Foundational branding is the more strategic side of branding and business development. This is where the grunt work of branding happens but is not difficult. It’s best to start with these foundations of your brand before making the fun visual branding.
As much as your personal look makes you who you are (your fashion tastes, hairstyle, look, etc., visual appearance is only surface level. The deeper parts of who makes you include your personality, values, dreams, the part of you that make you unique. The branding concepts below are like that deeper self. These branding concepts help develop the structural roots or foundation of your business that support the visual part of your brand.
Business Identifiers: Your business name sometimes is the trickiest part of the process if you aren’t choosing your name or something similar. This is when asking friends and family for their opinion can be helpful to give you some insight from the consumer’s perspective.
- Personal Brand: When you choose your own name for your business (which many artists often do), that is a personal brand. That means that you (as a person) make up a large part of the brand. How you talk about your business, your language, your approach, and business skills all play a centerstage role. Think about social media and online influencers as personal brands.
- Business Brand: When you choose a separate name (business brand), you can play a less upfront or forward role in the branding. The company itself including the product takes the center stage.
Language and Tone: Can you drop the f-bomb when talking about your business and it totally fits? This is the language, tone, and personality of your brand. The words you use when talking about and writing about your business should align with what you do. This can be disguised and misinterpreted under the term “professionalism.” Instead of talking about your business in a professional way, speak to what you do authentically and on-brand. And sometimes that includes the f-bomb. Places where language and tone will come into play include: copy on your website, how you speak about your artwork & product, taglines you use, and more.
Values: Values are the core identity behind a business and make up the lifeline of your artistry. You cannot create a creative company without understanding what you stand for or why you make art.
A good place to start teasing out your values is by reading your past and current artist statements. A good short way to help begin figuring out your values is to ask: Who you are? What do you do? Why do you do it?
Evolution: Let your brand evolve as you grow, change directions and solidify your goals and audience. This means over time you may “rebrand” meaning update your logo, change your tagline, redesign your website. Branding isn’t a one-time thing.