For this round of Branding Basics, I’m going back to the beginning with strong brand values and voice. Having set values in your business gives you so much guidance on how to move forward in business, let alone who you attract to your business.
Having clients/customers with shared values allows for better harmony and partnership. Your voice also sets the tone for what your brand stands behind and how you’d like your clients/customers to feel when interacting with your brand. The “feeling” part is HUGE! We make decisions through our feelings, even if we sit down and write out a pros/cons list, feelings always trump “logic.” I know that might sound crazy, but for the majority of us, that’s the truth and that’s 100% a-ok. (I’ll talk more about this and emotional branding in another post 🙂 ).
Cultivating our brand values and voice in a way that feels aligned with us as business owners give us the power to connect with our right people! You’ll find that when you harness this power, you’ll love working with your clients/customers! Life becomes more profitable and enjoyable, because well, everything is in better alignment. Woo!
Ok, so how do we get there? Well, it takes a little bit of deep diving, but it’s so worth it.
One thing I like to mention about this little brainstorming/visioning session is to make sure you’re in the right headspace. Go for a walk, meditate, shower, eat a nourishing meal (the list goes on!) before you dive in. Limit distractions and if possible find a calm and quiet room (which I know can be a bit tough in 2020) or a nice space outside. Making sure you’re in a good headspace will help give you the best clarity for your brand!
To begin, start putting together your brand buzzwords…
Start writing/typing out all words that relate to your brand, values you’d like to hold within your business, and values you simply hold as a human. If you’re feeling stuck on words, you can download my Brand Buzzwords List here!
Get out every word you can think of, and then head over to thesauras.com or something similar. Play around here and start searching specific words, click on words that intrigue you, and see where it takes you. Get curious and have fun here, see what pops up for you.
Once you have your full list, review, and circle 5 that stand out to you the most. Make sure these core values (top 5 values) stand on their own and don’t feel redundant. Now take some time to write out why and how these values are your core values in business.
Hold on to your remaining buzzwords, but ideally narrow these down to about 20 max. These are great to refer to, and great for helping cultivate your mood board and brand voice!
Time to put these buzzwords into a visual form…
Now that you have your buzzwords and core values set, it’s time to start exploring Pinterest, google, Unsplash, and/or IRL imagery to inspire your mood board. I like to explore all options, but I like to start with Pinterest.
For my clients, I like to set up a secret board on Pinterest and add all imagery that reminds me of their buzzwords, core values, and brand in general. These images do not have to be industry-specific or literal, but can be inspired by their mood, colors, light/shadow, composition, etc. I like to do a mix of more industry-specific and random inspiration for mood boards. The goal here is to strike a “mood” that will also connect with your brand voice.
When putting together a mood board, you can keep things simple by leaving the inspired images on your own designated Pinterest board. Adobe InDesign, Illustrator and Canva are other great places to create mood boards. You can also create a physical mood board with magazine/printed imagery. You could even add more tactile items like textiles, etc. Feel free to have so much fun here!
Whichever way you create your mood boad, you want to make sure you’re curating the feeling you want your clients/customers to have when interacting with you.
Overall, your mood board sets your tone, voice, and speaks to your values. This is normally more subtle and not as obvious.
Now that we have your core values, buzzwords, and mood board, it’s time to write a little narrative of your brand voice.
Write about your brand voice like it’s a good friend…
Yep, you read that right, it’s time to write a paragraph or two about your brand voice as if it’s a good friend. Honestly, I find this to be the easiest way to write out your brand voice. Humanizing it just helps things click more naturally, and since people like to buy from people, it makes complete sense 😉
To get started, look through your brand buzzwords, your core values, and your mood board. Start by writing out a narrative through these three sources. Does that friend have a light and airy aura or a more grounded nature? Would you meet up with them at a coffee shop or meet them to go cliff jumping? Are they a city dweller or do they appreciate living off the land on their Montana homestead? If you approached them how would their vibe and demeanor be?
As you can see, the list goes on here, but what’s important is writing up a little narrative of who this person is and how their persona/voice is perceived.
At this point, you should have a clear idea of your own brand values and voice, but how do you implement this into your brand? The interesting thing about brand values and voice is that they show up in every aspect of your marketing, messaging, branding, and business.
For me, I like to check in with every Instagram post, story, blog, product, offering, potential clients, etc. to ensure everything aligns with my brand values and voice. This also helps every business decision I need to make moving forward.
Pro tip: make sure you have your core values, brand buzzwords, brand voice, and mood board handy on a daily basis. Refer to them as much as needed with everything you do in business. Allow this to help navigate your decisions within your business and with how you show up.
See you at the next Branding Basics lesson!
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