This is a guest post from Sydney Smith, of Olivewing Designs.
Branding can often come across as this elusive term. Many people assume a logo is enough for your brand, however it is just one of the key elements that play a role in your branding.
So what does your “brand” actually encompass?
Your brand is the way you make your customers feel at any point of contact with your business. This means everything from your logo, colors, fonts to your brand voice, marketing assets and the customer experience you provide are all a part of your “brand”.
With product-based businesses, all of these elements play a large role in turning a viewer into a brand advocate. This can seem overwhelming at the start, so we’re going to run through how to pick some of the key components of your brand so you can start to piece everything together to appeal to your target demographic.
Where to start: Who is your target demographic?
I’m sure you have heard this term before, but it can be vague for how to actually know who your target demographic is and where this information comes into play.
This is essentially who you WANT to buy your products, think who is my ideal client?
Knowing your target demographic is important because it allows you to get into their head, understand their pain points, and EXACTLY how you can speak to them. This will impact the colors, fonts, imagery and copy you use throughout your site.
For example, if you’re an athletic wear company and your target demographic is males 30-45 in Miami who are interested in Crossfit, triathlons and the Keto diet you would probably lean towards bold colors like red, or deep blues, oranges, etc.
Your copy would read slightly more intense than, say, a natural food company that has a target demographic of moms who are looking for easy and clean food products on the go. These colors, fonts and associated imagery would be much more calming.
Now that you know the importance, let’s dive into the pieces to think through.
Where they consume media:
The easy way to think about Demographics vs. Psychographics is that Demographics explain who your buyer is and psychographics explain why they would buy.
Now you’ve created more of a full picture of a person you might be targeting. Keep in mind, this doesn’t have to be accurate on every level of the lifestyle. It is more to give you an idea of where they are showing up and how you can potentially reach them and speak to them. The most important part of this is understanding their pain point and then how you can uniquely serve them with your product. It can be a good activity to get visual and envision this person. Imagine what their day-to-day looks like. Why would all of these things make them want to work with YOU to fix their pain point?
Now that we’ve covered the behind the scenes work, let’s jump into the fun stuff: design and branding. Your brand is not just fonts, colors, logos and imagery. It is the emotion that is evoked from someone upon any point of contact with you or your business assets.
Which is why the most important question in my branding questionnaire asks what are the 5 adjectives you want people to feel when coming across your brand or business?
This largely influences each of the elements of your brand. As we touched upon, there would be a big difference between the content you would choose as a natural food company vs. an intense athletic wear line.
If the adjectives you choose for your business are along the lines of welcoming, calming, aligned, graceful, professional. You might look into earth tones, and colors that are soothing like the ones here, and you would want to avoid strong colors that would send a mixed message.
However, if you had a brand that you want people to identify as strong, bold, sleek, etc. you might lean towards a color palette like the one shown below.
One tool that is amazing to see how these colors can come together is Coolors. Something I recommend to find colors is to select an image you feel captures your brand – you can look on Pinterest, or if you have one already you can use it to upload into Coolors and then use the color dropper to identify the colors.
This will generate a 5 part color palette. Here’s how I would advise this breakdown:
Two primary colors of the brand – make these deeper tones so that they can easily be used throughout your site and marketing materials as font colors.
Two-color hues – these colors will complement the primary colors, but be primarily used as background colors. We will utilize these colors as banners and let these guide us for the imagery we pick. If these colors are warmer, we will choose warmer toned images so that it matches. If these colors are colder, we will pick colder hues in images so that it all has a cohesive look.
One body text color – Typically a darker color that you will utilize as the text for all of your body text throughout your site.
Have some fun with this process of picking colors! Pairing Coolors with Pinterest can be the best way to find a color scheme that will work best for you. Just keep in mind when looking at each palette: how does it make you feel? If it aligns with your brand adjectives, you’re on the right path!
Now onto fonts. A lot of people can get lost here. We want to keep the SAME thing top of mind for fonts as we did for colors: how does it make you feel? You want your fonts to elicit that same emotional response that your colors do.
So for that same calming, welcoming brand, I would choose fonts like the ones below.
And for the stronger brand, I would choose fonts more along the lines of these ones.
Typically for your brand, you will want two fonts. One that is used as a bolder font for header one and three, and another to pair with it for header two and body text. Here are some successful font pairings.
Imagery is the last piece of the puzzle for having your brand come together in a cohesive way that feels aligned for your target market. The best place to source copyright 0 imagery (aka images you are legally allowed to use) is Unsplash.
Unsplash has been my go-to for years as they have so many quality images that don’t look like your typical cheesy stock photos.
When choosing imagery, it comes back AGAIN to those adjectives you chose. When you are filtering through options, you want to make sure the emotion you feel when looking at an image is in line with the emotions you want your brand to evoke. Past that, you want to choose relevant imagery.
Relevant imagery doesn’t always have to be only shots of your products. For example, if you’re a natural food brand obviously food imagery is needed, but if your brand is aligned with the outdoors and peaceful content, your brand imagery might also include natural elements like the mood board shown below.
I know these choices can feel overwhelming as it is a lot of moving pieces. But using these tools and tricks can help to put it all together. Remember, this is a fun part of the process! Enjoy playing with your options and just come back to those adjectives and if each of the elements is evoking those emotions you want to be associated with your brand. You can also do market research and run your branding elements by people in your target market to get some validation.
If you are still finding this process to be overwhelming and feeling like things are disjointed, you can reach out to a brand designer to see if it would be a good fit for you to outsource this process.
When you find the right partner to build your brand, they truly get to know you and your business and are able to turn your vision into a beautiful reality that will resonate with your ideal customers.
Sydney Smith is a brand and website designer who specializes in pairing strategy with beautiful design to deliver her clients with tangible business results. Connect with her here.