Creative Lingo: Brand vs. Branding vs. Brand Identity

Am I the only one that has to step back and remember I’m a nerd and others might not know what I’m talking about? Yeah? Okay cool.

Sometimes I have to remind myself that the terms I use are not in everyone else’s daily vocabulary. A huge part of the joy I get out of running a design business is educating my clients and sharing knowledge with other non-designers.

In light of that, I’m going to be breaking down some common terms and buzzwords. Here we go:

The design terms I want to focus on clarifying in this post are

BRAND | BRANDING | BRAND IDENTITY

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Wait, Ashlee! “Branding” … “Brand Identity”? This isn’t all the same thing?

Were you not listening?  That’s why I’m here. The terms “brand,” “branding,” and “brand identity” are sometimes treated as interchangeable, but that’s not the case.

  • Brand is the perception of the company in the eyes of the world.

Let’s say you’re the socially anxious kid at school but you want to sit at the jocks table at lunch. You know it's not that easy. Otherwise, you would have just sat down and started charming them, right? You can’t just expect other people to have that image of you. In order to develop this brand, you need to do some work.

  • Branding involves the marketing practice of actively shaping a distinctive brand.

You start working on your free throw. You study the stats from last night’s game. You rehearse your intro in the bathroom mirror. I’m not encouraging you to be something or someone you’re not but you get the point, right? These actions are the work you’re putting towards developing your desired image; they’re your branding. Finally, you need to make sure you look the part.

  • Brand Identity is the collection of all brand elements that the company creates to portray the right image of itself to the consumer.

You hit Footlocker for some new hooping shoes. You get your haircut. You try out for the team. You make the team!! Those tangible elements—the shoes, the haircut, the team membership—that’s brand identity.

Your brand identity is what makes you instantly recognizable as the jock - or makes you recognizable to your customers. You want your audience to automatically associate your visuals with your product or service. That identity shapes the connection between you and your customers. It builds customer loyalty and determines how your customers will perceive your brand.

 

It all came full circle, right? Cool. So, what are the next steps? You need to get started on developing a strong brand identity.

 

Have any other terms you’re confused about? I’d love to help you understand those, too!
Leave them in the comments below, or send them to me in an email at info@ashleenicoleartistry.com

5 Tips For Planning Your Brand Photoshoot

 Styled product image for  The Success Script . Photo Credit: Ashlee Nicole Artistry, LLC

Styled product image for The Success Script. Photo Credit: Ashlee Nicole Artistry, LLC

Though the goal is to look stunning, a brand photo shoot is not just capturing beautiful photos. There has to be strategy behind the visuals to ensure the photographs are working to help your business thrive! 

 

1. USE YOUR BRAND COLORS

Remember that color palette you're obsessed with so you chose it for your business? Stick to it and use those 3-5 colors in your brand photos. This will ensure your branding is consistent and cohesive throughout your website, print materials, and photography. You can incorporate the colors in things like the backdrop (studio shoots), your clothing, your props, etc.

 

2. SHOW YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS

This is your chance to show what your business does and literally has to offer. Giving a BTS view humanizes your brand. The creative process is different for every business but can include anything from photos of you at your desk to images of you packaging your products for shipping.

 
 

3. SHOW YOUR PERSONALITY

You want your voice and personality to translate into the copy you write, on your site (and captions) and your brand photos.

Are you/your brand:

Fun and bubbly?
Serious and reserved?
Super Feminine?
Super Masculine?

Each of those provokes a different image. Define your brand voice and present it in your brand photos as authentically as possible.

 

4. MAKE YOUR PRODUCTS LOOK IRRESISTIBLE

Every business with products needs clear and sharp photos of their products on a white background. But don't forget to present your product as desirable and useful by styling the products in a real-life setting. These are the photos that persuade customers to purchase.

If you sell t-shirts, not only do you want to highlight the design but customers want to see the cut and fit as well. If you sell blankets, let us see someone wrapped up and warm. Sell it!

 

5. HIGHLIGHT WHAT MAKES YOU STAND OUT

You're still in business so you're doing something right! What makes you stand out from your competitors? This might be harder to capture for some but I encourage you to take the time to brainstorm how to really highlight your competitive advantage on camera. 

Auditing and Updating Your Website and Website Strategy

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First and foremost, I want to say Happy New Year! I’m wishing all of you happiness and blessing this year. Go out and kill it! 

I've been working tirelessly to plan Quarter 1 of 2018. This year, my main business goals are to get organized and stay patient (simplified version).

"You have to master what you already have going on before you expand." That’s what I’m on. But that doesn't mean you don't plan for the expansion before you execute. Get ready NOW!

One of the biggest tasks on my to-do list to get ready for Q1 was updating my website. But just saying "update your website" is way too vague. I had to break that task down into smaller weekly and daily tasks to tackle it.

You've heard me say before that your website is your 24/7 salesperson; your star employee! It needs to be working while you work, while you sleep, while you party, etc. That means it’s worth the time, effort, and extra care to make sure it’s doing its job correctly. And to be able to do that,
YOUR WEBSITE NEEDS ITS OWN STRATEGY.

In my first attempt to break down this huge task into smaller tasks, I quickly realized - I have no idea where to start. What content do I already have? What should I get rid of? What is out of date? Etc. So many questions, not enough answers. Let me know if this sounds like you:

  • My website/blog isn’t converting.

  • Why aren’t my visitors opting into my email list?

  • My site’s bounce rates are extremely high.

Me too.

 

STEP 1 - AUDIT YOUR WEBSITE

I needed to review every page, every word, every image, and every link so that I knew what I was working with.

What does a website audit entail?

The main categories are:

  • Purpose and Intent

  • Branding

  • Design/Usability

  • Content + Pages

  • SEO

  • Other Techy Stuff

Once again, this is a huge task that needs to be broken down into smaller tasks. To tackle this, I’ve created an audit checklist for you.

Grab your Website Audit Checklist for just FREE below or over in the Resource Shop.


"Well, Ashlee, I don't have a website, YET. Now, where do I start?"

I hear you, I hear you! Same rules apply when you're building your site. You need to be able to account for everything and make sure every piece of content and code is working to the benefit of your business. Once I knew what was there, step number two was planning the creation of everything I needed to update or add.

 

STEP 2 - PLANNING PAGES AND CONTENT

I'll be honest with you, I was all over the place with this, too. Which got me thinking about how frustrated my website clients must be. If I'm struggling to plan out pages and content for my site, my clients must be pulling their hair out when I ask them to send me ALL their content for their website build.

With you and your frustrations in mind, during Q1, To tackle this, I’ve created a Website Planning Workbook. With this workbook, you’ll:

  • Identify your key objectives for your website.

  • Identify your audience.

  • Plan out your sitemap: How your website will flow with sections and pages.

  • Create outlines and diagrams for each webpage.

  • Write out the copy for your main pages.

  • Plan out your color scheme and visuals.

Grab your Website Planning Workbook for just $8 below or over in the Resource Shop.

Website Planning Workbook
8.00
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You're on your way to having a more functional website that CONVERTS!
Happy planning, creatives!