Creative Series: Why Building a Brand is Better Than Getting a Pedicure
For some, paying to have your nails done is the most relaxing thing you can do for yourself. It’s a treat to have someone rub lotion over your feet and massage your heels and give your toes a crisp polish. With the massage chair kneading your back and the mini Jacuzzi pooling around your ankles, I recognise that it’s possible to be lulled into a state of pure bliss.
But, for me, it’s torture.
The horror starts before I’ve even been seated. If you’ve ever been to a nail salon, you can picture the sight upon entering: shelves upon shelves of different bottles of colour. Every delectable shade is displayed before me, and the horrid woman behind the counter is instructing me to pick one. ONE. In this technicolour ocean, she expects me to pick a single hue! And worse, it is a hue I will have to display on my body for weeks. How am I supposed to make that kind of decision? How can I be expected to find a shade that not only goes with my wardrobe on any given day, but also my personality?!
... Developing your brand can be equally daunting.
So, you’ve come up with a brilliant business or blog idea, and now you have to share it with the world. You start by researching different platforms on which to display your site. Then you find yourself scrolling through infinite lists of fonts. Then suddenly you find yourself sniffling softly because you’ve realised you also have to decide on a colour scheme. If you’re anything like me, decisions like this can be overwhelming, especially when it comes to something you’re passionate about.
Trust me, I get it. You have a story to share with the world, and you want to give it its best possible light. But how are you supposed to know whether a serif font or script will best grab the right audience? How can you be expected to reduce the essence of yourself to a handful of colours?
How could you possibly be trusted to pick brand elements when you can’t even pick a toe nail polish?
Okay, that’s presumptuous of me. It’s entirely possible that I am in the minority with my dread of pedicures. However, I want to make it clear that I understand how insane building a brand can feel. But, I also want to give you some tips on how to make the process easier, and, ultimately, enjoyable.
| First of all, BREAK. IT. DOWN.
Every challenge is overwhelming when you look at it as a collective. But, the great thing about branding is, it can be easily broken down into different elements. For example, typefaces, colour scheme, pattern, logo, submarks, images, and brand values, are all different aspects that come together to help build a brand. If you want help figuring out the different components of a brand you can take a look at any designer’s branding board. I have a few I’ve made that I’d be happy to share with you if you need, or you can simply do a quick search in Pinterest. I’ve saved a whole board on Pinterest of inspiring brand boards. And on that note…
| GET. INSPIRED.
Pinterest is an awesome source of inspiration for me. As are the creatives I follow on Instagram and the sensational wordsmiths whose blogs I’ve subscribed, too. Make a list of the businesses you love. What are the websites you can spend hours on, just scrolling, because it’s all so beautiful? Is there a business that when you read their mission statement, or look at their products you think, “Wow. That’s so me!” Well, what colours do they use? What about it speaks to you? Write those things down. Sometimes, the design of a ceramic plate can inspire an entire design for me. Find what speaks to you and ask yourself why. And don’t forget to…
| DIG. DEEP
When I’m starting to develop a brand for a client, I like to get to know my client on a personal level as much as I can. I don’t want to just know what their favourite colours are, I want to know what cities call to them, what season inspires them, what hot beverage eases their stress. I want to know what makes them light up, what encourages them, what gives them confidence. And I use all of that to influence my design choices. Basically, I want the brand to reflect the same values that they hold.
What does that look like practically?
I know that seems a bit vague. Great in theory, but harder to put your finger on. So, let me give you an example. If I were a blogger who wanted to blog about sustainable/ethical fashion, with a deep love of the minimalistic aesthetic, and a passion for espressos, and an affinity for succulents, I would use all of these elements to influence my branding choices.
For example, I would want my passion for the world and improving it to be immediately clear in my brand. So, I might choose a title for my blog that reflected this. Or include this notion in how I introduced myself (i.e. a globally-conscious fashionista, an ethical trendsetter, etc.). Or I might include a symbol of hope or companionship in my logo. Perhaps I would create a minimalistic outline of a succulent since apparently, I love those, and plants are also a symbol of growth and sustainability. Furthermore, I might choose rich neutral colours and a slim sans serif typeface to match my elegant fashion sense and love for simplicity & rich espressos.
(I’m not at all a fashionista, mind you, but hey, a girl can dream. Hopefully, that gives you an example of how you might let aspects of yourself build your brand!)
The trust component comes in two parts. First of all, you must trust yourself. You know ‘you’ best, so you do have the power to create the brand you want. Listen to your intuition. Let yourself be drawn to the aesthetic that speaks to you. At the end of the day, it’s your story and your brand has to feel right to you.
Secondly, trust the professionals. I say this with some hesitation, because I want to make it extremely clear that ultimately, you know what you want your brand to be. However, I also think it is important to get feedback. If you want a specific audience (and I would highly recommend drafting up your ideal audience member and thinking about what would attract them to a brand when you’re developing yours), you may want to test your brand on people from that audience. If your blog is meant to target young cricketers, and it is appealing more to seventy-year-old motorcyclists, it may not be an effective brand, even if it’s aesthetically appealing to you. Furthermore, if you want a beautiful brand, but you don’t necessarily have the technical background to create the images and designs to do that, hire someone. This is your baby.
Have you ever tried to paint your nails with your non-dominant hand? Remember what a mess that was? Yeah…maybe don’t do that to your brand-new blog or business. Your time is precious, and if you feel it could be better spent elsewhere, then it is entirely in your power to leave this task with a designer you trust.
Basically, your brand is your story, and both are worth sharing.
So, to recap, as someone with very ticklish feet and a tendency towards indecisiveness, I would not recommend pedicures. And I am still working on the algorithm to properly select a universally matching, yet still sensation-causing nail colour.
BUT, the good news is, branding is a completely tackleable endeavour. You don’t have to stand paralysed in front of a metaphorical case of infinite possibilities. Yes, the options are endless, but there are clear ways to narrow it down, and you don’t have to look any further than yourself and your interests for the information to do so.
Bottom line: you’ve got this. And your brand is going to be as unique and wonderful as you.
I have also developed a free brand development workbook for you! If you’re someone who likes some question prompts to get the creative wheels whirring, then I’d recommend checking it out. Sometimes it’s nice to have a place to record your thoughts and start gathering ideas. The download link can be found in my newsletter.
Oh! And in case you were curious, I chose white. Yes, on my recent trip to the nail salon (a forced social obligation from which I am basing my observations in this post), I chose a plain white polish. I figured it was the shade of snow, and snow seems to make anything it lands on more beautiful, so I hoped the same principle could be applied to toes. The jury’s still out on that one, but, hey, at least I’m not still standing in front of that display case. *shudders*
Wasn't that an awesome post? Emmie has definitely captivated us all, am I right? She's so awesome! I absolutely LOVED reading over this post! Anyway, it's time to tie this awesome post to your bottom line, ya know, your sales and profits. So, what does building a brand that's as unique and as wonderful as you, have anything to do with your business, how it sells and performs? Well, for starters, I can speak straight from experience, girl! Just last year, I decided to get serious about my brand, and it only happened, AFTER I realized my sales be tripping! See, I'm SO analytical that when things started slowing down, the very last thing that came to mind, was that my brand was out of whack. But, oh it was, big time. Not having a brand can definitely affect your sales. It's through your brand that you attract your tribe, so if your brand's off, chances are you're attracting all the wrong people, or no people at all.
emmelinebramble.com arose from a dream of Emmie’s to encourage a retreat into the wild, both in ourselves and the world at large, and to inspire a recognition of the potential for magic that exists in each day. It is a lifestyle blog and a brand development business. Basically, she wants to share her story with you as she travels from one forest to another, and she wants to help fellow wild-hearted creatives tell their stories with brands as enchanting & unique as their own spirits.