Being a small business owner is a big deal. From the instant you have the lightbulb moment to the time you launch your product or service, to the time where you have to do the accounts, you are the person with a million hats, and the whole business lies in your hands! It’s a very daunting adventure to embark on. One where you won’t switch off from EVER ( Trust us this is something we struggle with daily!). And so in the first of our series of BAS BUSINESS BABBLE, we kick off with the basics of branding – “how to create a truly incredible brand”. It’s the fun element of the whole process so will lull those non-small bizzers into reading to the end! Hope it helps a little along the way, because you know us, small biz owners need to stick together, right?
The basics of branding is so much more than a snazzy logo and graphics. Of course this is important, it is after all the recognisable badge to the brand, but when you are competing in a world full of good logos, you have to do much more to create the whole branding story.
Finding your branding path will NOT happen overnight, so there is no point running before you can walk. It will take time and you will make changes as you find your feet and settle in to what you actually want to convey as the brand. You will see that we did this in our path and you know what? – it is absolutely fine to do this. That’s the beauty of it. YOU are in charge of what you do, so as long as you make appropriate changes and apply across the board you are on the path to success!
We all get stuck in this rabbit hole of following other successful brands and applying all their processes to your own. Although this is handy and of course informative, it may not work for you. The key to good branding starts with CONSISTANCY. It’s tempting when you don’t have time to just write/upload pictures of anything just to have something, but trust us, it’s better to have a well thought out strategy!
So, how did we go about creating our own brand?
- Our Logo
We had a different logo when we first started. It was with black and white stripes with a mustard circle in the middle with Black and Sigi ( See below). We liked the idea of using two font types to identify the sister duo and stripes was something we liked. It was a good starting point for us.
When we launched our website in March 2015, we wanted a new look to convey our contemporary style to go along with the website, so the graphic team at Grow Co helped us create our new logo. We toyed with pink, but we decided that we just couldn’t part with they grey/black/yellow palette that we so adore!
The easiest way to start creating your brand and logo is to list 3 words that you would like to be described as. Our words were: Contemporary, Modern, Sophisticated.
A tag line is also quite important as it’s a snapshot of what you are about, it allows you to tell a little of your brand’s story. It brings in all elements of where we are from, highlights the local element and that it’s available all over! ‘Born in Italy, Made in England, Adorned Worldwide’
BRANDING PROCESS EXAMPLE
- Who are your people?
Without knowing your audience, selling your product will become very difficult. Finding your people is therefore a massive part of your branding. There is no point creating a fabulous story and product and then marketing it to the wrong audience.
Who is a BAS human?
We did this by looking at who had bought our products in the past and who liked our posts on social media. The easiest thing to do is to ask your inner circle of friends and family, they will be your number one critic/fan. What are their likes, their motivations…..?
Our people like classic designs with contemporary twists we add. They like our colourful stoned bangles. They like the handmade elements. They like our story. With this information we could easily shape the branding and style to reflect what our people wanted to see.
Find your people, and you find your customers. We have even made a series about this – We are working with our BAS HUMANS to show real life with real people.
- Our Voice
This is REALLY hard to master. Your business voice is the tone you take to communicate with your people. Do you want it to be conversational, fun, informative or emotion? This took us ages, and trust us, you will probably experiment with many voices. We certainly did! Great examples of this are brands like Boden – look on their Instagram and see how they use fun and genius punning to convey their voice. We love it! We went for a conversational tone in the end. The idea is that we show we are a small personal business, approachable and easy-going. Does it work???
- Brand Benefits
It’s a big world of many cool brands. How do you stand out? What are the benefits of purchasing your product/service? Highlight your USP ( Unique Selling Point) and show people why it is better to buy into your story. Our benefits and USP is that we are a LOCAL, HANDMADE in UK brand that is UNIQUE. There are lots of jewellery brands that are handmade, local and unique so within this we have to create a story that makes us personal to the buyer.
Learn about what your competitors are doing, look at the big brands and see what effective campaigns they are implementing. It’s a great way to see what’s working, and what would work for you. We are always looking at the likes of NOTHS, Boden, Lulu Frost to see what they are up to.
1/ because we admire their products but
2/ because it is interesting to see what techniques they use in their branding and marketing.
For example, when we were first organising our collections and how we wanted to showcase them, we looked closely at Lulu Frost and looked at how she branded each collection. It helped to organise our thoughts and what we took away from this helped us to then create our own strategies.
What are you conveying in your branding and marketing strategies? Is it giving the right image? If your product is fun, then you don’t want to brand yourself using ombre colours or minimalist branding. You need to make your images fun, and that in turn will be sending the right messages to your buyer.
We recently discovered a great brand that sells different types of sprinkles and chocolates called The Happy Mail . This product is the epitome of fun. It’s colourful, it’s a treat and it is something that is associated to parties and general merriment! Look how they have branded their images and conveyed the message of their brand. It’s busting with colour and is a perfect way to describe what they are about. The message we wanted to convey here at BAS is that we have a luxurious modern product that can be worn by all. We convey this message through our clean imagery and contemporary branding.
Sprinkle your personality throughout. It’s what makes your audience interested. Do this through imagery and your brand voice, that’s the easiest way to start. We try to create imagery that is professional yet creative with a story behind it, it is where we can let the personality shine through, and really showcase the products and the story behind BAS.
It is important that once you have chosen your branding that you integrate it everywhere you can. From your website, social media to your business card and gift vouchers. We do this by keeping our imagery modern, clean and often with a splash of yellow. We will apply these throughout our social media and blogs posts, and when it comes to our website we make sure product shots speak for themselves hence we keep them on a white background. Integrating the brand ethos and style in this way helps BAS to be recognisable in all areas. We have even extended our branding to our office interiors, adding splashes of yellow to modern and contemporary furniture!
This is particularly important. If we started adding fussy images and used a business voice that was very serious and full of jargon, it just wouldn’t be in keeping with the brand that we have created. It would stick out like a sore thumb. It’s therefore very important that your images, brand’s voice and messaging are consistent throughout all channels.
- Be your best advocate
It goes without saying. YOU are the best advocate for your brand. Work it! We wear our jewellery all the time!
We hope that you have enjoyed our take on the basics of branding. If you have any questions, we would love to hear from you! Email us firstname.lastname@example.org And why not join us at our Marketing network event in partnership with ESTILA and CWC business networking group on 3rd May 2018 where we have teamed up with a panel of ladies that will be discussing how to market your small business on a limited budget!?! Hope to see you there!
This article was written by Clio and Athena Sigismondi, the founders and creative directors of Black & Sigi.
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