Class is now in session! We're kicking off April with our newest monthly series, PLANOLY's Small Business School where we'll share tips and best practices to help small businesses learn how to refocus and elevate their brand. With the ever-changing world of digital, it can be hard to keep up with all of the updates and changes, let alone apply them to your marketing strategies. We're here to educate, assist, and help small businesses thrive on social media and beyond. For our first lesson, we're covering the keys for defining your brand and translating that to consistency on your grid and brand voice. Whether you're in the beginning stages of building your business or you're a seasoned entrepreneur, our fresh tips and takeaways are set to help you continue to grow and evolve as a business. Read on to start taking notes and make sure to download our helpful branding worksheet below!
Know Your Purpose
The first step in defining your brand is asking yourself "What is my brand's purpose and how does it serve my customers or followers?". Asking yourself all of the 'why?' questions in the beginning will help you hone in on your overall mission. Knowing what motivates your brand forward is key to your success, and will help establish a strong foundation.
Once you decipher your brands' purpose, it's time to craft your mission statement. Your mission statement is the essence of your brand, why it exists, and should embody everything that your brand stands for. When writing your statement, it should reflect your niche and incorporate your brand voice in a concise way that gets the point across easily. With a mission statement, it is a tool you can use to ensure that your brand is always staying on track with its core vision.
Know Your Audience
A significant step in defining your brand is knowing your audience. Whether you're a business selling a tangible product or an influencer creating your own personal brand, having an understanding of your target audience is key. While you should know who you want to target, you can also dive into your Google Analytics to review your most popular posts and discover what they have in common. Check out this blog post to learn all about Google Analytics 101. Along with Google Analytics, your social media channels will also help in understanding your audience. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram all have insight tools for business pages, so make sure to look into those for creating an audience profile. The next best way to gain insight from your audience is to ask them directly and engage in avid social listening. The interactive sticker features on Instagram Stories are also going to be your best friend when it comes to engaging with and learning about your audience. To learn how to connect with your followers on Instagram Stories, read more here.
Create a Brand Guide
A brand guide outlines all the details that define your brand in a neat little package. This can be very helpful when sharing with potential partners, new employees, contractors, or for your own reference when creating new marketing plans or content. Your brand guide should include:
- Your brand story - Include your mission statement and a bio for your business.
- Your brand's visual identity
- Your color palette - Having a color palette for your brand is crucial for visual consistency,
- Branded imagery - Include a few images that inspire your brand and embody your visual identity so everyone who is managing content knows exactly what type of content should be created and shared.
- Fonts, typefaces, & typeface treatments - Defines what type of fonts should be used and how they should be used when creating any visual collateral for the brand.
- Brand voice - Describe your brand's overall voice and characteristics. If your brand was a person, what kind of attitude or personality would they have? Include a few keywords that describe your brand.
- Details - Include anything else you think is important to note about your brand that allows anyone to see exactly what you have defined for your brand. Pro-tip: You can always add to your brand guide as you continue to grow and evolve. Allow room for change; don't be too rigid with yourself if you're just getting your business off the ground!
If you've completed all of these steps, then you're well on your way to defining your brand. Once you have a full understanding of your brand vision, you can move onto the next phase of marketing your brand, implementing your visuals, and telling your story. Our PLANOLY Small Business series will continue every month, so look out for more blog posts to help you navigate and learn everything it takes to run a small business! Don't hesitate to reach out and let us know if there are any specific topics you're interested in learning about at firstname.lastname@example.org.