Brand Building Next Steps for New Brands
You’ve gone through the brand building process. Now what?
Congrats! You’ve successfully gone through the brand building process and now have the foundation for your new brand.
Now it’s time to bring your brand to life!
New brands have the benefit of a clean slate, so you’ll be able to jump right into the visuals of your brand (which I personally consider the most fun part of brand building).
Create Brand Visuals
Does a brand generate value if no one ever sees it?
Ok. It’s not quite as poetic as the adage of a tree falling in a forest, but the sentiment is the same. If no one sees your brand, it’s impossible for your brand to provide value.
Creating your brand visuals is essential for your brand marketing efforts. So, don’t take this step lightly. While there are a lot of visuals to consider with your brand, the three listed below are the most important.
Note: As you build your brand visuals, don’t forget to use the foundational information you developed during the brand building process.
We’ll start with the most important visual aspect of your brand — your logo. If designed and marketed properly, your logo will become the symbol of your business and your values — it’s why people put logos on their devices and vehicles.
In the end, your logo’s purpose is to convey the essence of your brand. When a viewer sees your logo they need to instantly get an idea of what your brand is trying to say. This is why it’s critical that the designer of your logo goes through the brand building process with you.
Another misconception many have is that your logo needs to convey everything about your brand. Luckily, that’s not true. In the end, your logo only needs to convey your strongest value. Focusing on only one value of your brand makes your logo stronger and prevents it from becoming visually cluttered.
Another important thing to remember is that over time customers and the market itself will place values on your logo. It is your job to ensure you’re controlling the narrative of your brand. Because if you don’t someone else will.
Color is a powerful tool so wield it with care. Since colors carry subconscious meanings, it’s important that you choose colors that align with the values of your brand.
When developing your color palette it’s important to remember every culture places different values on each color. For example, in China red symbolizes luck, joy, and happiness. Yet, in the United States, many associate joy and happiness with the color yellow.
Typography is an often overlooked brand visual. Like colors, many customers don’t consciously think about the typography they’re seeing. But, even if they’re not thinking about it, it still impacts the way they feel about it.
Choosing the right typography is about matching the personality of the typeface (which is often referred to as the font family) with the personality of the brand. For example, which typeface would feel more appropriate for a boutique wedding dress shop?
Same words, different personality right?
Each typeface above is appropriate for a boutique wedding dress shop. Yet, the style of the typeface may inform you about the style of dresses they sell. For example:
1 = more traditional designs
2 = sleek, modern designs
3 = hand-crafted designs
In the end, your typography choice can make a big impact on how a customer perceives your brand.
Create Brand Guidelines
Consistency is vital to the success of any brand. And, the best way to ensure brand consistency is by creating brand guidelines (or some like to call it a style guide).
What are brand guidelines?
Your brand guidelines are a document that defines all the elements of your brand. This document is then used as a reference for designers when they create branded collateral.
Right now your brand guidelines should contain the following information:
Brand Purpose & Brand Mission
Simply write down your Brand Purpose and Brand Mission you developed during the Brand Building Process.
Outline where and how you will use your logo. Is a designer allowed to change the color of the logo? If not, note it down. This is your chance to dictate what can be done with your logo.
Provide the color codes for the colors of your brand. The most common color codes you need are:
- RGB (for digital designs)
- CMYK (for printed designs)
- Hex (for web designs)
Pantone color codes are always great to have. But, unless you’re going to be printing thousands of physical marketing collateral it’s not necessary to have at this stage of your brand.
Outline which typefaces your brand uses (we recommend no more than two typefaces). You also need to document when to use the different weights (regular, bold, italic, etc).
You may not need to include those right away, but we recommend adding them as your brand continues to grow.
Creating Brand Guidelines Document
This may seem a little intimidating at first, but it doesn’t have to be. A simple document created in Microsoft Word or Google Docs will suffice. The important part is that you document everything and have the brand guidelines accessible for all.
Plan Marketing Collateral
Marketing your brand requires marketing collateral. What type of collateral you need depends on your business and marketing strategies.
When you start to market your brand for the first time it’s best to keep it simple. We advocate breaking your marketing collateral into three categories:
- In Person
These three categories will help you define what marketing collateral you’ll need, and how to best use the collateral.
Start by creating a list (using the categories below) of all the collateral you will need to create. This ensures you get all the necessary collateral you’ll need to successfully market your brand.
You should produce all the collateral in this category — regardless of your business or industry. The reason is simple — businesses use these pieces of marketing collateral so often customers expect you to have them.
Here is what you need to get made:
- Business Card
Even in today’s digital-focused world, business cards are essential for doing business and for branding. Often times a business card is the first time a customer comes across your brand.
While letterheads may seem dated and antique, they still serve a purpose — even for more modern companies.
We all know the typical uses for letterhead. But, letterhead is also great for invoices and internal documents.
Your website is the best digital asset your company owns. It’s also the first place customers go when they want to know more about you.
Because of that, it’s critical to have a well designed and optimized website. The strategies for building a great website vary and require a different set of expertise from branding. From a branding standpoint, the important part is to make sure your logo, color palette, and typography are all present on your website.
If in person…
Folders are great because they’re practical. Unlike other forms of physical marketing collateral, customers use folders over and over again. This means a customer sees your brand every time they use your folder.
However, you have to strike a delicate balance. Too much branding and most customers won’t use your folder. Too little branding and brand impacts are minimized. Usually, your logo plus your brand colors are enough to create a successful folder.
If you’re meeting with customers in person, it’s always good to have a brochure. Effective brochures help remind customers of your services and reinforce your brand.
If your marketing strategy involves limited-timed events, flyers are a great choice. Flyers are effective at focusing and promoting one thing. They’re also cheap to get printed so you’re able to get your brand in front of a lot of customers for a low investment cost.
Other Potential Collateral
You may also want to look into promotional products such as pens, drinkware, and apparel.
- Social Media Images
- Email Funnels
Social Media Images
If you plan to use social media as a marketing channel you’ll want to create consistent, visually-appealing images. When doing Brand Audits, we often find that social media images are the biggest culprit for brand inconsistencies.
Building an email list is still one of the best ways to market to your customers.
Most email funnels today don’t include fancy graphics — they’re simply text. There are a lot of reasons for this, but the important take away is that you’ll want to make sure the copy for your emails are always on brand.
If you’re looking to quickly build your brand authority, eBooks are a great place to start. The content shows your knowledge level, while the visuals of the book reinforce your brand.
Create Marketing Collateral
Now it’s time to get your marketing collateral created!
There are a variety of options for you to choose from when getting your marketing collateral created. So, we recommend basing your decision on the following factors:
The success of your marketing collateral will depend on the skillset of the person designing it. Do you have a skilled designer in house who can handle most of the design work?
If not, don’t worry. There are plenty of agencies that can provide the expertise needed. The important thing is that you recognize you need assistance and don’t try to do it yourself.
Time Investment Availability
Time is your most important resource, and you need to treat it as such. Creating successful marketing collateral takes time and you need to decide how much time you’re willing to spend.
In an ideal world, you would have all your marketing collateral done yesterday. But, that’s not how the real world works. Instead, you need to plan ahead and figure out when you will need your collateral.
Of course, sometimes things come up and you need your collateral done with a short turnaround. But, don’t let a lack of planning put you in a position where you’ve created an unnecessary tight deadline. Doing so only leads to stress for everyone and often results in lackluster collateral.
“You often get what you pay for.”
You’ve heard the saying many times, but it still holds true today. In the end, the more budget you can put towards your marketing collateral the better the quality will be.
There are always edge cases where that isn’t true, but in general, you need to treat your collateral as an investment — not an expense.
Below are the three most common options businesses have when it comes to creating their marketing collateral.
Having your marketing collateral created in house is a great option for if you have access to a skilled designer. While there are little to no extra expenses, the time investment can be very high. Creating collateral in house takes team members away from other important tasks they could be doing.
Internal Skillsets: High
Time Investment: High
Turnaround Time: Fast
Design for Hire Website
If you don’t have an internal designer, a potential option is to use a design for hire website (such as Fiverr or 99Designs). These websites provide you access to designers all around the world at very affordable rates.
While it may sound like a no-brainer at first, there are quite a few drawbacks to consider when using these websites:
- To get a great design, you need a great creative brief — which can take a lot of time to create.
- Most designers on these websites use templates. While the designs may look great, they are not original and custom-tailored to your specific goals/needs.
- Most designers do not use best practices when it comes to creating their work files. So, you likely won’t be able to make adjustments to the files down the road.
- You will need to stay on top of the process to ensure everything is on schedule.
If you are okay with those drawbacks then this is a great option for you.
Internal Skillsets: Low
Time Investment: Medium
Turnaround Time: Medium
Hiring an agency can seem intimidating at first. However, you’ll quickly see the difference when working with a professional agency.
A great agency will take the time to understand your business, your goals, and your brand. That process takes time, but the end result is custom-designed marketing collateral tailored to your goals.
Also, a great agency will provide all the design skillsets needed and require little of your time (after the initial onboarding process). This allows you to focus on other areas of your business while the agency handles your collateral.
Internal Skillsets: None
Time Investment: Low
Turnaround Time: Slow
Budget: Medium – High