Too many people either skip or overlook the importance of developing a killer brand, and keeping it consistent across all marketing channels, especially on social media channels.
To stand out on social media and give yourself an edge, you need to develop a brand that fits your personality and attracts your ideal customer and make sure that your brand voice and visuals represent it online and offline.
Whether you’re a solopreneur or a small business owner with employees, you, along with anyone who works for you, need to know what the brand stands for: its mission, style, look, colors, voice, personality, and so on.
This way, everyone on your team stays on brand when communicating your brand – in words and visuals.
If you haven’t heard the term “on brand” before, it’s marketing speak for knowing and understanding all elements of a brand and keeping it uniform across all mediums, including social media.
Creating a killer brand helps you connect with your target audience and customers in ways that are both tangible and intangible.
The intangible elements are golden because they elicit an emotional response that resonates and attracts your ideal customer and brand ambassadors. If done right, your customers and fans will immediately know your brand even before they see your name or logo.
No time to read this post? Don’t leave before getting your FREE copy of my Creating A Killer Brand For Social Media Worksheet. It’s a step-by-step worksheet that helps you create an irresistible brand that stands out on social media and beyond.
But How Do I Develop My Brand?
First, you want to ask yourself this question: What attributes best represent me and my brand?
Think of all the attributes that define the essence and dimensions of you and the brand you’re creating.
Here are a few brand elements to consider: purpose, characteristics, tone, language, style, colors, fonts, look and feel and other visuals, such as photography style and filters.
Hone in on what’s distinctive about you and your brand. Being unique will help you stand out on social media (and everywhere else) and start attracting the people who are your ideal customer.
The goal is to have your brand voice and visual look communicate to the world who you are, what you represent, and what’s unique about your business. It should ultimately attract your ideal customer and have them craving more.
We went through the process of doing this at BentoBox Media. We did an entire rebranding of our brand. We ditched our old logo and killed our website and blog! Yep, you read that right.
The thought of getting rid of our blog and starting over wasn’t an easy decision, only because of all the time that we had spent on it.
But, we wanted to do a complete rebrand and change the direction of our blog, so I told our AHH-mazingly talented web designer and branding badass, Andrea “Dre” Beltrami of The Branded Solopreneur and creator of The Solopreneur Society, to “burn the bitch down,” and that was that. Sayonara old brand, website, and blog!
It left me feeling naked because we launched our brand-spankin’ new website with NO blog posts and instead had placeholders reading: BLOG POST #1, BLOG POST #2, and BLOG POST #3. I shit you not!
How’s that for transparency?!?!
A Snapshot of Our Process
Once we nailed down the brand essence, elements, and attributes, our designer got to work on creating all the visual elements while we worked on website content and copy, minus the blog posts, of course.
Our web designer provided us with new designs and helped us narrow them down until we got to our final selection of visual elements that best represented our brand, which included a new color palette consisting of five colors of primary and secondary colors, a new logo with submarks (we never had a submark before and love that we do now), website graphics, photography, typography, social icons and backgrounds and so on.
We absolutely love the brand and website that Dre helped us create! By going through all the steps, it made it easy to hone in on who we are as a company and develop a new brand for our business that truly represents us.
We have a ton of work to still do for rebranding our social channels, writing blog posts, and creating more freebies, but starting from scratch and rebranding was the right decision, not to mention a TON OF FUN, thanks to Dre!
However, don’t think you need to hire a brand expert and web designer as we did.
From my experience with The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas where I was part of the brand marketing team that created and launched a new brand from scratch and working with our designer to rebrand BentoBox Media, I can share with you a few key points that I’ve learned over the years, so you can create your own killer brand without hiring a designer or brand expert.
10 Steps to Creating a Killer Brand
STEP ONE: INSPIRATION & ASPIRATION SELECTION
Think about brands you love that closely align with the brand you want to create. These will be aspirational brands in any industry, but not your competitors. Pick the top three brands that are your favorite and study all the elements of each brand. Learn and draw inspiration from them.
STEP 2: STUDY & DEVELOP YOUR AVATAR
In marketing, the word “avatar” simply means developing an avatar of your ideal customer, which helps you know every aspect of your ideal customer down to what she or he likes to eat for breakfast.
Examine all aspects of your customers, or the ideal customer you want to attract. Who are they? What are they passionate about? What type of work do they do? Where do they go for fun? What type of work do they do? What are their aspirations? Where do they shop? What’s their style? What are their challenges and pain points? You get the idea.
Hone in on what their desires are, what resonates with them, and the biggie, how your product or service solves a problem or meets a need of theirs.
The point here is that by developing a customer avatar and understanding all aspects of your ideal customer, it helps you develop a brand that’s attractive to your ideal customer, resonates with them, feeds their desires, and meets their needs.
STEP 3: IDENTIFY YOUR UNIQUE VALUE PROPOSITION
Decide what your brand’s purpose is and what your unique value proposition is. Think about what your signature elements are and what makes your brand, business, and blog unique and different than your competitors.
You may offer the same services or products as your competitors, but drill down to what’s different and unique and bring it to the surface so you are clear on what differentiates you from your competitors.
STEP 4: PICK YOUR TOP ATTRIBUTES
Brainstorm all the attributes that best represent you and your brand. Think about what emotions and feelings you want your brand to evoke in your readers and viewers. Jot down all the attributes that you brainstorm and then pick the top three to five that best represent you and your brand.
STEP 5: DEVELOP YOUR BRAND VOICE
Based on your top attributes, determine the tone and language that best matches your top attributes. When I say language, I’m not talking about what language to speak as in English or Spanish or Mandarin, I’m talking about the manner, style, and tone that you use when you speak and write. Your brand voice is also your social media voice.
It could be serious and direct, or it could whimsical and playful. This graphic should help you understand the elements of developing your social media voice for your brand.
Using your brand voice, write a mission statement and some messaging that you’ll use on your website, blog, social, and elsewhere. Be sure your messaging reflects your brand’s tone and language.
STEP 6: CREATE AN INSPIRATION BOARD
Now that you have the tone, language, voice, and messaging completed, it’s time to develop your brand look and visual communications.
Create an inspiration board of all the colors, images, and photography that you love that matches the tone, look and feel that you’re going for. One of the easiest ways to do this is to use Pinterest. Don’t rush this.
Over time, you’ll see a pattern and will be drawn to a group of colors, images, and photography styles more than others. Hopefully, one image stands out to you and really resonates with what you’re going for with your brand.
Identify the images or photos that you’re most inspired by and then pick one to be your main inspiration for developing your color palette and overall brand look and feel.
STEP 7: SELECT BRAND COLORS & CREATE COLOR PALETTES
Now create your primary and secondary color palettes by selecting at least five colors that will represent your brand. One to three colors will be your primary brand colors, such as for your logo, and the others will be secondary brand colors for accents, decorative elements, submarks, etc.
You can have more than three for your primary colors, but additional colors should be different shades and not completely new colors. However, it’s your brand and if you want more, then go for it. But in general, keeping it to one to three is best for your primary colors.
Many major brands only have one color for their logo. See the logos of the world’s 10 highest-valued companies.
An easy way to create your color palette is to select one of the images from your inspiration board in step six and upload it to Canva or Pinterest. Then using the color picker tool, select your primary and secondary colors.
The above image is an example of our inspiration photo for the rebranding of BentoBox Media, coupled with our corresponding color palette that I created using Pinterest.
STEP 8: CREATE YOUR LOGO, SUBMARKS & BACKGROUNDS
Using your brand colors, create your logo, submarks, and backgrounds. You can have variations on your submark by having it in different colors. Using a submark is great for branding your social media images. Take a look at BentoBox Media’s submark in our different brand colors.
You can do the same with backgrounds by using both your primary and secondary colors, as well as different patterns.
Again, it’s your brand, get as creative as you want. You can create your own logo, submarks, and backgrounds using Canva. However, if you’re not super creative on the graphics front and want a little help but are tight on budget, check out 99designs.
Take a look at are our two logos. The one on the left is our old logo and the one on the right is our new logo, which we are absolutely in love with! We feel it represents us better. Not that we didn’t love the old one at one point, but we’ve outgrown it and it was time for a new look and rebrand.
For our first logo, we used DesignCrowd and it only cost us about $250. It fit our budget perfectly since we were just starting out at the time.
Now that we’re a more established company — and could afford more–we decided to hunt around and find a designer whose work we love and a designer who really understood us and what we wanted. Our designer Dre not only designed our newest logo but helped us create an entirely new brand that captures our spirit.
STEP 9: RESEARCH & SELECT TYPOGRAPHY
Typography is another way to define and establish the personality of your brand. You’ll use it for your website/blog, email newsletters, social media graphics, print materials, signage, and so on.
One of the best places to find different typefaces, which is a family of fonts, is at Creative Market. But there are other places, too, such as Google fonts.
Take your time with this because you want to select one that not only fits your brand’s personality but is also unique.
I see too many personal brands that look alike these days, so be very selective on the one you pick because you want to be unique and stand out. Make sure it’s not too similar to an overused look.
After you pick your typeface, you then want to select your fonts. At a minimum, pick three different fonts from either the same typeface or from more than one typeface.
You’ll want to have a distinct logo font, a headline font, main font (for body copy), and then a decorative font. You’ll also want to select symbols, too, which Creative Market has.
These are our brand typefaces and fonts for BentoBox Media. As you can see, they are different typefaces. Take your time to research them. There are tons of typefaces and font styles out there, pick the ones that best represent your brand.
STEP 10: HELLO, BEAUTIFUL! IT’S PHOTOGRAPHY TIME
You’re on a roll now and are heading toward the finish line of creating your new brand.
In the age of social media, visual communication is of critical importance and that includes photography and videography.
People are savvy these days so you don’t want to rely on stock photography. That’s not to say you can’t ever use it, but as you develop your brand look, stick to custom photography if you want to have a distinctive look that’s all your own.
You can skip this step if you’ve decided that your brand will only use graphic images and illustrations instead of photography.
However, at a minimum, you should have a photo of yourself for your website, blog, and social media channels. People want to see the person behind the brand.
Do at least one photoshoot to get a good photo of yourself (and team for those of you with employees or partners) for branding purposes and have it match your brand’s look and feel.
It’s best to hire a professional photographer to take photos of you. But if your budget is tight, find someone you know who is good and understands the look you’re going for and start there.
Show them your inspiration board. You can always hire a pro down the line when business is booming.
You may also want photos and imagery that’s not of you but represents your brand, such as photographic backgrounds to put text on for social media posts. Again, hire a pro, get a friend to do it, or if you’re good at photography, then do it yourself.
These ten core steps can help you create an irresistible brand that uniquely brands your website, blog, and social media channels and attracts your ideal customer.
After you’ve developed your brand, there are a few other items to consider, including designing marketing collateral such as brochures, business cards, and product sheets, as well as packaging if you have physical goods and signage for storefronts, trade shows, and events.
Ready to get started? Get your FREE copy of my Creating A Killer Brand For Social Media Worksheet. It’s a step-by-step worksheet that helps you create an irresistible brand that stands out on social media and beyond.
What brand will you create? I’d love to see what you create, so please share it with me. If you have any questions, please comment below or tweet me at @BentoBoxMedia, I’m happy to help.
AUTHOR: Miiko Mentz
Miiko Mentz is a social media marketer, public relations pro, and co-founder at BentoBox Media, where she helps brands, small business owners, and entrepreneurs with social media strategy, content marketing, and community engagement.
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