I have just been part of a discussion on Facebook and wanted to share it with you as I felt it would be useful for a lot of you reading this:

The question:

Graphics Ninjas – Do you have a brief you send to clients to help flesh out what they want? I’ve got a personal site in progress and we’re stuck on getting it decently designed/branded.

My answer:

Branding is all about the emotional response that a person gets when they see your business. It’s WAY more than just the logo – it’s the look, the feel AND the ethos behind your business.

It’s about building it up in layers and it takes time to do BUT your main things to start are, as mentioned above, to know exactly who you’re aiming at, what their problems are, what both your and their values are and how you can help them.

Once you know those things (and although they sound like a small list, if you do it right and create a solid outline for each it will take you a good few hours), then you can get the actual graphic side sorted as you will know what look and feel you need to go for to attract that Perfect Client to your website/business.

Branding is often thought to be just about the actual graphics and this misses a huge chunk of what it really is.

Of course, you can get by, and lots of people do in the Internet Marketing world, with pretty lame graphics, but if you want to create a long-lasting business that has people getting passionate about it then you need to create a solid brand for it so they can easily identify the business (ie recognise it’s you when they see you) with the graphics and also identitfy with the ethos/personality/mission of the business and so be passionate about it with and for you.

A metaphor for you – go in a dress shop to buy your girlfriend an outfit and when the shop keeper (ie the designer) asks you to tell them about her so they can help you, you reply that ‘she is a woman – go find me a dress’. Clearly this is a tricky task. BUT you start giving more detail: she’s 5’5″, she’s a size 12, she has green eyes, her favourite colour is mauve, she likes dresses that stop at the knee, this is the sort of place we’re going, it’s a black tie event…. I could go on… and on.

So you see – suddenly the dress choice gets easier and easier!

Give your designer all that info about who your Perfect Client is and what they are looking for and you’ll find the path to getting awesome graphics suddenly got a whole lot easier

And a reply from another FB member:

That’s a great metaphor, Sophie and I’d suggest it even goes further than that – you also look at the reason why she likes dresses that stop at the knee, for example she’s a young mum to a crawling baby and it’s the first time she’s been out in a while. She doesn’t want a long dress as her baby might grab at it and it would be great to go out in a beautiful outfit that isn’t covered in grubby marks for once.

It’s about crafting a personality that makes that ideal client KNOW they’re in the right place.

…and my reply:

Bang on Gemma! You can take it as deep as you want, the more you know, the better a brand you can create!

The stronger your message the more passionate both you and your Perfect Client’s can be about your business.

When you have a strong identity you will create a divide of lovers/haters but the lovers will REALLY love you – and that is awesome!

In summary…

I hope you have found the above conversation useful and it has perhaps helped you to see branding in a slightly new light. If you’d like help with your own branding I have a number of ways I can help you so do get in touch and take a look at my Brand Kitchen website too.