Last week we talked about the two pillars of branding: brand voice and brand visuals.
I want to spend some more time unpacking each pillar and walking through some action steps you can take to build your brand from the roots up.
In order to make sure your brand is rooted in an authentic, meaningful place, it is sooo important that you establish core values early on. This post is intended to help you brainstorm and dig up those hidden gem core values that are already planted deep in your core?
In one sentence (run-on if necessary), write out the message you want to convey through your brand. What do you stand for? What ripple effect does your business have on the world?
I really mean it when I say write it out. I prefer to hand write when I’m reflecting, but do it however works best for you. Write it out. Type it out. Speak-to-Text it out.
The first step to organizing all of the parts of your brand is getting them out of your head and putting them on paper. This allows you to revisit them later, add new thoughts/ideas, and then “assemble” your copy in a way that accurately reflects your true message.
Before you can piece together your visual brand, you need to craft your message. And you need to be intentional about consistently telling that story in all of your copy.
Last week I gave you the task of brainstorming 3-5 core values of your brand. Now, we are going to dig in even more and outline those core values with some clarifying statements. See my examples below:
Authenticity: I will always be my true self and use my design work to platform the authentic selves of others.
Grit: There’s no such thing as giving up. Each day, week and year I will pivot, innovate and do what’s necessary to problem solve and reach my goals.
Soul: My work, my relationships and my life will not be surface level. I refuse to go through the motions or create cookie-cutter designs. Let there be soul!
Now, you may be asking How do I use my core values in my branding? Well, really my answer is EVERYTHING you do should be consistent with your core values.
Here are some tips:
- Each time you post on social media, ask yourself “Which value(s) does this post align with? Does this post push forward my brand message?” I encourage you to cycle through each value and ensure you are posting content consistently that amplifies each message (talk about some caption ideas!)
- Comb through your website copy and make sure it is consistent with your values. I intentionally try to use the words soul and authenticity throughout my site, because those values are so central to my process. If you find that a few of your values are underrepresented on your site, be intentional about creating more content that shows your community that value. We don’t want to just be saying we value something without proving it.
- Anytime you face a challenge or have to make a difficult business decision, you should turn to these values. Ask yourself how do my values inform this decision? Run through each value as it pertains to the challenge you are facing and I promise the answer & path forward will become clearer.
In the end, the point of this post is to emphasize the importance of having substance to your brand. Your presence on the internet or social media should NOT be solely a marketplace for you to promote your products or services. It should be a community – a space for ideas, growth and connection to other human beings.
As Alexander Hamilton said, “Those who stand for nothing fall for anything.” If you want your brand to stand out, to be memorable, to MATTER to your audience, you must stand for something.
You must push forward a message that matters deeply to you. Your passion will help you reach your people and connect to them on a level deeper than simply what you sell.
For next week…
When we get into your Brand Voice, we will talk about specific causes and topics that your brand will be known for.
Start brainstorming now. Which charities do you often find yourself donating to? Are there any topics you could go on and on about because you care so much? What important conversation do you feel called to move the needle on?