How to Create
As a business, your brand is everything! Your brand is what will set you apart from your competitors and ultimately influence prospective customers to choose you. Having a strong brand, message and website is so important for gaining and maintaining customers.
Most people mistake their brand as just being a logo and this is not the case. I am going to take you through a basic process of recreating or refreshing your brand by creating a sample pet grooming business from scratch. I know how intimidating branding can be, so I have created simple steps and resources for you to follow and leverage as you create your own brand and website.
Something I love to do before creating a new business/website is checking out the competition (Tip: Take a look at businesses that are not in your area as well). I look at their websites and figure out what I love, and what I don’t particularly care for. This helps me gain inspiration for my own brand. I take what I love and really make it my own. You never want to upright copy someone, or you won’t stand out. Carve out your own unique identity!
The next best thing you can do is leverage Pinterest and create a “Vision Board”. You can accomplish this by simply searching tags that pertain to your business and pinning everything you love so that it’s all in one place! Check out this blog post by Elle & Co on how to Utilize an Inspiration Board to Design a Consistent Brand.
What did I do for the mock pet grooming business?
I created a Pet Grooming Business Inspiration Board on Pinterest and filled it with wonderful images and content that spoke to me and the kind of business I wanted to create.
Define your Brand
Your brand’s overall message is important. You need positive, compact statements that speak to your customers, their needs and why they should choose you over the competition. Your message is what leaves a positive impression of your business in your prospective customer’s mind. It will give your business not only a voice but a soul as well because it communicates your missions and values. The best way to start determining your brand’s message is to is answer the following questions:
- Who is your target market?
- Why are your customers choosing you?
- What are your ultimate goals for your customers?
- What are your ultimate goals for your business?
- How are you going to fulfill those goals?
- Why should customers choose you over the competition?
- Why do you love your business?
- If your business was a person, what would they be like/look like?
In order to understand your brand, you first need to define it. By filling this out you are actually creating the framework for your brand’s attractive messaging and differentiators. After you have typed out all of your answers, you can copy and paste this content into a Word Cloud Generator. This gives you a wonderful visualization of which keywords stand out the most and you can apply these to your business name, slogan, and overall message! What did I do for the mock pet grooming business?
I wrote down all of my answers to the questions above and then converted that content into a word cloud. I noticed that “passionate” and “organic” were used most often, so I decided to really include those words in my messaging framework.
You want to take your keywords, as well as the answers you filled out to help form the following statements that will resonate with your target audience. You want your messaging to be as clear and simple as possible while conveying all the necessary information.
Your Brand Promise – What will your business do for your customer?
Positioning Statement – What do you want your customers to know about what you do and why you should be chosen.
Mission – What is the overall mission and values for your business?
Brand Tone – If your brand had a voice, what characteristics would it possess?
Elevator Pitch – If you had 30 seconds to condense and explain your business to a potential customer in an elevator, what would you say?
Bring Your Brand To Life
This is by far my favorite part! Brainstorming and Creating the overall look and design. If you are not Photoshop-savvy, I highly recommend hiring a graphic designer to create your logo. The nice thing about this is, you already have your brand messaging framework created, so you can easily hand this information over to your designer to run with. The more information you have about what you want your logo to reflect, the more accurate a depiction they can create. While looking for a logo that is right for you, keep these Do’s and Don’ts in mind.
You can find logo designers on Etsy who can create a logo for you that will cost between $20 and $80. Simply search “_______ logos” or “Business logos” and browse for something that speaks to you. Another wonderful place to fish for pre-made icons and logos is Graphic River. They have hundreds of icons for all industries that are fairly priced.
The colors you use for your brand are important. As mentioned, you can create a “Vision Board” on Pinterest which would include colors, images, and content that will help shape the feel and look of your brand. The colors you use are important because that is what will breathe soul into your brand. You can check out this interesting list of colors and codes successful brands use here, as well as a detailed report of the science behind colors in marketing here.
We have included a free Brand Design Board template for you to use (Just like the design below). This will help you organize the look of your brand so that you can be consistent!
What did I do for the mock pet grooming business?
I used my messaging to help create a name and slogan. The logo and colors came from my inspiration board as well as my biggest differentiator; being organic. I wanted the title to clearly state what I do and why I’m different. The paw icon is wonderful because it is something I will be able to use everywhere. The nature tones really help give it a fresh and modern look. I included color codes as a reference for when I’m creating anything that requires color. I chose my main font as well as my accent font. I feel they both are clear and easy to read. I plan on using these two fonts constantly throughout my website and in any ads I create in the future.
We have included a blank Brand Design Board template for you to use! You will be able to plug in your own information using Photoshop. This board is meant to present all of the important brand elements of your business in one place. Check out other brand board examples here.
Use Your Branding to Create an Attractive Website
Once you have established your messaging, logo, patterns, fonts and colors, you are ready to create or apply these changes to your website! By establishing all of these traits, your website will appear consistent, clean and strong. I have taken all of the elements from my Brand Design Board and applied them to a mock Pet Grooming website I created using Weebly. You can already see how clearly the brand is beginning to be reflected in all aspects of the website. I have focused on three main sections; the home page, about us page and the blog page.
When you begin to search for a web builder and template, it is important to go with a clean and versatile layout and rely on your branding to stand out through your logo, images, icons and messaging.
I selected a basic template to design the sample site for that very reason. I wanted the page to feel refreshing and clean. Visit our Pinterest board “Creative Website Designs” for inspiration! Weebly was used because I like how the drag and drop design interface works. It’s simple to use and I can get creative with the layout. WordPress is also recommended as a website builder because they have many templates to choose from and you have way more control over the design and SEO. Here is a list of the Pro’s and Con’s for selecting Weebly as your Web Host and here is a list of Pro’s and Con’s for using WordPress. You can always research the dozens of other website builders or hire your own designer to create a rocking website for you!
By creating a consistent brand experience, you are setting expectations of trust, professionalism and credibility for your potential customers. You remain consistent by carrying all of these above design aspects into your marketing, graphics, ads, business cards and any other visual or written tool that is connected to your business. By following branding guidelines your business can be successful, desired by your target audience and envied by your competition.
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About The Better Software Company
The Better Software Company offers a fully-integrated Franchise Operating System (FOS) to help owners improve and simplify their entire business, using a cloud-based model. Integrated features, including CRM, scheduling, billing & invoicing, reporting & analytics and inventory management, offer business owners simplicity and ease of use that will save time. The software is configured to service small and medium sized enterprises in a diversity of vertical markets. The Better Software Company is based in Ottawa, Canada.