Were my colors right?
This question was keeping me up at night, as I contemplated if the colors I picked for my Etsy shop were working the way I wanted them to.
I had created a logo, used colors I had gotten from an email freebie, and had considered what I wanted my "brand" to be.
Maybe that's why nobody was buying? I was so lost and not sure where I was going wrong.
I'm not running that business anymore, but knowing what I know now, it wasn't my colors, it was my entire thought process around branding that threw people off.
Branding isn't just the colors that you pick and maybe a font or two. And so many people (including me from two years ago) get that wrong.
It's not about fancy Instagram filters, or a beautifully designed logo that you spent $200 on (or $2000).
Branding is about feelings. I'll say it again for the kids in the back. Branding is about FEELING.
When someone lands on your website, or social media, how do they feel? Do they feel like they've come home? Or do they feel like an alien visiting a dissimilar planet?
THAT's the essence of branding.
If you're trying to show the world that you are an expert at what you do, and that they should pay you thousands of dollars for you to transform their lives or businesses, then they need to feel like you know what you're doing.
They need to feel that you are their people, you understand them, and you know how to help them. If you can nail that, you can successfully market your business and attract the right people to hire you.
What is the purpose of branding?
What exactly is the importance of branding in business?
When you own a business, your goal is to make an income, and to help people in that quest. They get value, you get money, it's a win-win!
But how do you draw in the right people? How do you find the people that you can help and that will be willing to pay you for that service? Not only that, but the higher-level clients who are happy to pay whatever you ask for because they KNOW you are their person?
That's where branding comes in.
Branding is the general vibe that you give off. It's the emotions that you evoke when someone sees your content, be it a blog post, product page, or social media graphic.
Creating a strong brand means that you evoke a feeling that's intentional, and that feeling is targeted with every piece of content that you provide.
It unites and draws in your target client, customer, or web visitor. When they see your branding, they know instantly that it's you and that you are their people.
Branding is the flag that you fly to tell people who you are. If they identify with the flag you are waving, they will flock to you.
If you've ever seen the movie the Patriot, you know that feeling that you get when he turns around and starts running back into the fight waving the flag?
It's a powerful moment because it reminds everyone of who they are and why they are there. They rally around the flag in a powerful scene that remains with you long after the credits roll.
That's what you want to create. You want your own version of your flag that people can rally behind.
"Hold the line!"
Colors do play a part in branding. They don't just "look nice". They evoke emotion.
There's a reason why we are drawn to some colors more than others, or specific colors can trigger feelings or memories.
According to Very Well Mind, colors play an important role in our lives.
When it comes to branding, it's important to think about your ideal client, customer, or reader. Who are they? What feelings do you want them to feel when they come to your corner of the Internet?
If you want to teach moms how to organize, you want them to have a feeling of calm when they hit your site. You want them to feel like they can have that calm in their life by using your services.
You do no want them to feel overwhelmed. Having bright saturated colors, especially colors like red and yellow, are not going to project that image.
You'll notice too that I'm talking about how you want your visitors to feel. As much as we want our branding to be about us, it isn't.
If you're favorite color is bright pink, but your ideal audience is middle-aged gentlemen, then the bright pink most likely isn't going to make them feel like they've come home.
Our color choices have to be focused on our ideal clients. That's not to say that you can't incorporate pink into your branding. Instead, you would need to tone it down.
It's all about that feeling of "I've found my person". Project that with your colors, and you're on the right track.
When you see Times New Roman font, what's the first thing that comes to mind?
For me, it's a traditional typography, something that makes me think of banking or taxes. It's professional, traditional, and maybe even a little bit stuffy.
I heard a anecdote once that using Times New Roman on your resume is like wearing sweatpants to an interview. It's the easy choice. That's certainly one way to feel about a particular font!
Typography, like colors, can evoke emotion. So it's important to make intentional typography choices when it comes to your corner of the Internet.
There are three main types of fonts. Serif, sans serif, and handwriting. There are some simple tips to help you pick.
Serif fonts, those like Times New Roman with the lines on the ends of the fonts tend to work best for print. They are easier to read, which is why you see those fonts used in newspapers.
However, if you view that same article online, you'll notice that it's been changed to a sans serif font (like the one you're reading right now).
This is because sans serif fonts are easier to read on a computer screen.
If you plan on printing and distributing a lot of content, a serif font is a good choice. If you plan on the majority of your content to be online, then it's a sans serif font for you.
When it comes to the body of the text, you shouldn't use a handwriting font. Those are harder to read and they don't give that air of professionalism that we want to convey.
It's not that we can't be fun. We certainly can!
If someone can't read our content, they are going to leave without getting the amazing benefits of your fantastic content.
Handwriting fonts are better suited for headlines. Make sure it passes the handwriting test though. Ask a friend, spouse, Facebook group, whoever, if they can clearly read a few of the headlines that you've come up with.
If they don't say yes right away (why it's best to do this in person if you can), then it's hard to read and you're better off to find a new font.
When it comes to picking your typography, never pick more than three. We don't want to make our visitors use their brain power to try to figure out why something looks different from everything else.
We want that brain power to be focused on the important message we're trying to tell them.
This means that it's best to pick one font for headlines (maybe two) and one body font. That's it. Any more and you risk inconsistent branding and a poor user experience.
I think of this third component as the most important. It's also the hardest to explain.
Think of someone that you love to hang out with. You love spending time with them for a reason.
Maybe that person is crafty, loves wearing LuLaRoe, and always has her hair up in a messy bun. Or maybe you're favorite person is your friend who could easily have a job on Wall Street and she's "on" 24/7.
Each person gives off their own vibe. Do they swear? Would they never utter a four letter word?
You also give off a vibe. And trying to fight that is never a good idea.
I check before I start to work with someone on a new brand to make sure that our vibes match up. That's why I call them an "Initial Fit Call".
If I take on a client who wants a dark and mysterious brand, I'm not going to be happy. I'm not a dark and mysterious person.
That person deserves someone to design their brand that gets them and can contribute good ideas to their vision. They need someone who can treat their brand as if it was a beautiful baby that just needs some TLC.
I can't be that person for that type of brand. However, if you want a clean, minimal brand to show off your expertise, now we're speaking the same language.
I'm happier, my client is happier, and my business works well.
Know your vibe and who you want to work with. Make sure that your branding is at least loosely base on you.
You don't have to fight who you are. You're human, and you want to attract your people. The best way to do that is to let your personality shine through.
It's more then just knowing the importance of branding in business, it's living it.
Why is brand awareness so important?
Customers buy from someone they know, like, and trust. When you don't focus on your branding, or provide an inconsistent experience, it's hard to get to know you.
If you use branding that it's attractive to your ideal client or customer, then it's hard for them to like you. If they don't like you, they are likely to go find someone else that they do like.
When you change things around often, you aren't trustworthy. What if you're going to change again tomorrow?
Having these pieces in place, it's easier to grow your tribe. These are the people who love what you have to say and they are your people.
Nurture that relationship. First, people are more likely to purchase from someone they have purchased from before. More importantly, it helps everyone because you have found the people who will be helped the most by your content.
Consistency is key
Once you've established the feelings you want to evoke, how someone will be reading your content, and the vibes that you want to give off, it's critical to write them down.
Creating a style guide is essential to staying consistent. And consistency is key to attracting the right people for your business.
Let's say you have a favorite store. It's a small gift shop that sells locally made craft items. You go to this store for all of your gifts that you buy for the people in your life.
One day, you walk into your favorite shop. From the outside, it looks exactly the same. But once you step through the door, oh boy!
Now instead of the cute purses, colorful displays, and coffee mugs with ironic sayings, everything has been replaced with knives, pipes, and "adult" clothing.
Shocked, you walk up to the clerk and ask what happened to all of the "regular" stuff. They explain that all of the items are from local businesses and act like you are crazy.
The store isn't being consistent. And I'm guessing you're not going back there anytime soon. The store could go back to selling flowers and tea towels, but it doesn't matter because you've been scared off.
Branding is like that. I'm not saying that everything has to always be the same, but you should be consistent. Don't make wild and unpredictable changes on a regular basis.
Make sure that once you attract your tribe, you engage them in the same way that you attracted them. You've created a home for them and they are coming to you for that reason.
If your branding is all over the place, inconsistent, attracting the wrong people, your business will suffer. Your email list won't grow with the buyers that you want, your posts won't be read by repeat readers, and you'll struggle to sell.
You need to be clear on your branding, more than just the colors you use or the fonts you pick. It's about making people feel as though they can relate to you. You are home to them, and they will follow you anywhere.