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The only branding checklist you’ll ever need

There are so many branding best practices out there that it can sometimes be hard to know if you’ve covered everything when you start on a new branding project. That’s where a branding checklist comes in!

We’ve created the ultimate branding checklist for designers, marketers, and other branding professionals who want to create strong brands that withstand the test of time. Let’s dive in!

First, let’s understand when a branding checklist comes into play.

When to use a branding checklist

Use a branding checklist every time you start on a new branding project. Whether you’re creating a brand from scratch or rebrand an existing company, this checklist will give you a list of everything you need to have or create in order to build a brand that lasts.

The items on this checklist work for any type of branding. Whether it’s for a large company, entrepreneurs, or personal brand, you’re going to need to take the same steps every time. This checklist will help save you time while making sure you’ve covered all your bases.

Next, let’s look at a list of activities you’ll want to do each time you work on creating a new brand. 

1. Write the brand mission statement.

The brand mission statement states why a company exists and what its purpose is. What better place to start the branding process than by articulating that big “why”?

The mission statement not only serves as a framework for the business, but it also helps employees and customers understand what the business is about. This statement is just one of the elements that businesses can use to stand out in a crowded marketplace. 

2. Write the vision statement.

The vision statement is an aspirational statement that communicates what the business hopes to achieve in the long-term. Like the mission statement, a vision statement helps ensure everyone—leaders, stakeholders, employees, customers—understands where the business is going.

3. Articulate the brand values.

Brand values are an essential part of your brand strategy because they will inform every aspect of building the brand, including visual design. The brand values communicate what your business stands for, which will help bring in the right customers and team members.

People like supporting brands that stand for the same things they do. When your brand values resonate with your audience, your customers are more likely to remain loyal to your brand and recommend it to others.

4. Identify the core offering.

Identify what your core offering is and how it impacts your customers. Knowing the transformation your product or service will bring to your audience is essential in determining how and what to communicate to your audience in your written messaging.

5. Develop brand messaging.

Consider what your core messages are and what type of language you want to use to share them with your audience. These core messages will repeat throughout your content, so make sure you’re choosing something that resonates with your audience and their needs, preferences, and values.

6. Share the brand story.

Your brand story is the journey of how your company got to where it is today. This story will walk your audience through the series of events that kickstarted your business and show how this narrative still drives your company’s mission even today.

Nearly everyone likes a good story. And your brand story is a way to establish the know-like-trust factor that turns one-time buyers into life-long fans.

7. Identify target audiences.

If you want to connect with your target audience, you need to know who they are and what they care about. Identify your target audience, and do the research to learn more about how you can connect with them through your branding and marketing.

8. Develop customer personas.

Whether you are a small business or a huge corporation, customer personas are an important part of understanding your target audience. And the better you understand who your target customers are and what they value and desire, the more likely you are to create a brand that appeals to them.

After you’ve researched your target audience, create fictional profiles of each type of target consumer. When you get started with the visual brand elements, keep these personas in mind as this is who you want the brand to appeal to.

9. Develop the brand voice.

Your brand voice is one of the key elements that help inform your brand identity. By creating the brand voice early on in the branding process, you can make sure that both the visual brand identity and the messaging align with one another and are working toward the same goal—speaking to your ideal customer.

10. Research the industry.

Before you begin to create a brand, you’ve got to understand its industry. For some industries, there are best practices that brands will follow when it comes to digital marketing. Industry research will also help you understand what’s already out there so that you can build a unique brand that differentiates itself from others.

11. Identify competitors.

As you do your industry research, you’ll come across competitors. Take note of their visual branding and messaging. What are they doing that you can learn from? And what are they doing that you’d like to differentiate your brand from? Competitor research is a great way to get branding inspiration —whether it’s things you want to emulate or stay away from.

12. Create a brand mood board.

Creating a mood board is a great way to begin visualizing the brand design. On the mood board, you’ll include images and other visual elements that reflect the brand. This can include photos of products, customers, and the team as well as images that visually communicate the feeling, lifestyle, and values of the brand.

The mood board is also a great place to start brainstorming color palettes, typography, and other brand elements like patterns, textures, and graphics. 

13. Choose the color palette.

Picking the right color palette is a vital step in developing a solid brand. The colors should align with the brand’s values and personality. When choosing brand colors, consider how you want the audience to feel when they experience the brand. Then, choose a palette that evokes these emotions while still fitting the brand’s personality.

14. Identify the fonts you want to use.

Just like brand colors, fonts can be used to reflect a brand’s values and personality. You want to choose fonts that not only fit with the brand but are also accessible. Choose bold fonts that are easy to read on all device screens.

15. Design the logo.

Logo design is an essential part of creating a cohesive and consistent brand. The logo is what helps customers identify a brand, so you want it to be memorable but also something that can stand the test of time. Whether it’s clean and simple or elaborate and refined, the logo will be used on a lot of marketing materials, so make sure you create something that really reflects the brand.

16. Shoot brand photos or curate stock photos.

Many brands will invest in professional photography for both headshots and more lifestyle or culture images. Professional photos enhance the customer experience online as they allow your audience to experience what makes your brand unique. 

For those who are not yet ready to invest in professional photography, there are stock images. Rather than using any old stock photo, you can curate stock photos that reflect the unique experience and positioning of your brand. 

17. Document brand guidelines.

Once you’ve got all the branding elements together, it’s time to document the brand guidelines in a style guide. The brand style guide will include a brand board that features visual elements like brand colors, fonts, logo, and alternative logos. It will also provide guidance on how and when to use these branding elements in your marketing efforts.

The brand guidelines keep everyone in the business on the same page when it comes to branding elements. This allows the business to build and sustain a cohesive brand identity that looks and feels the same no matter where the customer is interacting with the business.

18. Design the website.

Web design comes toward the end of the initial design process because it incorporates all of the other branding elements like messaging, logo, brand colors, typography, and images. The website often gives the first impression of the brand, so it’s important that the design aligns with the brand’s visual identity while remaining accessible and paying attention to SEO.

19. Create initial marketing materials.

Once you’ve nailed down all the different aspects of the brand and launched the website, it’s time to start creating any initial marketing materials you might need. This could be anything from social media posts and Facebook ads to letterhead and signage.

The only thing that may be harder than building an irresistible brand is making sure that brand is consistent across channels.

But when all of your branding elements and guidelines are in one place, it makes the process easier for everyone involved.

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