Building a really strong brand is a complex thing. There’s so much strategy and intention involved. And we don’t think it’s a black and white thing…
In fact, we were teaming up with an agency recently to help a client with their branding. Our part of the branding process was to help build the website. When we came across the brand guide and roadmap, we noticed that our process on how we set things up for our clients is a different way of doing things…
In this particular case, there was important information missing necessary to make sure the website was consistent with the work they had done. That missing information made the process of building the website a little more complicated than it had to be.
For us, it wasn’t a huge issue because we know how to ask the right questions. We know how to find the information we need to build a strategic website that is consistent with the vision of a brand. But if you were outsourcing your social media creation or maybe hiring someone to build your website who doesn’t know or understand your strategy, you’ll end up with an inconsistent brand very quickly.
Again, branding can be very complicated. And it’s a learning process. If you’ve been frustrated because your brand lacks personality or your website doesn’t bring in leads or people don’t quite connect with your content…give yourself some grace…especially if you’re trying to develop a brand on your own. It’s actually a really good sign that you’re aware that you have branding issues and want to make things better!
We don’t believe there is only one true way of doing things…just as long as you get the desired end result. Just like solving a creative problem, there may be one solution to a problem, but how we get there is where problem-solving in a creative way lives.
We believe the more information and strategy you have from the beginning, the better and easier solving a future branding problem will be. We do a lot of strategy work around here to avoid those issues or to help us know how to solve an issue if something ever comes up in the future! Your brand guide is like your manual and should help you not only make branding decisions about your colors and how to use them, but they should guide you on the language you should use on your website, what type of content you should create, and who your ideal clients are. Ultimately, your brand guide should help you make all branding decisions for your business now and in the future.
When it comes to branding, there are different branding methods. Different branding frameworks, roadmaps, and guides. But at the end of the day, we are all working towards the same goal.
Here at Sung & Co, we want to help coaches, consultants, and service providers build thriving brands that help them connect with their target audience, have visuals that support their content, and build a cohesive interpretation of their vision and who they are.
Because branding is so complex, we like to simplify the process so our clients can learn and understand how branding works for their particular business so they’re empowered to make decisions for their brand in the future.
The ABCs of Branding
In order to break things down and simplify the branding process, there are three overarching things you should do to develop a thriving brand…not just any brand, but a successful one that connects with your target audience and helps you communicate who you are and what you have to offer.
And we call this, the ABCs of Branding to help people remember…
A is for Align
B is for Build
C is for Cultivate
If you have ever tried to work on your branding on your own, but have felt frustrated because nothing’s ever consistent, your website lacks personality, you don’t really know how to build a deeper connection with your audience, or even know how to stand out from your competitors, then the ABCs of Branding is a great concept to learn and incorporate into your own way of developing your brand.
In the ABCs of Branding, the A stands for Align. If you’re familiar with the branding process, then you know you start by aligning your brand with your vision with a strong brand strategy. If you’re a brand design newbie and haven’t learned about branding quite yet, we want to share a quick story of why aligning your brand comes first before building that website, logo, or course…
We recently had someone ask if we could help them pick out the colors for their brand. They were playing around with colors influenced by the 80s because those colors were really fun and bright. This person felt they lacked personality in their branding so they thought it would be smart to incorporate some neon colors…
Although incorporating brighter colors into a brand does make it brighter and adds a lot of personality, changing the colors really becomes a quick fix and doesn’t really solve the deeper issue.
In order to figure out the deeper issue, we need to know why they feel their brand lacks personality, wherein their branding do they feel it’s lacking, who they’re trying to connect with, who their business is for, and how it’s positioned.
To try and add a little more personality with some color changes doesn’t really address the issue if the problem is really because of the content on your website.
Color changes don't address the issue if the problem is that you’re attracting the wrong clients.
To understand what the deeper issues are, we need to dive into your strategy to make sure that everything is aligned with your vision.
In the ABCs of Branding, the B stands for Build.
When you build before you align, you’ll inevitably have to rebuild again (and again) until you’ve gone back to make sure your brand is aligned. So make sure that your strategy is solid before moving onto the Build phase!
After we’ve developed our brand strategy and have everything aligned, we use the strategy to help guide our decisions on how we build our branding collateral.
As we build, we need to keep checking in with our strategy to help us decide what colors to choose, what the style of the logo should be, all the different ways we can use the logo, layout the content for our website, how to build a great customer journey through that website, and how we attract our ideal clients in the content we create.
Our strategy even influences what language and copy we should use on our website to connect with our target audience.
Every asset, visual, course, or resource that we build should always be based on our strategy. When we start making choices because we just “feel like it,” that’s when our brand starts the quick descent into inconsistency.
In the ABCs of Branding, the C stands for Cultivate.
After we align our vision with a solid brand strategy and build our assets based on that strategy, we can develop and cultivate our brand to ensure that it's thriving! Again, we don’t want to have a “meh” brand. We want a successful brand that stands out, connects with people, and is one that everyone wants to know and support. With me?
So what does that even mean?
Our brands are constantly growing and evolving over time just as our business should. We are not saying to follow the latest trends…but the truth is, how we do business, how we approach our clients…our processes will change over time to keep up with our clients’ needs.
So how do we make sure our brand stays relevant and consistent?
We recommend that businesses do regular brand audits. Yearly, quarterly, monthly, weekly, and even daily! Having a brand manager on the team is super helpful so they can make sure that every piece of content, every interaction, every element stays consistent.
When we ignore the responsibility of making sure our brand stays consistent on a regular basis, we’ll quickly fall into the trap of a disconnected brand, and you’ll be left wondering where the heck did it go wrong.
Cultivating a brand is like steering a giant ship. You don’t notice when the ship slowly starts drifting off course, but it’ll definitely have your attention when it’s about to hit an iceberg!
To keep things short and sweet, remember to work through the ABCs of Branding when you’re working on your brand.
When it comes to the ABCs of branding...
A is for Align, B is for Build, and C is for Cultivate.
If you want hands-on help, join us for our next 5-day challenge where we focus on getting clarity around your business so you start mapping out a solid brand strategy!
To learn more or to sign up, click here.
Until next time,