How a meaningful visual brand begins with intimacy
A beautiful and meaningful visual brand begins with an intimate understanding of your unique story.
And we both know you want, need, a beautiful and meaningful visual brand. Not only because #businessgoals but because it works. You see it in the brands you follow. You see it in your industry.
You see and experience as a consumer yourself that stories and connection are paramount and lead to strong emotional ties to a brand.
But how do you create it, within your own brand? How do you create a powerful connection, a compelling story? How do you effectively target the right people and then create an experience for them that is honest and approachable but amazing and beautiful? And, importantly, an experience that results in sales and profit.
By getting intimate with your brand.
Let’s break down what that means. Before you can expect anyone else, any customer or client to understand your brand and resonate with your story, you need to understand it yourself.
You need to define and redefine key areas of your brand that directly feed into sales and profitability. You need to develop a story and then strategise it.
To explore how brand intimacy triggers confidence, I’ll be sharing from my projects with Maika Endo.
What do you do? What are your passions and strengths and how do they translate into your services or products? What are your brand and personal values and what do they mean in your brand experience? What does your brand voice sound like? What language and tone does it use? What are your brand’s personality attributes? What aren’t they? What makes you different and stand out in your industry? What do your people want?
Why is your business important to you? Why is it important to your people? Why do they need your service or product? Why are your values so, valuable? Why did you start your business? Why don’t you give up when it gets difficult?
Who are your people? No, who are they really, intimately? Who are you building your services and products for? Who do they need in their lives?
When you dive deep and hard into these areas, you start to develop a brand that’s rooted in the solid foundations of clarity and understanding and perspective. You get to see your brand from a different angle, through the lens of your people, and you get to use this create a strategy and brand that is tailored to them. A brand that caters to them through voice, story and visuals.
It’s by this intimate knowing, of the what, why and who of your business, that you’re able to create a visual brand with meaning, one that’s woven with intention and is rich with story. One that’s created for a very specific and defined audience.
And when you know your audience so well, you’re able to speak to them where and how they understand best. When you get them, you know what they struggle with, what they care about and what they yearn for. You can connect with them in a real and targeted way.
And that’s where the magic happens!
When Maika come to me for my Brand Strategy Sessions, she was feeling confused about the future of her business and moving away from her brand name to her personal name. She told me she felt ready to pivot, although how that would look and manifest wasn’t clear. She felt unsure whether she should stay the course with her current audience (who she felt connected to) or widen her net and include entrepreneurs outside of the wellness industry (who were finding her, and hiring her for business coaching). She knew that, because of this, her messaging at the time wasn’t clear and wanted to know if the Brand Strategy Sessions would help her clarify this. And, having created, grown and sold a thriving business already, she understood that this clarity was key to her confidence and success.
Maika was so excited about The Brand Story Workbook and dove right in. She was super honest but I could feel in her profile about her people that there was something missing. There were a few pieces that weren’t quite there yet and, in order to create something hyper-clarified, we needed to go deeper. I scheduled a call with her and we chatted through her answers, some key themes that were sticking out to me and how we could work further on her answers to get her more confident in her brand.
I gave her a couple of extra exercises and, from this and the meaningful conversation we had about her brand and people, I could feel a whole lot more clarity and excitement in her answers. The big picture was starting to look clearer and more defined.
She wrote to me:
Thanks for your time chatting and for writing! I love the way you formulated this:
“Turning the chaos into calm”, I definitely like to turn the business chaos into something calm and peaceful.
I wrote a lot since we talked, I even dreamed about the questions!
Please find attached my homework.
And another little nugget she got from the deep-dive:
PS: I realized also that the common point between all my followers were that they are global citizens. I was born in Japan, raised in France, lived in China, and now live in Istanbul. And my audience is quite like this too. A bit from everywhere, and living in a country where they are a foreigner.
Her excitement was contagious and I couldn’t wait to dive in. I took her answers and completed exercises and starting fleshing them out into a strategy which I sent as her first proposal. This included what she does, why it’s important to her, how she does it differently, her brand values and how they manifest in her life and work, her people, their keywords, her keywords, and a brand goal to guide how the brand experience and visual identity develops.
And, because this is an exercise in refining and revisiting the what, why and who so that we’re creating something that resonates so deeply with you and aligns with your vision for your future and the future of your business, we started just that. She got back to me with her notes, and I could feel we could extract more to create a fuller and more meaningful brand for her. She made notes about questions she had, about what didn’t totally resonate with her, what she loves and what she feels needs to be reformulated and nuanced.
I enjoyed reading this. It’s nice to read things I’ve written, reorganized and reformulated.
She also did a bit more reflection on her people because we both thought their story could be richer and woven with further important details that would help her speak to directly to them in a way that results in connection and sales. I developed the strategy proposal further with this and her comments from the first proposal and sent her the updated draft. I felt we were definitely closer to that amazing singing-angels sound I want all my clients to hear when they read their strategy. It was also here that something clicked and she realised exactly how she wanted to niche her people. Seriously big and wonderful lightbulb moment.
I sent off the second proposal and this is where everything started aligning for her.
I loved this second round. And felt those Aha moments, making my heart beat faster. Really loved how you turned pieces of my thoughts into an organized frame.
We made her final 3 refinements then we moved on to the creative direction for her brand.
I used her strategy, brand goal and keywords to pull together 2 moodboards that reflected her people; their aesthetic preferences; type, colour and illustrative inspiration. This informs the design process by setting a direction and mood for the visuals while ensuring we stay on track throughout the design phase of a project. Each concept went in a slightly different visual direction, while staying true to the brand. She loved the first concept, but pulled a colour and type style from concept two to create something that felt more in line with her brand. I finalised the moodboard and she wrote:
This is it! You nailed it, and all resonates in me like an echo. Thank you so much! It’s interesting the little tweak you did made a huge difference and I feel it is all brighter.
The 2 initial concepts for creative direction
The final creative direction
To feel that level of excitement and confidence build and overflow at the end of a project is a driving force of this business! I wrapped up everything we had created together, along with her brand voice outline, personality attributes, communication goals, brand keywords and copywriting launchpad to create her final Strategy Manual.
Her final words about her Strategy Manual were:
Thanks so much for the work you did on my brand, with enthusiasm and clairvoyance, this strategy manual is very precious to me. I will print out some pages and stick them next to my desk.
And she was so confident in her brand, so confident in her message and skills that she decided to go ahead with my Brand Design package (Strategy Sessions get a discount for the 3 months following their Strategy Manual delivery!). So stay tuned for her visual branding!
She understands, before we even start designing, how to create a brand experience for her people, where and how they’ll interact with her brand, and how to leverage her message to connect with them in a more meaningful way.
To get a peek at her final Strategy Manual and see how it transformed over the course of the project, view the gallery below. To chat about how we can create your own brand strategy manual to arm you with strategy that’s exciting, understandable and easy to implement and confidence, schedule your complimentary 30-minute call here.
The final strategy manual
When you show up, insanely confident in knowing and understanding your own brand, products or services and people so well, that you’re able to craft a beautiful and commanding brand experience that resonates. An experience that becomes so much more than superficial - one that’s all about real connection and results in real sales.
So, nope, there’s no some secret branding formula for design or logos or IG story graphics. And when you see that a beautiful visual brand is working hard for a business, know that it’s because it’s rooted in so much more than ‘just a pretty logo’. It’s because they know you, their dream customer or client, and themselves so well, they’re incredibly confident in it and they’re equipped to take you from follower to client or customer with an amazing brand experience developed just for you.
If you’re struggling with your brand confidence, not sure what your who, why or what are, or feel like you’re ready to get just as intimate with your brand and people as Maika did, book your complimentary consultation call.
In this 30 minute call we’ll talk about your current strategy, where you’re struggling the most to feel confident and an action step you can implement immediately to start creating a brand experience that will help you turn your passion into profit.