Back To Branding Basics

This weeks’ episode is another solo episode, covering some of the basics that you need to know when it comes to branding. Although I am not a designer and I have little experience when it comes to creating assets, branding and design is incredibly important from a marketing point of view. Having had lots of conversations about branding recently, I thought now would be a great opportunity to cover some of the basics you need to know when it comes to building a brand that is recognisable.

  • Your logo is your identifier but your brand is absolutely everything that goes with it. When you see a logo, it’s very rare you’d see it alone. It could be on a website, a business card, on social media or on an email signature.
  • Your brand also includes fonts, colours, styles and photos.
  • Your branding is effectively your shop front. It’s how people are going to judge you.
  • Think about the brands you interact with and how you perceive their brands.
  • If you’re struggling when it comes to inspiration, Pinterest is a great place to start. Try searching for your industry and then using the word ‘logo’ or ‘branding’ afterwards. Save a board of everything you like, making a note of the aspects you like as you do it.
  • Pinterest is also great when it comes to searching for colour palettes.
  • If you’re in a sensitive industry, you need to think about the imagery you’re going to use. Stock sites are a great place to get inspiration for these photos.
  • When you’re looking at your new designs, you need to think about whether or not they’re going to look good on social media. The easier to read, the better.
  • If you’re your business, it’s okay to use your face.
  • You need to ensure your branding truly represents you and your brand.
  • Think about where you’re going to use your branding, as often this will often determine how many elements you need to make up your branding.
  • Your designer will need to send all of your files over to you when they’re done. They don’t need to design every social media graphic for you, as they can send you over a file that you can easily edit yourself.

Coming up with a logo and accompanying branding is incredibly difficult and if you don’t have any design skills, hiring a designer is the best way to ensure you’re doing everything right.

  • What Is the Difference Between A Logo and A Brand? – 03:21
  • Your First Steps – 05:40
  • Finding Inspiration – 11:25
  • Thinking Ahead – 13:10
  • Considering Social Media – 15:00
  • Creating Your Branding – 17:00
Transcript below


Speaker 1: (00:33)

Hello and happy new year. So you might be listening to this just before the new year. You might be listening just after, you might be listening in the middle of the year and therefore that makes no sense whatsoever. But this episode came out just before the new year for the new year, which will be 2020 so if you are listening at the time then yeah, happy new year. Hope you have a good one.


Okay, so I'm just going to jump in today's episode because I've been batching contents. If you don't batch, definitely recommend it. Definitely have a think about it going forward. So I'm actually recording this at the end of November and obviously it's not going out until the end of December. But it's so nice to think that I've got all the episodes done between now and then. It's lovely. And also because I have a team that do stuff with the podcast. So I have someone that edits someone who writes the show notes, someone that then manages the whole process.

Speaker 1: (01:27)

It just gives them and me time to get it all done. So yeah, I'm a little bit tired cause I've done a lot of talking and although I can talk for Britain, I've kind of talked about loads of different stuff. So I'm just going to jump straight in with this episode. I've decided that this episode is a going to be a solo because as I talked about in the last episode, because it's a busy time of year for you guys, I didn't want to put an episode out, which was an interview and then have them maybe not get as many listens as they might do normally. And secondly, I want to talk about kind of going back to basics on some stuff. So what I'm going to talk about today is branding. Now, I don't often talk about design-y stuff and branding stuff because I am not a designer.

Speaker 1: (02:10)

Let's just get that straight right away. I don't want any designers listening to this thinking, what are you talking about? You're not a designer. I'm talking about branding and design. Coming from a marketer's point of view. However, I've obviously worked with a designer. I have a designer in the team who constantly takes the Mickey out of me because I think I've got an okay at things and he just like, Oh, when did you get your design degree? And I'm like, yeah, okay, fair enough. So we've got a designer in the team. I've worked with loads and loads of designers. I used to work in a marketing agency other than my own that had a fleet of designers. And yeah, so I've had lots of experience, but I'm not a designer, so I'm not necessarily coming at this from this point. But there's some things, and the reason I'm going to have is because I've had two people that I've been consulting for recently and they have been setting them in new and it's not often that I speak to people.

Speaker 1: (03:02)

Um, they're part of my 90 day programme that are starting a business from scratch. So I've ended up having conversations with them about their brands because they haven't actually yet come up with a logo or a brand. So let's just talk about those two things.


What Is the Difference Between A Logo and A Brand?


Well, first off, what's the difference between a logo and a brand? I'm not going to give you the theory. What does a brand mean? I'm going to give you like the straight up what I think is the difference. So a logo is the thing that is your main thing. It's your logo, it's your identify. And that's just standalone. That's one thing. Whereas your brand is everything that goes with it. So your logo might be your initials or it might be the name of your business. Maybe it's got an icon with it that permanently sits with the logo. But that's not your brand, that's just your logo.

Speaker 1: (03:48)

And what you have to remember firstly is that when you see a logo it's very rarely on its own. So your logo is very rarely stuck on something that isn't part of your brand. So for instance, I'm just trying to think of all the places you would find my logo. So we've got a my website, but obviously it's a whole website full of stuff. So the brand is very evident there. You might see my logo on social media, but again it's amongst all the other stuff that's on there and my brand is very relevant and stands out on there. Where else might you see? Mine's on my email signature? But it's probably got some other things where they even like… cause the brand includes things like the fonts and the colours and any images and the style of images. And are you going to use photos, are you going to use illustrations?

Speaker 1: (04:32)

So it's all those considerations. And what was really interesting, I was having a conversation the other day and someone was saying to me how they can spot my stuff without even knowing it's from me because it's so stylized in a certain way. And what's interesting is this person said that that is not their style at all. However, they totally get that is my style and therefore it makes perfect sense for me. And what's interesting when I talk about brands and things, if you've ever seen me on screen, which if you've ever seen a live or see me do anything in my office, you'll see that even the colours of the walls or the accessories, they still sit with my brand colours. And I wouldn't say that necessarily, that was done totally on purpose, but what I'm saying is that that's the stuff I like, so therefore it's no wonder that it reflects my brand because obviously I'm going to have a brand that I like.


Your First Steps


Speaker 1: (05:25)

So yeah, I've got a couple of things then just to kind of give you some heads up. This isn't going to be a super long episode, but I thought it was important because I don't think I've ever done an episode on this. So if you are coming up with a brand, the very first thing I want you to do is obviously someone is going to create this logo, artwork branding for you and I want you to think about who that might be because there are lots of people who say to me, Teresa, my husband, my sister, my dad, my brother and my mum, my whoever they like to draw or they are a clothes designer or they are creative or they are this or that, I'm going to get them to do my logo. And although in essence that's absolutely fine and I understand that budgets are tight when you're first starting.

Speaker 1: (06:14)

And I was very lucky that one of my friends at the time just happened to be a designer and therefore my very first logo, which I still use actually for the agency, it was designed by them and they knew me very well. So it again, it represents me well. However, my only concern would be as I said and I joked with my designer that I've got a good eye for things and I think I have lots of the stuff you see on social media is designed by me. I'm not a designer and therefore I wouldn't do my own logo because that is so different. Coming up with a brand and a concept and a logo is given to designers for a good reason because they're good at doing that stuff. So even if someone's creative, even if someone can draw well even if someone has painted something brilliant and beautiful and they're very talented when it comes to that, even if they're a designer, but in another aspect i.e. a furniture designer or a product designer, it's completely different skill sets so I would urge you pretty much 99% of the time if you are going to get someone to do a logo that you get someone who is a graphic designer and that you can see their work and they've been recommended to you. I don't really work. I only hit really worked with Matt. My designer who works has worked with me the whole time I've had the business, so five plus years and I'd worked with him previously before then at another place and I trust him implicitly. He knows me, he knows how I briefed him, we know how we work together. He's great. I would struggle to find another designer I have tried to in the past only because we've got really busy. However, with a good recommendation it was really difficult. So that's the first thing I would say is try and find a graphic designer, try and get a recommendation and also just kind of keep in mind sort of pricing and things.

Speaker 1: (08:01)

Don't actually don't throw loads and loads and loads of money at this. Obviously I want you to throw a bit of money at it, but don't like, I used to wait for an agency when we did a brand for someone, it was like two, three grand. As business owners, small business owners do not pay that for that. Cause I promise you it does not take that amount of money or that amount of time necessarily. But again, different horses, different courses. So you know, that's cool. Anyway, so you're going to get a brand, you're gonna get someone to design this for you and hopefully they're going to be graphic designer. But again, I totally get if money's a problem, but remember this is your shopfront, this is how people are going to judge you and view you and look at you. And if it's something that you've put together and it looks a little bit amateurish and I'm really careful to it cause I don't want to offend anybody, but if it does look a bit amateurish, then that's exactly what they're gonna think of you and your brands.

Speaker 1: (08:50)

So I just want you to bear that in mind and I want you to think about some of the brands that you interact with and what you read into them. So one example I gave about branding and customers is supermarkets. So obviously I know I have lots of you listening in the States and I'm here in the UK, but we have Asda, which is owned by Walmart. Now I don't know where Walmart is in the kind of level of stuff, but I know if you take like a lower supermarket and I can't think of which one it is. But anyway, take a light lower end supermarket and then take like your whole foods or we have Waitrose. And what you'll see is the branding on their stuff is so very different. So if you walked into an as the supermarket, which is your lower end or you know, deemed as the lower end supermarket, you'll see that they use really primary colours because they're the most attractive and most outstanding.

Speaker 1: (09:41)

They will use really bold positioning on price. So it's all about how much it costs. It's all about buy two get one free. It's all about something's half price. They use big bold fonts. They have their logo on everything. It's really distinctive, but it's really barely aggressive looking. And like I said, their branding is all around price and bulk for families. But then you look at Waitrose and when they put an advert in a magazine, and again, whole foods might be the same. I'm not entirely sure, but that's the kind of level I'm talking is that they might put something out in a magazine and you barely notice the logo on it, but it's much more muted colours. It's much more complex fonts if you like. And that complex maybe isn't the right word, but it's not, you know, big bold in your face fonts.

Speaker 1: (10:30)

It's the messaging is less about them and less about price and less about families. And it's more about quality and treatment of animals and that sort of thing. So I want you to imagine that. So for instance, if you have got a high end product or you are selling something for quite a lot of money, then for sure invest in someone to do that logo for you. Because if you're going to whip together a clip art logo or something that you can do yourself in Canva, and don't get me wrong, I adore Canva and I use it myself, but I wouldn't create a logo in it, so it is totally worth investing that money. Again, saying that they are, even if you sell a low end product, I still wouldn't just like whip up a logo yourself, but I think you could get away with it a little bit better if you were selling something that was cheaper.


Finding Inspiration


Speaker 1: (11:14)

Okay, so you're going to get someone to this logo. What I want you to do is if you haven't gone on to Pinterest, go onto Pinterest and literally type in the word logos brands. Try putting the word of your industry first, so consultant logos or photographer logos or whatever you do, and just see what comes up. And what I want you to do is create a board. You can create a private board so it doesn't have to be available for the world to see. And I want you to literally just save images of things that you like and you might need to make a note for yourself or just kind of reminds us of which bit it was that you liked about it. But was it the colour, was it the font? Was it the styling, was it the type of images? Was it the icons, was it the design overall?

Speaker 1: (12:00)

What was it that you liked about that? The other thing that you can search in Pinterest is colour palettes. And what's really nice about that is because you don't just have one colour in a logo, you have a pallet of suite of colours. I do, I, you'll know if you've followed the podcast and you see my stuff on social media, I either use this particular dusky pink or I use a really nice blue, and that's part of my palette that I have. So I want you to go on and have a look at that. And I want you to save all these things because honestly, design is one of the most trickiest things in the world when it comes to personal opinion. Because your designer, whoever you're getting to do it could create something perfect and bang on for your customer, but if you don't like it, then you're not going to want it.


Thinking Ahead


Speaker 1: (12:44)

So this is why you need to do your research first because it's going to save a lot of heartache at the end. If you can say to someone and sit down with them and go, I need a logo of this is what I like. I like these type of funds. I like these types of colours. I really want to use photos that look like this. I really want to use illustrations. I want to use icons or whatever it might be at this point as well. I want you to think to the future, so let's say you are in an industry where you, it's really sensitive information or you're not going to be able to take pictures of what you do or clients. If you suddenly decide you want your branding to have photos in it, what photos are you going to use going forward? Let's say you're doing a blog and you want a photo for every blog, what photos are you going to use?

Speaker 1: (13:30)

So I know that sometimes people get really caught down in this trap where a designer can create something stunning and they have this vision of this is how it looks, and they put all the right elements in the right place. And then when you take it and you then try and recreate that in a new blog post or in a new social media post, you're running out of images or you're running out of things that you can use. So think about those things as you're doing it. The other place to look for images, I've talked about these before, but have a look at Unsplash. I'll link to these in the show notes. If you go to Teresa Heath forward slash nine seven 97 then you'll be able to find, that number's not words yet. So Unsplash is great. Pexels is great, Pixabay is great. And basically all of these are absolutely free stock images as long as you're not, then reselling them on, obviously always check their own terms of conditions but are free images that you can use.

Speaker 1: (14:22)

So again, I would be thinking at the beginning, let's say you're starting a business and you want to do a blog and you're going to do one a month, can you find 12 images that match? Can you find 12 images that will suit your blog for the next 12 blogs that you do? So have a think about that one as well cause that's a really good one. The other thing I want you to think about is that this is going to go on social media. Now lots of designers now are much, much more savvy than they have been in terms of the fact that we need it for social media.


Considering Social Media


So there were loads of old logos that have been around for a long time that just don't fit in social media because the logo is long and narrow or tall or whatever. And obviously now we have to get it into a circle.

Speaker 1: (15:06)

So what I want you to think about when looking at what they design is, is it going to stand out when it's teeny tiny? Because when you think about you're on your phone, you're scrolling down Twitter or Facebook or whatever is that icon, that little circle where you're going to put your logo is really small. So any designs with loads of detail, loads of words is going to be really, really difficult. That's why an icon or an illustration or something that goes alongside your brands. So let's take McDonald's and the golden arches. Obviously they could just put the golden arches on its own as in the M, the gold M and you'd notice McDonald's Knight could just put the tick and you would know it is like there are loads of other brands. I'm sure you can think of lots that you think I J I don't even need the name.

Speaker 1: (15:55)

I know that that's what it is. Now obviously when you first start, people are not going to know that. But if that's everywhere and you stick it on everything, then they are going to start to recognise that as your brand. So my first brand from my agency, which likes that still stands today was just T, H w and it was in this really nice bold kind of pinky red. And it is really good because it has a white background. So on a avatar in a small circle, there we go. You can see it really plainly. My next logo is my Teresa Heath wearing logo. I mean that is a big old name to squeeze into a logo, but we just might manage it succinctly. And also though in that side of the business it's me, so I don't tend to put the logo in avatar pitches and kind of profile pictures.


Creating Your Branding


Speaker 1: (16:42)

I use my face. So again, if you are the business and the business is named after you, then you could always do that. But some people don't want to and that's absolutely fine. So think about that. Can you fit the whole logo into that circle? If not, do you have an icon or something to represent it? I also want you to think about who is the logo for. Okay, so there's two areas. One, does the logo fit with you and represent you. So I think my design has done a really good job of representing me in how my branding is, but also I had an input to it so I was able to go. I like that, I don't like that. Or, and again I gave him, this is brilliant, this isn't brilliant before he even started. So does it represent you? Because if you are the business then that is I think quite important because if I'm getting this really corporate looking logo and corporate looking branding and then I meet you and you are not corporate in the slightest, then that's not going to quite add up.

Speaker 1: (17:39)

So does it represent new, if you are the, if you are the business and if not only that, does it represent or does it relate to your customers? So my stuff is a little bit feminine and although I don't just go out for targeting women at all, I happily target men and women and I have men and women in the Academy and clients and 90 day programme and you know, so that's absolutely fine. Mine's just quite feminine because I like it and I actually do attract more women than men and that could be done to my branding. It could be done because there was a pink and it is pretty. Um, I have got nice flat lays and that sort of thing in my imagery. So I want you to think about that again. If you are trying to go for corporate world business to business mostly man, let's say then going with something really feminine looking is maybe not going to be the best thing for you just because they won't necessarily relate with that thing.

Speaker 1: (18:38)

Again, trying to look to corporate when actually you are a one man band and a very happy to promote yourself like that. Then again that might look a bit odd. So does it fit with you, does it fit with your audience? And then the last thing I think that want to come up with on this is when you've had your design done. So the first thing they're probably going to do is come up with the logo and it might be the logo on its own. And normally what we do in the past when we, we've done logos people, we will literally go, here's a sheet logos, tell us what you like and don't like, and you can start to get a steer and people tend to go, I really like that icon but I for that text or I like that colour, but I prefer this.

Speaker 1: (19:17)

So then what we do is once we've kind of narrowed down the logo, we then stopped putting it on stuff because like I said, you never see it alone. So we create a cover image for their social media. We put it into how we'd imagine it go into a square to them, put into those circles for social media, we might mock up a homepage of a website, we might do a banner for a website, we might create a social media post, but ideally you'd get them to create these various other things because I don't want you to think about where are you going to need this? Are you going to need to produce, pull up banners? Are you going to need to produce a sign for outside? And I want you to try and write a list of where am I going to need this branding.

Speaker 1: (19:59)

And even if they don't design every element, because obviously you're having a sign out side of it is just your name then or just your logo, then that's not a problem. You don't need them to design that as such. But talk to them about that and say, I do want to do a blog every month and I want to promote that blog on social media. Could you maybe create me one social media post, which I can then replicate. So they've designed just a few. There's going to be some things that you need. Most designers, once you've paid them, should hand over everything they have for you. So the artwork and all the different versions of the F of the files that you need, you absolutely need a transparent PNG. And I have them in white, black, grey, and in colour. So what that is, is that your logo that you can then put on top of other stuff, you can pull that into Canva.

Speaker 1: (20:47)

It's just a file that a P a P and G. so don't get too hung up on that. They know the designer will know exactly what a transparent PNG is. You can then drag that into or upload that into Canva. And if you've got an image that you're going to use the social media, you can drop your logo on top and it won't be in a box and it won't look ugly. And the reason you have a white version of black version, a grey version and a colour version is because depending on what you're dropping it on top of, you'll need all those different versions. So I always ask for them when they create something like a social media graphics. So obviously my designer helped come up with the podcast look and feel for the social media graphics. However, I would not pay him to do it every single week and I don't need him to because it doesn't take a design, a level of skill to swap out images and change text.

Speaker 1: (21:36)

So what I asked him to do and what you can ask your designer to do is if they've created something and it's got a nice pattern on or a graphic or an image or something that you're going to want to use again, again, ask for that on transparence PNGs and then you can effectively rebuild that thing within Canva. So then you can just create a new one and a new one and a new one and then just change maybe the colour or change the font or obviously within line of your branding. Don't go crazy obviously, but you can change the little elements that you need to change. But you will see on most of my stuff, I use a very similar look and feel. Sometimes some of the fonts might be tweaked up or whatever, but on the whole they're pretty much the same. I like to use very white light pictures.

Speaker 1: (22:18)

I like to use flat lays, nice looking stationary. So that's what I want you to think about. I want you to think about what is the overall look that you're trying to go for, who you're trying to attract. And then like I said, once your designer, whoever's come up with these things, which is another reason why you want a designer because they will be able to give you all these various elements is you then want to get those transparent PNGs. The other thing you want them to do is to give you an ESP is any SP here is an ESPN short is and basically that's like a an illustrator file or a Photoshop file, which means that you can blow up really, really big. So it's like a vector image. I'm throwing out all these words pretending I know what I'm talking about. I do know a bit talking about it, but I'm not a designer.

Speaker 1: (23:00)

So if you're decided, let's stick to this. You're like water. You're talking about Teresa. But basically you want to say to them, can I blow this logo at really big? And so for instance, if you have need to pull up banner or a big banner or a sign you want them to give you, and like I said, it will normally be like an ESP or a vector image and you want them to give you them as well. The chances are you might not need them, but as long as you've got it, you're not kind of caught unawares when you do want to suddenly blow it up and you can't because it's pixelated. That's another reason why it can be tricky if you're going to get someone to draw you something because you would then have to get someone to turn that into a vector image, which means you can make it big.

Speaker 1: (23:36)

Anyway, I'm now going down a route of talking about words that I'm 80% sure I know what I'm talking about, but there's a chance I'm wrong, so we'll just leave it there. So I'm hoping that's given you a few ideas. Like I said, a brand is a really personal thing, so doing that homework in Pinterest, Googling staff, finding stuff that you like, taking screenshots of it. Obviously don't go putting that anywhere cause it'd be stealing people's stuff, but if you're just going to keep it for reference to then say to someone, I love this type of thing, I don't like that. I really want these type of colours, this type of font, this type of thing. Then that for me is like the definite great start in terms of creating a brand and a logo and likes it. Don't forget those different versions that you're going to need for social media and for putting on stuff in the future.

Speaker 1: (24:21)

Oh, okay. I hope you've enjoyed this. I hope you've got a couple of bits from it and let me know what you think. It's always good to hear from you guys. I'm super excited about coming back in 2020 with yet more awesome episodes. I've batched a load of content. I've got some great episodes coming up. I've got one on content repurposing. I got one on selling. That's a great one. I've got one on going from chaos to calm, which is actually one of my team members. So that's super cool to have her on. I've got one on podcasting, I've got loads of good stuff and then I've got a super special one for episode 100 so make sure you look out for that. Anyway, I will leave you to it now cause I think I'm just about done talking for today and I will catch up with you next week. Take care. Bye.