Don't the shortest weeks always feel like the longest? Over at Twila, we are gearing up for (another) move, finishing up some big projects, doing lots of pieces for styled shoots, and some what recovering from a horrible case of poison ivy...and I mean horrible. I had it EVERYWHERE. And while it's mostly gone now, the steroids I was on left a nice heat rash, so I just can't seem to get away from the itching these days.
That said, I realize I missed a blog or two these past few days for this months branding series as I was focusing on trying to take care of myself. But today I'm back and excited to talk about how to build a brand in other aspects than the logo, colors, fonts, and websites.
In my opinion, there are two overall important components that go into building a brand: the physical aspect and emotional aspect.
The physical aspect of branding includes the tangible things that you can see like collateral, paper goods, ribbons, gifts, etc. Once my color palette was finalized, the first thing I did was go out to craft stores and purchase everything I could find that was in my brand colors and patterns: ribbons, raffia, paper straws, tissue paper, gift bags, etc. And I still do it now! I love hitting up World Market, Target or Hobby Lobby for small things that I can use to build my brand on a regular basis.
I keep a pretty, grey box in my office that houses all of these branding items so that whenever I need to send a quick gift or package something up, I have everything I need at my fingertips. This also applies to my business cards and postcards. Whenever I order a new pack of business cards, I stock every purse or bag that I own with about 10 business cards because I never know when I might need one, and it's frustrating to be without one.
When it came to postcards, I branded one that has my contact information, a quick, generic thank you note, and some space for a personal note. I order tons of them at once, and keep them on hand to place within any fulfilled orders.
While these things may be a bit more expensive up front to stock, I find that it saves a ton of time and streamlines the process for me when I keep an inventory of the items I use regularly.
Then we have the emotional side. And this is really the important part. This is the heart behind your brand: the feelings, the particular words and vibe that you want your future clients to feel as soon as they see your logo or website. This is where you bring YOU to your brand.
There are so many different opinions about separating yourself from your business from personal or combining the two (you can read more about my full opinion in this blog post). While it comes down to a personal preference and decision, in my experience I found that it was just plain hard to separate the two. I AM my brand. I AM Twila & Co. Right now, Twila is a one woman business, and whether I like it or not, I represent Twila & Co. wherever I am and whatever I'm doing. That said, I made the decision to BE, LIVE and LOVE my brand as a business and a person, together. And that's where the heart behind my business comes from.
My heart is in the creativity and design, and it goes into every project I touch. I LOVE being creative, and I love being able to utilize my skills for other people. It would be impossible for me to ignore the fact that part of who I am goes into every design I make. I've built my brand on taking care of my clients using my creativity, which is how I found my niche.
When you're going through your branding process, or even just trying to figure out where you want to see yourself and your business going, really take the time to think about the heart behind your business and where your passion lies. It will help everything else fall into place.