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How to Apply Consistent Branding to Your business ep. 14

Updated: Oct 10, 2023


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The other day my sister came across a logo I created for a business, and she was talking about how it transformed the entire perception of that business, making it look more professional and trustworthy.


Just that small piece of branding, a well-designed logo, had the power to sway her decision in favor of that business over another business whose logo looked like it was whipped up on Microsoft Word. This whole experience made me realize the true importance of branding.


Branding is not just some superficial decoration or fancy accessory for a business. It's the very first impression we have of a business, and it can truly make or break its success. Having strong, well-crafted branding sets you apart from the crowd and communicates professionalism and trustworthiness to your audience.


Think about it for a moment. When you come across a business with polished branding, it immediately instills confidence. It tells you that this business takes itself seriously, pays attention to detail, and is committed to delivering a high-quality experience.


On the other hand, when you run into a business with boring branding or lack there of, it raises doubts. It leaves you wondering if they truly care about their image or if their products or services are equally lame.


Your brand is the lens through which customers perceive your business. It's what sets you apart in a crowded market and influences the decisions of potential customers. in todays episode we'll be discussing practical tips and strategies to implement effective branding that leaves a lasting impression.


We're talking about how to apply branding to your business for a consistent look that's easy to implement. If you haven't created the branding for your business yet, this episode may not be as helpful. I do have a DIY Brand Yourself mini-course for less than $300 if you're interested in creating a brand yourself. You can find more info at zsquaredstudio.com/Diybrand, but if you already have branding in place, keep listening and learn some tips to help you implement your branding into your business.


Let's dive in.


1. Develop a Brand Style Guide


If you know anything about branding you've probably heard things like, use consistent fonts, stick to your color palette, have a signature style. But what does that even mean? How do you apply that to your business?


Well, a helpful tool that helps you remember all of these details is a brand style guide. A brand style guide is a document that gives you guidelines for your brand's visual identity. This guide it talks about logo usage, color palette, typography, imagery, and other design elements.


It can be very descriptive with 5-10+ pages that go in-depth into your brand's color palette, typography, logo use, brand elements, and even more like guidelines for your brand's tone of voice, messaging, and communication style.


Or this guide can be as simple as a single-page document stating all the visual elements in a clean and straightforward layout.


The kind of style guide you choose to have really depends on your business. If you're a big corporation you're going to want a more indepth set of guidelines. But if it's just you and you're a startup. Then a single page of guidelines is perfect for you.


No matter what you create for your business have some sort of document that reminds you of your fonts, color codes, moodboard, logo variations and photography style. You're style guide will help guide you down the line when you have to create materials for your business.


The advantage of having a brand style guide is that you're able to share it with other people to make sure you're both on the same page. Not sure what your fonts are? Look at the brand style guide. Not sure what the hex code is for the blue? Look at the brand style guide. Not sure if you have logo files with just the icon? Look at the brand style guide.


If you want a free single-page style guide head over to zsquaredstudio.com/styleguide to grab my free Canva template. It's what I use for my clients, I keep it really simple and it's just a place to remind you what logo variations, fonts, color palette, and mood board to remind you of your style, and brand imagery, which will help with future photoshoots if you choose to hire a photographer and your brand vibe words to always keep your brand intentional and on brand.



2. Everything should look the same


The idea of Branding is to make sure all your materials have a consistent look at feel.


Your social media, website, courses, invoices, everything should look like it comes from the same business.


That's why It's so important to always use the same fonts on your website, Instagram graphics, and even documents like your invoices should use the same font.


The same goes for using the same colors and brand style. Make sure you take the time to use the same hex codes on digital and CMYK codes for print. Don't just eyeball it because you don't want to bring up your style guide.


If you're using Canva to create your graphics add your branded elements to the brand kit. Upload your fonts, and set up your heading font and size along with the subhead and paragraph fonts. Enter the hex codes for your color palette, upload all your logo files or if there are too many start with your most used logos and upload the others as you need them.


This way you have no excuse but to stick to your brand style because it's already all set up for you.


You should also upload your branded images into a folder so you can have easy access to those as well. It's all about accessibility and being able to have easy access to all of your business assets so that you are more likely to use them. Assets are anything that you would use branding wise for your business. So your photos, logos, and even down to the colors and fonts that you use.


Make sure you have your font files and upload them onto your web builder, Canva, Adobe programs, or whatever you're designing on. If your brand was created by a designer they should have given you the font file that they used for your branding. If not then go ahead and ask them what the font is, hopefully, they will be able to give it to you or you can look it up on the internet, sometimes you can find the file for free. Just look up the font name and download. So for example, if you're using the typeface Arial then type in Arial Font Download. Sometimes you might have to pay for the font but it is totally worth it and you can write it off as a business expense anyway.



3. Don't be afraid to use the same ideas over and over again


If you create something that you love and has a lot of engagement with your audience, this would look like posting a graphic on Instagram and it gets a lot of likes, then study that design and re-use those design elements again.


Let's use my brand as an example. If you go to my website zsquaredstudio.com you will notice that most of my headers are my branded font in white on top of a blue box. It's a style element that I use over and over again. If I want to emphasize certain words of a quote I will put a blue box behind it with white text. If I'm making a worksheet ill put the title in white text on a blue box.





It may seem repetitive to use the same styling over and over again but it makes it super easy for the viewer to recognize your brand.


Maybe for you, this means you always use a certain combo of fonts so your branded font is used in both regular and italics. You might have seen examples of this for an editorial style brand.



This can even be something simple like always using a pink background for social media announcements, or always using thin lines to break up text.



Find what works for you and use it on your website, social media, business cards, packaging, and everything else.



4. Go with the flow, grow with your business

As your business grows your branding should too. Maybe your business started out with light pinks and a super feminine vibe. But as your products or services become more refined maybe you realize you want to have a deeper pink, something more professional but still feminine.


I actually ended up doing this for my business, I started off with more of a sky blue, then as my business grew over the years I wanted to look a little bit more professional, and edgier so I darkened the blue, just a little bit so the blue was still felt welcoming.


If you find that you want to make changes to your branding make sure you change your brand style guide to match as well. Your brand style guide is such an important tool for your business to make sure that your brand stays consistent.


Do keep in mind that changing your brand every couple of months will confuse your audience. If you do decide to make any changes to your brand, make sure that it is intentional and aligned with the growth of your business. If you think that your brand no longer reflects your goals or appears outdated, then sure, it might time for a rebrand.


After you start working with clients or get feedback from your customers for 3 months plus, you might have a better understanding of the type of people you attract. If you find that you are attracting a lot of boudoir photographers for example you might consider changing your branding to a moody vibe, really darkening up your current color palette for a more sensual look.


If you wanted to make big rebrand changes to your branding I would say wait at least 6 months minimum before you rebrand everything at once. You can also change things slowly by just changing out the font. Then when you change that throughout all your touchpoints, website, social media graphics, invoices, etc change the rest one at a time, the color palette, then the style then the imagery.


5. Keep it simple

Branding is simple. Just use the same fonts, colors, imagery style, and overall brand style for all of your marketing materials, that's it. There's no need to add extra graphics or bring in new textures every time you create something. Just implement what's on your brand style guide and run with it. There are going to be a lot of trends that appear but you don't and shouldn't follow all of them. Pick and choose ones that work well for your brand and make sure it makes sense. If bold and vibrant colors are trending but your branding is dark and moody definitely don't feel pressured to change your look. Or if thin hand-drawn flowers are really popular but your brand is more bold if the flowers are on brand for you maybe you use thick hand-drawn flowers instead. Regularly audit your brand, especially if you have team members, to make sure it's consistent and on brand.

To wrap it up Branding is a powerful tool that will help your business establish their identity and stand out from everyone else. It goes beyond having a logo; it's about creating a consistent look and feel for your business that resonates with your audience. By following these tips, you can effectively apply consistent branding to your business:


1. Develop a Brand Style Guide

Start by developing a brand style guide that outlines your visual identity, including fonts, colors, and design elements. This guide will help you maintain consistency in all your materials. Don't forget about my free single-page brand style guide which you can grab at zsquaredstudio.com/styleguide


2. Everything should look the same

Make sure that everything from your website to social media graphics and documents has the same brand style. Use the same fonts, colors, and styles across all touchpoints to create a cohesive and recognizable brand presence.


3. Don't be afraid to use the same ideas over and over again

Go ahead and reuse design elements that have been successful with your audience.


4. Go with the flow, grow with your business

As your business grows, your branding should evolve as well. Make intentional changes to your brand style guide if needed, and make sure that any updates align with the direction and goals of your business.


5. Keep it simple

Remember, simplicity is key. Stick to your brand style guide and resist the temptation to follow every trend. Choose the trends that align with your brand's personality and make sense for your target audience.


Regularly audit your brand for consistency, especially if you have a team working on various marketing materials.


Branding is a journey that requires dedication and attention to detail, but once you lock in your signature style the results will be well worth it in the long run.


When people see your brand colors on social media they will instantly associate it with your brand without you having to put your logo on it. That's one of the powers of branding, association, and recognition.


That's all I have for you today. Have a great day and happy designing.

 

If you don't have branding in place and want to create your own brand for less than $300 join my waitlist for my DIY Brand Yourself in 5 days mini course doors open January 22nd 2024.


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