5 Steps to Creating a Cohesive Brand
Tiffany Tolliver is the Owner and Creative Director of The EmmaRose Agency. The EmmaRose Agency, a luxury boutique branding firm based in Washington, D.C., focuses on visual storytelling for creative entrepreneurs and influencers. In case you missed her breakout session at SIMPLY NYC, she's sharing her top 5 tips for creating a cohesive brand for your business or blog.
In our highly visual world, there isn’t much of anything that can escape the perception of your potential and current clients. They are literally watching and waiting…to see exactly what your brand can deliver! That’s right! All eyes are on you! But before you begin to grab for the largest wine glass you can find, read through my top 5 steps to creating a cohesive brand. These tips will not only increase your overall aesthetic but allow you to begin converting fans into paying clients, just on your looks alone.
Step 1: Define Your Why
The driving force behind creating amazing visuals that will have your ideal clients completely in awe of you begins with your definition of why you are in business. Did you know that 1 in 3 businesses fail within their first year? It is my belief that this statistic is alarmingly high because business owners do not take the time to define their purpose, aka their sole motivation behind bringing their passion into the world. Only once you’ve set your intentions can the visual cohesion begin.
Affirming your why is all about setting your inner compass before you being to search for visual inspiration. Without this confirmation, you run the risk of bending at the first sight of outside influence.
Step 2: Choosing The Right Palette
Your color palette is by far the most critical part of your brand’s visual presence, it is what helps tie everything together aesthetically. This is not new information by any means, but what you may not have thought of is “Why do I need 4-5 colors to translate across my brand?” I’m so glad you asked, and the short answer is because in this visually driven world, presenting a clear, intentional brand is key to digital success across your social media platforms and website!
Below is an example of one of a mood board, designed for one of my current branding clients. As you can see, I’ve focused on several colors and arranged complimentary photos to support the overall aesthetic. But listen, there are NO rules here—have fun and play around with different looks that fit the overall feel of your brand and who you are targeting. Remember: You’re not building a brand where you are the main customer, so be sure to focus on what your audience would like to see.
Step 3: Focus on Photography
If you ask me, how I use branded photography is half of the reason my clients have seen so much success after their rebrand. There is something magical about tying together a beautiful color palette and telling a story without words. Think about it..that's exactly what a photo is. The heart and soul of a beautiful narrative.
Be sure to spend time researching a photographer within your budget and who has worked with small business owners, preferably in your field, for the best results. Oh, and how could I forget to mention that location + wardrobe matter… a lot! Hiring a professional photographer and showing up with a three-day-old top knot and sweatpants is a waste of time—unless your business is a society for top-knot and comfy clothes, which in that case, sign me up!
Take a look at the photos below. Do they make you feel as if the inspiration board in the last step has been completely brought to life?
Step 4: Choose The Right Platforms
The secret to all of this—building a brand, attracting an audience, the art of story-telling—is telling that story across the right platforms. Think about this: How many times have you as a consumer been attracted to a product and/or service solely based on the consistency of how it looks?
Be honest! :) There are by far hundreds, if not thousands, of brands competing for the attention of your potential clients at any given time. So why would they choose you? This decision is mostly based on whether or not they can immediately identify with a brand + find room for it in their lifestyle. Allow the cohesion of your brand speak for itself, across your website, social media accounts, and overall messaging.
Step 5: Use The 5-Page Website Formula
This step alone could use an entirely separate blog post filled with complicated instructions and must-haves for an amazing web presence but, I won’t make your head completely spin around here. In this final step, I want to simply focus on the key pages all entrepreneurs should have on their website.
HOME - A general overview of what you and your company are about. Your home page should offer your visitor access to each of the below pages for quick and easy access.
ABOUT - Tell us who you are, and remember to have fun with it!
SERVICES/OFFERINGS - What you do and how you deliver your services are very important! Make sure that the information is easily digestible and that it's even easier to book with you!
BLOG - Make us fall in love with you with useful information. Catchy and timely titles are a MUST on your blog. Just think: would you be more excited to read “How To Start A Successful Business” or “Three Easy Tips to Building a Six-Figure Brand”?
CONTACT - This is pretty much a no-brainer, right? Make sure you provide your email address and social links. You would be surprised at how many sites I visit that neglect this.
If you’ve made it to this point, CONGRATS! It’s an accomplishment getting through blogs these days with our fast-paced lives getting in the way. The truth is, is that there’s no way I could give you all the information needed to transform your brand in just a few paragraphs.
If you are looking to learn more, follow my crazy design-filled days, and get a bit of inspiration, feel free to come on over to my Instagram. That’s where it all goes down. The good, the bad, and the branding in between!
About Tiffany Tolliver
Tiffany is the Owner and Creative Director of The EmmaRose Agency. The EmmaRose Agency, a luxury boutique branding firm based in Washington, D.C., focuses on visual storytelling for creative entrepreneurs and influencers. The Agency has worked with women in business across the country, designing and building brands of all sizes and specializes in stylish visual balance, through clean and classic web designs that are paired with breathtaking photography. For her, branding goes far beyond a logo or business card; it is all about creating an experience. Branding is the careful consideration of the promise you’ve dedicated to providing your customer.