If your branding sucks… here’s how to look better in a month

Jan 7, 2022

Anna is passionate about anything that involves the written word. Whether it's long-form blog posts or short-form social copy you'll find her buried deep in a Google Doc, WordPress post, or Medium article somewhere. When she's not writing, the social verse is her alibi.

Branding in a month

“Your brand is the single most important investment you can make in your business.” 

– Steve Forbes, Editor-in-Chief

Whether you are starting a new business or refreshing your brand’s look and feel for 2022, this branding exercise will get you started in the right direction. And you can always call us if you need help along the way.

Our Secret Sauce

We were fortunate enough to work with some amazing businesses and professional influencers in the past year. All with different goals, objectives, and stages of their business – but all of them on a mission to make an impact.

  • A new company that needed to take their message and ideas out of their heads to create something brand new (pun intended), The Happy Producers
  • An established company in an established industry needed to rebrand to fit the times of the market and reintroduce itself as an innovative force, Piezo Motion
  • A personal brand that went through a recent rebrand but found his new message wasn’t connecting (or consistent), Yield of Dreams
  • A growing creative production business needed to be educated on the importance of brand guidelines and a splash of color, Food Fight Studios
  • A new podcast that didn’t wait for the green light to get started and with interest from major streaming platforms needed to take their brand to the next level, Surviving the Survivor
Surviving the Survivor

DIY Branding in a Month

Step (week) 1: the workshop

Block off one hour for you and your team to rapid-fire the answers to the below questions (don’t have a team? Call us.)

Pro tip – record the meeting and take diligent notes. You don’t have to get everything perfect during this part. Try not to go down rabbit holes. Keep it simple. If you hit a dead-end, move to the next question.

  • What’s the big picture?
    • What exactly do you or your company want to accomplish? 
  • Who do you want to help?
    • What is the problem they are experiencing? How does this problem make them feel? How will they feel when their problem is solved? How will they feel/what will happen if their problem is never solved?
    • Where do those people “hang out”? 
    • Use tools like Donald Miller’s StoryBrand MadLibs
  • What is your differentiator?
    • How are you uniquely positioned to help them? Our marketing guru friend Mark Schaefer has a great prompt for this in his book Known. Finish the sentence, “Only we/I ______________________.”
  • Determine the 7 [key]words that describe your business.
    • This is good to do separately if you have more than just one person involved in this process. Take note of crossover words between you and the others helping with this exercise.
    • Want extra credit? Find and write down words that your brand is not. This will help you be even more clear.
  • If your company/personal brand was a movie hero who would he/she be?
    • *alternate if your company was a celebrity
    • *alternate if your company had a hype song 
  • Who are your competitors/comparables? What do they do well? What do they do wrong?
    • Pro-Tip: Comparables don’t have to be in the same industry, if you like a brand you want to be like, who are they?

Gather this info using each question and answer as the headline in a presentation or document.

Surviving the Survivor

Step (week) 2: the visual vibe

Spend a few hours just you, a blank document (or slide), and Google to create your “mood board.” This is a curation of images, graphics, fonts, even gifs to create a collection of visuals that represents your brand. This is supposed to be fun and a way to set the vibe for what you want to look like to the outside world.

  • Google some of your keywords and view the images that come up
  • Go to a hardware store and look at color swatches
  • Try searching your 7 words with the word “font” after it to see what types of fonts resonate with your brand
  • Add this to the mood board section of your brand positioning 
  • Circulate this work to the team before the next step to get some more input

End week 2 with a look and feel for your brand. Make sure you have a consensus on every element of the visuals because this will be used to create your logo. It could also be used as visual elements on your website, in your office, or on your social media channels. Yasssssss!

bold font

Step (week) 3: the logo

Use the above steps and work as your brief to a graphic designer. 

A platform like 99Designs allows you to crowdsource graphic designers from around the world to compete to make your logo. But they need a solid brief. You have that; it’s your Steps 1 & 2! 

The cautionary tip for using freelance or contest-based designers is you might not get logos with the level of immersion and sensibility of your brand as you would from someone who works with you. If you don’t have a graphic designer that you know and trust, nor want to use a platform to create your logo, we’re here for you ;).

  • Use 99Designs’ Contest Portal, they walk you through step-by-step
  • Just before you finalize your Contest, you are encouraged to upload supporting documents (psst… upload Steps 1 & 2)
  • During the Contest, you will be flooded with concepts that you can start to rate and even give some feedback to the designer if you think it’s in the right direction
    • Note: be careful not to get too immersed with feedback for all designers in the contest because you are potentially wasting their time if they don’t get selected. The winning designer gets the money; everyone else just did free work.
  • Select a Winning logo design, and voila – the designer delivers all your art files.
    • Pro-Tip: save those art files even if you don’t know how to use them! Any other designer working with your brand knows how to use them and can even make adjustments to the design if you need to later without going back to 99Designs.

Step (week) 4: the brand playbook 

Now that you have your brand positioning, keywords, target audience, mood board, and logo, you have all the ingredients of your Brand Playbook. Composite these together into a comprehensive presentation and use this as your true north for all things branding. Share it with your organization and anyone supporting your brand initiatives. They need this to do their job as the best reflection of your brand. Check out our Brand Playbook for inspiration.

  • For the brand colors, use Google’s Color Picker. It guarantees everyone using your brand will use the exact same colors:
color picker
color picker
color picker
  • Be sure to indicate what fonts you are using for your brand and call those fonts by name
    • Note: always best to use web-based fonts to start to ensure universal usage across all digital media including your website
  • Use the Story or your “Only We” as your brand mantra, put it on a poster as a visual reminder of your brand
brand insights

Want to do this process together?

We’re the un-agency that will help you stop the scroll in a saturated market. We’re entirely immersed in YOU and aim to become an extension of you. We perfect your branding in an unconventional way that turns heads and transforms your business.

Our process for branding leverages principles from Marketing Made Simple by Donald Miller and philosophies from our buddy Mark Schaefer in his best-selling books, including Known

Add in the marketing and advertising industry veterans on our team and back it by the creative strategy approach built by Founder Jon Briggs, and we deliver a well-rounded approach to all things branding.

We keep it simple to do this:

  1. The Workshop
  2. The Visual Vibe
  3. The Logo
  4. The Playbook

Giving brands an innovative visual impact is something we’re exceptional at. So with a lot of fun, a few sleepless nights, and a truckload of skills, we successfully branded and rebranded businesses in a month. And can do the same for you.

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Anna Klawitter

Anna is passionate about anything that involves the written word. Whether it's long-form blog posts or short-form social copy you'll find her buried deep in a Google Doc, WordPress post, or Medium article somewhere. When she's not writing, the social verse is her alibi.