The Ultimate Branding Checklist to Building a Kickass Brand!
Updated: Nov 3, 2022
Not sure if you have all the pieces you need to build a "proper" brand? Look no further! This post will give you a comprehensive overview of what you need to build a brand that:
Stands out amongst competitors
Connects with your audience
Feels like YOU!
Let's quickly define what "branding" is!
Branding is a marketing tool that businesses use to communicate their identity. It's what you experience when you need to decide between 2 products at the supermarket, or make a decision about which restaurant you want to eat at for dinner. It's something that creates a sense of safety and familiarity, and guarantees that you will be the first thing on your customer's mind when they think about your area of expertise.
For example, people know me as the "branding girl" that loves cats & comics 🤷♀️
Needless to say, "branding" is less about a logo, and more about establishing recognition and trust with the people you call your customers!
(If you want to learn more, I wrote an entire blog post here about "What is Branding?").
Now that we got that out of the way... here's exactly what you need to build a kickass brand!
1. You need to know your audience & offer
In other words, you need to know:
What you do (i.e. your product / service)
Who you do it for (i.e. your ideal customer)
How you do it (i.e. the unique method of delivering your solution)
Without these things, you won't be able to create a brand that clearly communicates what you do to the people you are looking to help!
2. Get clear on your story
Every brand begins with a story about a problem. This problem affected you in some way or another, and you went through an epic journey to find a solution. This solution is your current offer, and the journey you went through resulted in a personal transformation that your customers see and want for themselves.
This story is what gets people saying "OMG me too!!", and creates instant rapport with prospects who don't know who you are.
3. Decide on your titles & positioning
Your customers need to know what to call you! There's nothing worse than the experience of sharing about what you do and not having the right words to articulate it... so decide on a title & description that is short, memorable & recognizable by people who might not be familiar with what you do.
4. Discover what qualities make you "special"
Contrary to what the world of business would have you think, you aren't what you do! You are a unique individual with your own personality, characteristics and quirks. These qualities make up the secret sauce of your brand, and define the experience your customers receive!
Even some of your "less desirable" qualities can be used to your advantage if you can get creative about how it's used for your branding. The most dynamic brands are like people... they have qualities that attract the people you like, and repel those who might not be a good fit.
5. Understand your "why" & your core values
It's important for your customers to know what you stand for. More importantly, your core values serve as the internal compass for all the decisions you make for your brand. Knowing your beliefs and values will help you make decisions about what is "on" or "off" brand, and block out the external noise of what you "should" or "shouldn't" be doing for your business.
6. Have a clear vision of the experience you want to create
Your vision is the thing you want to create in response to your core values! If your core value is "connection", your vision might look like creating a business that incorporates an element of community. If your core value is "authenticity", your vision might involve creating a platform that empowers your customers to discover and share their authentic expression. The possibilities are endless!
7. Create your visual brand assets
Once you have the foundation of your brand messaging set (with steps 1-6), it's time to create your brand visuals. This part can feel intimidating if you consider yourself to be "creatively challenged", but don't worry! Your brand visuals are simply a direct translation of your messaging into tangible assets... and you can certainly hire a designer to work together with you to get this set up!
(This is also the part that I tend to nerd over as a former graphic designer) 😉
Visual brand assets that I recommend you have include:
Logo design — In black, white and coloured versions on a transparent background
1-2 "go-to" fonts — That can be easily applied to your website & documentation
Set of brand colours — Including primary & secondary colours
Key brand elements — To be used in any templates to create a "branded" feel
Visual style guide — To establish the "do's" & "don'ts" of your brand's visual style
Go-to profile picture — For consistency across all your social profiles
Branded social banner — To improve brand recognition and accessibility on your profiles
8. Figure out your brand strategy
Once you have all the pieces, it's time to stitch everything together... internally! The biggest mistake most business owners make is that they jump straight into brand application without first thinking about their strategy. This results in brand inconsistencies, and creates a clunky customer experience that nobody wants.
Your brand strategy includes having an understanding of your business goals, the angle you're taking with your brand to fulfill those goals, and the pieces you need to set up to make that happen!
9. Create a customer journey map
When you have your brand strategy set up, you need to create a customer journey map to help you visualize the end-to-end experience that you're creating for your customers. This enables you to spot inconsistencies, and ensure that your customers are having an amazing experience at every single touchpoint they have with your brand!
10. Apply your branding to each customer touchpoint!
Now that you have all your brand assets and know exactly what you need to set up at every customer touchpoint... it's time to roll up your sleeves and start creating! This could mean setting up templates for your social media content, or building out your website or newsletter. Whatever it is, this is the part where I'd encourage you to look for outside help if you're feeling a bit overwhelmed with getting everything set up "professionally".
One last note here...
It is SO important for you to have fun with this process! Remember that your brand is an organic entity. It will grow and flow together with you as you develop your vision, and there is no such thing as doing it "wrong". The more you treat your brand as a tool for growth and exploration rather than a business formality, the more creative you'll get and the more dynamic your brand will become! 🎉
I hope you found this guide helpful. This is actually the exact 10-step process I take my clients through to set up their brand! If you feel like this post gave you some insight on what you need for your brand, but you'd like some support in actually making it happen, you can book yourself a FREE 30-minute brand consultation with me and we can chat more about it!
(Or shoot me a DM on Instagram @racheltylee if you're feeling a bit shy) 💖