Branding is often confused with Visual Identity, and mostly a logo. Branding is about far more than a logo and is far deeper than visuals. And it is an important if not critical thing to consider if you want a successful blog.
SO FIRSTLY, WHAT IS BRANDING?
Well a logo, is not a brand. A logo is actually just the mark/symbol of a brand. The brand is actually about what is makes your reader/customer feel.This is why Graphic Design is also called Communication Design. In fact my degree is actually called 'Communication Design' because it's not just having a nice logo and pretty pictures. We are communicating who we are, and a feeling about who we are through our visual identity, visuals and images as well as the words we use to convey that feeling and vibe.
"A brand is a person's gut feeling about a product, service, or company. It's a GUT FEELING because we're all emotional, intuitive beings, despite our best efforts to be rational. It's a PERSON'S gut feeling, because in the end the brand is defined by individuals, not by companies, markets, or the so-called general public."
Try looking at some brands you know, and think about the feelings they evoke. What is it about them that evokes those feelings. I'm sure it's more than their logo! It's the colours they use, the fonts they choose, the language and key words they use, the ways they present themselves, if they are a shop think about lighting, the music they play the way the employees dress and behave. It's that combination of the visuals and the atmosphere and the communication.
"Branding is the art of aligning what you want people to think about your company with what people actually do think about your company. And vice versa." Jay Bauer
So to perfect branding you need to create the feeling you want to evoke, make sure people are in fact feeling that, and if not, tweak and adapt until you achieve that feeling you desire for your brand. This may sound like a lot of work, but it is very valuable and worthwhile. It is mostly about listening and considering rather than just slapping something up.
WHY DO I NEED TO BRAND MY BLOG?
Branding isn't just for companies and business. It is for anyone presenting something to the world for a purpose. As a blogger, you have an online audience, you are putting something out into the world publicly. Your purpose for blogging may be to make money, it may be to create community, to educate and inform or support and advise. Whatever your reason, you are wanting to attract readers and create a loyal following and this is done with good and consistent branding.
The key reasons for branding your blog are:
- It clearly highlights who you are and what sets you apart.
- Makes your blog and anything that comes from your blog (social media, pinterest pins, ads, products) easily identifiable as coming from you.
- Creates an emotional connection and can strengthen the community aspect of your blog. If you want to create a strong following, tribe and community around your blog, strong and clear branding will strengthen this.
- It gives your blog a personality and character. It's not just a blog, full of words and articles, but like a person, branding gives your blog a personality and character. Creating better connection and attracting the right audience.
- It creates an impression about who you are, the type of blog you run and who it is for. Before even reading your posts, the branding will create an impression of the quality of the posts, the style, and target audience.
- It shows your values, and what you believe is important.
- The 'aspiration' element. Create the blog branding that feels like the world and lifestyle your target reader aspires to be. People read your blog to learn and be inspired, so your branding should reflect this. Like if you blog about home orgainsation, have a super clean, neat and well organised blog that when a reader who feels there house is a mess and want help getting organised, goes to an instantly gets that feeling that this is what they are aspiring to achieve.
- The 'expert status'. You also want your branding to reflect your level of expertise that you are offering your readers. Are you 'just one of them' sharing your advice, ups and downs and commiserating with them about the journey, or 'just a step ahead' where you know how they feel and have been through it, and are just a step ahead and can help them get through or are you 'the expert' with lots of knowledge and advice to share and help them aspire to.
- Creates reader loyalty. Like any brand loyalty, it helps you build fans and avid readers, who love everything you put out and subscribe to your feed.
- Branding creates trust. This is particularly important if you want to make money from your blog, either by affiliate marketing or selling your own products. If you want to make money and for people to buy those things you promote, you need to create trust. We are more likely to buy on the recommendation of someone we trust, than someone we are unsure of, or just coming across the product ourselves.
"Because if I can trust the maker, I can buy it now and worry about it later. The degree of trust I feel towards the product, rather than an assessment of it's features and benefits, will determine whether I'll buy this product or that product." - Marty Neumeier
What elements of my blog do I need to consider when branding?
- The logo
- The photos of yourself
- The colours (think about the feelings the colours you choose evoke)
- All the graphics
- The fonts
- The layout sand theme (is it simple and light or bright and busy)
- The tone and language you use
- Your tagline and key 'sayings'
- The photos and images used in your posts
- Any collateral- Business cards, ads, flyers, products
- Social media images
- Video style and speaking style (if you use video)
- The way you process images (do you edit them to look light and bright or vintage or dark and sophisticated)
- Even the topics and type of posts you write- e. g If your blog is all fun and joyful, are all your posts on cheery and fun topics.
Lots to consider! If you think I have missed anything or have any thoughts to add on the topic, feel free to leave a comment.
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