Jessica Brees

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Hey friend!

I'm Jessica: wife, mom, photographer, educator

I'm a creative girl boss, obsessed with wedding photography and videography. I have a degree in education and want to bring that into the creative industry by teaching other bosses how to make their dreams come true! When I'm not working, my days are filled with long walks down every aisle of Target while sipping my Pink Drink and listening to my newest playlist. It's the small things!

March 13, 2020

The Right Way to Design a Brand: It’s More Than Just a Logo

Business

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Designing a brand the right way from the very first day 

Defining what a brand actually is and the right way to design it from the start

Are you ready to design a brand the right way, from the very beginning? When it comes to branding, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by everything you’ve seen from companies you love and everything that you THINK you need to be doing! Branding for female entrepreneurs can be especially tricky because we feel tied to our businesses, both personally and emotionally. Instead of a business brand, we are a personal brand and that’s a BIG commitment! Not to mention there are tons of moving parts to how an entire brand comes together, and most of us don’t have a business or marketing degree.

If branding feels just plain scary to you, don’t worry. You’re not alone! I’ve been there myself AND seen so many other girl bosses get stuck there too! We say things like:

  • What do you mean “brand?” Isn’t it my logo?
  • Branding seems complicated. Where do I even start?
  • How do I know I’m doing my brand the right way?

Sound familiar? 

It’s all good, girl. We are in this together! Am I saying that building a recognizable brand is easy? HECK NO. Am I saying that you can do it? HECK YES! You have to remember to start with the basics and just take things one step at a time.

So, what is a brand, really?

Designing a brand the right way from the very first day

The one line answer is this – your brand is what makes you different from any other boss babe or business out there. Your “brand” is everything that makes your business unique.  It’s not just your blog, or your message, or any one thing. It’s ALL of the things and how they work together to shape your audience’s perception of your brand. You are the only one who has this special mix of awesomeness that is uniquely you! Terri Baskin calls this your “frosting.” Tons of businesses actually offer the same base product or service that you do – in other words you’re all the same vanilla cake inside. 

But everyone on the outside doesn’t see the cake flavor, they see the FROSTING! The frosting is what makes each cake unique and also what makes each BRAND unique. Mine happens to be marbled white and pink, tastes like a Starbucks Pink Drink and has some glitter sprinkles! That’s the beauty of it, everyone’s frosting will be a tiny bit different.

Breaking down your brand & designing it the right way

Ok. So now you get the big picture – cake versus frosting. But let’s break it down even further into all of the ingredients that go into your frosting. There are two main sides in the branding process: brand messaging and brand visuals.

The messaging aspect of your brand is not as fun or exciting as the visuals. But it’s seemingly more important and most female entrepreneurs make the mistake of skipping it all together! It includes things like:

  • Mission Statement
  • Core Values
  • Niche / Special Offer
  • Email Writing
  • Website Copy
  • Content Voice 

Why do people skip this step? Well, to be honest, for most people, brand messaging is just not thrilling and fun like designing your logo. It’s actually a lot of hard work. It’s hard because it takes some serious thought about who your ideal client is and how you are going to attract him or her. BUT, if you’re passionate about what you do, the work will be well worth it!

The visual side of your brand is where you really start to see your brand come to life and you’ll get those warm, fuzzy feelings! It’s as if your personality will now jump to life, and the business becomes REAL. At this stage, you’ll work on things like:

  • Logo, alternate logos, and sub-marks
  • Color palette and distribution
  • Fonts 
  • Branded photos
  • Social media graphics
  • Print marketing and materials

So, when it comes time to start creating a brand, most entrepreneurs like to jump right to this step and begin geeking out about what colors they should use or what their logo is going to look like, but this is the WRONG approach.

Designing a brand the right way from the very first day

Branding the right way

The best approach for branding your business is to form your messaging first and let that guide your visual design.  If you start designing your visuals first, it’s like wrapping a present when the box is still empty. Sure, you can do it, but will it really be any fun opening an empty box?

For example: Jennie is a wedding florist that designed a logo with watercolor flowers and fancy blush pink calligraphy. But it turns out that she enjoys creating very modern, structured arrangements with bold tones. When she speaks to her clients, she is warm, concise and a little bit edgy. Will her work (that’ll be displayed in images) and her messaging really match that typical “girly” logo?

When you’ve properly created your brand, your messaging and visuals will complement each other. Everything will line up and it will be like a light bulb moment!  Finding clarity AND confidence in your brand will be the key to taking your business to the next level!

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