When most of us think about branding, a logo is the first thing that pops into our minds. And yes, your logo is a HUGE portion of your visual identity as a brand, but there is SO much more to branding than just having a pretty logo (although that definitely helps!).
Today we’re going to define what branding really is, how to create a memorable one, and how you can up your branding game across all your platforms.
So what exactly is a brand?
Simply put, your brand is a promise to your customers. It tells them what they can expect from you and your services, and it’s the key factor in standing out from a super-crowded marketplace.
But that’s a pretty vague blanket statement, and it doesn’t really tell us how to do anything (and I'm all about actionable steps over here :). So I’m going to break branding down into 3 easy sections that we can tackle together:
Your Vision + Your Voice + Your Visuals = Your Brand.
| Your Vision
Especially with selling on Etsy, the story behind you and your products plays a major part in attracting customers (you can read my story for LittleHighbury HERE if you fancy a look ;). People are instantly drawn to things they feel an emotional connection to, and if you can provide them with that authenticity and personal aspect of what you do, you’re going to attract customers by the swarms—and they’re going to shop from YOU and not just another random shop online.
For MorganNield.com, my vision is to help other Etsy-preneurs learn how to make consistent, full-time income from their shop. I chose this vision because it’s why I started LittleHighbury—and I realized just how possible it was to create a meaningful career out of working doing something you loved—and I immediately wanted to share that information with everyone I could find!
How to find your vision: Think about your why—your story—and find a way to tie it into your brand. Why are you selling bracelets? What history do you have with making jewelry? What do you love about the jewelry creation process? These are all great questions to ask yourself as you’re trying to figure out your why.
| Your voice
Once you understand your where you’re coming from (aka your “why”), it’s a lot easier to figure out the voice of your brand.
The voice of your brand is simply the language, connotations, and emotions you communicate through your text—be it through your social media, product copy, or emails. The important thing here is to stay consistent. That’s what is really going to hit your brand home.
Is your brand a bubbly and fun children’s clothing line? Then your voice should be fun and outgoing. Or maybe your brand is more serene, selling spa lotions and soaps. In that case, your brand's voice should be calm and soothing.
Just as an example, here on MorganNield.com, the words I’d like associated with my brand are as follows:
- Informational - A resource for Etsy sellers to learn how to effectively sell on Etsy
- Encouraging - I’m not here to tear others down—I’m absolutely believe that anyone can sell successfully on Etsy if they put in the work!
- Actionable - Real, practical tips that you can implement today and immediately start seeing results.
I have these written down in my style guide (a set of documents I reference whenever I produce new content so that I stay on track), and they guide everything that I do. Before I write/publish/produce anything, I make sure that it aligns with those three words. And if it doesn’t? Then it probably isn’t a good match for my site.
How to find your voice: Come up with 3 broad descriptive words that come to mind when you think of your brand (there are no wrong answers here—these are words that you WANT people to think of when they talk about your brand). These words are going to be the foundation of your brand's voice.
| Your visuals
At last, we’re to the part that everyone loves—the visual portion of your brand.
Think of any well-known company out there and instantly their logo pops into your mind (Nike, Target, Apple…I could go on for days!). Why is that?
Because having a well-designed logo + corresponding visuals is KEY to creating an easily recognizable (and memorable!) brand.
While I’m not here to teach you how to DIY the perfect logo (I had mine done by the fabulous Sara of Salted Ink), below I’ve listed 4 tips to keep in mind when designing your Etsy shop logo:
- Scaleability | If your logo is currently in a .jpg format, it’s time to fix that :) A vector file (.eps or .ai) is a file that can be enlarged or shrunk without losing it’s quality, and it’s key to creating a gorgeous, professional looking logo.
You can export your logo in .eps or .ai file through Adobe Photoshop or Adobe Illustrator. While easy-to-use design programs like Canva exist (which are great in a pinch), they don’t allow you to export your logo in vector format and are more of a cheap, short-term solution that should be remedied as soon as possible!
- Simplicity | I feel like there are so many gorgeous watercolor floral logos out there—which I think are so, so pretty on the surface (I can’t resist a watercolor floral…)—but they’re also so busy that they distract from the most important part of it all—the actual text logo.
As a general rule with logo design, less is more. Don’t keep adding graphics and fonts and colors—keep it simple so that it shines on its own. At most, you’ll want 1-2 graphic elements, 1-2 font choices, and 1-2 colors.
- Timeless Quality | You know how Bombshell font was everywhere a couple of years ago? Yeah, you know you do ;) Arrows were another one of those things—I feel like they were everywhere (and yes, some of my headband styles from LittleHighbury featured/still feature arrows, ha ha!).
You may laugh, but we all remember particular trends from years gone by (don’t even get me started on fashion…). And while there’s a time and place for trends, your logo is not one of them!
Think classic fonts, classic lines, and classic colors. Anything that seems on trend now? Well, you’ll probably be regretting that a couple years down the line ;)
- Uniqueness | Sure, everyone is using a brush script font nowadays (hey, I’m partial to a good brush script font!), but that doesn’t mean that you should, too!
Your goal here is to create a memorable bran, and having a logo that looks just like logos from 100 different Etsy shop’s? Yeah, it’s not helping your case.
So, just as a recap:
Your Vision + Your Voice + Your Visuals = Your Brand.
And while that's really just the tip of the iceberg to get started in branding, it's definitely a great place to start (especially if you've never considered branding any more than a logo before!). These three aspects of your brand-- the three V's-- are the key components of creating that idealshopping experience.
Once you've got your vision, voice, and visuals down, there are 4 additional guidelines to consider when creating a seamless brand experience for your customers:
1 | Be cohesive
While you may play around a little bit with your brand identity in the beginning stages, the sooner you can nail it down, the better.
Your shop, social media, email marketing, website, and packaging ALL need to have cohesive branding. If you’re a bubbly and fun shop, then make sure that you convey that message across ALL your platforms.
2 | Be consistent
If you want your business to be treated seriously by others, then you need to treat it seriously as well. If you just put a part-time effort into your shop, then you’ll never earn more than a part-time income.
Treat your Etsy shop like a real business—and make sure you set aside time – daily, if you can—to work on it (especially when you’re starting out. It gets easier the longer you’ve been around, promise! ;). Be consistent in your social media postings, your content marketing, and your customer service. Your goal here is to make sure people know that you are reliable—and that they can count on your brand to always be there.
3 | Be repetitive
There is no such thing as too much branding when it comes to branding your shop ;) Well, there probably is, but for our general purposes, the more branding you can include, the better you’ll be conveying your branding message.
You may think that people are tired of hearing about your brand over and over again (because by this point, you’re probably sick of talking about it!), but I promise you, it’s not true! People don’t notice these things as much as we think they do, so the more you can hit the point home, the better. Don’t be afraid to include branding in your copywriting, photography, packaging,
4 | Study your competition
I talk more about this in this post, but it’s soooooo important to know your competition and to check out what they are doing. Not so that you can copy them (you’ll be sorely disappointed in sales if you do), but so you can be different.
Your goal is to make your brand and your shop stand out in such a way that your shop is the obvious choice to shop from. A good way to look at it: Take a look at what everyone else is doing and DO IT DIFFERENT. Your object here is to stand out like a sore thumb. You’ll instantly be more recognizable and memorable—so don’t be afraid to do it!
Remember—with branding, you’re not just creating a logo and color palette—you’re creating an experience that will keep your customers coming back for more and more-- so give them something to remember you by!