the video, you should promote it everywhere you can by posting first organically on all social media platforms and then on the home page of your site to start testing it. Make sure you have google analytics connected so you can track its effectiveness.
QUICK REMINDER – Don’t try all this at once. If you are the business owner use this guide as a reference for you to make sure your web designer/team/employee is doing everything they can to elevate your brand/marketing.
Chapter 6 – Training Your Eyes
At some point you will either need to have two things, the ability to spot when things are done right online OR find someone who you trust and know that they are doing things right by your business online.
Sometimes people have both and sometimes they are never really able to find either because of past trust issues, pain points etc. But the truth is, you will have to build both as best as you can to stack the deck in your favor.
Yes. There are web developers/agencies/freelancers that will sell you snake oil and then run off without you having a paddle to push with, but that’s why I wanted to put this out.
For business owners to have a place to check up on their own team or to help them really figure out who will help them.
What are some of your burning questions comments or concerns?