Today’s topic is about getting your brand assets, brand guides, and all that good branding stuff dialed in and organized.
This is the continuation of the step by step by step through marketing a new business from scratch—episode six to be exact. If you haven’t listened to the previous episodes, I would highly encourage you to start with the first one, which was talking about competitive research—that was Episode 160.
Branding is a really, really lengthy conversation because there’s a drawn-out way to do branding. I mean, you literally could spend months just nailing the branding. I take a little bit of a different approach when it comes to branding—brand guides and brand documents and different things like that.
So what I like to do is really laser in on what are the key assets that I need to create and how can I get things well organized? But then kind of continue to tweak and improve in the coming months and really the coming years.
One of the first pieces that I like to nail down with branding is not just the logo and the colors. But I try and nail down the feeling that I’m trying to create.
That’s why I had you do several other strategic documents before we got here—nail down a painted picture and your origin story or your core story first, because those documents are really going to help you drive the feeling that you’re trying to communicate from a branding perspective.
So what I like to do with branding is I like to slap down different words and I like to grab, almost kind of like if you had a bunch of magazines and things like that and you kind of storyboard this out a little bit where you’re grabbing different images and other things that you like. You could grab logos of different brands that you like—doesn’t necessarily have to be a childcare center business—it could be just anything that appeals to you. It could be an image of kids, families, or waterfalls.
When choosing your logo, I would always recommend engaging an expert. This isn’t a document and putting together a logo and things like that. I’ll talk to you about some of the ins and outs, but when you build out kind of the visual storyboard, for example, that’s going to be a really great document to give to a graphic designer that can then start to help you with this brand guide.
2. Brand Guide
Now, what I’m looking for you to create as the end result is a brand guide. Along with this brand guide, you’re going to have them create different brand assets. You’re going to go through and work with a graphic design company. Do not go to fiverr.com or Upwork and pay $5 for a logo—you’re not going to do that. And I can tell you time and time again, how many times that’s happened where the childcare center has shown me the logo and fonts which they normally got from Fiverr and paid $20 for. That’s just not going to work.
Reread your painted picture. If you’re looking to be a serious business this is one of those things that you have to make sure you get in order. And with that said, this is also one of those documents that could take forever, and it could cost you an insane amount of money. But, if I were starting a childcare center, I wouldn’t allocate a ton of money to this. However, I surely wouldn’t allocate a few hundred dollars—I would have at least $5,000 for this particular process to get the logo developed and to get a brand guide.
Now on that brand guide, there are a variety of different things that you want to make sure that you have.
The first one is really the mission statement of the business and that can pull from your core story that can pull from your persona information, and it can pull from a lot of different things but it’s really just kind of talking about the overarching mission of the business and that mission statement really ensures that any kind of content that’s being put out there is an alignment with the brand.
In the next pieces, you’re going to include the personas. You’re going to put the personas that you already had in there so that you’ve already got completed.
4. Color Palettes
Then the third piece is going to be kind of the color palettes. Those are the color palettes where they’re going to pull from some of the different assets that you showed the graphic designer, but they’re going to be able to guide your kind of around the whole psychology of colors. What’s interesting when it comes to the psychology of colors, is that different colors are going to very quickly elicit different feelings. If you notice, a lot of childcare centers have very, very similar colors.
- Black – strength, professionalism (Nike – accuracy)
- Blue – ambition, awareness, openness
- Pink – loving, respectful (Barbie)
- Red – confidence, bold, energy, passion (Pinterest, Coca-cola, Virgin Airlines)
- Orange – freedom, motivation, impulse (Nickelodeon, Harley Davidson)
- Yellow – optimism, fun, energetic (Best Buy)
- Gray or neutral color – balance, timeless (Nintendo)
- Green – growth, equilibrium stability, positivity
- Navy – trust, peace, order, integrity (Facebook, Gap)
- Purple – fantasy, creativity, modesty (Hallmark, Cadbury, Yahoo)
You want to make sure that the color palettes that are picked are picked strategically. That’s why I don’t want you to go and just slap something up and you got 12 different colors. I like all this kind of stuff and you got crazy pan tones, and it’s a little bit all over the place. That’s why you need to engage a professional. There are all these meanings behind the colors. So they’re going to build out the color palette—these are the approved colors.
The next section to this brand guide, is you’re going to put down the fonts. So what are the fonts, and the typography to use? That’s also one of those where I could spend, I mean, five or 10 hours just talking about typography.
That’s again why I like to engage professionals that can give you the background here are the fonts that you want to use. And it should come back to the type of brand that you’re trying to convey and communicate.
6. Taking it to the Finishing Line
The final piece of this is the logo and getting a logo done, it is something that I really can’t teach you. In the sense of, I wanted to make sure that you have all the right documents to give to an expert. So you’re going to let them read your personas, you’re going to let them read your painted picture. You’re going to let them read all the different documents, the competitive research you’re going to share with them, “here are some of the colors and logos and images that you like.”
So you’re going to give them this kind of virtual storyboard that they can start to pull creativity from. You’re going to want to let them present the logo ideas and they’re gonna again be able to leverage and know the psychology of colors and the psychology of fonts. It shouldn’t be based on what you like.
If I were starting a childcare center, I would be the last person. Well, I guess I shouldn’t say that since I own an agency. But if I didn’t, I would be the last person that could pick something that makes the most sense. What I would want to be able to do was to give them on a silver platter here’s what I want the brand to feel like. Here’s what I envision in the future.
And then you allow professionals to help you craft the logo, help you pick the color palettes, the typography. This brand guide, then, is going to serve as a perfectly strategic document that you’re going to leverage as we then start to execute the website and a blog in direct mail. And flyering neighborhoods and banners and radio ads and video shoots and all of that stuff.
A Word Of Caution
That’s the stuff that people tend to like to skip to—they like to just jump in and they don’t like to sit down and do the origin and the core story and a painted picture and strategically think about naming a business and now their personas and all they like to just jump into. “Let’s build out the website. Let’s get a logo created in five minutes.”
The only way that I would be skipping through these processes is if I were launching something that was meant to be like a one-hit-wonder or a one-and-done that wasn’t meant to be a long-standing business. But if you’re looking to build a serious business, you need to lay the foundation. Think of a house if you don’t have a solid foundation, everything else that goes above that foundation and on top of the foundation—it’s like a house of cards.
If you don’t have these documents, how could you effectively build out a website? How could you do it? How could you work with a web design agency like mine to build out a website? If I’m going to start to ask you questions like, let me see these documents. Let me see this, let me see that, so that my team can then get an idea of what you’re aiming to create.
What do you want that business to look like? Otherwise, you’re just slapping stuff up—the languaging that’s being used, it is not going to resonate, because there’s no core story. So a serious business has all of these elements in play. Hope you enjoyed today’s episode in the series so far, I’ve really enjoyed creating it.
Get out there, make a change, and take some action.