Branding + Branding Identity {and why you need both}

“Oh girl, you need to work on your branding!”

I think this is the piece of advice I see given out most online as an entrepreneur. Work on your branding. And what always follows is a Pinterest search for color schemes and textures. Or the search for the perfect designer. Or a photoshop session.

The thing is that taking any of those steps really won't help you create the magic of a true brand. Truth be told, even a designer cannot create a brand. It can help form the foundation but that’s it.

And that’s where the confusion sets it. See, branding is not all about logos. It’s not about colors or fonts or textures. Branding is all about the perception of a business' personality according to the consumers.

On the other hand, branding identity, which is all about visuals, is equally important. In fact, while branding isn’t about logos and colors, it cannot be complete without a visual aspect. They’re both important to business. So let’s talk about it.

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Branding.

Branding is step numero uno in creating your marketing technique. Not because of the brand identity aspect of it, the visuals, but because you’re looking to evoke a certain feeling from people. In essence, your brand is going to be a reflection of you and what you have to offer your consumers; whether they are blog readers, clients or customers.

So how do you determine your business’ brand? How do you brand yourself in a way that will make you memorable to those around you? It’s not as complicated as it sounds.

Grab a piece of paper and take some notes. Answer some questions for me. For you, really.

1. What is your business all about?

2. How do you want people to react to your business? With excitement? Awe? Joy? Peace? Write it all down.

3. What do people say most about your business? Why do they come back for more?

4. What is your business' mission statement? Core values?

5. How do you ensure that you are staying authentic to your mission statement and core values?

Branding + Branding Identity {and why you need both}
Branding + Branding Identity {and why you need both}

Chances are there are some common themes among those answers. Take the answers and come up with a 1-2 sentence summary and hello, there’s your branding. Easy peasy, right?

One of the best examples of a business that really owns their branding is Apple. Now I’m not saying this because I’m an Apple addict {I really am though} but Apple has done an amazing job of creating a brand that is more than just the fruity logo. Apple invokes a sense of authority in the world. People know them for being cutting edge and creative. They associate the brand with hipsters and adventurers. Designers and creators. And it has NOTHING to do with the logo. It’s the work they’ve done to form a community. The outreach. The sense of living life in a youthful way.

Spend 15 minutes looking at what Apple is doing in the world and you’ll want to be a part of it. I like to call that darn good branding.

Branding Identity.

So you’ve got the baseline of your branding figured out... Now it’s time to make it a visual experience. You want to create a brand identity that people will immediately identify and in some cases, identify with!

This is where the help of a good designer comes into play. I work with Nichole of Sweet October for all of my branding identity needs because she takes the time to learn about the aspects of my businesses that I want to convey, the feeling I want to send out and helps create visuals that are distinctly my brand.

So while I stated before that a designer can’t create a brand, a good designer can certainly help form your visual foundation and I highly recommend working with a good designer to get you set off on the right foot. {Please note the emphasis on good! You want to hire someone that knows their stuff, okay?}

When working on your branding identity, you’re going to be more focused on how certain visuals make people feel. Not just other people but yourself as well. Because your logo, your visual, the entire identity, needs to be something that truly reflects you. You don’t want to end up with a visual presence that you hate because if you hate it, it’s not you. Thus it’s not effective.

Take into consideration color psychology. Now you don’t have to go gung ho color psychology. If you want to use grey or pink or a color that you truly love, go for it. But it’s a good idea to learn a bit about what colors make people feel certain ways. You’ll also want to make sure that your whole color palette plays well together. I recommend using the tool Coolors.co for this part! Check it out. Trust me. You’ll love it.

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Beyond colors, you’ll need to consider graphics being used and how they will make your logo feel. Yep. You need a logo first in this process. Take my logo for example.

I wanted to convey a feeling of professionalism while still staying true to my feminine nature and my positive approach to coaching. Not to mention my love of creativity! This logo was created with those aspects in mind. A clean font for professionalism. A larger watercolor pink graphic to embrace my creative femininity. The gold heart to symbolize positivity and love.

Since debuting this logo, that’s exactly what people have told me they love about it. They can sense the type of person I am just by looking at it.

And that’s why it pays to work with a fabulous designer. One that will get you.

Now when people see that gold heart or swirly ES, they know it’s my brand! Branding Identity, my friends!

But you don’t always have to work with a designer in order to create a fabulous brand identity. What you do need is a branding identity board. This way you can stay consistent with your visuals. Consistency is key when creating your brand identity. You want to use the same fonts or font combinations. The same colors schemes. The same aesthetic really. So feel free to design your own, just remember to keep it cohesive. That means when you make your Twitter header, your blog header, you Facebook cover that you keep them all very similar. You want people to recognize your business just by look at those visual things.

[bctt tweet="Branding & Branding Identity are 2 different things. But you can't have one without the other!" username="erinshebish"]

So you see, branding is important. It’s not about logos and colors but it’s important. And your brand identity, your logos and colors, are absolutely just as important. What part of branding do you love? What part do you struggle with?

Until next time, have a beautiful day!

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