When it comes to creating a unique brand, there are a few factors to consider. First and foremost, you want to develop an identity (in person and online) that represents who you are or what your business represents in a clear and meaningful way. That means organizing things such as colors, designs, and other visual representations that have meaning. As appealing as it is to pull a variety of colors, or frequently changing your layouts, logo, etc. these things can distract from the validity of your brand.
Creating a unique brand is all about consistency. Regardless of the advertisement, the medium used to market yourself/your business, or where you’re sharing, everything needs to scream ‘you.’ You should consider the tone (professional, friendly, informative, etc.). You’ll also want to think about whether you’ll share personal anecdotes or keep the content career-focused, or whether you’ll feature testimonials and other content from your users/customers/clients.
That being said, your brand should be a celebration of you, too. You’ll want colors and fonts that match your personality, designs that showcase what you feel are the most important aspects of you, and, of course, a layout that feels right. Here are 8 tips to help you figure out what will make you stand out, regardless of your industry.
1. Start by creating a focus list.
What are the most important things to you—professionally and personally? Do you value relationships or independence? Are you all about putting the consumer’s needs first, or are you inspired by helping others see why they need you and your services? Do you want to share behind-the-scenes aspects of your life, or would you prefer to keep your personal life out of the spotlight?
These are legitimate questions to ask yourself as you think about creating your unique brand. From there, you’ll want to write down things that matter to you. These special items, people, places, etc. can drive how you visually want your space or social media accounts to look.
2. Hone in on a few colors that feel right.
What ‘feels right’ is be unique to you, based upon your needs, desires, and passions. Are you all about being bold? Then maybe you’ll want a striking bright red to be the color of your brand. Are you more about softness, subtly, or peace? Maybe blue will work best.
You’ll want to choose a main color, but others to supplement it. Think, too, about how white and black will be naturally incorporated into your brand and how this will look.
3. Work on developing a logo that is powerful and specific, yet simple.
Your logo is one of the most important aspects of your business. As desirable as it seems to create a logo that’s filled with colors, designs, and a bunch of words—don’t. You’ll want a high-resolution image that can be expanded or shrunk without losing clarity; thus having something that’s super busy won’t be the best.
You’ll also want to think about how your brand colors can be incorporated into the logo, or how it will look printed in black and white (ie. if someone prints a document of your logo without color). Put a lot of thought into this, as ideally, your logo shouldn’t change. Sure, it can—and this can be a great part of rebranding yourself or company—but try, as much as possible, to be consistent.
4. Take an on-brand headshot.
As silly as this sounds, having your brand be uniform—from your pages, to your website, to your headshot—is key. Can you incorporate some of your personality into the headshot? Similar colors? You’ll want to share and showcase similar-looking content, all the way through.
5. Develop your own tone and voice.
Tone and voice are definitely ‘writer’ terms, but what these mean is simply how you’re presenting yourself on the page/paper/internet. Again, how do you want to come off to your customers, readers, viewers, etc.? Do you want to be informal and fun? Funky? Professional and educational?
Pick what’s right for you by thinking about how you have conversations, or based upon anything you’ve previously published online or in print. Then try to stay consistent in terms of what you’re sharing and showcasing.
6. Use your space.
Where do you work or live? Can you incorporate that into your pages? Though you might not see where you are as unique, someone on the opposite corner of the world may find your lifestyle appealing! Using the colors, the locations, and the places that are unique to you and your life will naturally bring out the things that set you apart.
7. Consider the audience (at least a little).
Whether you’re a business owner or just trying to brand yourself, think about the audience (a little). Identify your audience first. Who will be looking at your pages? Who do you want to be looking at your pages? From there, think about the content they’d like to see. Are they primarily artists who want to see your original work? Are they listeners that want to hear behind-the-scenes clips of your music?
You don’t want to completely shape your brand around consumers and viewers, but you do want to consider them, as they are who will drive your traffic, engagement, and potential sales.
8. Stop comparing.
Quit worrying about how you compare to the people around you. Instead, just focus on you and what makes you or your company stand out. Who cares if your competitor is sharing a bunch of product descriptions or quote pages? If that’s not you, don’t do it. If an Instagram influencer has everything in whites and greys, don’t feel like your layout has to be the same.
Focus on you and what makes you stand out—after all, that’s what will draw people to your pages, rather than someone else’s.
Marisa Donnelly is a Midwest-born, West Coast-based writer, poet, essayist, editor, and founder of an independent writing coaching/editing services company, Be A Light LLC.
She is the author of the poetry collection, Somewhere On A Highway, and has published thousands of articles culminating over 21.2+ million page views for Huffington Post, Bustle, Thought Catalog, and Briar Cliff Review, among many others.