Over the next several weeks, I’m going to focus on the critical steps to take after you’ve started your small business. Have you kicked things off but don't quite know what to do next? These posts are for you.
First up, brand identity.
WHAT IS BRAND IDENTITY AND WHY IS IT SO IMPORTANT?
When you think of the term “brand” you probably envision things like a company name or a logo and symbol. And you aren't wrong. These things are critical in creating a unique company that (hopefully) stands out.
A brand identity, however, is something different. It represents the personality you share to your potential and active customers. These personality “traits” could include such things as:
- What your company stands for and represents.
- The way you communicate with your customers from a visual perspective.
- How your messaging makes a customer feel.
All of this is critical because, unless you’re creating something that NO ONE has ever done before, you’re selling something that your customers can purchase from someone else.
Yes, you can sell based on price or even product quality. But there is always the possibility that someone will come along and sell your products cheaper or find a way to improve the production process.
The real reason why consumers choose to spend their hard-earned money with a new brand: trust. And it’s impossible to build credibility without an identity behind it.
HOW WE CREATED OUR BRAND IDENTITY WITH STAMPED WITH LOVE
Without realizing it, my wife and I created our brand identity before we came up with the name or made our first stamp. We spent hours driving back from Georgia discussing what the brand would represent and how we wanted to convey that message to our potential customers. What was our mission? That’s what we were trying to uncover.
One of the first things Theresa said: “everyone should feel loved.” And during the process of creating our brand, we didn’t forget this. This sentiment has made its way into almost everything we’ve done. From our name and symbol to our postcards and packaging, it’s included in every order we send out and a pillar of how we approach customer service.
Once we returned, we had an idea of what we wanted the brand to represent. But how could we bring that to life? One popular way: create a mood board. I’m not going to lie, I didn’t really understand what this was at the time (and Theresa was much more involved in this process). Regardless, this board was a critical part of determining what we wanted our brand personality to reflect.
Here’s what our initial board looked like
Notice how there are no stamps here? It’s a mood. What does your brand feel like?
Lastly, we made sure to broadcast our ‘story.’ Over time, we realized that communicating the crazy equation of how Stamped with Love came to be
Pandemic x desperation + 20 hours in a UHaul = stamp business
…was a huge positive to our audience. The pandemic and our raw feelings were relatable. And the journey we decided to take together turned into something fun and interesting. So that’s the story we try to tell.
These three small thought exercises set us on a path to understanding who we were as a custom stamp brand a few months before we opened our shop. In hindsight, it was the most valuable thing we could have done.
CRITICAL STEPS TO STAMP INTO YOUR BUSINESS ROUTINE
- If you haven’t already, take the time to sit down and really think about what you want your brand to represent. Is there a thought or feeling that you believe captures who the brand is or what you aspire it to be? What’s its personality? Let that be your guiding light.
- Turn those thoughts into clearly defined objects, images and colors. Create something that - when you look at it - you can honestly say represents your brand personality.
- Think about your story. What about your path to entrepreneurship was unique? Share it with your customers. Most likely, they’ll be able to relate.
With a few small steps each day, you can eventually get to the moon.