Branding Toolkit

How to create a brand from scratch, or reconnect with it if you've wandered off course.

How to live your brand, as well as look it. 

How to visually convey the core tenets of your brand and make it look sharp. 

How to tell people about your brand and connect with your community. 

How to stay true to your brand and keep evolving to be current. 

If you use any of these resources, this is what we ask in return - 

send us an email with one idea for how we can make them better. 

1. Define

Defining your brand is where you begin. Who are you? What do you believe in? What are you out to accomplish? What value do you provide? These are the essential questions your brand needs to answer. 

“People don’t buy what you do,

they buy why you do it.”

- Simon Sinek

Your brand is your North Star. When in doubt, do what's best aligned with the brand. Be willing to give up short term wins to be true to your brand, because long term this will pay off. 

 
2. Design

Put together a Branding Kit of boilerplate material that you and other team mates can go to whenever you need content This will save you from making stuff from scratch every time and ending up with all kinds of weird designs that don't match. At minimum, your Branding kit should include: 

“We made the buttons on the screen look so good you'll want to click them.

- Steve Jobs

  • Standard Colors & Fonts

  • Logo & Stock Imagery

  • Company Descriptions (1 sentence, 30 seconds, and full length versions)

Design can be expensive. Here are options for designing content, ordered from least to most expensive: 

  • Do it yourself with free tools

    • Pro: Free and fast

    • Con: How sharp are your design skills?

  • Be really nice to someone you know who has design skill and get them to do it for you for free or cheap

    • Pro: Cheap and pretty good quality

    • Con: Probably slow

  • Hire a freelancer off Fiver or Upwork

    • Pro: Decent quality design and under $200

    • Con: You get what you get and it's often not quite what you're looking for 

  • Hire us 

    • Pro: Thoughtful, professional design ​

    • Con: Available only when we have extra capacity and more expensive than the last three options

  • Hire a design agency or top notch freelancer

    • Pro: Very high quality​

    • Con: Very expensive 

 
3. Embed

“Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.

- Steve Jobs

Seeing your brand in the logo isn't enough. Your team, customers, and everyone in your community needs to feel it every time they interact with you. You need to embed your brand into how your entire company works. To assess how well you're doing, run through the Healthy Brand Checklist on page 7 of this guide: 

If your brand isn't authentic, your customers will hijack it and tell the truth. For example, United's official motto is: 

united 1.jpg

But social media has made a few adjustments: 

united2.png

Just google "United friendly" and you will see hundreds of variations. It's really quite funny, unless, of course, you're United. So don't become United. 

 
4. Communicate

You can read and follow the advice in this section, or you can do one thing: copy Gary Vaynerchuk. 

1. Find Your People

Research to find people who share the core values of your brand and identify where those people hang out, online and offline.  

“Marketing is no longer about the stuff that you make but about the stories you tell.”

- Seth Godin

2. Choose Your Platforms

Build your presence in the places your people are. A website is fundamental. Unless your website needs to have very special functionalities the best value is to use a site builder. We recommend Wix (they don't pay us to do so, we just think they're the best currently in the market). You can also hire us to get you up and running. Just send us an email for a quote. 

Additional platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Redit, Medium, Youtube, LinkedIn, etc. should be chosen based on whether or not your people can be found there. It's better to manage one or two platforms well than ten platforms poorly.

"The best marketing strategy ever: care.” 

- Gary Vaynerchuk

"Stop whining. Start hustling.” 

- Gary Vaynerchuk

3. Publish Content & Interact 

Just go watch a few Gary V videos and follow his advice. 

"If you’re not putting relevant content in relevant places, you don’t exist.” 

- Gary Vaynerchuk

4. Grow a Long Term Community

Be ready to be patient. Remember that getting a sale today is less valuable than building a clientele that will be loyal for the next five years. Don't spam. Don't make people angry at you. Provide value consistently and ask for something back when the opportunity is right. 

If you're thinking "That sounds great! But wait, what exactly am I supposed to do?" send us an email with three thoughtful questions and our pro marketing team will respond. 

5. Curate

Your brand is a living thing. How it looks will evolve over time, but the core must remain the same. Balancing changing your look with the time to stay modern while being true to your core is the challenge you face. 

Stay Current

If you're one of those gifted individuals who can feel where the market and style are going, follow your instincts.

 

If you're like the rest of us, identify brands and role models you admire and watch them. Take their style as inspiration. 

Stay True

This is the much harder thing to do. It's hard because it starts with you as an individual leader. You have to align your own behavior to the values of your brand. Then coach your team to align their behavior to the values of your brand. 

At least once a year, audit what you are doing and especially the customer experience and ask yourself, is any part of this out of alignment with the brand? What parts can e better aligned to the brand? Use your answers to make it better. 

 
 

WHAT'S MISSING?

What great branding resources have you come across? Send them to us! We want to make this toolkit better.