Branding is important for every business and there is lots of advice out there. We ask Gemma Thirsk founder of That’s Her Business for her top three branding tips and much more.
That’s Her Business is our wonderful collective of freelancers. We help self-identifying female entrepreneurs gain full brand clarity.
Together, we help you tie all of your visuals into a cohesive brand identity and attract the people you truly love to work with. We do this by getting into the nitty-gritty of your brand’s inner workings and then work together to create your logo, website, images - everything you need to feel confident in how your business shows itself off both online and away from the screens too.
We get what it’s like to work for yourself, and everything we do is built around supporting and empowering women in business.
There’s a gender gap in entrepreneurship. As many small business owners do, I started my business working for pretty much anyone who wanted to pay me. I was enjoying being a business owner, but other than that, I was pretty miserable. I felt like an imposter, I was lonely, I needed support, but I wasn’t sure it was out there or what I even needed. It was a complete lack of confidence, and I felt like the only person in the world who felt that way. Everybody else knew something I didn’t, I was sure of it.
At the time, I was working from a co-working space and out of 30 businesses, I was one of two women-led operations there. This didn’t really make sense to me, so I started doing some research and came across The Alison Rose Review of Entrepreneurship. Reading this report helped me to understand the barriers women face when starting and scaling a business, like imposter syndrome and lack of access to funding and support. I wanted to use my skill set in branding and design to help other women overcome these barriers, and feel confident in their business - hopefully avoiding feeling the way I did!
That’s when Cassandra Lane Photography and I got together to start the collective that became That’s Her Business. We now work together with self-identifying female business owners to create stunning visual identities and attract their dream clients with confidence.
With additional funding from our incredible Crowdfunding backers and NatWest, we were lucky enough to give away over £10,000 in branding packages without charge in 2020. This is something we’d like to do more of in the future too!
Your brand is important because it’s the perception everyone else has of your business. This includes everything that contributes to the experience people have when they encounter your business, product or service.
Take one of the big names, like Apple, for instance – Apple’s recognisable brand is actually created inside your own mind. How do you feel when you see their logo or their products? What preconceptions do you have about the business? That’s a brand.
There are many different moving parts to a brand, some you can control, like values, visual identity and personality. Other parts are harder to control, like the exact thoughts and opinions people actually have.
Understanding your own brand and creating the bits you can control ‘on purpose’ will give your brand strength, allow the right people to connect with you on a deeper level, and ultimately, want to buy what you’re selling because it will feel good to them. This is the process of branding.
You may have heard Coaches and business guru-type people talk about your “why” – your why is the purpose that drives the brand forwards.
Why should customers care about your business? Why do you do what you do? Why do you get out of bed in the morning? Why do you love it so much? What is quite literally the purpose of all this? What core values does my business have?
These are the big questions that will help you define how you want your customers to feel when they interact with your business and in turn, direct your brand. Defining your why is a crucial business exercise too and will often help you make tough decisions. I always ask myself “does [insert possible options here] align with what we came here to do?” Yes? Ok, great!
You have to have strong visuals. Your logo, colour palette, images, etc. should be carefully curated with your intended customers in mind. If you have a luxury bridal business, do your logo and visuals feel luxurious? When people look at your images, do they see themselves feeling special and looked after, with only the best quality products?
You can communicate feelings to people visually, in the same way that a red banner popping up on a website might tell you there’s a problem before you’ve read it. We also know that red can mean love and power. White can bring clarity and simplicity. Pink is playful, creative and sweet. There’s a whole load of psychology in how different colours and visual elements make people feel, so it’s essential to make sure yours conform to a set of standards that give the right people the right feelings.
The best brands are the cohesive ones. The brands that make you feel the same way whether you’re receiving their products in the post or talking to their customer service team. Just like how your visuals should fall in line across the board, in general, your brand as a whole should do the same.
It’s estimated that you have about 15 seconds to grab someone’s attention before they leave your website. It’s your virtual shop window, and often the first-place people encounter your brand. You want your people to start feeling the intended feelings I mentioned earlier, immediately.
To keep people around for long enough to find out enough about you to decide they love your business as much as you do, you need to give them a pleasant experience, just like every other part of your brand. Everything should be where it’s expected to be, the information should be easy to consume, your visuals striking and last but most certainly not least, your website should be usable. By usable I mean easy to navigate and not broken…. Absolutely no one likes a ‘404: Page Could Not Be Found’ error. Beautiful design has both form and function.
An online presence also means your business exists just about anywhere that has a connection the internet – a precious asset in the digital age! Remember that even if your Insta game is strong… Mr Z can change that algorithm at any time, or even delete the thing altogether. On your website, the only content pushed to the front is your own. As a bonus, no creepy bots are sliding into your audience’s DMs too. Your people are there for you, and only you. It’s a no brainer.