You don’t need a massive marketing and design budget to start crafting a brand image you adore!
Your brand image should be instantly recognizable and oh so effortlessly cool, after all, it represents you!
Great branding doesn’t happen by accident. It takes time and some soul searching. Oh, not to mention a sizeable budget… or does it?
We all want to look polished regardless of the size of our company. But where should you start? Is it even possible to do this on a solopreneur budget?
As crazy guy named Austin Powers once said, “Yeah, baby, yeah!” And we’re here to help!
Nail Down Your Vibe
Before you can create your distinct brand identity, you first have to know your brand. Sounds simple enough, right? However, you’d be surprised how often business owners stumble at this key step.
Even if your business is your passion, have you really thought about what makes you, well, YOU? What makes YOU stand out? What do YOU do better than everyone else? What is YOUR unfair advantage?
(While you’re at it, this is a good time to craft your elevator pitch, too.)
So… Who are you? Who are you not? If you’re feeling stuck, try this exercise:
- My brand is THIS but not THAT, which makes me XYZ.
For example… My brand is light but not frivolous, which makes me carefree.
Do this a few times to get a sense of your company’s real personality.
Find Your Perfect Color Scheme
Mention color scheme and some entrepreneurs get a bit nervous – but don’t be. Just remember: you don’t need a degree in color theory to find some great colors to represent you and your brand.
If you’ve got a handle on your brand’s distinct, personal vibe, that should help you a lot with this. For one thing, you’ll have a good feeling about what colors absolutely do not work with your brand — an intense, dark red will probably feel too serious for a company with a carefree brand, but would be great for a business that’s has a more serious vibe.
A good practice is to think about the brands that resonate with you. Look at their materials and website and pinpoint what attracts you to that brand and how it makes you feel. Now put yourself in your future client’s shoes and think about how you want them to feel when they encounter your brand. You’ll quickly find yourself making a likes and dislikes list for your specific brand.
From there, pick one or two colors that you adore and these will be your main colors. Then, decide on a few neutral colors to complement your main colors.
Stick with these colors for your stationery, logos, and business cards, and you’re well on your way to having a distinct brand identity.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, try sites like ColourLovers for inspiration — you’ll get plenty of ideas, and it’s easy to create your color scheme and share it with others for feedback!
Get a Logo You Love
This is where it gets a bit challenging. However, your logo is your brand’s first handshake with new customers, so it’s incredibly important to invest the time and money to get the right image for your brand.
If you can design your own logo, then great! But just like you don’t want to skimp on a good photographer for your wedding, you don’t want to go cheap on your logo. If you’re able to hire a designer, you’ve got plenty of options, from indie artists to big marketing firms. But whether you’ll be DIYing or hiring out, keep a few things in mind.
Remember those colors you chose? Now’s the time to let them shine! Make sure your logo uses both of your main colors. In some instances, you can sprinkle a few of those complimentary colors you picked, but they’ll likely take the stage when you’re creating materials like your business card or letterhead.
Lastly, make sure your finished logo comes to you in these formats: web-ready (75 DPI), print ready (300 DPI), and vector (for any large-scale print work).
For many start-ups, getting a distinct, cohesive, totally YOU brand identity rates right up there with six-pack abs and a squeaky-clean house. That is, while all those things come with great intention, is it really possible to make it happen with our current (and sometimes very limited) time and energy?
Yes and no.
There’s no golden ticket to achieving perfect branding, but having some fundamental things in place will go a long way in making your brand more cohesive.
This a great start, but what happens when you’ve graduated from the basics?
Our webinar is coming up, and it’s going to be fantastic! If you want to level-up your brand identity and kick things into overdrive, we hope you’ll join us for DIY Marketing Hacks for Entrepreneurs. (Psst! LEAP Colleagues get up to 100% off this and other awesome events.)
About Feliza David, Creative Director
Think of Feliza as LEAP’s very own Don Draper, except without the hard partying. (The only thing she binges on is Netflix.) From tool reviews to learning modules to eye-catching graphics, Feliza probably had her hand in it.
She loves LEAP because:
Feliza lives in Indiana with her husband, two dogs, one cat, and the occasional goldfish. When she’s not writing, drawing, or reading, she’s probably sleeping.