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The Importance of Branding

Wow, look at me go, two posts in less than a month. This might be a new record. Anyway, let’s talk about something I recently dove into researching and expanding my knowledge about: Branding.

Did you guys know how important branding is to a business? Not going to lie, until I started my social media position at my current job and started doing research on branding, I really did not realize just how important a brand is to a business/product/person etc. According to a blog post by HubSpot:

“Your brand is arguably one of your organization’s most important assets. It gives your organization an identity, makes you business memorable, encourages consumers to buy from you, supports your marketing and advertising, and brings your employees pride.”

logos, brands,
Well Known Brand Logos

Branding is like, really important. What do all these companies have in common? They have a strong brand that’s recognizable to the masses. How many of these logos do you instantly recognize? That is the power of branding and that’s just one big example of how important it is to build a strong brand for your business.

Building a brand is actually pretty easy too, whether you have a designer's mind or not. You can pretty much build a brand in just a few simple steps. If you google “how to build a brand”, you’ll see a plethora of helpful insights into building a brand and what steps are the most important to consider. You can pretty much build your brand in 6-10 steps, depending on how elaborate or simple you want the brand to be. I recently built a brand that I’ll be implementing across a website soon (I say A website because I haven’t decided if I’ll be building a new separate website or if I’ll be rebranding this portfolio website……choices, choices.)

Since I’m still not 100% sure whether this brand will represent my portfolio or an entirely new entity, the branding is somewhat subject to change but here's the 7 steps I used to build a basic branding package for myself and my upcoming project, Virgo Rising. As I mentioned, some websites will suggest fewer or extra steps, but these were the steps I felt were important to the kind of brand I wanted to build at this time.

Research your competition & clientele base/audience

Since this is a portfolio website, my audience currently are potential employers in the design/media industry, as well as potential free-lance clients that would be interested in hiring me for graphic design and media based free-lance work. I’m also targeting general art/design enthusiasts if for no other reason than to share my own artwork with the creative community.

My competition will be other graphic designers and media specialists gunning for the same kind of jobs and projects I’m out to get. Not to be cheesy, but I’m also competing again past versions of myself. I’m always trying to level up in my own design and media skills and want to continue being the best version of myself I can be. Cheesy I know, but it’s also a fact of life. If you aren’t trying to better yourself are you even living?

Choose a business name:

Obviously, I started this all out with something simple, Kylee McCabe Portfolio, but I’ll (probably) be rebranding under a new name: Virgo Rising. I’ll be sharing why I chose that name and more about the idea behind it at a later time.

Business Name

Decide on a purpose & position of the Brand

Again, this is subject to change since I’m not 100% sure what direction I’m going to take this new brand in, but the basic function of this brand is to unify the overall look and feel of my portfolio. It’s also a way to create consistency and make overall design concepts easier to follow. With a uniform set of colors, fonts and imagery to follow, it’ll be easier to create consistency across my websites, social media, resume, cover letter, etc. Branding actually makes your life easier because it gives you a roadmap to follow for basically everything related to your business. You don’t have to blindly stumble around trying to decide on which fonts or colors or imagery to use because your brand package will tell you (or whoever does your marketing, designing, etc) exactly what you can and can’t use in whatever you’re trying to do.

Define a personality & brand voice

I want my brand to convey a sense of professionalism. I also want it to convey a sense of loyalty to my employer and/or clients; I’m here for YOU. I also want to convey that I’m a laid back but also incredibly hard-working individual.

Define the brand story (the story of your company, product, etc)

My brand story is me! I’m a fun, hardworking, easy-going person. I’m passionate about helping others, animals, veterans’ affairs, nature and more and I want to convey that in my overall brand.

Design a logo & overall look of the brand

For me, this is the fun part (for the most part). If you aren’t familiar with graphics and designing, you might not know that designing a logo is a lot harder than it seems. A good logo is simple but also recognizable. I don’t know if I’ve 100% locked in on a logo design, but this is what I have so far and I really love it for now.

Virgo Rising Logo

The look of the brand includes the color scheme, fonts, and imagery. You can see my final brand design below. I chose this color scheme for a couple of reasons, one being, I just love blues and greens. I also think those colors give off a sense of calm, which is a feeling I want represented in my brand and overall look. The yellow ties back to the Virgo portion of the name and the Greek & Roman mythology related to the Greed Goddess of Harvest. Again, I’ll go into more detail about how I came up with the Virgo Rising idea at a later date and explain how Virgo isn’t just a part of the name, but how the mythology behind her helped me come up with this business idea/model.

I chose the fonts mostly because they are simple, but still elegant and pretty. They’re also free in the designing app I use which is important. Not all fonts are free folks, so if you’re on a budget make sure you’re choosing a font that’s accessible across multiple platforms.

The imagery ties back to the Virgo mythology, as well as my own personal preferences. I love nature and natural landscapes, so I wanted to tie that into my brand. I also think natural imagery conveys that sense of calm and trust I’m going for.

The final step, which is the one I’m still working on, is to apply your branding across all aspects of your business: website, print marketing, social media, etc.

This one is pretty simple if you're just starting out. If you have to rebrand, it's going to take a lot more time. That's why I'm not sure if I'm going to start a while new website or rebrand this one, there's ups and downs to both options. The joy of the brand is it give you an outline of what you can use in your overall look so you don't have to question which colors or fonts to use. Just stick to the brand.

That’s pretty much it for the steps I chose to follow in creating my personal brand. Another common option is to write a slogan for you brand. At this point in the game, I don’t see a reason to have a slogan. It’s also commonly listed as an optional step and isn’t necessary, but some companies like having that little extra pizaz.

Like I said, the overall steps to building a brand vary, but you’ll notice a lot of sources will suggest similar steps. I’ll post a few of my favorite websites below with their own interpretations of how to build a brand.

Another important thing I want to point out to any branding/marketing newbies is that branding and marketing are not the same thing. They go hand-in-hand, but they are not the same thing. Check out this little info graphic I made illustrating the differences between the two.

Well folks, that’s about all I have for now. I’m really excited about this Virgo Rising brand and the idea I’m building around it. Like I said, I’m not 100% sure where I’m going to take Virgo Rising (or maybe where she’s going to take me?), but I do have a basic idea and I’m excited to have this new project to keep be busy and to give my creative side an outlet.

It's definitely going to be a while before I have anything big to share. I'm in the process of moving right now which will take up most of my time for the next couple of weeks. I also have to get a desk set up again so I have a good place to work on my scheming. No matter though, I have time and right now Virgo Rising is a hobby to keep my occupied and give me something to focus my creative attention on.

Until next time my friends, peace and love to you all. Stay safe out there.

Helpful Resources for building a brand:

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