There’s no bad time to start building an online presence, but you can certainly start strong if you have a good idea of how your brand will look and sound online. From your website to your social media pages and even how you interact with people in comments and in groups, it all adds up to how your brand establishes itself online.
Getting booked in with a great brand designer can mean waiting months to work with them, and while that means you’re going to get an incredible brand identity eventually, it can leave you wondering how to continue building your business in the meantime, especially once you understand the value of a quality brand identity.
It’s not always possible to wait for your brand identity to be ready to start building your business, and with a little bit of preparation, you can balance waiting for your brand designer and moving forward. If you get a grasp on the following brand elements, you’ll be in a strong position as you build your business and your brand until you can work with a professional.
6 Brand Elements
#1 Brand Values
You’ll likely have a good idea of your brand’s values because they’ll align with who you are and how you interact with the world, but get them down on paper so they can be your North Star as you build the rest of your brand. For example, if you’re an organic skincare brand, your values may be:
If you don’t have these written down, you may fall into the trap of feeling like you need to share quantity over quality and beauty, which would be out of alignment with your brand values. Knowing that everything you do online needs to align with these values, however, you’ll be able to take the time to find the right graphics, images, and words to represent your brand. If you need help finding the right words to represent your values, you can find a list of brand values here.
#2 Brand Photos
Building from the point above, spend some time sourcing on-brand photos and graphics before you start seriously building your online presence. While a branded photoshoot will always be well worth the investment, finding quality on-brand stock imagery can fill in the gap until you can get that shoot booked in.
Avoid the big name stock image sites and look for niche stock image sites (often run by photographers) that specialise in your industry and/or niche. Most of these are run on a subscription model and upload new photo collections each month, so it’s an affordable way to get a wide range of on-brand photos to use on your site or on social media.
#3 Brand Tone of Voice
In an ideal world, you’d get this nailed down with the help of a copywriter, but when you’re just getting started it’s just a good idea to know how you want to sound when you write your copy, social media posts, and reply to comments. Before you start building your online presence, write a quick Tone of Voice document that details how you sound online, your brand’s personality, and how your customers feel when they interact with your brand. Make a few notes about what your brand always strives for and what it never does (words it never uses, and so on). This doesn’t need to be perfect now, but it will help you establish your voice online.
#4 Temporary Brand Colours & Fonts
If you’re ready to start building your online presence but your slot to work with your brand designer is still a way off, it’s still worth selecting a few brand colours and fonts to use for all your posts and website until you’re able to work with an expert. This will help you start establishing your brand now and prevent the often-seen problem of using too many different colours and fonts.
All those templates you’ve bought for Canva are beautiful, but if your posts all look different from one week to the next, you’re going to appear “new” to your audience each time you post. If you have a set colour palette and a few chosen fonts, then you can keep your brand the same and then announce your new branding, without losing your audience in the shuffle.
Make sure the fonts you use are clean and easy to read. You may be tempted to choose the fancy cursive fonts, but it’s best to work with your designer to choose the right fonts. For now, choose those that are attractive and clear.
#5 Temporary Logo
Again, if you want to start establishing your brand before you work with a designer on your brand identity, you may need a temporary logo. Don’t be tempted to overthink this – choose something simple that will work as a placeholder until you work with your brand designer. If you’re a one-person service-based business, you may be able to hold off on this until your branding session.
#6 Shapes & Graphics That Look in the Same Family
If you plan to use any shapes or graphics on your social media posts or website, make sure they all have the same look. This is another area where it’s easy to find something that looks “good” but is completely different to the last shape or graphic you use. If you use thin line art on one post, don’t switch to watercolor art on the next, and then blocky vector art on the one after that. Try to stick to one style until you’re able to work with your designer who will design or source your brand graphics for you.
Remember that your branding doesn’t have to be all or nothing – if you are investing in quality brand identity development with a professional designer don’t get caught up in the weeds of creating a temporary brand identity, just choose something simple that is aligned with your business so you can start establishing yourself online. If you’ve yet to choose your designer to help build your brand identity, I’d love to help. Find out more about how we can work together to build your brand identity here.