Beginner’s Guide To Creating A Professional Brand Identity
What exactly is a brand or personal brand?
How do you create a brand for yourself or your business in a purposeful way? In this article, we are going to discuss branding and how to do it the right way for your online business.
Branding has become a sort of buzzword on the market these days. The term ‘personal brand’ is being thrown around by social media gurus everywhere and now it’s got everyone thinking about their brand.
But, just being all over the show tweeting constantly doesn’t mean that you necessarily have a brand.
Most people that use this word don’t even completely understand what it means. They use it because other people are using it, and because they think it’s cool marketing jargon, so they use it too.
But what is it exactly?
Why are large companies spending tons of their time (and boatloads of their money) on this branding thing?
And even more importantly, how does the whole thing translate over to you and your online business?
Let’s discuss branding in a way that makes it something useful that applies to us.
When you really get down to it, a brand is just a mental image picture. (Stay with me…) See, we think in pictures. The words we say and hear are just vibrations that trigger pictures in the mind.
For example, if I ask you what color your car is, you have to see the picture of your car in your mind to even process that question.
Whenever you hear a great story or watch a fun movie, you remember the images and the mood a lot easier than you remember what words that were being said on screen, don’t you?
So, back to brands:
A brand is just a mental picture which forms in your prospects’ minds when they see your stuff.
Nike is a great example of branding. Whenever you see the Nike swoosh, don’t you have a mental image that comes to mind of a runner who’s hustling out there?
Seeing that Nike logo just gives you a feeling of accomplishment, of making things happen.
But have you ever noticed how Nike commercials rarely ever talk about shoes specifically?
Instead, the ads contain lots of images and music and athletes defying odds and achieving spectacular things. That is branding. It’s a mental image picture.
Good branding means that your mental image picture correlates to what your prospects’ wants and needs. This is the key to making a brand work, and it’s exactly what makes a brand an extremely powerful idea.
The picture that you invoke in your prospects’ minds should be one that makes them want to do business with you. They should want what they see and desire to Be, Do, or Have that!
No matter what brand you are creating for yourself right now, if you are leveraging it the right way, the mental picture is going to serve a want or need that your customers have.
The image is something that they identify with, and definitely something that they want.
So, ultimately, that’s what a brand is. A mental image picture and an idea that goes along with it.
The 4 Main Components of a Brand
Of course, there are a lot of other things that go into making up a brand.
For example, in regard to a blog, the types of videos and blog posts that you create also have a major impact and they back up your overall brand.
But the four main components of building an amazing brand are:
3. Imagery and Colors
4. Brand Promise
Now let’s dive into each of these components:
This is the name of your business, your site, or your blog.
If you’re building a personal brand, it could be your name (or whatever else you want). It could even be a made up word like Google…
The name will not exist alone. It has to have other branding elements that go with it to define it.
So, when it comes to branding, just remember not to choose a name that conflicts with the overall brand image.
If you want to go one step further, give your brand a name that leaves little doubt as to what you do. For example, ‘PlanetBizOp’ lends itself to what we talk about here.
This is the visual representation of your brand that will be used everywhere. Just like the name, your logo will depend on other elements of your branding to help define its meaning.
A great deal of time and effort goes into the creation of a logo, and if your logo is going to be very graphic then you will need to take into account the colors, imagery, and the mood when creating it.
The best logos (in my opinion) are the simple ones with no fancy graphic components but consisting of a font, primarily. This makes them more flexible for use in various situations.
However, you want to select a font that backs up the mood of your brand.
Every blog has a tagline but most waste it. In fact, some blogs never even change theirs from the default tagline ‘Just another WordPress blog’.
The tagline that you display on your blog is actually a huge part of your branding. It defines what your particular brand is about and takes away any ambiguity as to whatever it is you actually do.
Just remember to keep your tagline short and sweet.
For example, our tagline on this site is set to: ‘Doing the research so you don’t have to’. It’s short, sweet, and defines what we do.
It’s alright if you don’t display your tagline onsite. It will most likely still be useful for SEO purposes.
If you don’t have it displayed, however, it’s vital to ensure that other elements on the page define your brand instantly.
This is of particular importance when it comes to personal brands that are based on your name.
The Images And Color Scheme
Keep in mind that the ultimate goal of branding has to do with the mental image picture that people are going to associate with you.
This mental picture will also carry within it emotion and mood.
So some of the things that you have to ascertain are:
- What your target audience really wants
- What their ideal scene looks like
- The types of images they associate with that scene
- What they will feel when they get what they want
Putting all of this together helps you to start to narrow down the types of images, moods, and message that you want to be the defining factor for your brand.
A great example of this is Frank Kern.
Most of you in the online marketing world know him. Back when he first started online, he embodied the ‘surfer dude’ but ever since he started doing high end consulting, his business model changed and his image became more professional to back that up.
While he may have enjoyed surfing (and probably still does), from a personal branding perspective it was something that most of his audience probably associated with success. His image was something that looked like the end of their transformation.
As an internet marketer, you probably dream about the same things, too.
Sunny days on the beach, eating what you want, drinking whenever you feel like, working whenever and wherever you desire, and having more money flow to you while you’re sleeping than you can spend when you’re awake…
Oh, and surfing.
So even his initial image worked for his brand in that every aspect of it was the opposite of sitting in a cubicle and played right to everyone’s dream of what owning a successful online business looks like.
What about your brand?
Do the images and the overall feel of your brand symbolize what your target audience would consider success?
Does the color scheme of your website back up the mood of your brand?
Different colors bring on different moods. What moods do you want to be associated with your brand?
For example, you may have noticed that our site tends to have lots of white space and the accent colors are blue and black. Black is a power color and blue represents trust and wisdom.
But it’s important to note that colors can have different meanings to different people.
For example, some consider red to be the color of passion, but others think it means danger. Also, remember that your site colors won’t exist in a vacuum.
This is a phrase that will encompass your business’s overall promise. The brand promise communicates what your prospects expect to achieve by conducting business with you.
It can be subtle and used mainly to guide your marketing plans such as the NFL brand promise to bring people together, connecting them emotionally and socially – but not mentioning football.
Or your brand promise could be in the open, continually repeated, and a central part of your brand such as Geico’s promise that ’15 minutes or less could save you 15 percent or more on your car insurance’.
Make your brand promise short and sweet. It’s about the big picture of the advantages of doing business with you and the feelings that accompany it, not about the nuts and bolts of whatever you’re offering.
Finding Your Brand
A lot of people are confused as to how to find their brand, but it’s a simple process. To begin with, figure out the idea, mental picture, and the feeling that you want to be associated with you.
Take your own personality and your natural talents into account, and also your market competition.
Your brand has to be consistent with who you are as a person so that everything is congruent. Ideally, your brand should differentiate you from your competitors in a way that makes you memorable.
Some people are outgoing and vivacious and when they make videos, that high level of energy works for their branding and makes them stand out.
But if your personality is nothing like that, if you’re more relaxed and calm and you attempt to copy them, you will come off as being completely fake.
It’s OK to zig while your competition zags. Just ask yourself, what is it about you that you can amplify to make you stand out in people’s minds?
Feel free to take elements of your personality and dial that up. Even if it has absolutely nothing to do with what you do, it could be something that helps people remember you because it’s different.
How to find out what your brand should be:
Talk to your prospects directly
Most online business owners are introverts but the truth is that the best way to get intelligence on your prospects is simply to talk to them.
That’s an effective way to find out what they think success looks like as well as how they perceive you from the outside.
Analyze your competition
When you think of your competition, what brand or image comes to mind?
What areas are they trying to own?
If a particular area is already taken, then you may want to go a different direction.
Consider your strength
What is it that your competitors can’t bring to the table but you can?
This will also help you to define what type of brand you’re creating.
What are your natural tendencies?
Are there any unique things about you that you can play up?
Even if you think you’re as boring as snot, there are likely things about you that other people find interesting. Dial those up.
Brainstorm ideas that merge these together into one concept.
Think of the mental picture that you’re trying to create and then look at the branding components mentioned above.
Consider how you can make all these things coincide to create the perfect brand for you.
A brand is something that you do on purpose. It isn’t haphazard or an accident. If you execute it well, your brand will help you in your marketing so you can make more sales.
It’s a great way to help you stand out from your competitors in internet marketing. Now that you know the basics, go and create your own amazing brand right now.
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Updated: Originally published May 26th 2018