Today, Mélanie from Pretty Paper Please shares her thoughts on branding as part of her guest post series about wholesaling. In case you missed it, here is part one (consignment vs. wholesale) and part two (approaching and the follow up)!
Working as a professional designer I understand and preach the importance of creating reflective brands on a daily basis. If you take stock of your own favourite successful products, bands, clothing labels or services, chances are they’ve probably thought long and hard about their own branding and how it might directly speak to you as a customer.
What is branding though? And how does this apply to you and your product? Not everyone understands that branding is so much more than the design and placement of a logo. Branding incorporates every single piece and touch-point between you and the customer. This would include (but not limited to): your logo, design style, photography style, video style, product packaging, website/online store, promotional advertising/campaigns (online or print media), as well as your personal communication style through all of your social media outlets and email. In designer speak – that last one is called your brand voice.
The first thing I would suggest is you start thinking of yourself as “a brand”. Ask yourself what defines you as a company. What is your ethos? Are you fun? Classic? What is your product’s story? Or what’s your personal style and/or personality, and how would you like those to come across? How would you like to be perceived by your target audience? Answering these questions will definitely help establish a clear creative direction, eventually leading you to define your own personal brand.
For a bit of context, my own brand is reflective of who I am both personally and professionally. While my design and illustration style are predominantly bright-coloured, simple and clean-lined, it was important I also emphasize my love for a natural, shabby-chic aesthetic and an eco-conscious philosophy. I then boiled it down to 3 descriptive words: modern, earthy, comfortable. Those 3 words eventually helped determine my packaging and the style of photography I would choose to shoot for the website, lookbook and other promotional pieces. Maybe over time I’ll evolve things, but I like what I’ve got now. It represents me.
Knowing WHO you are as a brand will inevitably give you an edge of confidence, but it will also leave prospective shops with an enlightened first impression. In the end, you want to show them you’re professional, organized and trustworthy with a quality product. A cohesive, well-defined look and feel can do that for you! Of course, it can’t be all smoke and mirrors though. You’ll need to STAND BEHIND and follow through on all the promises you’ve built into that brand of yours!
next post: How to create a lookbook. Also, why?