What is unique about your product or service? How you do stand out from your competitors? What is your brand personality?
In this podcast episode, Sam Carvalho talks about your branding timeline, setting up a brand from scratch, and what that entails.
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In This Podcast
- 5 Step branding timeline
Step 1: Research
Understanding how your brand fits into the marketplace.
- Define what is unique about your product/service
- Understand your competitors’ products/services, compare their brand positioning, values, and identity to yours and how you are different.
- Perform a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analysis
TIMELINE: a day to a week, depending on how deep you want to dive.
Step 2: Define Brand Strategy
Think about your brand personality and who you want to present your business as.
Having a better grasp of who your customers are and how best to reach them. Align your brand strategy with your business objectives.
Create a mission and vision statement:
- What your company stands for
- Who you help,
- Why you help them
- How you do it differently
Create your ideal client (be as specific as possible):
- Who they’re in relationships
TIMELINE: 1-2 weeks
Step 3: Design Logo and Visual Identity
In this phase, you’re deciding on your:
- Color palette
- Font family
- Visual look and feel
These are the questions I ask my clients:
- Company name Slogan to be included (if you have one)
- Would you prefer for the logo to be just font or include an icon/illustration? (if you aren’t sure, I’ll include both variations)
- If you would like an icon/illustration included, what would you want this to be of?
- Which font/s do you prefer? (if you aren’t sure, I’ll choose my own)
- What is your color scheme? (if you aren’t sure, I’ll choose my own)
- What would you like to communicate through your logo? Who is your target market?
* What is your brand personality?
I also always ask that you send a minimum of three current logos you like with regards to their style/certain elements about them (let me know what this is).
At this stage you will also be designing your website. (We use Web Canopy)
TIMELINE: Logo: 1-2 weeks
Brand Style Guide: 1-2 weeks
Website: a few months
Step 4: Design Other Marketing Collateral
These items are not completely necessary but they do add to your professionalism and credibility.
This step is based on your budget, target audience, and marketing objectives. But additional marketing collateral would be:
- Design business card
- Email signature
- Letterhead, etc.
Step 5: Plan Marketing Strategy
This is an ongoing step, it needs to be cost-effective and it needs to be flexible too.
- Find out where your target audience spends their time and how you can attract them. Which social media platforms are they on? What networking events are they attending?
- Outline marketing goals for specific time periods.
- Develop a content plan for blogging/social media.
- Design flyers/rack cards/social media.
- 11 Design Trends You Need to Know About | MP 19
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- Design Services With Sam
- Apply to work with us
Meet Sam Carvalho
Sam Carvalho is a graphic designer living in Cape Town, South Africa, with over five years of experience in both design and marketing, with a special interest and experience in the start-up environment.
She has been working with Practice of the Practice since 2016 and has helped over 70 therapist entrepreneurs take their practices to the next level by enhancing their visual branding. She loves working with a variety of clients on design-intensive tasks and is always up for a challenge!
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Welcome to the Marketing a Practice podcast with me, Sam Carvalho, where you will discover everything you need to know about marketing and branding your business. To find out more about how I can help you brand your business, visit www.practiceofthepractice.com/branding, and if you’d like to see some examples of my design work, be sure to follow me on Instagram @samanthacarvalhodesign.
Hi there, and thanks so much for joining me today on the Marketing a Practice podcast. Today I’m going to be talking about your branding timeline. So, this has to do with if you are looking to brand your private practice or your business which, when I say brand I mean set up logos, set up a brand style guide, create a website, create marketing material… basically setting up a brand from scratch, and what that entails and what the timeline for that is. So, I’ve broken it up into five steps. Step one is research, step two is to define your brand strategy, step three is to design your logo and visual identity, step four is to design your other marketing collateral, and step five is to plan your marketing strategy. So, we’re going to delve into each of those now and basically describe the action points or what needs to take place within each of those steps, and then what the time period is, so what you can expect, how long each step will take.
So, first and foremost, when setting up a brand, you want to begin with research. So, you wanna understand how your brand fits into the marketplace. This means defining what is unique about your product or service, but also understanding your competitors’ products or services. So, comparing their brand positioning, their values, and their identity to yours, and figuring out how you can be different to them. So, obviously within the counseling world, this can be a bit challenging as a lot of your practices will be similar to one another, but then still kind of seeking out how you can be different, what creative ways can you present your brand differently to those around you. A nice way to kind of go about this, and something we all kind of learned in school, is the SWOT analysis. But it really can be effective in positioning yourself within the market and in kind of figuring out what is unique about you. So, just spending time jotting down your strengths, your weaknesses, your opportunities, and the threats. Sorry, I almost forgot the last one there for a second. But, basically, and again, we don’t want to kind of make this too theory focused and make you feel too overwhelmed so that you never actually sit down to do it. It doesn’t have to be mammoth task, it really can take a day, if that’s what you want, to kind of just jot down what is unique about your brand, you know, what are your competitors offering and, and how can you be different from them. So, the timeline for this obviously varies depending on how deep you want to dive into it. So, if it’s something that, already, you’re wanting to run from then I would say spend no longer than a day on it, even a few hours is sufficient. But if it’s something that you really want to spend time thinking about, then take a bit more time, take, you know, a week or so to do it. So, that’s the research step.
Then we get to step two, which is defining your brand strategy. So, once you’ve positioned yourself in the market, and once you’ve identified, kind of, your unique selling point, you then need to gain a better grasp of who your customers are and how to best reach them. So, this is aligning your brand strategy with your business objectives. So, now it’s time to create your mission and vision statements. So, what your company stands for, who you help, why you help them, and how you do it differently. So, basically, taking what you learnt in step one, and now putting it down on paper in a mission and vision statement. And this is also where you create your ideal client, and you need to be as specific as possible, so really detailing their name, their age, their pain points, where they live, who they’re in relationship with, what they spend time doing. You really want to be as specific as possible, because this is going to help you in your marketing. And you want to prepare your brand personality. So, step two is really defining who you are as a brand, putting it down on paper, and defining who your target audience is. And, again, this kind of depends on you but I would say it takes one to two weeks. You really want to spend some time thinking about this and thinking about your niche, and thinking about your brand personality and who you want to present yourself as, or who you want to present your business as.
Step three is then where the design part comes in. So, this is where you design your logo, first and foremost, and your visual identity, which can be a brand style guide as well. So, in this phase, you’re deciding your color palette, your fonts, kind of the visual look and feel that you want to have across your branding, and this is where a brand style guide can come in so handy. A brand style guide will actually include the theory aspects of step two as well, so it will also include your vision and your mission and your ideal client, and then it will also include some of the visual aspects, being your color palette, what fonts you like, and, sort of, what visual look and feel you’re going for.
So, just to give an example of the logo process I have with my clients… so, if you reach out to me and you are wanting a custom logo, I will send you a questionnaire which consists of these questions and they are your company name, your slogan if you have one, if you would prefer your logo to be just font or to include an icon or illustration, if you want it to include an icon or illustration, what would you want this to be of? Which ones do you prefer? And I always say there that if you aren’t sure, I’ll choose my own. What is your color scheme? Again, if you aren’t sure I’ll choose my own. What would you like to communicate through your logo? Who is your target market? And what is your brand personality? And then, I’ll usually ask for you to please send through a minimum of three current logos you like with regards to their style or certain elements about them, and to tell me what that is so that I know, kind of, what styles you like. And, from there, I’ll design the logo, I’ll design three design ideas, usually, and then I’ll send these through to you, and then we go through a process of feedback. Again, this needs to be based on the original brief. Once we’ve finalized your logo, I will then send it to you in various file formats, and also in three color variations. So, I’ll send you the color version, as well as a black version and a white version. So, that’s an example of my logo process. Obviously, every designer will be different, but I think the general process is more or less the same, and that’s why we say that it’s important to kind of know, before you get to the design stage, who your target market is and what you want to communicate through your brand.
So, in this stage, as well, you’ll be designing your website. So, once you’ve designed your logo, and if you are going to go with a brand style guide, once you finish those two things, you can then move on to your website. Again, kinda figuring out your color scheme and the font that you want to use before designing your website is helpful. So, in terms of timing for this stage, a logo will usually take one to two weeks, a brand style guide will usually take one to two weeks… so, that’s around three to four weeks for those two. A website can take a few months, depending on the complexity of the website. We do have, when I say “we” I mean Practice of the Practice, has a website company called Web Canopy which offers a ‘website in a week’ service. So, that’s obviously something that’s sped up, and I think it depends on the complexity of your website… But, otherwise, a website can take a month, it can take two months, it can take a few months. So, that’s something that you need to bear in mind from the get-go. But once you’ve got your logo and your website set up, we then move to step four, which is to design other marketing collateral.
Now, this step I kind of put in here, but it does depend on your budget, your target audience, and your marketing objectives. So, it depends on your budget because these items are not completely necessary, they aren’t as compulsory as a logo and a website, for example, but they do add to your professionalism, your credibility. It depends on your target audience because, obviously, you’re going to want to put your budget into design work or branding that is going to appeal to your target audience and attract your target audience. And, it depends on your marketing objectives because, if networking is a big part of your marketing, then a business card is going to be important. But, if you’re rather going to focus on social media, then you don’t necessarily need a business card straightaway. So, these are things that, kinda, is dependent on where you’re at, but it includes a business card, for example, or an email signature, or a letterhead… So, kind of those other marketing items that go along with your brand, and that are timeless, and that you have at your disposal to use when necessary. So, again, this kind of depends on where you’re at, it’s not necessary in the beginning but it is something that, as I said, adds credibility and adds professionalism, and it’s definitely something that I would consider at some stage, if not straight in the beginning. So, that’s step four.
Step five is to then plan your marketing strategy. So, now you have the fundamentals of your brand set up. Now it’s time to find out where your target audience spends their time or where you can attract them, so, what social media platforms are they prevalent on? What networking events do you need to be attending? And then kind of all the marketing material that goes with that. So, spending time developing a content plan for your social media platform, the design that goes along with that, what are those posts going to look like? Ensuring you have a great cover photo. If you’re planning a networking event, or if you’re planning a workshop or something like that, you know, designing the flyer to attract the right people to that workshop. So, all that sort of thing and really spending time outlining marketing goals for specific time periods. So, taking time at the beginning of the year to, kind of, outline marketing goals for every quarter, and then you can move into every month or every week, you can make it as specific as you want. But this step is obviously the ongoing step and it needs to be cost effective, and it needs to be flexible, too. So, obviously, things are going to change, you’ll start figuring out what works and what doesn’t work. And so, then you change that marketing strategy accordingly. But this, in terms of the design aspects, this is where you have your flyers and your rack cards, and your social media posts, or your feature images for your blog posts, and things like that.
So, just to recap the five steps of your branding timeline… Step one is research. This can take anywhere from a day to a week. Step two is defining your brand strategy. This can take one to two weeks. Step three is designing your logo and your visual identity. This can take quite a few months, a few weeks to a few months. Step four is designing other marketing collateral. This is dependent on where you’re at. If you are going to do it, it will take a week or two, I would say. And step five is to plan your marketing strategy, and that is something that is ongoing. So, I hope this has been helpful to you, and if it’s something that you are going to be doing in the next month or two, feel free to reach out to me and I’d be happy to take this journey with you. See you in the next episode.
Thanks for listening to the Marketing a Practice podcast. If you need help with branding your business, whether it be a new logo, rebrand, or you simply want a print flyer designed, head on over to www.practiceofthepractice.com/branding. And, if you’d like to see some examples of my design work, be sure to follow me on Instagram @samanthacarvalhodesign. Finally, please subscribe, rate, and review this podcast on iTunes if you like what you’ve heard. Talk to you soon.
This podcast is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regards to the subject matter covered. It is given with the understanding that neither the host, the publisher, or the guests are rendering legal, accounting, clinical, or any other professional information. If you want a professional, you should find one.