Create Your Brand in 5 Steps

Katie O’Grady

Two of my favorite clients so far in 2019 have been women transitioning from a well-known personal brand to a new venture.

Katie O’Grady, a beloved force in the acting community, wanted to capture her new passion and capability for directing, and had a huge opportunity with directing Nike shorts that required a new brand fast. Savannah Jones had been behind a microphone for 20+ years as a country music personality and wanted to take that valuable knowledge to craft a new career of helping businesses connect to their intended audiences.

The process of creating your brand can be confusing and overwhelming, especially if it’s the first time you’re launching a business, or if you’re changing what you’ve always done. Often, clients don’t totally understand what the “brand” or “branding” is. Let’s break it down really, really simply in the interest of you hangin’ in for this whole article

Your brand is the collection of perceptions in the minds of the customers. It’s the promise your company makes to its customers—its claim of distinction. Your brand reflects your professional reputation — what you’re known for (or would like to be known for). Brand touch-points, all the ways people come in contact with your brand, are the ways in which that promise is communicated: tagline, logo, web site, marketing materials, staff & service

A strong brand will make a claim about your organization that is both important to customers while setting it apart from the competition. It will answer the customers’ question: “why come here instead of elsewhere that offers this product or service?” A strong brand will build a relationship with its customers using their experiences with the brand, to build brand loyalty.

I’ve demonstrated here simply, the key foundational pieces to launch your brand. I can’t stress enough to know what you’re personally capable of handling, and when to hire your skilled team members. My business model is usually directed at small business with smaller budgets, so I always write with the vision that you’re not using an agency, but we can get you to that agency quality.

1. Brand Positioning

  • What’s your unique story? What pieces will connect with your audience?
  • Your differentiators: what makes you special, why should we care? How is your brand perceived in the context of competitive alternatives?
  • Your Product & Services: what exactly do you do? Do you know how to say it?
  • Your voice, values, and personality are all part of how you’re positioned to your target audience

2. Brand Identity

This is what we can see, it’s the design of a brand. It’s your desired perception in terms of visual language. This is your logo, colors, typography. It’s also how the logo is shown on applications. You want to communicate your vision clearly to a designer with your brand positioning and examples of logos, colors and fonts you love. You definitely want an experienced designer (not your friend’s nephew who’s designing as a side hustle) and it’s worth it to invest the $$. That said, I am having huge success finding really great graphic designers on Upwork freelance site, at reasonable prices.

3. Photography

Savannah Jones Marketing

Good photography makes it all come alive. If you’re launching yourself as a brand—hire the best. You can use stock photography for some of the site pictures, but if you’re part of the brand or have a unique product that needs personal images, invest in this invaluable asset. Images on this page are the genius work of Jennifer Alyse.

4. Content Writing

Now you need to pull this all together—all that good brand positioning and messaging and make it pop on your platforms: website, social media, newsletters, collateral. Many fancy themselves good writers. It must flow, draw you in, while also being strategically written. There are some good courses out there if you have the money and time. Marie Forleo’s The Copy Cure specifically focuses on content for your marketing platforms, and she has an easy breezy “your best girlfriend” style that is wildly successful.

5. Website Build

Seems anyone can build a website these days, and you can, but will it look DIY (and I don’t mean that in a good way)? If you can handle the tech piece and you have a really good design aesthetic, go for it. But there are a ton of experts who are building sites for you in the $1500-2000 range and they look pretty damn good. Squarespace is a favorite of mine because they have lots of design options. I don’t find Squarespace easy or intuitive, like a WordPress or Weebly site, so be warned. There are 100s of video tutorials if you have the luxury of time.

Savannah Jones Marketing

This has been a skim of some of the key elements to build your brand. I personally offer the positioning, content and website build piece in my business and pull in experts for graphic design and photography.

Consider this a Phase I, your foundation. And then think of Phase 2 as how you’re going to get your brand out there. Your launch, your ongoing marketing, your content marketing plan, your biz dev, your advertising, your partnerships—this is just a start. Are you ready to jump in?

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