We have already talked quite a bit about what it is to establish your brand but we are going to take this chance to define exactly what it is, what you will need, and dive a little more into the details about some of the topics we have already touched on.
So what is ‘your brand’? Simply put, it is the complete embodiment of who you and your business are. Branding encompasses everything you do, and every piece of content you produce will either strengthen or hurt it. So before you ever make your site or create any marketing material you will want to consider who you are trying to be. As we have discussed in ‘finding your niche’, you will need to pick a particular market you want to focus on. From the industry to the size of the business, but your brand goes even farther than that. It’s not just what you do, it who you are.
Now since your brand encompasses everything you do, it makes sense that there are a lot of parts to it. In order to create a successful brand you will need: to create a website, create a logo, establish a tone, and establish everything discussed in ‘finding your niche – and when creating all of this you will actually want to work backwards. Creating your logo and website should be the last things you do.
Establishing Your Niche
We won’t go too much into detail for this since we already covered it, but it would make sense that part of who you are as a brand is who you market to. If you plan to market your sites to independent practicing lawyers, then the content you create should represent that. There isn’t a lot of visual aspects to this part but it is still relevant. The key here is consistency. If you pick a market to target, then all of your content should be directed there, because that market is part of who you are.
Establishing Your Tone
While going hand in hand with establishing your niche, a major aspect of who you are as a brand is the tone you use. Think of this as the intimacy and tone of professionalism you are trying to convey. When a user visits your site or reads your content, are you approaching them as an individual or a business? Do you come across as lighthearted, corporate, a mixture, or something completely different? That is what your tone is. This can change as you test it among your target market, but if you do change it, you will have to do so for all of the content you have created. Because of this you should do some market research to see what others in your industry are doing, but also just be honest with yourself and do what you think is right for your brand. If you are targeting independent lawyers and you see that every other site in your area sounds very professional and corporate, then maybe branding yourself as a serious business but someone who is more transparent and easy to communicate with will help you stand out. It’s your call. Point is you will want to decide what you sound like as that is how customers will perceive you, and that should encompass everything you do. From your site to your marketing material, to how you conduct yourself on the phone – your tone is the voice of your business.
Creating Your Logo
Once you have established your niche and tone, it is time to create your logo. This can be tricky because you want to visually represent everything that we just discussed with one image. The image should consist of all of the colors in your color scheme, which should be the colors you use across your site. If you every need help picking out a color scheme you can find a variety of options here along with some descriptions of the attitude the colors convey. It’s a great reference and I personally use it all the time.
Once you pick your color scheme, the real trick to developing the logo is making sure the image somehow visually represents the tone of your business. I’ll be honest, a lot of people, myself included, don’t have the artistic ability to come up with a great logo design on their own. If you find that you are one of these people, don’t be afraid to work with a graphic designer or an artist to come up with the right design. It may cost you some money or an exchange of services but in the end it will be worth it as your logo represents everything about you.
Creating Your Website
The last part of establishing your brand is creating your website. This is where you will combine your tone, logo, and everything we discussed in ‘Creating Your Profile‘ into an amazing design that represents everything and is targeted towards your desired market. This is the fun part and where you get to flex your skills as a designer. You want to show off what you can do and the aesthetic of your site should also resemble the style of your designs. You will want to make sure that it is enjoyable to use, works flawlessly and works across all devices. As a web designer your site is the first impression a user has to the type of work you are capable of.
As your business grows, you will always be making changes and adjustments to your site. As you continue to get clients and work on more and more projects, you will want to pay attention to your analytics and see what is working and what is not. Once you are established
While it is important that you do some planning before you get started as it will increase your chances of success, don’t let the lack of perfection stop you from getting your business out there. As you business grows, so will your brand. You will always be making changes and adjustments to your tone, your target market, and your site. This is because as you continue to get clients, and work on more and more projects, you will want to pay attention to your analytics and see what is working and what is not. Maybe you test out a landing page and see if your target market responds to a more professional tone. If it turns out they do, then maybe you adjust your tone some. This applies to all aspects of your site and your brand. It will always be a work in progress. Just pay attention to the analytics and the performance of your site and fine tune it to the behavior of your target market.