Marketing Kuel Category Expert: Lori Lyons
What do other people think about you when you are not around? It’s interesting to think of how others perceive us – whether we are representing our companies or whether we are posting on social media. And that, in a nutshell – is branding!
In the past few years, branding has become “the” buzz word and the “popular” thing to do – for good reason. When we have a clear and consistent brand and one that resonates with our values, good things happen. The sun shines, the birds sing and abundance flows to us (cue the happy music here!)
Branding Has Two Parts:
“For many of us, we are the voice of our business.”
The parts of branding are visual and verbal. Of course, the visual is the “fun” stuff – your logo, colors, fonts, and your social media look. The verbal part is harder and it’s where the soul searching comes in – especially if you’re working on a personal brand – as this is so identifiable to us.
The visual part of branding is what most people will notice first. This is where most of my clients want to start when building their brand. The visual, however, is the icing on the cake. To have a strong brand, we must first start with the cake – the flour and baking soda of the brand. It’s the voice, the tone and “feel.” .
For many of us, we are the voice of our business. There are a bazillion branding quizzes online to help you figure out what your voice is.
Broken Down To Four Basic Types:
- Fun and playful (the social group) Whoo hoo! We are writing another blog post.
- Organized and precise (the spreadsheet group) I’m writing my blog post on Tuesday from 1 – 3.
- Caring and compassionate (the empathetic group) I understand blog posts aren’t my favorite but after I write it I’ll take a bubble bath and have a glass of wine.
- Analytical and vision forward (the big picture group) Blogs increase my website traffic and will ultimately be the basis for my book.
Other Questions To Ask:
- Are you going to use contractions in your voice?
- Do you spell out or abbreviate words?
- Do you use first or third person narrative?
To learn more about using brand voice, there are great articles online and fantastic books to read. One I particularly enjoyed was Sally Hogshead’s book “Fascinate – How to Make Your Brand Impossible to Resist.”
Voice. Tone. Personality.
“The greatest cause of angst when branding is usually over choosing your brand colors followed by your fonts.”
Visual brand takes your voice, tone and personality and presents it to the world. The greatest cause of angst when branding is usually over choosing your brand colors followed by your fonts. These are such personal choices! I had a very hard time choosing the colors of my business until I finally realized, they are my colors and I’m choosing what I like! I poured over psychology articles about colors and all the studies and was overwhelmed and confused.
I stopped asking friends to choose a color palette because everyone had a different opinion. We all remember “having our colors done”. At the time, I was a winter with summer influences (whatever THAT meant!). I was happiest with jewel colors and I love blue. There ya go. I still enjoy my brand colors years later! My brand is fun and playful and I feel the colors and fonts now represent this.
My logo was another story! I had several versions of my logo – the first was homemade and looked like it. The second one was simple but boring. Next, I hired a “real” logo designer and loved the look. While it was professional and digital it just wasn’t me. It didn’t FEEL right. Now, I finally have a logo that is fun and playful and does represent me and my company brand well. It was a process and sometimes we don’t always get it right the first time. Our businesses, like our brands, grow and evolve as we do.
Make It Consistent
The final key to a great brand is making sure it’s consistent. From your website, to your social media platforms, to your YouTube videos; the visual and verbal voices must be consistent. I’m not saying if yellow is your “signature color” that you wear yellow for every thing you do (gosh – who in the world started THAT annoying trend? Can you say Big Bird?) What I am saying is making sure the social media banners look similar and are consistent in message with your website.
Your action step is to identify your brand – both visual and verbal then implement and integrate it! Let me know what your brand represents!
About the Author:
Lori is America’s Midlife Marketing Maven helping GenXBoomers take the frustration and mystery out of marketing their businesses. She owns a digital marketing agency, Igniting Your Business and specializes in website design, branding and marketing strategy. She loves teaching Encore Entrepreneurs how to grow their businesses so they can concentrate on following THEIR passions and THEIR clients. Lori thinks there is nothing better than seeing someone’s eyes light up when they “get it” and then they take it and make money, easily and simply and without the stress they had before.
Lori will be launching her podcast, The Encore Entrepreneur Podcast this summer where she will be interviewing entrepreneurs and talking about how they market their businesses and the tools and techniques they use. She lives in Atlanta with her husband of almost 30 years and helps her 22 year old entrepreneur son with his marketing. She is a sports fanatic and loves her Atlanta Braves baseball!