We were emailing back and forth and a friend said to me, “While my work involves a lot of holistic care, I’m also a huge nerd who loves research and science. I just don’t know a good way to portray both in my brand voice.” We chatted a bit and kept talking about branding.
But later that week while working on a client project, I realized that I had unintentionally put a system in place to solve this issue that most people have: creating a cohesive brand when your business feels like a juxtaposition.
First, let me say, all of us have some degree of juxtaposition. We are not finite people and there are always grey areas, especially in our business. You aren’t “traditional” or “modern,” you’re likely a blend of both. The beauty is that if you can use this duality to your advantage, you create a brand that is humanistic, interesting and client-connecting.
Potential clients want to buy from a person they trust, not a business. Defining your brand is a process, like anything else in your business. But when you find your unique approach, the right clients will be drawn to you.
Defining your core brand words (or Brand Buzz Words as I call them) is the first step. You have to know who you’re talking to & what you want your business to represent! Then you might notice that some of your ideals, values or even aesthetic preferences seem to oppose each other. For example:
I keep a running list of Brand Buzz Words that is always growing. Thinking of your brand & Ideal Client, what words come to mind? Here are some more examples to get your ideas flowing.
Now that you have concrete words to describe your business, you can begin to think about translating that into a brand. Branding is simply a visual language that speaks to your potential clients. Not through words but through colors, fonts, graphics, photos, brand voice & more.
Finding the balance is generally where people get stuck. Here’s my advice. Start with the MAIN feeling you want clients to have when they interact with your business. Ask yourself, which is the primary emotion? That should be the foundation of your brand.
Related reading: My 5 Step Brand Strategy Process
For example, if knowledge & empowerment are the primary emotions you want a client to feel, then start with a more traditional, rich color palette. Then, adding a warm color to bring a side of softness / support can balance the color palette visually. In the end both sides will be represented in a way that can blend & weave throughout your brand beautifully.
In this palette, deep navy, dusty blue, tan and a pop of red give a feeling of knowledge, power and trust. Blue is a color often used to elicit trust in a brand. It feels very classic and traditional.
To offset that (and bring in the juxtaposition), a light lilac shade is added. This color is soft, feminine and feels friendly. It adds balance to the color palette when used as an accent (see below).
As you add different offerings, you adjust your copy, your ideal clients change, etc. And through all of that, you can adjust your branding to represent all of the dualities as well.
As long as you have a solid brand strategy in place, and some understanding of the psychology behind brand design. Showcasing the juxtapositions of your brand and not trying to pigeon-hole yourself into one “descriptor” is one of the more important things you can do. Clients will be attracted to your authentic brand and find connection points that they can relate to in your juxtaposition. And that is how you grow a thriving business over time.
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