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Visually Inspired - Brand Challenge Week #6

Now, we’re working up to the FUN part :)

Let’s take all of the work you’ve done up to this point and create some visuals.

But here’s the catch: It can be difficult to create visuals for a brand solely off keywords and a mission statement.

What does “vibrant, authentic, refreshing, and bold” actually look like?

Well, it can look like a lot of things. And that’s why it’s helpful to have a visual starting point.

*DISCLAIMER: Pinterest can cause you to lose sight of all your other daily tasks. I am not responsible l0l

 
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PINTEREST!

Don’t sleep on Pinterest. It’s not just for dreaming.

Use it to your advantage by creating a secret board and filling it with images that accurately represent your brand.

The photos you pin to this board should make you feel what you want your audience to feel when they come in contact with your brand.

As you pin images to this board, use the pin description to make a note about why you chose the image and why it’s a good representation of your brand. These pin descriptions will come in handy as you continue to develop your brand over these next few weeks.

This is not a fluff step. Yes! I do this for myself and my clients.

This is not a fluff step. Yes! I do this for myself and my clients.

Where do you start?

  • explore your pre-existing boards

  • type in some of your brand keywords into Pinterest’s search

  • look at the boards of pinners whose style meshes well with the style you’re trying to achieve with your brand.

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A few tips as you pin to your new board:

Use related pins. The related pins section underneath each Pinterest image is helpful for finding images of the same subject matter, color, or style. This is often the first place I go when I'm in need of other images for the board.

Mix it up. I try to use a variety of image compositions and subjects to give myself a range of inspiration as I'm working on a project.

Focus on the content. I never pin a photo just for its color; it's important that the subject matter and style of each photo matches the direction of the brand.

Steer clear of pinning other logos. I always advise my clients to steer clear of pinning other brands and logos. It’s too easy to get hung up on pre-existing designs, which defeats the purpose of branding. You want to come up with a brand that’s different and distinct; not a brand that blends in with or rips off other brand designs out there.

 

After you’ve pinned 25-30 images, compare them to your mission statement, ideal customer, adjectives, tone, etc.

If the pins don’t fit in with the work you’ve already done up to this point, remove them from the board. This will come in handy for the next action step…

Then, head over to the Artistry Academy Facebook group or leave me a comment on this post and share a screenshot of your board!

Tones, Terms, & Keywords - Brand Challenge Week #5

Remember, visual branding is really nothing without brand messaging.

It’s all about communication. The tangible and the intangible.

We often think about the tangible components - logos, color palettes, and fonts.

But intangible components - words you use in your social media captions and the names of your products, can have a big impact on how your brand is perceived.

That’s why we’ve spent the last 4 weeks laying the ground work of what you want your business to accomplish and who your target market is - so that we can craft messages, visually and verbally, are saying the right thing to potential clients and customers.

This week, we’re going to identify 5 adjectives to describe your brand as well as some keywords and phrases.

 
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WEEK 5 ACTION STEP

Make a list of brand keywords


Now that you’ve written your mission statement and outlined your ideal client/customer profile, choose 5 adjectives that best describe/summarize your brand. These 5 words will come in handy as you make other brand decisions in the weeks to come.

These words should be in synergy with your mission statement and appeal to the person(s) you identified in your client profile (which is why we did that first. I told you you could trust me).

  1. Brainstorm a bunch of relevant words. Jot them down on a piece of paper. There’s not right or wrong way to do this. Use a thesaurus, Google, your friend group message, etc.

Considering the following questions when brainstorming:

  • How does your brand feel?

  • What does your brand sound like?

  • How does your brand taste?

  • What does your brand smell like?

2. Then go back through and circle the big contenders. Choose 5!

 

Let’s take it a step further and determine what these keywords say about the TONE of your brand.

Considering the following questions:

  • Is your brand ‘short and witty’?

  • Is your brand ‘casual and inviting’?

  • Is your brand ‘slightly sarcastic’?

Details like this can go a long way in differentiating your brand and business from those around you.

Examples:

  • Nike’s tagline “Just Do It” lets you know right away that they are ‘straight to the point’.

    This attitude is shown throughout their marketing materials, the names of their products, their social media accounts, etc.

  • Our most amazing iPhone yet.” Apple’s use of informal, short, and declarative sentences screams ‘simple and confident’.


 

Once you’ve arrived at your tone and key terminology, head over to the Artistry Academy Facebook group or leave me a comment on this post and share one or more of your goals with me.

 

Customer Profiling - Brand Challenge Week #4

This is the good kind of profiling.

You probably thought that by now we’d be talking about logos, colors, fonts, etc. But remember, branding is MUCH more than just a logo. We have more work to do - so, let’s jump in!

The purpose of branding is to catch the attention of potential clients and customers. Once you have their attention, you need to build trust with them so that they’ll purchase your products and book your services.

In order to do that, you have to know:

  1. Whether your current brand is effective

  2. Where your business is headed

  3. The mission of your business

  4. And what type of clients you want to be working with

In weeks 1-3, you’ve conducted a brand evaluation, set business goals, and written your mission statement. This week, we’re diving deeper into the type of clients and customers you want to be working with.

You have to know who you want your customers to be so that you know what attracts them.

 
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WEEK 4 ACTION STEP

Create Your Ideal Customer Profile


In 2018, I said the words “I quit” way more often that I’d like to admit. I was getting burnt out every other day. I was ready to give up because I was overwhelmed with projects I wasn’t really enjoying for rates that weren’t making ends meet.

One day, after getting frustrated with the fact that I wanted to quit, I decided to pause and really think about what was going wrong. My skills were only getting better. I’d eliminated the services that everybody wanted but made me happy. I’d already started raising my prices. My confidence was actually higher that it’d ever been. What was I doing wrong?

After a late night session with my whiteboard, writing out my current client list, I realized what the problem was. I was attracting the wrong type of clients. These were not the types of projects I set out to work on. These were not the types of clients that valued strategy and process. These clients were not in the stages of business that could afford my services when priced adequately. Somewhere along the lines my message was lost.

I looked back at my branding, content, and my messaging. I was saying accurate things. I was showing up. But I was talking to the wrong group of people.

Be honest - Are your brand colors your favorite colors? Is your content based on your personal taste?

This is a common mistake that I see a lot of business owners make as they approach their brand.

Instead of making brand decisions based on the taste of the clients and customers they want to attract, they make decisions based on their own personal taste. While there are ways to infuse your personality into your brand, the primary goal of branding is to attract potential clients and customers. You need to understand your potential customers and make brand decisions based on what would appeal to them.

In order to do that, you need to identify who you’re interested in talking to.
A helpful way to do this is to create an ideal client/customer profile.

 

My Ideal Client


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Name:

Age:

Gender:

Marital Status:

Occupation:

Education Level:

Season of Life:

Hobbies:

Interests:

Priorties:

Values:

Fears:

What challenges do they face?

What are their top 3 pain points?

What does it look like if they don’t receive your services?

What’s holding them back from purchasing your services?

What does it look like when they do receive your services?


 

Will every client or customer fit perfectly in this profile? Nope! You might even have more than one.

But it’s helpful to summarize these important qualities about the clients and customers you want to attract and keep them in mind, because you’ll refer back to this outline as you make decisions about font, colors, and iconography in the weeks to come.

 

Once you’ve arrived at a clear and concise mission statement, head over to the Artistry Academy Facebook group or leave me a comment on this post and share one or more of your goals with me.

 

Make A Statement - Brand Challenge Week #3

I’m going to ask a question upfront. Promise to be honest?

Does your business have a mission statement?

A mission statement gives you a framework for evaluating opportunities and making decisions. It helps you determine whether or not something fits your core business model and strategy. If yes, pass go and collect $200. If no, head directly to jail. (Monopoly reference)

Simply put, this crucial statement can help you focus efforts and pursue ideas that fit with what you’re trying to do.

You shouldn’t operate your business without a mission statement.
But what does your mission statement have to do with your branding?

 
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WEEK 3 ACTION STEP

WRITE (or rewrite) YOUR MISSION STATEMENT.


The purpose of branding is to communicate the right message through your business’s visuals and other intangible brand components (like tone and terminology).

If you communicate that message well, you’ll increase the likelihood of attracting the right kind of clients and customers.

That message is often summed up best by creating a thoughtful and meaningful mission statement. #NoFluff

A mission statement (I often refer to the shorter versions as a Value Proposition Statement) is a succinct summary of your business that tells others what you do, who you help, and how you help them.

Here’s a template (doesn’t have to be exact):

“[Name of your business] does [specific action] to help [ideal client/customer] do [desired result].”

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Artistry Studios Mission Statement:

Ashlee Nicole Artistry, LLC exists to provide businesses and brands with dynamic and vibrant visuals, strategy, and materials that are identifiable and subjective to each business in order to help them build brand equity and experience.

Ashlee’s Value Proposition Statement:

I’m Ashlee Nicole, Visual Designer and Strategist. I help entrepreneurs shape strong, visual brands by designing custom-fit brand identities, images, and online homes centered around strategy and growth.

Google’s Mission Statement:

Organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.

Note: This mission statement is clear but not too specific which leaves room for the company to branch out into other ventures.

Nike’s Mission Statement:

To bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world.

Adobe’s Mission Statement:

To change the world through digital experiences.

These are all different but all work.
Remember, clear and concise is the goal!

 

Once you’ve arrived at a clear and concise mission statement, head over to the Artistry Academy Facebook group or leave me a comment on this post and share one or more of your goals with me.

 

Goal Planning - Brand Challenge Week #2

Let’s be honest …

Most of us are just taking it day by day. But the problem with doing that with your brand is that it will look and feel pieced together.

Your brand requires planning. What’s the end goal?

You don’t need to be planning courses if you don’t want to teach.
You don’t need to be offering strategy calls if you don’t want to coach.
You don’t need to be offering resume designs if you don’t want to help people plan careers.
You don’t need to be offering lash extensions if you’re not going into the esthetician field.

You have to consider where you want to be in order to put the steps in place to get there.

Now, I’m not saying these things to be shady but your decisions and lack of planning are contributing to your BRAND CONFUSION.

Your decisions and lack of planning are contributing to your BRAND CONFUSION.

You have to make it make sense and that starts with goal planning.

 
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WEEK 2 ACTION STEP

WRITE DOWN YOUR GOALS.


Despite trying to keep up with the every changing trends, we need to be thinking about your brand 5 years from now. This is not to say things won’t change, but that does not mean you don’t need to be planning.

Your brand should be helping you attract the IDEAL clients you want to have and at the IDEAL prices that will help you meet your future goals.

You might not want to hear this but this means a couple things:

1 | You should NOT be switching your brand up every year or two. How often are you hearing people saying “Be right back. We’re rebranding. And one of three things happened: either they come back and the rebrand is bomb and obviously intentional or they build up this relaunch and it’s disappointing or they never comeback because they’re stuck focusing on the vanity of branding. Don’t let this be you. It’s important to maintain consistency with your brand so people begin to recognize it, remember it, and form a connection with it.

2 | You need to know what your goals are in order to create a brand that helps you reach your goals. Again, you have to consider where you want to be in order to create a brand that helps you get there.

So today’s action step is to outline those goals.

Write down your 1-year business goals and 5-year business goals.

Consider these questions to help you make your goals more specific:

  • What type of clients do you hope to work with? What kind of customers do you want to have?

  • Will you have a team? What does that look like?

  • How much income do you hope to earn?

  • Are there any new products or services that you hope to launch?

  • WHAT’S THE END GOAL? WHAT DOES SUCCESS LOOK LIKE?

 

Once you’ve completed this action step, head over to the Artistry Academy Facebook group or leave me a comment on this post and share one or more of your goals with me.

Take Inventory - Brand Challenge Week #1

"I need ... before I can …"
"I can't because I don't have ..."
"I haven't had time to ..."
"I need to rebrand because ..."

I hear these statements (and more) when I talk to people about their business branding. This is speaking from a place of lack instead of proactively building a brand.

It's might be true that you need a rebrand. It might be true that you don't have the budget to afford the professional help BUT you don't know what you need. I guarantee you don't because you haven't taken inventory n order to do all of the necessary research.

Before you can 'fix' something you must take an inventory of all the work that needs to be done.

If you needed a house, you wouldn't just go out and get a fixer-upper without knowing exactly how much work needed to be done and what type of work, right? Let’s say you thought the transmission in your car went out but you’re not 100% sure. You wouldn’t just go buy a transmission and hope for the best. You need to go accurately identify the problem.

The same is true when you “renovate” and revamp your brand.

Before you can dive into the obvious details like fonts and colors, you have to evaluate what is and isn’t working with your current brand.

 

For those with existing brands, it’s important for you to pinpoint what you’re doing right and what you’re doing wrong with your current brand. For those just getting started, I encourage you to work through this evaluation, too. You might not be able to answer every question, but this step will provide some helpful things to consider as you build your brand throughout the next few weeks.

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WEEK 1 ACTION STEP

CONDUCT A CURRENT BRAND EVALUATION.


“A brand is no longer what we tell the consumer it is -
it is what consumers tell each other it is.

— Scott Cook


YOUR BRAND IS MORE THAN A LOGO OR A MISSION STATEMENT.

Your brand is your reputation -- the perception of you held by the external world.
It’s important to take the time to identify the message you’re trying to communicate to your audience and evaluate the effectiveness of your current brand.

  1. What kind of clients/customers have I been attracting? Are they my ideal clients/customers? If not, what type of clients/customers do I want to attract?

  2. What are my brand’s core values and beliefs? On a scale of 1-10, how well do I think these beliefs are being communicated to your audience?

  3. What problem does my business solve? On a scale of 1-10, how well do I think I’m communicating this to my audience?

  4. What promises do I make to my clients/customers? On a scale of 1-10, how well do I think I’m communicating these promises to your audience?

  5. Why do my current clients/customers choose my business over other businesses in my industry?

  6. Why do certain prospects choose other businesses in my industry over yours?

  7. What do my clients/customers say when they recommend my brand to others? What do I want them to say when my business is recommended to potential clients/customers?

  8. On a scale of 1-10, how loyal are my current and past clients/customers?

  9. How is my business different from my competitors? On a scale of 1-10, how well do I think I’m highlighting these differences in my brand?

  10. What do I personally bring to the table that strengthens and/or weakens my brand?


NOTE: IT CAN BE HARD TO TAKE AN OBJECTIVE LOOK AT HOW YOUR BRAND IS PERFORMING BUT BE REAL AND HONEST WITH YOURSELF.


So once you’ve answered the questions above, I want you to ask three people who are familiar with your business and your industry to answer the following questions:

  1. Who am I and what do I do?

  2. What are my brand’s core values and beliefs?

  3. What problem does my business solve?

  4. Based on my brand, website, and marketing efforts, what promises does my business seem to be making to potential clients/customers?

  5. Why would clients/customers choose my business over other businesses in my industry?

  6. What words would you use to describe my business to others?

  7. How is my brand different from others in the industry?

  8. What does my personality add to or take away from my brand?

REMEMBER: THE GOAL OF THIS EVALUATION IS TO REVEAL AREAS THAT NEED TO BE IMPROVED. DON’T TAKE ANY OF THE FEEDBACK PERSONALLY! INSTEAD, LOOK AT IT AS A LEARNING OPPORTUNITY AND LET ANY WEAK SPOTS DRIVE YOU TO MAKE IMPROVEMENTS THROUGHOUT THESE NEXT FEW WEEKS.