And how do I use it in my branding?
Branding is a confusing topic to many business owners. Whenever I work with a business, I always recommend they review their branding and make sure it is still in line with their company. Before I dig in to how to use your brand board or brand guide, let’s define some terms.
Branding – Branding is your promise to your customers. I bet you thought I was going to say branding was your logo! LOL nope. Your logo is just a piece of your brand, in fact it’s really just a visual symbol for your business. When people see your logo they should think of your overall brand which encompasses your logo, your key messaging, your unique selling features, the customer experiences you deliver, how you treat your customers and everything in between.
In this post, we’ll talk about brand boards and brand guides. For all intensive purposes they are really one in the same, however, in Small Talk’s world, a brand board is the basic foundations of branding that includes elements like this:
A brand guide includes all these items as well, but gets a little more detailed and includes your key messaging, maybe some stock photography and other things that will help you with branding your business. A majority of my clients opt to do a brand board. It’s all they need to get started and works sufficiently for them, so let’s dig in…you’ve invested in a brand board, now what? Here are 5 things you need to do utilize your brand board and further develop it.
Review existing marketing materials
When you put a brand board in place you should review all your existing marketing materials determine which need to be updated to include your new branding. You’ll want to look at everything from your website to your print materials, like business cards to your social media accounts. All of these items should be updated to include your branding materials so you create a consistent look across everything you are presenting to the potential customers.
Download your fonts
Most of my brand boards come with font suggestions. I recommend you use the same fonts on everything you create so I provide recommendations on which fonts would go best with your brand. I don’t provide the actual font files, as there are licensing issues, etc. that would require me to charge A LOT more, so I try to recommend fonts you can download for free or at a low cost. To download your fonts, go to your browser and search the name of the font, like “Montez font.” Several options will come up and then you just need to find the free version. I find a lot of fonts at Font Squirrel.com. Once you download your font you need to install it in to your computer so you can use it. Once it downloads, go to the file, right click and select “install.” You may need to reopen documents in order to see the font as an available option. Here’s some FAQs from Font Squirrel on installing fonts.
Start creating new materials
Most of my brand boards come with patterns or textures you can use. I recommend starting to use these materials on social media posts, your email blasts, even your website if it makes sense. Here is an example of how I use Salon Nouveau’s branding in their social posts.
Look at your physical space
If you have a brick and mortar space where you do business, I highly suggest you look at your space and see if there is a way to start incorporating your new branding into the space. Consider things like your signage, shelf talkers, window decals, even the rugs on your floors can be branded! If you have employees, look at how they are dressed. Does the way they come to work communicate your brand message? If not, consider getting them some branded apparel that can further develop your brand and present the look you want to your customers.
Add in your key messaging and stock photography
Many people don’t realize things like your tag line or the even just the words you use on your website all contribute to your brand. If you really want to take your brand board and build off of it, I recommend taking some time to develop your key messages. What is your mission, vision and values statements? What is your elevator pitch? Meaning, when someone asks you what you do, how do you respond and convince them they need you? Once this is in place, look at your stock photography. The photos you use to accompany your materials are important too!
Now that all this is in place you need to remember to stay consistent. It can be tempting to add a burst of color here or there but try to stick to your branding as best as possible. The more consistent you are with it, the more professional your business will look!