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This Chapter:

Focus

Focus Title Card
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Focus

By Mark Brinn
Take a data-driven approach to sketch your brand's blueprint, leveraging insights from four pivotal areas - Identity, Purpose, Audience, and Specialty. This piece offers a deep dive into these interconnecting pillars that form the robust base of your visual identity. Learn how to translate these insights into tangible elements like your brand's Name, Slogan, Logo, Color, and more. Further, discover how to embed your brand's Style, Voice, Story, and Delivery, creating a brand that truly resonates with your audience. Remember, these four pillars lay the groundwork for your brand, influencing every aspect, from visuals to narratives.

The Four Pillars

Think of your brand as a sturdy, well-built house. The four pillars that we covered in Part 1- Identity, Purpose, Audience, and Speciality – are the foundation of this house. They’re what keeps the whole thing from falling apart. They’re the bedrock, the base, the solid ground upon which everything else stands.

Together, these four pillars form the foundation of your brand. They inform and influence every aspect of the brand, from its visual identity to its narrative and communication style. They’re the starting point, the base, the bedrock upon which everything else is built.

Let’s go through each element one by one and discuss how the Four Pillars can influence your decision making process.

Name & Slogan

Your brand’s name and slogan should succinctly encapsulate its identity, acting as a compact, yet powerful, reflection of your ethos. For brands that stand as pillars of innovation and bold technological advancements, the name should resonate with echoes of pioneering spirit and cutting-edge developments. Is your specialty catering to those who aren’t tech-savvy? Your slogan might elegantly communicate a message along the lines of “Making Technology Accessible to All.”

Your brand name should resonate with your audience as well. If you cater to a younger audience, you’d want something catchy, fresh, and easy to remember. 

If you are starting a business in your hometown, referencing the area or a nearby landmark can resonate with locals.

If you are starting a service based business, consider using your own name. Using your own name denotes pride in your work and can help to communicate trust with your clients.

Remember, your brand name is not just a label. It’s a powerful tool that, when used correctly, can communicate your brand’s essence and create a strong connection with your audience.

Likewise, your slogan should speak directly to your audience. It should resonate with their needs and wants. It’s not about what you want to say. It’s about what they need to hear.

Logo

Now let’s talk about how the four pillars influence your logo.

If your brand’s identity is playful and fun, your logo might include bright colors and rounded shapes.  

If your brand’s identity is professional and serious, your logo might benefit from a more minimalist and clean design.

If your brand identity and purpose is centered around being environmentally friendly, your logo could incorporate nature-based elements or symbols, like leaves, trees, or the earth. And so on.

Likewise, if your target audience is eco-conscious consumers, incorporating nature-themed imagery or green colors could resonate with them.

Color

Your brand’s identity is key to choosing your colors. If it’s bursting with energy and passion, red might be your color. Red is vibrant, it demands attention.

But if your brand’s identity is rooted in trustworthiness and reliability, then blue could be the way to go. Blue, steady and reliable, mirrors these traits.

However, it’s not only about your brand. It’s also about your audience. You need to know what colors speak to them. Different groups and cultures perceive colors in unique ways, so it’s important to select hues they will connect with. For example, in western culture, white is often associated with purity, and in Japan, it symbolizes death. In southern California, bright and bold colors abound, but here in the Pacific Northwest, we tend to see more subdued color schemes.

Type

Similar to the color selection, your brand’s identity plays a leading role in picking your typography. Let’s say your brand is classy and traditional. You might find that serif fonts, with their formal, respectable feel, are your best bet. 

On the flip side, if your brand leans towards a modern, minimalist vibe, sans-serif fonts could be the right fit. They’re clean, direct, and uncomplicated.

Remember, it’s not just about your opinion. Your audience’s tastes and expectations are important too. If they’re fans of luxury and refinement, a unique, custom typeface could be just what you need to capture their attention. If they’re a younger crowd, more contemporary, bold, and larger fonts could hit the mark.

Regardless of your choice, accessibility and legibility are musts. Always take into account potential visual impairments or reading difficulties among your audience.

So, choosing your typography is about striking a balance between your brand’s personality, your audience’s preferences, and your unique selling points. It’s about finding a typeface that speaks your brand’s language.

Imagery & Style

Your brand’s imagery and style need to go hand in hand, like best buddies, always backing each other up.

Now, let’s break it down. Images you pick, whether photos, illustrations, or icons, should all match up with your brand’s identity, purpose, and audience. A brand that’s professional and serious might lean towards crisp, realistic photos. If your brand’s got a more playful or abstract vibe, cartoons or illustrations could be the way to go.

What’s in the pictures is equally important. A travel company might feature breathtaking destinations, while a tech startup might show off their latest gadgets. But remember, it’s not just about what you like; it’s about what your audience will connect with.

Let’s take a look at a few examples from the music industry. “Taylor Swift’s ‘Folklore’ envelops listeners with its misty, enchanting black and white forest visuals, reflecting its indie folk tranquility, while Kendrick Lamar’s ‘Damn’ confronts with a stark, intense gaze against a bold red backdrop, mirroring the album’s raw and powerful hip-hop narratives. Both utilize imagery that poignantly amplifies their distinct musical and thematic expressions, albeit through divergent visual languages.

Again, your audience plays a big role here. Young folks might dig a vibrant, bold, and on-trend style. Older folks might appreciate a more traditional, restrained approach.

Lastly, let’s not forget your unique value proposition, your UVP. It should shine through in your graphic style. If you’re all about simplicity and ease-of-use, go for a minimalist style. If customization and variety are your game, mix it up with an eclectic style.

Voice

Let’s talk about your tone of voice. It’s like your brand’s personality made audible. A playful and casual brand might speak in a friendly and informal manner. If your brand’s more high-end and professional, think formal, polished speech. But remember, it’s not just about what sounds good to you; it’s about what your audience will understand and connect with.

Your brand purpose should subtly influence your tone. Let’s say your brand’s all about simplifying complex things. Your tone might be straightforward, making your audience feel like they’re chatting with a friend who helps them see things more clearly.

Story

Now, onto the brand story. It’s like a tapestry, weaving together the facts and feelings that your brand evokes. It adds depth, making your brand more relatable and memorable. Imagine if your brand’s all about innovation. Your story could revolve around how your brand always bucks the trend to deliver something truly special, giving life to your UVP.

Your audience should see themselves reflected in your brand story. It’s not just about who you are, but also who they are, their challenges, and how your brand swoops in to help them out.

In essence, your tone of voice and brand story work in tandem to present your brand’s personality and purpose in a way that resonates with your audience. It’s about speaking their language and telling a story that they want to be a part of.

Delivery

Now let’s put it all together in the delivery. Suppose you’ve got a luxury brand. Then, you’d want to ensure that your packaging is made from high-quality materials and showcases a sophisticated design. But what if your brand is all about being eco-friendly? In that case, sustainable packaging would definitely be the way to go.

Customer service is another important aspect of your delivery. Your audience is key here! If they’re tech-savvy millennials, they might love having customer service available on social media or through live chat. On the flip side, an older audience may appreciate a good old-fashioned phone call speaking with a live person.

Your purpose may also play a significant role in your delivery and customer service. Say your UVP is about lightning-fast service. That means you’ve got to ensure swift shipping and prompt responses from your customer service team.

Remember, it’s not just about delivering a product or service—it’s about delivering an experience that perfectly aligns with your brand’s identity, audience, and purpose.

Wrap Up

We’ve spent a good deal of time in this chapter talking about the core elements of your brand – Identity, Purpose, Audience, and Speciality. You’ve seen how each one is a vital piece of the puzzle, and how they all fit together to form a clear, powerful picture of who you are as a brand. If these sections felt repetitive, that’s because the process is essentially the same, but the result changes depending on the medium.

Now that we’ve laid the groundwork, it’s time to start building.

In Part 2 of this guide, we’ll dive into the elements that make up your brand’s visual and communicative representation. We’re talking about Persona, Name, Slogan, Logo, Color, Type, Image, Style, Voice, Story, and Delivery.

These are the tools you’ll use to build your brand’s blueprint. And just like with any construction project, you’ll need to know how to use these tools effectively to get the job done right.

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