Rocking your brand: Expert tips from Melanie Spring
Next up in our guest blog series, Melanie Spring, branding speaker, author, and chief inspiration officer of Sisarina. For six years, Sisarina has been helping clients design their websites, logos, and marketing materials, and over the last two years, Melanie has been transitioning Sisarina further into a brand strategy company. Melanie’s job? To inspire people and get them to step outside of their comfort zone.
Your brand is what other people are saying about you
Let’s say you walk into a room, or you’re at a party, and you have conversations. After you leave, people are probably talking about you, and whatever they’re left with is a feeling, and that is what branding is. It doesn’t matter what you’re telling people to say, it’s what they actually end up saying. Make sure that your brand is what you want it to be, and be very careful to uphold that brand in every sense of the word, so that people are talking about you in the way you want them to.
The most interesting person in the room is the one who listens. The one who talks the most is the one that people don’t remember. If someone’s brand is one-dimensional, that usually means that they are doing more pushing than they are listening.
How to define your brand
Think in depth about what you’re trying to get across, what that feeling is, and then let a designer who understands what branding really is create something for you. If your logo is on your website or marketing materials, or the content that you’re creating, every little thing has to give off that feeling. When you walk through a brand strategy, really think about that core, that feeling, and the value that you’re trying to portray and uphold. How are you hiring people? How do you plan to market? That feeling needs to go through every single bit of it.
Invest in a logo — a really good logo that gives the feeling you need will resonate on anything, even a white piece of paper. There are lots of freelancers, and if you can get that feeling across to them, they’ll be able to create something based on what you explained to them. Make sure they ask you lots of questions. If you don’t feel comfortable, then don’t use them.
Make it consistent
Make sure all the touchpoints of your business are the same. If you could choose a celebrity or a person that embodies your brand and everything comes from that personality, who would it be? Then play the always-never game, which is really thinking about whether everything you do comes from that voice. Being able to create a story when you put a face to the brand really humanizes it for you, because you’re channeling the person that you’ve decided is your brand.
When it comes to hiring people, hire people that fit the brand — people that are already going to live the brand without necessarily needing to change anything about themselves. For example, a bank decided to hire only people who smile, even in a resting state. They wanted to make sure every person who walked through their business was able to see people who were happy, even if they were staring at their computers. This was a part of their brand strategy. Find people who fit your brand so that you don’t have to train them on the personality side of things.
Keep it human
A lot of people will tweet something that they wouldn’t write into a letter and put in a mailbox. If you can’t talk like you would talk to your grandma, your mom, or your friend, and you’re just talking like you’re a business, then you’re probably not going to go very far, because most people don’t like to be talked to like they’re a building. Take that human element and put it through everything, kind of like it was a puzzle piece. It really helps to make the brand cohesive if nobody has to ask questions like, “Well, do we use exclamation points in our newsletter, or do we say ‘hey,’ ‘hi,’ ‘dear’ or ‘hello?’”
Join the Brands That Rock community
The Brands That Rock community is a group of people from entrepreneurs to marketing managers, to CEOs of big companies, all sharing ideas on how to make your brand rock. Head to Facebook to join in on the discussion: https://www.facebook.com/groups/brandsthatrock.
This has been an installment of StoreFront, an interview series with leaders of successful retail businesses. For more interviews, visit the StoreFront page. To learn how you can be featured, email us. We’d love to hear from you.