Get ready to learn 3 outside-the-box tips for upping your branding game from guest writer Kyrsten Sherwood of Copper Kettle Co
Raise your hand if you’ve read that you shouldn’t have more than 3 fonts in your brand.
Or that your logo needs to be unique and should communicate a million things to your audience.
Or that your brand is the face of your business.
Okay, we’ve all heard some iteration of these at some point, right?
Well, I’d love to introduce you to a few of my favorite, most go-to branding tips that you may not have discovered yet. And the best part? They have nothing to do with logos or your brand design (kinda)!
Tip #1: Read How To Style Your Brand by Fiona Humberstone
So, Fiona Huberstone is basically the goddess of branding. Her business name is literally “The Brand Stylist” for goodness sake. And her book How to Style Your Brand (she has two actually – the other is Brand Brilliance, which I also highly recommend) completely changed and transformed my view of branding.
Specifically when it comes to color psychology (you can download a TON of freebies on her teachings right here!)
You see, Fiona claims that there are four different “seasons” of color palettes—Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter—and that each season has its own specific set of colors, words, feelings and meanings associated with it.
For instance, Lara Casey has a Spring brand. It’s colorful, vibrant, energized – it has tons of fun movement and youthful touches. Basically, when you immediately come across Lara’s brand, you’re transported to a place that’s lively, bright and bubbly.
On the other hand, if you mosey on over to Jasmine Star, it’s much more chic, modern, urban, cool, etc. Again, as soon as you lay your eyes on it, you FEEL something completely different than Lara Casey. It’s like with Lara’s you heard birds chirping and kids jumping into pools and with Jasmine’s you hear the city traffic or a crowded cafe.
And this is what Fiona talks about in How to Style Your Brand. She walks you through how to create a brand that captures those specific feelings, through something as simple as a color palette (and way more parts of your brand, but that was my favorite part!).
She talks about having a brand with depth rather than something that’s simply pretty.
Because if you’re trying to set a certain mood with your brand, but your colors, fonts, etc are actually triggering opposing psychological triggers, then you might be missing a huge mark with your audience!
Tip #2: Read Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up
Okay, so I know I’m basically just giving you a ton of reading homework, and this might especially feel like a weird book for a branding talk…
But here’s the thing!
The best brands stem from simplicity, coherency and something that evokes passionate feelings in its audience.
And my personal favorite way to clear my mind, energy, emotional space and everything else isto think about Marie Kondo’s Tidying Up book.
The main message behind The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up is that we have SO much clutter in our lives and that each item that we possess essentially has some kind of mental energy attached to it (I promise I won’t get too woo woo on you!).
But if you think about it, we have memories, guilt, happiness, etc tied to tons of different things:
• The box of cords you have in your closet that you keep because you know they have a match somewhere
• The jeans from 5 years ago that are 2 sizes too small that you keep as motivation, but only make you feel guilty because you haven’t worked out in … well… 2 years. You’ll lose that weight eventually, right??
• The sweater that your grandma gave you 2 years ago for your birthday before she passed away. You never liked that sweater and definitely would never wear it, but it’s sentimental and still hangs in your closet.
• Birthday cards, junk drawers full of who knows what, keys from past houses, books that you might one day read, the dress that you looked AMAZING in at that wedding 5 years ago, but now just doesn’t fit quite right
We all have these things that we hold onto for some reason or another, and one of my favorite questions that I ask myself as both a serial emotional shopper and a minimalist is:
“Does this spark joy?”
It’s like one of the simplest questions in the world, but it packs a huge punch. Seriously – pick up something around you right now, hold it in your hand, really look at it and ask yourself if it sparks joy for you.
And most of the time? The answer is no. Does grandma’s sweater spark joy? The sweater itself doesn’t, it’s the memory involved. But will you really forget about all of the amazing memories you have of her if you get rid of the sweater that you never liked? No. Release the guilt of holding onto an inanimate object, thank it (I know, super weird, but just do it) for the joy it gave your grandma to give you, thank it for being a piece of yours and her life and then donate it to someone who will truly enjoy it.
How about the jeans? Maybe instead of holding onto jeans that cause guilt and are honestly probably out of fashion now, you reward yourself by buying yourself a new pair once you actually do lose the weight. And until then, flaunt the bod you have by wearing clothes that make you look bangin just as you are!
Even the shirt you just bought as an impulse buy because it looked good on you for one day until it shrunk funky in the wash and now it just looks sad—doesn’t spark joy.
And that’s okay! Because it DID spark joy in the moment. It has already served its purpose in its life and now it’s time to pass the shirt onto someone else who will love it so much more than you do.
And this is what I want you to apply to your business and your brand:
• Are the services that your providing sparking joy? Do you light up EVERY time someone books your package, or do you have that one service on your a la carte menu that you hope no one ever books?
• Did you invest in a brand design but now it feels a little dated and not really “you” anymore?
Maybe it’s time for a facelift – it’s okay that you invested the money, it’s okay that you don’t like it as much any more. Everything in your business should bring you closer to those who you’d love working with, and your audience will sense and feed off of your discomfort, self consciousness or lack of passion if you hold onto something that doesn’t bring you joy.
• Are you sending out messages that truly resonate with your core values and beliefs? What is your why? Do you have an unpopular opinion that you’re afraid to voice, so instead, you follow along with what everyone else says in your industry?
In our world of creativity, our businesses are direct reflections of ourselves. I encourage you to read Marie Kondo’s book and to take note of what you can do to make every single aspect of your business and your brand spark joy.
Tip #3: Pinterest your brand*
*Okay, so I KNOW you’ve heard this one before, but I’m here to put a new spin on it.
With that said, rule #1: You’re not allowed to Pin any brands, logos, business cards, fonts, color palettes, brand patterns or any other branding elements that you can think of (for now).
What you ARE allowed to pin are these things:
• Your ideal office space
• Your dream living room
• Items and outfits from your favorite stores (make sure to pin the stylized versions, not the photos with the plain white backgrounds – let’s make sure the items are setting a mood!)
• Inspiring and favorite articles of clothing. Pin your ideal wardrobe!
• Quotes that inspire you
• Photos that have certain color palettes that you resonate with – I know I said no color palettes and I’m sticking to that: ignore Design Seed photos. I want you to pin things like a bridal bouquet or interior design elements. We pin a lot of copper items on our boards (kitchen utensils, copper accents, etc) and organic materials for our business, Copper Kettle Co.
• Packaging that you could see yourself sending to a client as a client gift.
We have a whole long checklist of things that you can pin to your new Pinterest brand board that you can grab right here!
But when it comes down to it, I want you to remember the things we talked about earlier: When you’re pinning photos, what season to you tend to trend toward? Are you pinning more autumnal and cozy scenes (Fall), bright and vibrant colors (Spring), muted florals (Summer), or chic and edgy patterns (Winter)?
And are you pinning things that ONLY spark joy?
Could you imagine actually wearing that exact dress in your pretend life where you had unlimited money and confidence and could totally flaunt anything you wanted (which you can and should totally do right now!)? If someone sent you that item in the mail tomorrow, would you be overjoyed to see it or know that it’ll just end up gathering dust somewhere in a month?
You don’t have to be super literal with every detail, but creating an ambiance that truly resonates with you and filling your imaginary space with things that light you up is a wonderful way to ensure that your branding will last you a lot longer than just this next season.
The two biggest things that I want you to remember when either designing your own brand or hiring a professional to help you out or just developing the brand past the superficial elements is to remember that every piece of yourself that you put out there communicates something with your audience.
And by making sure that these pieces are all aligned with you and the kind of person you truly want to be, you’ll find that your business thrives through the people you interact with and the people who truly appreciate YOU as a person and as a brand.
– Kyrsten Sherwood, Copper Kettle Co