Building your first (or tenth!) creative brand and want to make sure it attracts your ideal customers and builds long term loyalty? We’ve rounded up eight tips, tricks, and techniques to help creatives like you build a forward-thinking brand that speaks to your audience — no matter what industry you’re in.

Simplicity is key ( image source )
Simplicity is key (image source)

1. Keep it simple

There are a lot of brands, businesses and individuals clamouring for attention on the internet. The easiest way to cut through the clutter and noise to make sure your brand is noticed? Keep it simple.To be memorable, chisel your ideas, colors, and words down to their absolute most essential elements of your vision. Just as great brand design requires negative space, great branding requires simplicity in order to be most effective. Aim for timelessness ( not trendiness) by following the principles of fine art. A brand designed with simplicity will stay relevant longer.

2. Create a symbolic logo  

The most iconic logos are so simple, some people might argue they aren’t even a design! Like Nike’s checkmark, Apple’s apple, or Target’s red bullseye, your logo should be a mark that clarifies and distills your brand’s slogan, thesis or mission in a meaningful way.. Use as little copy as possible, preferably none at all. Research the origins of  your brand’s logo elements to betterunderstand what the logo’s components represent for your audience and to make sure that you are designing a mark that aligns with the story you want to tell.

3. Define your brand’s essence

Successful brands are always precise. Find a word that feels most true to your brand’s mission and design your creative vision around it.Consider words like “joyful,” “pure,” “calm,” “heroic,” or “unique” as a starting point and build your brand experience from there.  Want an example of a brand that’s doing it right? good Recess claims that they“canned a feeling” and then created a  one-of-a-kind pop up shop, RecessIRL that brings that vibe to life. Remember: keep it simple. The easier it is for you to communicate your brand’s essence , the more likely it is that your audience will remember it, too.

Your brand’s essence can be as simple as a single word: peaceful, rugged, or sustainable ( image source )
Your brand’s essence can be as simple as a single word: peaceful, rugged, or sustainable (image source)

4. Tell your brand’s story  

Taking time to develop your brand’s story is a crucial step in your brand-development process. The best way to build your narrative? Think of your brand like the next big Hollywood film, with locations, destinations, and characters involved. Find pictures of your brand’s narrative elements and storyboard its past, present and future into a brand “storybook.”. .

Thinking like a director will help you craft the brand story into something impactful and universal — and once completed, your storybook will be one of the most powerful assets in your brand strategy. The more concrete and compelling your story, the easier it will be for your audience to remember, the first step in building brand loyalty. Want a legendary brand? You have to be willing to create a brand legend first.

Every brand has a different story to tell ( image source )
Every brand has a different story to tell (image source)

5. Research your industry’s aesthetics — so you can create something completely different

In today’s highly connected world, consumers are increasingly design-savvy. That means that having a fresh, cohesive, and unique visual experience offers a major return on investment, while looking ‘outdated’ can hold a brand back.

The easiest way to make sure you’re on the cutting edge? Industry and trend forecasting research. Done properly it can help you understand the brand experiences that your competitors offer, where the industry is moving, and how to stay one step ahead.   If this isn’t your area of expertise, don’t worry! There are research firms dedicated to researching future trends in colors, textures and patterns. Hire someone in the know to help direct your visual style toward the cutting edge and you’ll have audiences flocking to you in no time.

6. Create your brand’s playlist  

Feeling stuck? Sometimes it helps to define your brand a different way: through the “sound” of your brand experience, or your consumer’s brand journey. You might find that . A simple way to do this is to create a playlist on Spotify; the playlist will become a brand asset that you can reference when you need inspiration, play in your stores or at brand events, or share with social media audiences.  Music can not only help you better define your brand, it also gives you an opportunity to create a more unique and memorable experience for your customer, allowing them to emotionally connect with your vision in a way that websites and logos don’t allow. emotionally connect with them and express your vision.

7. Decide on core textures

Another simple way to better define your brand for yourself and your audiences is to to approach creating it like an interior designer. Think about all the touch points that your customer will have across your brand: packaging, email headers, website landing pages, and retail experiences are just a few of the many places where the your brand might be a silent ambassador.   What textures can you use online and IRL to provide a richer experience for your audience? To give your brand more depth? Or to help further define it?

Make sure your brand stands for something larger than itself ( image source )
Make sure your brand stands for something larger than itself (image source)

8. Write a Code of Values

A code of values is a set of beliefs that will help you lead your business with integrity, build a team of employees that share mission, and help your brand’s audiences understand how your values align with their own.

To create your own, begin by This  writing what you stand for. That act alone can help you create boundaries, establish ethical standards and help you work with more integrity — as long as your values come from the heart. Without that sense of ‘heart,’ audiences won’t understand your mission, or believe that supporting your business means supporting something larger than themselves. Stay true to your moral center as you establish your brand, and you’ll help your business culture develop into something positive and sustainable over the long haul.

Want to learn more about branding? Skillshare’s business and marketing classes will help you build the right brand for the long-haul. Start your learning journey here.

Written by:

Crystal Schreiner