Defining Your Brand Identity: Communicating Your Vision and Values


The Inspired Brew — Episode 2

In today’s episode, we’re going to be talking about one of the most important aspects of building a successful business: branding.

I’ll be sharing my own experience both as a creative entrepreneur and as a brand strategist and designer, and of course, drop some practical tips and tricks to help you build a strong brand identity that resonates with your audience.

Tune in to learn about defining your brand identity, refreshing versus rebranding, and the psychology behind shapes and typography in creating an aesthetic. ✨

Listen to today’s episode:

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[00:00:37] Tips for building a strong business brand beyond a logo; your brand is how your business is perceived and it’s important to direct that message.

[00:01:25] Creating a strong brand can help businesses stand out and attract their ideal customers through visuals and messaging that reflect their values and mission. Defining this brand identity is key to communicating with the right audience and attracting like-minded customers.

[00:03:14] Differentiate yourself in your profession through personal values and priorities to attract ideal clients.

[00:06:23] Typography and imagery important for communicating with audience and creating aesthetic; fonts carry emotional information for audience connection. Rounded edges chosen for community and welcoming vibe.

[00:07:20] Using shape psychology to choose design elements and images that reflect the brand’s messaging and tone, with attention paid to whether rounded or straight shapes are more appropriate. Branded images are recommended for the most effective curation.

[00:08:38] Choose images that match your brand colors and use at least one headshot to build trust with your audience. Consistency is key in branding.

[00:10:44] Record yourself to analyze your tone and word usage, to create a consistent brand voice for communication with customers. This helps in creating a messaging framework by analyzing the frequently used words and phrases. Consistent use of language and approach create a stronger brand voice.

[00:12:13] Create a rulebook of appropriate words for your brand’s messaging to ensure authenticity and appropriateness.

[00:13:13] Messaging framework ensures brand cohesiveness across all touch points. Strong brand requires cohesive application across all marketing channels.

[00:17:16] Refreshing a brand adds to what’s already liked; rebranding is extreme. A tweak can help a business evolve and expand in line with its direction. Feeling off is a common reason to make a tweak. People may feel underdressed or embarrassed by outdated or DIY web design.

[00:00:00] Welcome to the Inspired Brew, a podcast for small businesses crafted with intention for coaches and creatives alike. I’m Ingrid, your host and resident brand and web designer. In each episode, I’ll bring you insights, tips, and tricks to help you grow your business and achieve your goals. Whether you’re just starting out or you’re looking into taking your business to the next level.

[00:00:21] I got you covered, so grab your favorite brew. Sit back, and let’s get inspired. 

[00:00:25] In today’s episode, I’m gonna be talking about one of the most important aspects about building a successful business, aka your branding. I’ll be sharing some tips, tricks, and things from my own experience and what I do with my clients, things that will help you grow your business no matter where you’re starting, or if you’re refreshing, or if you’ve been a seasoned entrepreneur for a couple years now, this is going to be the foundational pieces that you want to revisit and make sure that you have covered from A to Z.

[00:00:51] Let’s start with something that sounds so cliche, but it’s very true. Every time that someone asks about branding, they think about logo. But your branding is more than just a logo. Your branding is really how your business is perceived by other people. Literally what they say when you’re not in the room where someone remembers your business, what kind of, impression you left in them, that is your branding and you have the power to direct that message and make sure that people see the branding that you want them to perceive instead of forming their own ideas based on the touch points that they see, you have total control over this. 

[00:01:28] Basically, a strong brand can help you stand out on a crowded market, really attract those clients that are gonna be ideal for you, that are qualified to work with you in the way that you like to work and bring your business forward in the market.

[00:01:41] Let’s start with the basics. Your brand is gonna be encompassing everything from the visuals, like yes, your logo, your colors, your typography, everything that’s seen from your business, like your imagery or the way that you are positioning that aesthetic, but also the messaging.

[00:01:59] So how are you actually communicating with your people. That is going to overall create this whole branding and holistic view. 

[00:02:08] I know that it is so common to just focus on the visuals and think about, oh, what colors should I be picking for my brand, or what fonts should I be using? But this is going a little bit deeper than that.

[00:02:18] So when you’re crafting your brand, you really need to think about. How is this as a whole being perceived? And what kind of emotions am I pulling in with my words, with my colors, with the images that I’m picking out? How am I being positioned? And that will tell you what kind of clients you’re gonna be attracting.

[00:02:38] So one thing to keep in mind here is that defining this brand identity really gives you the tools and the power. Make sure that you’re speaking to the right people. So you’re gonna be communicating your vision, your mission, your values, all of those pieces that attract others like you, because that’s the kind of customers that you wanna have, right?

[00:02:58] So by going in the foundational parts and really making sure that you are putting out the right pieces, the right words, the right everything. You are not doing this just to position your business, but actually attract more of the right types of clients to build your audience and to start really making your mark in your market, in your profession, because there’s one in a million of us doing the same thing, like I’m a designer, but there’s so many other designers out there.

[00:03:27] What makes me the right one to work with my clients. aside from my skills, because yes, sometimes we have specific skills that they are looking for, but if they are comparing to someone that can offer the same kind of business, for example, I have different levels of services that someone can choose and come and work with me.

[00:03:46] Brand and web design is one of my like starter ones, and that’s my bread and butter. That’s my basic one because I get to do all of this with a one-on-one client. That’s something that other people offer. What would make me the right choice for my clients? The way that I position myself and the way that I show my values, the way that I show what it’s important to me and how am I gonna be putting their project as a priority in my business.

[00:04:11] All of those pieces that matter to the right people, they become my ideal clients. You need to always be thinking about your own mission values, like everything that you as a person have, because your mission and all of that is coming through from the soul of the business.

[00:04:26] A K A you. So one of the things that we can do to make sure that we are tapping into that messaging and tapping into those important pieces is think about your logo, think about your colors. Those are of like the most recognizable pieces that we all have in business. And really, if you think about it, your logo’s not used as much as we think it’s gonna be used.

[00:04:44] It’s not. It’s a mark and it becomes whitely known and obviously your trademark for things. That’s why we wanna make sure that you are always able to trademark your designs. So nothing from Canva, please. but this is also where, depending on how it looks, you’re starting that communication process and talking about the colors.

[00:05:05] Obviously I’m a nerd. I like to rely on color psychology to see what am I really gonna be communicating depending on the colors that I’m picking. So something as simple as knowing like red is a lot of passion, power, and intensity. But then if put that into a shade of pink and start lowering that saturation, then we’re going with a lot more caring and thoughtfulness into it. It is a wide range that you can tap into for every single color. So in terms of what color should I be using, the color psychology pieces are gonna help you just guide you, but it always needs to feel right to you and to your market. For example, I wear a lot of black, but my hair is purple and I love colorful things.

[00:05:48] That doesn’t mean that I need to put all of that into my branding. I’m gonna put the pieces that feel true to me, because when I work with a client, I wanna make sure that they see the same person when we’re working one-on-one that when they are looking at the marketing pieces. But if you were to do, for example, a brand about clothing for little kids, and you are like me and want everything in black, that’s not really gonna resonate with that specific market. So we always need to listen to our actual users, our actual clients, and the consumers of all this. Our brand is to serve them. This is the medium that we’re gonna be using to really communicate with our ideal market, our audience, and the ones that are going to allow our business to serve them so that we can thrive in our own business.

[00:06:34] So typography and imagery are also gonna be a big part of this. So we talked about their logo, which is our mark, and everything is going to be so unique to it, but the colors, the typography, the images, they start to just melt together and bring forward an aesthetic. So your fonts are also carrying some emotions to them.

[00:06:55] Just like I was talking about the colors and the color psychology, your fonts will also carry important. Emotional information and emotional pulls that we can have with our audience. 

[00:07:05] So for example, I like to dive into shape psychology. 

[00:07:09] If I am working on a brand that’s going to be more community oriented or it’s gonna be a lot of caring and loving and welcoming feelings, I’m gonna choose a topography that’s gonna have more rounded edges.

[00:07:20] So going with shape psychology. 

[00:07:22] If I have circles or rounded corners, then we are softening the effect of the brand. Something that’s going to be more, like a bank, for example, something that’s going to. Be a trustworthy entity that’s going to be very rigid or that has more stern or professional looking pieces, then we are gonna go with straight lines, sharp edges, and this plays, so well from the beginning stages when we’re building a logo to picking the fonts that are gonna be used inside of the brand for marketing materials, for their website, for anything really.

[00:07:57] it is very important to take a look. How is, are these pieces playing together? Do they look good together? Do they look good with my own messaging? Are they reflective of what I want to show to my audience

[00:08:10] in terms of the images? This one is the one where we take the most time when we’re curating for a brand. So if you’re curating your own images for your brand, my advice is to just, if possible, do your own branded images. So have someone do a brand session for you, and this can be something super simple and short, and then you can just like,Get a solid foundation, but this will ensure that it is built for your brand that you are shooting with your colors that you’re shooting in a location that matches your brand.

[00:08:36] So really, that will be my first attempt, but I know what it’s like when you can do that. When you’re curating images and you’re using commercial stock, then go for images that go well with the colors that you chose. So if you have a very cool color palette, go with images that have that cool tone already to them so that you are not clashing with your own brand.

[00:08:54] Because sometimes we just pick what’s pretty, but we’re not looking at the whole picture and we wanna make sure that is all making sense from what we started with. And having that foundation of this are my colors, to the whole, okay, what am I gonna be using for images that are gonna be filler? We always wanna have at least one good headshot of us because we wanna make sure that we are showcasing our face.

[00:09:16] All this whole branding positioning. It’s not just to move our business forward, but to actually build trust with our audience, right? So we want to make sure that everything is feeling cohesive and something as simple as having images that are going to be going well with our colors means that we are putting the thought behind it and people sense that.

[00:09:35] And if we can show at least one good headshot of us, something that’s gonna be recognizable and that it’s going to be branded, then that is just adding to that trust factor. 

[00:09:44] Now, let’s go deeper into, okay, we have our visual part, but let’s talk about our brand. Everything that’s going to start permeating into our messaging.

[00:09:54] So this is going to be the tone and personality of our brand. We talked about this with the colors and everything that we’re putting out, but now let’s do it with the actual words, because yes, everything is going to have its own kind of messaging, but how can we ensure that we’re gonna be consistent with how we present ourselves or our message?

[00:10:14] The real words that you use, that is what you wanna be using with your own clients because you don’t wanna write a caption, an email, your website in a certain way. Only to find out when I get on a call with you that it’s just not the same person or it just doesn’t feel the same way. You start creating mistrust and there’s a disconnect and we don’t want that.

[00:10:33] A super simple way and trick to find your own voice and to set your tone for your brand is to actually record yourself. Yes. So a simple voice note helps just recording yourself or even using the dictation feature on your notes or even on a Google Doc, it’s going to give you a little bit of insight into how are you formulating some sentences, how are you using your words?

[00:10:59] how are you breaking down your sentences and are you repeating or using certain words more than others, is it gonna be very friendly? Are you more professional? Is this leaning into educational? All of those pieces tell you the tone of voice that you use, which ends up being the tone of voice of your brand.

[00:11:19] So that is a super simple way that I love using with myself and my own clients when we’re trying to define tuna boys so that we can always use that and be something that it’s repeatable for everything that we do, so that we have a really strong foundation and we know exactly how it’s supposed to sound.

[00:11:38] What is it supposed to say? How is it supposed to communicate? And we can replicate that on every single touchpoint 

[00:11:43] Now when you get this, you are basically creating a framework. 

[00:11:48] So let’s dive a little bit deeper in how is this messaging framework gonna. I want you to really see the pattern of what words are you using the most? How are you communicating? What phrases are you using? How are you referring to your people?

[00:12:02] For example, something as simple as when I write a newsletter, I call them friend because that is how I speak. That is how I talk to my people. That is how I talk to them. When we’re on the phone, when we’re on a one-on-one call, that just, it’s me. It’s the real thing. So take a look at your real voice and make a literal rule book for yourself that encompasses your framework. So you are going to put down what words are okay for your brand to use. What words do you wanna be using? If you want to encompass something else that maybe your brand is very conversational, but sometimes you wanna include a little bit more of a professional tone.

[00:12:39] So if you want to include that, make sure that it’s on that little rule book for yourself. So it’s a messaging framework This helps you define which words or phrases you want to avoid completely because they do not feel on brand because they don’t feel like you or because they’re just not appropriate for the kind of brand that you have.

[00:12:57] This goes so, so well for any kind of business that. They have a more, um, personal touch because we can go deeper with the kind of words that we’re using and making sure that it’s always feeling true to them. Almost like they wrote every single piece of the message. Even if they have a contractor working with them, helping them with their website or someone that’s helping them with social.

[00:13:18] As long as we have a messaging framework, we can always make sure that the brand is feeling true to the foundational pieces and everything is just cohesive from A to Z Doesn’t matter what touchpoint your audience is on, it’s always going to be the brand that they know of course with a strong brand, we always talk about cohesiveness.

[00:13:38] So once you have set all of these pieces together and you know that you have your foundations really strong, now that you have your colors, you have defined your fonts, you have defined the way that things should be feeling and hearing all of the things and your messaging framework, then it’s to start thinking about cohesiveness and how are you applying all of these pieces on every single marketing channel that your have.

[00:13:59] Beyond the website. Think about socials. Think about anything that you print. If you have a business that requires, sending out shipping or anything like that, anywhere that someone can find you or something about your brand, you wanna make sure that this whole puzzle is really clear for them and that it’s feeling the same, no matter at what point they get to know you or your brand.

[00:14:22] This helps you grow, not just in the fact of, oh, people keep seeing it, but actually people see it and people trust it, and that trust’s what we’re looking for. We want to grow trust. That is what really gives you the conversions. That is what turns into sales. That is what turns into subscribers, because you want people to be in your circle, and the only way that you can do that is to be a brand that they can trust, that they feel comfortable around, and that they feel seen and heard. So that is crucial to your newfound brand identity and all of your strong foundations. Now, don’t get me wrong, your brand starts as one thing, but as the years go by, you might actually see that things are shifting and you might need to change things.

[00:15:06] And this can happen for two main reasons. There’s multiple of them, but really I wanna focus on. The first is your own business. Has something changed with your business? Are you offering a different service? Are you maybe shifting your ideal client? Are you shifting your market? Are you changing locations?

[00:15:25] So for those creatives that are, let’s say photographers, and you need to rethinking about a different kind of location, sometimes your brand needs to adapt to show. and it’s okay. You want to make sure that you are always keeping a pulse on your market. Now, the other piece that might have changed is your ideal clients.

[00:15:43] So if your brand is not shifting, if you are from a business perspective, not changing anything. When you are running a business, you should always be listening to the feedback of your users. What are they liking? How are they reacting to certain marketing materials you’re putting out there? How are they receiving certain offers and services that you put out there?

[00:16:01] And that. Allow you to see where you can make tweaks to make sure that it is even more impactful or that it’s serving them better. So that’s where your branding starts to evolve, and it’s always from a place of, this is my foundation, there’s tweaks happening. Nothing is ever just a, let’s take it, trash it and burn it.

[00:16:23] We are really going to grow and expand from it. The only time. That I would recommend literally starting from scratch, is if your business is absolutely different and you do not want any kind of association from the old business or the old type of market into the new one. Otherwise, don’t trash it. Use that as the foundation to expand and grow and bring in new clients or tap into a new market, if that’s what you want.

[00:16:51] But you are not starting from scratch. You’re actually using everything from the brand that has already built trust and tweaking, evolving, adding, removing pieces, but bringing in one piece that really ties it back into the original brand. You keep that trust growing. A good example of this is when I work with a client that we’re gonna be rebranding.

[00:17:13] We really are doing a refresh. We’re not really rebranding. People call it rebranding, but. Is a very, extreme piece of work. That means we are literally taking everything off. But when we are refreshing, we’re taking the brand that has already grown and it’s already liked by their people, and we are adding to it.

[00:17:31] We’re making it evolve, we’re expanding it, we’re making it more mature, maybe everything according to where are they going. So take a look at your business, see where it’s right now, and if you feel like something’s off, maybe it’s time for a little tweak, but think about where are you going? Why do you wanna make this?

[00:17:46] Sometimes, for example, it’s that we start with our DIYs and then it’s okay, this is just not getting in front of the right people that I want. Or when I’m in front of those ideal clients, I’m feeling like I’m underdressed. Like I am not in the right space and I am not proud of how things are looking.

[00:18:05] A lot of people start feeling ashamed of their websites when it’s been a while that they have not updated it, or if they’ve DIYed it and now they wanna look the part, then it starts feeling weird to have clients go there because they’re just not proud of it.

[00:18:17] So that’s where expanding, evolving, and tweaking comes in. We’re not trashing things away. It has worked enough that you have grown your business. It has taken you places, but sometimes we hit a little bit of a glass ceiling and it’s time to move forward. And the only way is to evolve our brands. So rebranding is a natural piece.

[00:18:37] It’s okay, it will happen. And it’s funny when you take a look at the milestones in your business, because that’s when you’re gonna notice, oh, I have changed my colors or my fonts or my logos. On this particular milestones, and I see it a lot with my clients when they hit around year five, that is when they’re like, okay, I am done with what I have.

[00:18:55] I need something that’s gonna be more professional. I need something that’s gonna help me grow. And you start seeing a pattern with your own brand. So it’s always nice to keep up pulses on your data and everything behind the scenes so that you can always have the strongest pieces out there 

[00:19:10] with your marketing and anything that you put out for your clients. So that’s it for today’s episode on branding, the importance of keeping track of every single piece and making sure that you have a strong foundation.

[00:19:23] I hope that you found those little tips and tricks from my own brand and business and what I do with my clients and with my own brand helpful so that you can keep growing a strong brand that feels true to you, that allows you to grow in your market. 

[00:19:36] If you have any questions or if you would like a professional to help you with your own brand, you know where to find me. You can go to Penguin Designing dot com and I’ll see you on the next episode.

Prefer to watch this episode? Here it is!

Branding is not just your logo, it’s about how your business is perceived by others, the whole image and representation of your business in front of your customers.

Your branding is what people say about your business when you’re not in the room (quite literally). This is why it’s important to control the message and image you put out there and ensure people perceive the branding you want, rather than forming their own ideas.

In addition to defining a brand’s identity by its visuals, which is what most people think about when they hear the word “branding”, like logos, colors, and photos; messaging should also be a primary pillar. 

Defining a brand identity helps a business communicate its vision, mission, and values and attracts like-minded customers, so it goes beyond the visuals *gasp*….

But where exactly do you begin establishing your brand identity? 

Creating a messaging framework is key, as it ensures brand consistency regardless of where people interact with the brand, whether on your website or social media. 

Using your own real words you use as you normally speak, such as referring to readers as “friends” when writing a newsletter or simply having certain expressions can help create a personal connection with your ideal brand’s audience. 

In today’s episode I also discussed the importance of analyzing frequently used words, phrases, and language to help define the messaging framework with a little tip on how to extract it from your everyday vocabulary.

Having a strong brand can help a coaching or creative business like yours stand out in a crowded market and attract ideal clients.

This is why rebranding or refreshing a brand can be an important step if you want to “tweak” or update your brand identity to make it more professional or in line with your overall business goals which might be changing or expanding. (Evolving in business is the only constant we have!)

Differentiating yourself from others who offer similar services involves showing your values and vision to attract the right people or ideal clients. 

By focusing on creating a rulebook that covers the framework of your brand’s language, including the appropriate use of words and avoiding those that are not true to the brand, you can improve the personal touch of your brand’s messaging by ensuring it remains true to its values and voice.

And to add a cherry on top I go a bit designer-nerd on you and tap into color and shape psychology.

In a nutshell: shape psychology plays a crucial role in softening or strengthening the brand’s impact on the audience. 

For example: rounded corners and circles can make a brand look soft and friendly, while straight lines and sharp edges can give a more professional and rigid impression. 

The right fonts, images, and messaging for the brand are also essential in creating a cohesive look and feel.

To wrap it up

Creating a cohesive look and message for your brand involves defining a messaging framework that is reflective of your values and vision to attract the ideal clients in both a visual and verbal form.

By putting the right words and visual brand elements, you can improve the personal touch of your brand’s messaging by ensuring it remains true to its values and voice.

Thank you for tuning in to this episode all about branding. This is a foundational piece and I will be sure to go over each part more in-depth but I wanted to make sure you had a clear view on what a strong brand entails so you can apply these principles to your own!

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Branding, Business, Podcast


I'm Ingrid, welcome!  I'm a branding designer + Showit Design Partner, doggy mamma, and tea drinker.

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