Establish Your Brand in 7 Steps

by Michelle Lasley

Michelle Lasley is a mother, wife in Pacific Northwest learning to balance green dreams with budget realities.

December 19, 2019

Establish yourself as a brand in 7 steps. This is a letter to my fellow sole business people.

Dear solo-preneur,

I hope this note finds you doing well. I wanted to send you a little note letting you know that I see you. I see you have a drive a purpose and you love serving your clients. I also see that your look and feel is a little all over the place, and I wanted to take this moment to invite you to sync it up.

There are many amazing brand strategists out there. If you are ready for one, I would strongly encourage you to work with one. If you’re not ready, or you don’t have a budget for one, let’s dig into a process for a little bit so we can help you make your brand more cohesive.

The following are my top seven steps to establishing your brand. I explain as I go further, but do remember that this is a dynamic process. If you shift your services or products or your why, eventually, you may want to REbrand. Companies do it all the time. I’d invite you to wear this hat for a while though before you change it up.

The point of branding is that you are recognizable when you present yourself in social media, on video, in print, and when you are live and in person. If someone walks up to a piece of your material, they see this look and feel, and if you have been in their periphery, it is a quick visual cue that says, THIS IS YOU.

And, building a brand is a little more than just picking out some colors and fonts, although that is a crucial step. So, here are my seven steps to building your brand.

Figure out your why

Have you ever listened to Simon Sinek’s “Start with Why” TED talk (or read his book)? He has a lot of amazingly compelling information on why we need to get in sync with our core values and message before we start telling people about the widgets we are selling. So, do that. Meditate, journal, chat with a friend. Whatever you decide, though, get in touch, really in touch, with why you do what you do.

Find what you like to see

I quite literally mean what colors, shapes, objects, fonts, etc., are you drawn to? This is a great place to start a Pinterest board. I would recommend having a few sections in a “branding board”: colors, typography (fonts), and images. Every time you are browsing around on magazines and internets or you get a visual cue in a meditation, pin those things.

Pick a name

When you show up in business, what do you call yourself? Do you have a piece of work that just needs its own name? Do you just name your business your name? What version of our name? You need to know this for the following:

  • business registration
  • tax information
  • website domains
  • all social media platform handles (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, and so many more)

Decide

Now that you know why you do what you do and you have a sense of the look and feel you are attracted to, pick some things. First, we live in a dynamic world and companies rebrand ALL THE TIME. So, let go of any perfectionist tendencies and embrace play. You can always change your mind later.

When you are making your decisions, it’s important to keep in mind a few things.

  1. Contrast helps make the design good
  2. Not every font is web-safe or print-friendly, so consider how you will be displaying your brand – will you be printing, only doing social media, both? Check out fonts.google.com for readily available, mostly web-friendly fonts. Understand that EVERY platform you use will have different ready-made fonts, and they don’t always work with what you’ve chosen.

I have clients that make their labels using web services. One client has used three different label making services to get great labels for her products. Every single one uses different fonts.

If you use tools like Canva to create your social media and marketing images, they have a completely different list of fonts they use. If you use Squarespace for creating your web presence, they too have a different list.

If those are the tools you use, scour those lists for commonalities and fonts you like.

When you choose your colors, make sure to capture both the HEX codes (web-safe), RGB and CMYK (print-ready) codes. This will help ensure you are consistent with the way your chosen colors display across many mediums.

Get a logo

Your logo is your visual picture, your mark that represents you. Work with a graphic designer to create a logo you love. A good designer will listen to you, your story, and use their magic to knit it all together. Make sure you meet with them first to make sure you will like working with them. Get clear on their process. Some (rightly so!) have limits on how many edits. Their time is money, and everyone wants to come out a winner.

Make sure you get ALL final products – original design files, PDF, jpg, and png (with transparent backgrounds). This will give you a lot of flexibility in how you use your logo in the future.

Get great photos

You need photos of you being you. You are a solo-preneur. Or you are a soul-preneur. Or you are an entrepreneur. Whatever label you give yourself, your business is you. And, that’s what you need to show people. So, invest in some great photos of you, you doing your service, you and your products. Make it personable. Make it serious. Make it fun. Above all, and I cannot stress this enough, make it you. Working with a great professional photographer, like with the creative process in developing your brand, should be a wonderful experience. Their magic will highlight the best of you.

Go live

Now that you’ve gone through this process of establishing your why, finding what you like, making some decisions, and getting one mark on your look and feel – you are ready to go! Start using those colors in everything, your logo on all your pictures, your font on all your communication. Very soon, people will recognize this combination as YOU.

If you want to chat more and see how I can guide you, I would love to meet. Let’s get together.

All my best,

Michelle

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