A photograph of an open book (Michael Johnson;s Branding book). The page is open on the introduction page to brand strategy and narrative. It reads: 'Strategy and Narrative. There is a lot of theory bluff and bluster about this step. And some of it may leave you scratching your head at times. But understanding it is vital to a project’s success. Brands across the world are discovering that their overall strategic and verbal approach is what glues them together and drives who, and what they really are…- Michael Johnson, Branding.
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Brand Strategy, Branding your business, Business Branding, Rebrand

Brand Strategy Vs Marketing Strategy

Brand Strategy Vs Marketing Strategy

Your business’s brand is more than just a logo. You should consider not only how it looks consistently with colours and fonts but also how your audience feels about your brand, how it presents itself, and how your business will stand out from its competitors. There is no magic recipe or secret sauce to getting clients to buy from you. But there is a plan and framework to create a perception of your business, which if done well and presented correctly will help you attract dream clients. This is called a brand strategy.

So, what plan do you go for? A Brand Strategy or Marketing Strategy?

I believe that to have a well-crafted marketing strategy you need to delve into the business’s soul and really discover its passion and purpose before jumping straight in and trying to sell it.

A brand strategy asks the correct questions and creates conversations to create clarity around your business, what makes it different, and how you build customer loyalty.

Together with my clients, we look at:

+ Your Brand Discovery
+ Your Brand Promise
+ Your Values & Purpose
+ Brand Focus Workshop
+ Core Marketing Themes
+ Customer Journey

Why does it matter?

Your brand is the heart and soul of your business. It’s why people choose you. It’s why they come back.
When I create your Brand Blueprint, there are two phases, strategy and design. Giving you a complete look AND feel for your business.

Once you have a strong foundation, a strong brand strategy, a strong visual brand, and understand the mission & beliefs of your business, then you are able to go all in, full force, and attract dream clients to you!

If you’re thinking of taking the leap to create a brand strategy along with a new visual identity for your business I have just the thing to help! My Brand Blueprint package is a strategic journey of 6 x 1:1 strategy sessions PLUS everything in the Brand Design package. Together we will build clarity around your business & marketing with a fresh new look and feel!.

Click on the button below to book a free call with me and chat about your brand strategy and rebrand.

A view of a designer working in her sketch book at a desk. She is sketching with a pencil different design ideas for a logo. The logo is of a bird for the brand Embark. It needs to represent a brand that helps your business find its own path using research.
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Branding your business, Business Branding, Rebrand

Should your business have a meaningful brand design?

Should your business have a meaningful brand design?

When we first set up our businesses we are eager to get it out into the world. And that’s exactly what you should be doing – we can’t pay the mortgage with good ideas if we don’t implement them!

An evolution is taking place for most new businesses. You’re finding your feet, testing your strengths & weaknesses, etc. This is when a DIY or budget brand is ideal. You need something to just get out into the world until you’re ready to take things to the next level.

It usually takes between 1-2 years to find this biting point. You’re aha moment! Discovering your zone of genius. This is when you really need to think about having a meaningful brand.

A meaningful brand design can help your business flourish, become established, trustworthy, and professional; a REAL business that is taken seriously.

We create this meaning using various design objectives:

+ Brand Strategy
+ Colour Psychology
+ Typography selection
+ Design Stylings

All of these core features are blended together like a recipe. It needs a touch of this and a sprinkle of that to create a meaningful visual identity.

Your meaningful brand should work as a strong marketing tool. Once it’s cooked and out of the oven it will:

+ Sing to dream clients
+ Tell your brand story
+ Give a sense of quality
+ Share your personality
+ Be timeless
+ Be something you AND your clients love

This is exactly why when working with my clients I won’t just nip off a call and produce a logo that I hope you will love. I work with you using a strategic process. Asking the right questions to draw out what your brand should look & feel like.

If you’re thinking of taking the leap to create a meaningful brand ready to fly in the New Year I offer two packages:

1. Brand Design – your initial brand foundations (logo, fonts, colours & SM graphics)

2. Brand Blueprint – a strategic journey of 6 x 1:1 sessions to build clarity around your business & marketing, PLUS everything in the Brand Design Package

Click on the button below to book a free call with me. We can chat about getting your new professional and meaningful brand ready for your business!

The Basics of Branding with Amy Manning Brand Design Expert
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Business Branding, Branding your business, Rebrand

The Basics of Branding

The Basics of Branding

You’re here to learn about branding and how to get it right for your business, but first, you need to know the basics of branding.

What is it all about? What is branding and why do you need a brand for your business?

Branding is a particular look and feel you give your business. Branding considers your business’s place in the market, its personality, its tone of voice, the way it looks, and the way it sounds. A strategic brand researches and delves into all of these quirks to create a plan, a plan that will build your brand and attract your ideal clients.

Going on Canva and creating a logo from a template is not creating a brand. Although you are starting one of many foundations, unless it is well thought out, you are simply using someone else’s design to create your business’s identity. Surely you should be the one to decide how your brand should be perceived?!

So, how do you create a basic brand for your business?

The look and feel of your brand should be created visually and verbally.

Visually the most common aspects of branding are your logo, colours, and fonts. You could go on to develop your brand further with design elements such as imagery, patterns, video, photography, brochures, brand stationery, etc.

Verbally the most common aspect would be the tone of voice. How you sound, how you talk, and the written word.

Branding is how your audience perceives your business and helps them make a decision on whether they should buy from you or not.

You might want to look luxurious, you might want to look budget. You could be a huge corporate company or a freelancer offering a more personable service. Whatever story you need to tell, your brand should help you deliver so you can reach your ideal clients.

A Night Out

Imagine, you’ve been in lockdown for 2 years, you haven’t had your hair done, the last fancy outfit you wore was a lifetime ago, you’ve forgotten how to put makeup on and you feel a bit crap about the whole situation. But then lockdown lifts! You get to go to the hairdressers, you get your nails done, you go and buy that amazingly gorgeous outfit you’ve been dying for, you get your makeup on and you look & feel amazing.

You go out, it feels like everyone is looking at you, looking at how well you scrub up, people comment on your outfit, they want to know where it’s from, they say you’re hair looks amazing and you look so well!

How do you feel? Bloody brilliant, that’s how! You have an awesome night and wish you could do it all over again!

Well, my friend, this is what a rebrand can achieve for your business. We can get rid of that brand that’s making you feel a bit crap, a bit meh, a bit bored. We give your business a facelift. We boost your confidence, we get you seen, and get everyone talking about you!

Sounds good right?! So how do you get started with the basics of branding your business?

Here are 5 necessities for creating the basics of branding your business:

1. Business Name

Make it simple, easy to read, easy to say, and easy to spell. This will make it much more memorable.

2. Logo

Again, less is more. I’m not saying you just need to find a nice font and slap it on. Create something unique, something that’s you and something your clients would love. Get creative!

3. Fonts

Fonts can be tricky, which one do you choose? You need to think about this strategically. Choose one that’s easy to read but that also reflects your brand.

4. Colour Palette

Same as the fonts guys! You need to think about this strategically and don’t choose 5 million! Keep it simple, especially if you’re going to DIY!

5. Mini Brand Guidelines

These are an absolute must, they are a set of rules that stop you from going off course and using different colours & fonts. Consistency is another vital rule of branding and brand guidelines will help you with that. You can download my free Canva Mini Brand Guideline template here.

There are 3 ways you can create these basic brand assets:

1. DIY

Do it yourself! You can hit up Canva, or get your sketch on and create a design on Procreate.

2. Purchase Templates

Places like Creative Market, PlaceIt, and Etsy offer templates that you can purchase and edit with your business name and brand colours.*

3. Invest in a designer

Choose a brand designer who you like the style of to help you create a fully bespoke brand. And if they are a strategic brand designer you’ll know that whatever they create will be working for you as a marketing tool too, rather than something that just looks nice.

*FYI just so you know, when you use a template you don’t own the copyright of the logo so you wouldn’t be able to trademark it.

Having these assets in place allows you to begin building brand awareness of your business. Brand awareness is an evolving process that helps you build that know, like, and trust factor which in turn makes you:

  • Memorable! And you want to be memorable right, especially when someone is thinking “hmmm I need a coach, oh yeah, I remember what’s her name because she uses that awesome colour I love.”
  • Professional! Let’s be honest, if you’ve got a crap brand are people going to take you seriously?
  • Trustworthy! Having a brand (not just a logo) I’m talking a full-blown brand, like matching social media graphics, beautiful slide decks, and a gorgeous website… Well, you’re going to look really established and trustworthy. Which is what you are! People will recognise how amazing you are and invest in you.

Looking and feeling memorable, professional, and trustworthy helps you gain your cheerleaders, people who will rave about your business, buy from you or refer you to others. It builds your brand, creates a sense of belief. Branding can instill loyalty and help your business flourish.

If you’d like to chat about your brand’s identity design please fill in the contact form below!

Can brand design transform your business?
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Business Branding, Branding your business, Rebrand

Can brand design transform your business?

Can brand design transform your business?

Branding is all about perception, it’s what people think about you when you’re not around. You might not think you have a brand but chances are, if you’re putting yourself out there whether you’re online (with a website or social media), in person (at networking) or with a shop front, then my friend, you have a brand.

So how do you take control of this perception, this feeling that people have about your business? Well by taking control of your branding. It’s all about being seen and heard the way you want to be. Not having a brand leaves this perception of your business down to your audience.

There are so many variations of branding. You can control your branding with brand design, brand strategy, tone of voice, brand photography, illustrations, marketing, and so much more.

Can brand design transform your business?

I am an expert in brand design and brand strategy so I can let you in on how brand design can transform your business. Brand design can help you:

  • control the feeling your audience has when they think of your business
  • start and tap into conversations
  • tell people what you do and why you do it
  • attract the people you want to work with
  • allow you to be visible using strategy
  • make your business memorable

Here are my 5 basics you need to get going with a strong brand design:

1. Business Name

Something easy to say, rolls off the tongue, easy to remember and easy to spell

2. Logo

To be more specific, a strategically designed logo. One that has considered your competitors, your peers, your values and your mission.

3. Fonts

A font that’s legible, that represents your vibe, your personality and that can be paired with another font that complements it.

4. Colours

Colour physiology is an amazing thing, knowing your values and how you want your brand to make people feel can all be done with the colours you use.

5. Brand Guidelines

What are these! You probably think you don’t need these but you do. I see businesses all the time using different fonts, different colours, different design layouts, different logos and icons. Having no consistency in your branding makes your business unrecognisable and not memorable at all. Brand guidelines can put a stop to this and get you a set of rules to keep your brand looking spot on. Every. Time.

Office Magazine Business Card
Can brand design transform your business?
Brand design for Office Magazine created by Amy Manning Brand Design

These basics of brand design can really transform your business. I’ll get onto that shortly but before I do, here are 3 ways you can create a brand:

1. DIY

Do it yourself. Get on Canva, PowerPoint, sketching where ever is best for you and your budget, and start creating your brand.

2. Templates

Yes, you can get a logo template and edit it to add your business name, colours, and fonts! Check out online markets like Creative Market and Etsy.

3. Invest in a brand designer

Talk to a design expert (like me) or ask the owners of brands you love for recommendations. A brand designer can save you loads of time trying to create something yourself. You’ll also have complete ownership and copyright to some amazing unique & bespoke designs! You’ll be able to trademark them too – something Canva and templates don’t offer.

So how can brand design transform your business?

Confidence Boost

Having a logo and a brand that you love can make you feel confident in your business. You’ll want to tell everyone about it, potential clients, mates, family, and even Bob down the road.

Feel like a real business

Stop feeling like you need to tell your mum that “OMG my business is real, I’m not just doing it for a laugh!” – Your new logo can do that for you! Then she’ll start telling everyone, including Bob down the road.

Look professional & trustworthy

I’ve always said that if you don’t invest in your business then why would clients want to invest in you? By looking totally professional and trustworthy you’re more likely to bring on clients. They believe in you and that YOU can help them. Now Bob down the road is giving you a bell because your mum showed him your new logo and he needs you!

Having a real brand that has been strategically created can boost your business in numerous ways and these 👆are just a few. Combined together just imagine what these transformations can achieve! You build that ‘know, like and trust’ factor, you get cheerleaders who start to recommend you all the time, you gain loyalty from existing clients and all of this has a knock-on effect on boosting your confidence, even more, getting you seen and growing your business.

If you would like to chat about branding or rebranding your business then let’s have a chat and see if it would be right for you. Just fill in the contact form below.

5 Foundations to building a strong brand
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Business Branding, Branding your business, Rebrand

5 Foundations to building a strong brand

Building a strong brand is a bit like building a house.

Sounds scary, but people do it every day. We have billions of houses around the world. Some are small, some are huge, some are falling down and some are standing strong.

I built my house without foundations and it fell down.

I’d seen loads of houses, so I knew they needed bricks and windows with a few pipes, so I gave it ago. I wasn’t really sure where to start, how I should do it and what put inside. So I decided to just build it anyway. I’d build it and deal with any niggles afterward.

My self-built house lasted a couple of months, some cracks began to appear, I didn’t plan my roof properly, the windows fell out and we had 3 storms in a week! My house fell down.

I didn’t realise I needed foundations!

This is the same for branding. You’re building it, so it needs foundations laying before you do anything.

5 Foundations to building a strong brand

Here are my 5 foundations for building a brand:

1. Brand Discovery

Get stuck into your brand, like really stuck in.

What’s your business’s story? Look at the big picture, what’s the reason you’re in business, and who is the typical person that you have created your services for?

Who are your clients?

Define your place in the market, why do your customers prefer to buy your services over someone else?

What’s your brand’s personality?

What are your strengths and weaknesses?

2. Define your Brand Promise

Climb up your benefit ladder, what’s at the top for your clients. What is the ultimate goal you want to achieve for them?

Investigate these 3 key areas:

1. Your customer’s needs and desires – interview them, reveal and discover insights

2. Your competitor’s strengths – a behavior, a status quo, a product, the way they connect with people

3. Your business’s strengths – what are the things you’re good at? What do your customers say about you?

3. Values & Purpose

Underlying your brand promise should be a set of values that support your promise. These guiding principles can inspire and dictate your achievements, goals, how your business works, how it can grow and guide you and your people.

Imagine your brand as a person, what motivates her, what is her personality, what quirks does she have?

What is your business’s culture? How would you describe your business?

Knowing your purpose (your why) beyond making money inspires your plans and actions as well as your ideal clients. So ask yourself why you do it.

“People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it.” Simon Sinek

4. Brand Essence

What is the soul of your business?

The Brand Essence captures the very heart of your business. It summarises the most important center of your brand.

Once you have discovered your Brand Essence you can use it as a strapline for your marketing. Here are a couple of well known Brand Essences to inspire you, I won’t even tell you the brand, I’ll let branding work its magic!

I’m lovin’ it

Just Do It

Every Little Helps

There are some things money can’t buy. For everything else, there’s…

5. Customer Journey

Where do your clients discover you? How do they learn more about your services? What happens when they consider buying from you? Will they become loyal, buy again and recommend you?

Knowing the foundations of your brand is vital, it stops your brand from collapsing. It makes it strong.

Brand strategy is where the magic really starts happening!

This is exactly what my Brand Blueprint helps you discover. I will take you on a journey of clarity and then create an amazing identity for your business too!

Want to learn more about building a strong brand with a Brand Blueprint? Just fill in the contact form below and we can book a chat.

7 questions to ask yourself when you’re considering rebranding your business
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Branding your business, Business Branding, Rebrand

7 questions to ask when you’re considering rebranding

I often get enquires from potential clients who are considering rebranding their business.

The most common causes for consideration are:

  • They cobbled their branding together quite a few years ago and it just doesn’t feel professional
  • They DIY’d their brand to look really corporate but actually they offer a more personable service
  • They started out as a small business and are now growing, taking on more clients and employees
  • Their branding just doesn’t resonate with what they now offer, so they want to step up their game and create an identity that looks really professional and attracts dream clients.

Sound familiar? You could be thinking something similar or even the same but you’re still wondering whether investing in branding is actually worth it.

7 questions to ask yourself when you consider rebranding your business

Here are 7 questions to help you when you’re considering rebranding your business:

1. Does you brand tell your story?

Is your brand singing to your clients? Does it tell them what you do, your personality, style and vibe? Would they like to work with you or could they quite easily move on to your competitor? Does it draw people in, wanting to learn more?

2. Is your brand memorable?

This might be one to ask your clients, but do they know what your logo is? Do they remember your brand colours? Is your logo overly complicated? Is your business name easy to say?

3. Is your brand easy to use?

Do you spend 5000 hours on Canva trying to figure out what works and what doesn’t for your brand? Do you know what fonts and colours you should be using to keep everything consistent? Is it really difficult to convert your brand from slide deck to social media post to your website?

4. Do you love your brand?

Can it be improved? Are you sick of the sight of it? Is something just not quite right?

5. Are you charging what your services are worth?

Do you feel your brand is to amateur and can’t be taken seriously for the prices you would love to start charging?

6. Are you taking enquires from ideal clients?

Is any old sod giving you a call to see if you’re able to help them out, do it for free, do something you don’t really offer as a service? Would you prefer to start chatting to the people who love you and will invest with you doing exactly what it is you love?

7. Is your brand easy to understand?

Do you get it? Do your clients get it? Are potential clients calling and asking for something else?

If the answer to any or more than 1 of these questions is no then its highly likely you’re ready for a rebrand. And to make things a little easier I’m going to tell you some reasons why a rebranding would be amazing for your business.

7 reasons a rebrand would work wonders for your business

7 reasons a rebrand would work wonders for your business

1. It tells your story

There a millions of businesses all over the world, some are product based whilst others are service based. And you can guarantee there will be someone selling the same thing as you. But we don’t want to sell that product or service. We want to sell your why. Not your profit why, not because you hate being employed, not because your doing it for your kids. Your clients want to know what you believe it.

Take Apple for example, they sell computers, just like Dell. They also sell mobile phones, music, ear phones and much more. But would you want to buy music from Dell? No – they are a tech computer company. But so is Apple. That’s because Apple sell their why. Watch this video below it will blow your mind…

How Great Leaders Inspire Action

2. A good brand is memorable

Because no one wants to be forgotten right?! A professional brand can keep things cleverly simple so that your clients recognise you in an instant, even if they are on the scroll of doom on Insta.

3. Your brand is a dream to work with

Having a complete rebrand means you can start from scratch. A branding expert (like me) can come in and create a whole new level of simplicity. You will have a logo in different colours to use on specific backgrounds as well as a designated font and colour palette.

You can ever take it a step further and have graphic templates created so all you have to do is add in your content. Say good bye to endless hours on Canva.

4. You love your new brand

How good is that?! You love it so much you want to shout it from the roof tops, so you do. You tell everyone on Facebook, LinkedIn, InstagramInstagram. You start getting business cards made and dish them out, you get post cards printed, you get a fancy pants new website and before you know it you’re a marketing whizz and the world starts to take notice of your business

5. Start putting up your prices

Do it, your worth it. Your services are worth it. When you invest into your business it shows. People can see that you take things seriously, you can be trusted and you’re an established business so they will start to invest in you.

6. Dream clients become a reality

When you match your values with your dream clients and bring this into the way your business looks, feels, acts and talks then you will start to attract your kinda people. Its like meeting your best friend for the first time and before you know it you’ve hit it off.

7. People get you

A brand with clarity is easy to understand. Its easy for you and its easy for everyone else. A new brand can help you get that clarity and once you have it your audience will know if your services are right for them and if they should recommend you to others.

You will often find that if businesses invest in themselves with have an audience who want to invest with them too.

If you value what you have to offer, stand tall and confident and show it to the world then people will believe in you. The need for your services will become a want. The ‘know, like and trust’ will turn into recommendations. Your well designed brand will be an established and professional business.

If you’re considering rebranding your business and are still have some questions please get in touch and lets have a chat. Sometimes its not always right to rebrand, but sometimes it can truly help your business flourish.

Where to start when it comes to branding your business
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Business Branding, Branding your business

Where to start when it comes to branding your business

A lot of my clients come to me because they don’t know where to start when it comes to branding their business. 

Often they jump right on Canva, have a play around, end up spending hours and come out with a logo that looks nice but is also used by many other business over the globe. And, often, its not doing anything for you. It just sits there, looking ok, but there is something niggling at you because you know it’s just not quite right.

branding your business in three steps

I believe you should always start with these 3 steps before creating you brand:

1. Values

Nailing your values and knowing what is important to you and your business can define your brand’s personality. It can help you discover what you should look like and what will appeal to your dream clients.

2. Research

Yeah sounds a bit boring but looking at your competitors can really give you an insight into what your logo & visuals shouldn’t look like. It can also tell you what they are doing right to create a successful brand.

3. Ideas & inspiration

Taking a look at what graphics, colours, fonts, logos and brands are out there in the world can really help make sense of what your brand should look like. It can give you direction rather than just plucking something out of thin air.

These 3 steps are key to creating a meaningful brand that also works as a super strong marketing tool. Not only will your brand look shit hot but it will also attract the people you want to work with (and bore off the crappy clients!).

Here are a few websites that can help you along the way with these steps:

Inspiration: www.Pinterest.com & www.Instagram.com

Fonts: www.myfonts.com & www.typewolf.com

Colours: www.coolors.co & https://color.adobe.com/create/color-wheel

What next when branding your business?

Knowing your values, your competitors and having an idea of what your likes & dislikes can really start to help you paint a picture of your brand. You can use all of these points to give your business a personality which should start to come through in your logo and brand design.

With my clients I go through a strategic process which highlights the above steps plus more. Any good brand design expert should do the same. Having a brand strategy can give your business identity a really strong foundation to build on – making it easier to develop things like patterns, social media graphics, photography, slide decks, brand books, brochures, websites etc.

If you’d like to chat more about brand strategy and logo design get in touch using the form below: