Hi Erin - I really like your article. The first part about being horrified about what people might think if they Googled your website ... that was ME before I switched over to my Blog! And I love the 'glow' that emanates from Part 3: Ease! I think I'm getting there :-)
How Creating a Brand Plan Will Make You Proud
There's a way to escape the chaos, and to create a classy brand that's well-thought-out, professional, and makes clients want to hire you. The solution is a brand plan, which will get you 3 big benefits: Clarity, Consistency and Ease.
Does your brand ever feel like your stuff's all over the place? Do you have design shame, because you know your brand doesn't look good or make sense to the people reading it? Do you apologize for your business card as you hand it out? Are you horrified of what people would think of your website if they Googled you?
That's what it's like when your brand is chaotic and out of control. You feel scattered, ashamed and hesitant to market. Your potential clients see the train-wreck that is your brand and move on to work with someone else. Your business and your bottom line suffer.
There's a way to escape the chaos, and to create a classy brand that's well-thought-out, professional, and makes clients want to hire you.
All you have to do is make a brand plan. That will get you 3 big benefits: Clarity, Consistency and Ease.
Part One: Clarity
Your brand sends a loud-and-clear message about you. Do you want that message to be "I'm not sure what I'm doing or how I can help you, but PLEASE hire me?" When you don't have clarity, that's the signal that you're sending out into the world.
And the world gets confused! People can't tell what you're talking about or if you're an expert. They don't feel like they can trust you to take on their very important project, so they don't hire you.
When you get clear and completely focused about your brand, you can create one central message for all of your designs and written materials. Everything can sing the same song, loud and clear.
You get the benefit of focusing everything in your business, so you don't feel scattered or "all over the place" - you know exactly what you're doing, how to talk about it and what you can do to serve your clients.
And your clients can see that. They love being told directly and exactly what you're all about... so they can easily make the decision to work with you and have the confidence that they've made the right decision.
This clarity is the first thing to create in your brand plan because all of the other parts of your brand will connect back to it.
Part Two: Consistency and Cohesiveness
Without a cohesive look and feel, and a consistent message, you don't really have a brand -- you have a bunch of stuff that you've wasted time and money designing, writing and putting together.
Consistency means that all of your materials look and sound alike. It means that you have the same logo on everything -- and if you have more than one logo in your company (for example, for different products) that those logos go together. It also means that your colors, fonts, background colors, texture, patterns, and photos all match from piece-to-piece.
That way, your website winds up looking like it's related to your business card. Your email newsletter resembles your PowerPoint template, and so on.
And your marketing messages are consistent -- what you say in your website sounds like the stuff you send out in your newsletter. Your tagline is the same across all of your materials.
This consistency creates a professional appearance, makes your business look established and gives your business credibility. When everything matches everything else, your clients can see that you're paying attention to the details in your brand. Everything looks classier, and you send the impression that you know what you're doing.
You set up all of the consistent elements of your brand in your brand plan -- and then all you have to do is refer back to the plan when you're creating new materials.
Part 3: Ease
A brand plan makes developing your brand easy. You know exactly what your brand is all about, so you can talk and write about it with ease. Imagine - no more grueling copywriting sessions, because the words just flow from your brand plan.
Your designs look amazing, because they were created according to your plan. They're effective, because they are brimming with the meaning and emotion behind your brand, and designed to show your ideal clients what you're all about.You get constant compliments on them and you're proud to have people see them!
You have all of the pieces you need to market your business every step of the way. There's nothing worse than having an opportunity pass you by because you didn't have the marketing material to take advantage of it. With a brand plan, you get to look into the future of your business to figure out what you need, when you need it and what it will take to make it happen.
Your designs get personalized rules and templates created just for your business that you use to create additional materials as your business grows and evolves. Every piece you design gets easier because you know what it's supposed to look like. And, since they all match, you get the power of repetition on your side - repeating similar designs throughout your brand will make you look like a serious business and will help your clients remember you.
Creating your brand plan will help you create an organized, professional, attractive brand that's easy to grow and that makes you proud to market with.
Learn more about the author, Erin Ferree.
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- brand planning
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