Developing a powerful brand is an important business tool to make you stand out against your competitors, build customer loyalty and sales results. An important aspect in creating your brand is to develop a brand personality. Personality puts ‘flesh on the bones’ of your business idea making ‘human’ to your target market.
Brand personality maps out how you talk to and treat your customers. I like to think about it in terms of what kind of voice does your person have. Is it fun, sexy or serious, and translate this tone of voice in your written communications. What kind of personal attention do you provide and what do customers expect from you. Develop your action plan for when and how you will respond to enquiries and service problems. Defining a personality enables even the most boring products to become more interesting and a business that is in a crowded market with similar offerings to differentiate itself in a more appealing way.
Here are my top tips for defining your brand personality:
- Be sincere, truthful about who you are, what you do and why the customer should choose you.
- Brainstorm and write down words that describe what your customers first impressions of your brand should be. Here is an example of one I developed for BBQ on Q : modern, shiny, clean, designer, advanced, elite, luxury, pleasure, steel, stone, outdoor, alfresco entertaining, ultimate ,premium quality, endurance, skill, clever, unique, good-looking, architectural, valuable, asset, cocktails, technology, Australian, reliable, streamlined, stylish, relaxation, successful, professional
Note: I encourage you to take special note of the emotional connections you want to develop. Remember emotional values are the key to powerful brands.
- Look at your competition. Are you too similar? Choose a different angle and improve on the value to the customer from what the competition is offering.
- Visualise your brand as a person. Use the words you have brainstormed to build a profile of your personality. What age, sex, education, music liked, behaviour- cheeky, funny, serious, story to be told, colours and fashions will your brand project?
- Build a mood board to complete the profile. In the same way an interior designer puts together a moodboard to show a concept, bring all the aspects and inspirations together with cuttings, pictures, colour swatches, type styles, logos etc. Include images of your demographic or alternatively a picture of a personality/celebrity.
Gather all your colour swatches, images, style notes, words etc together to form the personality of your brand.
- Brand personality goes hand in hand with brand positioning and the brand promise. Make sure they work together in harmony.
Noni Edmunds is the Director of Style Precinct- a design consultancy providing all the essential elements to build strong brands including, graphic design, copywriting and interior styling. www.styleprecinct.com.au/branding
Colour is the ninth wonder of the world! It says so much in a language without uttering a sound. Such a powerful design tool deserves to be used expertly. So how do you choose the right colour for your brand?
- A Pantone colour swatch fan.
Here are a few of my tips when for making the right choice of colour.
- What industry is your business brand in? Is your business in the finance, industrial, residential, fashion, retail, educational sector? Each business sector has its own behavioural cues- a bit like body language. Everyone expects and understands these cues and they make people feel comfortable and reassured. For example the finance sector likes to been seen as conservative, solid, established and stable. The brand should convey these messages in an understated manner. Good colour choices would be ‘business blue’ or muted tones like burgundy. Avoid pure and primary colours unless you are going for a ‘rebel’ brand look and feel with a business model that does things differently in your sector.
- How is your brand positioned in the market it competes in? Is it a premium priced brand or budget value brand? Use colour to help convey this message. Bright primary colours are usually associated with budget low-priced brands particularly primary mailbox red. Make your upmarket brand more luxe with a special custom or spot colour like ‘Valentino’ red. (See my comments on the recent Valentino exhibition here.) Team your main colour with a wider palette to extend a mood or theme you are expressing with the brand.
The iconic "'V' of the Valentino brand which has its own custom colour known as a colour in its own right - Valentino Red. Picture taken at the entrance to Valentino exhibition at Brisbane Gallery of Modern Art.
- Is your brand competing in an overcrowded space? Sometimes it is sooo good to break all the rules! Make daring colour combinations or choose an unexpected colour none of your competitors would dare to embrace, ie be a ‘rebel’ brand. This can help get you noticed and make a strong point of difference.
- Meaning of colour. Colour has different meanings to different people across cultural boundaries. Even within one society, colours can have a different psychological effects across an audience. You need to think about the makeup of your target market and any differences in interpretation. Consider the tone as well as the colour. Warm colours (reds, orange, yellows) are associated with energy and happy emotions. Adding black, grey or a touch of cool blue to these tones will turn them into dingy shades that conjure up opposite emotions.
- Be consistent across a range of media. When you have decided on the perfect colour that expresses all the personality for your brand, make sure it can be reproduced accurately across a range of media. This means it needs to look like your colour on your website( RGB) as well as in your print materials (CMYK) and from your desktop printer. Paint colours and fabrics are another consideration. Use a Pantone® colour which is a system of standardised colours for identifying, matching and communicating between providers.
Check out this blog from Colour Lovers on colours that are the most dominant and powerful online: http://www.colourlovers.com/business/blog/2010/09/15/the-most-powerful-colors-in-the-world
Colour is my passion. I love the way colour can make you feel. It has the power to uplift you and make you feel happy, sad, serious or sassy! Knowing how to use colour and what the current trends are will help your business make the right decision on using colour suitable for your brand. Carry the feel of your brand into your retail /office or event space with the right choice of colour and visual language.
Colour is one of my favourite design tools and here’s what I learned from a Global Colour Research (a prominent UK trend forecaster) Spring/Summer 2011 trends presentation recently in Melbourne.
As you might expect, trends emerge from attitudes of what is happening in our world. Not surprisingly recovering from the GFC but embracing the future (with cautious optimism) is a strong driver for 2011 trends.
The four 2011 trend directions from Global Colour Research are:
Incorporates ethereal, translucent, smokey, fluid forms and skeletal structures and grid patterns (I can think of some great light shades examples like this ). Texture is important and the importance of heirlooms. Colours are muted with highlights of turquoise and greyed lilac.
Whisper- main colour palette
This is a favourite of mine embodying a homage to spring with colours featuring cool, bright tones of vivid English spring green balanced with earthy wood neutrals and added strength from an indigo purple. Natural materials eg. wood, skins and leather hearld the importance of nature. Materials are functional and eco desirable. Symbols are drawn from folk-lore or nature inspired.
Spirit- main colour palette
This trend embraces domestic nostalgia and is pale and interesting with a neutral palette of off white and greyed beiges with a shot of uplifting colour- red. Surfaces are distressed, patterned with relief, gilded or tonal. It can be used to add theatre and drama (with velvet and gold).
Genteel- main colour palette
For those who want something with a bit more bite!! Sci fi meets low fi, space age and industrial influences drive this trend. Expect to see hyper-realism (think of triffids), post apocalyptic dark shades. Rough and smooth textures and Superman comic strip colours of blue and orange-yellow (aged as though in the original comic book).
Risk- main colour palette
Note: Colours are approximate representations.
Do you have a favourite? Let me know what you think?