Everyone in business has heard the words “brand,” “branding,” or “brand messaging” (I’ve certainly written about it before), but too often, the first (only?) thing that comes to mind are logos. We all know that a logo is an integral part of a business’ brand. It’s part of the visual brand that becomes the quick representation of your business. But, the thing is, that’s only one piece of the branding pie. In order to have a whole pie, filled with yummy converting goodness, you’ve got to do the prep and creation work before you can pop it into the oven and call it baked.
If we break down what goes into a fully baked brand, your pie would look something like this:
Although the visual part of a brand is what is right out in front, you can see it actually isn’t the biggest piece of the pie. That’s because there’s a lot of back-end homework that must be completed first before a designer can create all the things that make up your visual brand (logo, colors, fonts.)
Brand Messaging is the Bottom Crust
The foundation of your brand is your messaging. Yes, every campaign, announcement, or product launch will have its own specific messaging, but when we talk about brand messaging, we’re referring to the core elements of your business. Those elements include things like your strategy, ideal client profile, unique value proposition (UVP), company values, and, of course, your mission and vision. When it comes to your branding pie, messaging is the crust — everything sits on top of it, so make sure it’s made correctly!
Your messaging informs everything you do, from hiring and firing policies to what you put out on your website, emails, social platforms, and blog — a.k.a. your content.
Branded Content is the Filling
Your content then makes up the next biggest part of the branding pie … and it sits upon your messaging. Your content is what you are creating and putting out there every day, week, month, and year. Take a moment to think about all the touch points we have when wearing our business owner/marketing director hat: phone conversations, meetings, social posts and commenting, email newsletters, printed newsletters, blogs, and of course, our websites. Our content has to be delectable and yummy in order to invite our customers to pull up a seat to the table and take a bite of pie.
We all know that if our content isn’t engaging and doesn’t convert our leads to buying customers, anything else we do is going to be that much harder to make up for it. So, take the time you need to ensure you’re creating and consistently putting out great, yummy, easily digestible — and relevant — content.
Your Visual Brand is the Pretty Topping
Your visual brand, although what most people encounter first, is completely dependent on your messaging. If your brand messaging is in place, a designer has a much easier job capturing the essence, the spirit, the unique magic of your business in a visual representation, a.k.a. your logo. The logo, its colors, and the choices in font help establish a tone and feel to which people can emotionally relate. When it’s done right, you acquire a visual that will quickly bring your business to mind when people see it.
It’s crucial to be consistently apply your visual brand across all your marketing channels. By this I mean, make sure your logo is adaptable to all channels (print, web, social, etc) so it doesn’t get stretched or pixelated. You need to consistently use the same fonts/colors so that every time you post, you’re cementing the idea that ‘when it looks like this, it’s coming from Business A.’ Another reason to ensure you’re getting a unique logo; you don’t want confusion if you look like another business!
If you’re not comfortable with design concepts or how to do this, have the designer who created your logo create templates (email, social, etc) for you to use so that you, your business, and its brand always look professionally and fully baked.
Pies to Triangles
Given how all the pieces of the pie work, perhaps this visual will better illustrate the dependency and hierarchy of it all for some folks (but pie! And can we talk about the baking rabbit hole I fell into searching for a beautiful pie? LOL) The triangle clearly illustrates the foundation, where content lands, and how the visual brand tops it all, being the beacon everyone sees first. But we can never forget that the reality is that all these pieces work together. Doing only one great means the overall won’t be great.
I can’t count the number of times I’ve worked with a designer on either a full branding project or website project — especially if the client is new to that designer — and the designer has waxed joyous and enthusiastic to have all the messaging elements in place before it came time to design. This is because the questions are answered. There’s no guesswork and the designer can create visual concepts that truly capture and represent the client’s business.
Fully Baking Your Brand Pie
If you feel like your brand pie isn’t fully baked and could use a little love and attention to make it more appealing to your customers, schedule some time with me and let’s see if we can figure out how to do just that.