The key to a successful product and marketing strategy is bulletproof branding. It sounds intimidating, but we’ve broken down the must-have things in one convenient checklist!
Branding best practices can be overwhelming and challenging to navigate. When you embark on a branding, rebranding, or branding refresh journey - it should be as well-planned as possible. That’s where a branding checklist may come in!
This checklist includes must-have branding considerations and can be used by designers, marketers, and small-business owners to create a strong and irresistible brand. Let’s consider when a branding checklist should come into play.
When to use a Branding Checklist (or Cheat Sheet) A checklist is a tactical (and necessary) piece of embarking on any new branding project. Consider using the entire checklist if you’re just starting on your branding journey.
If you’re looking to create a rebranding strategy or complete a branding refresh - you can modify this existing checklist to work for your needs. For example, your brand may want to update its brand story and typography but may not feel the need to redesign the logo or colour palette. Feel free to omit any pieces of the checklist that seem unnecessary for your project. However, be sure to consider each piece (even momentarily) before removing it from your checklist.
The items on this checklist below work for any type of branding. All elements apply to entrepreneurs, small businesses, personal brands, large-scale companies, and everything in between. You should be taking the exact same steps as all other businesses do to create your branding.
Stuck at the start? Get your mindset right. Whether it’s a branding refresh or a total rebrand, don’t let the overwhelm of a blank canvas get you down. Creating a brand is a big deal and even a smaller branding refresh can feel like a massive undertaking. That’s where a checklist comes in handy to keep you and your team on track as you navigate the project together.
Remind yourself that your branding is never final. The feeling that a brand must stand up to the test of time can feel daunting. However, most marketing and design experts would caution that outlook. Instead, consider your branding as a fluid and evolving piece of your business. Every successful company has undertaken a branding, rebranding, or branding refresh project in its time. It’s actually what prevents a business from feeling stagnant or unchanged!
Don’t worry about getting everything exactly “right” the first time. You can even work in a piece to your checklist to revisit your branding exactly one year from when you launch. Reassess what’s working and what’s not. Make the adjustments and strive toward consistent improvement, always.
Ready to get started? Here are your 5 steps to the ultimate branding.
1) Start with a Meaningful Brand Story Begin by constructing a meaningful brand story. If you’re working on a rebranding strategy, analyze your existing brand story.
Consider pieces like your brand mission statement, your vision statement, and your brand values. What is your business about? What does the future of your business look like? What does your business believe in?
Now, move on to the brand story. This is an engaging retelling of how your company got to where it is today. Walk your potential customers through the birth and journey of your business. Work in language that will resonate with your audience and their values. Everyone loves a good story, make sure that your brand story turns buyers into brand representatives by selling them not only on your product... but also on your story.
By the end of this piece, you should be able to clearly articulate answers to all of these questions. There should be a clear understanding of the “why” of what you do as a business, service, or personality.
2) Pick an Irresistible Colour Palette
Picking an irresistible colour palette is a critical piece in developing a brand that will resonate with your audience. Don’t be afraid to show off your brand’s values and personalities through its colour scheme.
During the selection process, choose a colour palette that speaks to your business’s brand story and emotes personality. Take a look at any direct competitors and do your best not to replicate their palette too much. You want to stand out from the pool of competition - not blend in.
Not confident in your colour-matching abilities? Try a colour palette selection software like coolors.co that will automate it for you. Select colours that resonate with you, your brand’s story and your target audience.
When you feel you’ve selected colour palettes, don’t be afraid to ask for your team’s opinion. If you’re a solo entrepreneur, consider friends who have an eye for design or fashion and ask them their opinions on the palette. Explain your choices through emotional or descriptive words like “powerful” or “innovative” or “calming”.
3) Let’s look at the Logo There’s no bigger reflection of your brand than your logo. This will be the piece that’s associated with your brand and often that is reflected on brand packaging, on any marketing materials, and will be featured front and center in any public relations or media coverage of your brand.
There are some key things to keep in mind as you move forward with the design or rebrand of your logo.
● Modern Design – Think about some of the most memorable logo designs. Most are modern, clean and simple in design. Strive to have a modern design and edit down any complexity.
● Easy to Recreate – Again, your logo design should be simplistic and minimal. If you choose to use text in your logo, make sure that it’s as simple as possible. Finally, save the logo in formats that are easy to use in design work such as a .png file.
● Resizable – Save your logo in several different sizes. Ensure that it’s easily resized. If not, consider creating a few different visions of the logo. For example, Google’s logo can be the full word or can alternate with a multi-coloured “G” depending on what size is needed.
● High-resolution & Transparent Background – Too often, logos aren’t designed in high-resolution. This means that anyone who reuses the logo or saves it from your website (ex. To write an article on your company) has a hard time incorporating it due to poor quality or background that’s not transparent. Make sure to use a high-resolution design and have a transparent background when possible.
● Dark and Light Mode Versions – Depending on the marketing content that you’re creating, you will need dark and light mode versions of your logo. This is especially true now with smartphones alternating between light or dark modes. Having light and dark mode versions can also improve the overall accessibility of your brand.
4) Totally Tailored Typography Identify the fonts that you want to use. This is another opportunity to reflect your brand’s values and personality. Choose fonts that fit with your brand and are accessible as well. Ensure that the fonts that you are using are easy to read on all device screens.
5) What is the Brand’s Tone, Style, and Voice? Based on your target audience, consider your brand’s tone and voice that will communicate with your end-user. Are you speaking to your audience formally? Is there jargon that your audience prefers? Is your target audience younger? For example, Millennials will want to see a different tone and audience versus the Baby Boomers.
2022 Branding Checklist Takeaways:
● Meaningful Brand Story
● Colour Palette
● Logo ● Modern Design
● Easy to recreate
● Dark mode and light mode versions
● Tone and Style
● Totally lost? Hire a professional!
Need some inspiration to take your branding to the next level in 2022? Connect with a marketing agency that resonates with your brand's vision.