Sometimes getting inspired for your brand happens really easily to some people – for others, it’s a bit of a challenge. But one thing remains the same – if you’re an entrepreneur or someone who is going through a brand re-do – you’ll need that brand development to come from somewhere and no matter who you hire, how expensive or talented they are – you need to be clear on the direction of your brand for them to even start getting into your head to pull from the ideas.
One of the things I ask my clients to do when we’re in the initial stages of developing their target customer – is to get inspired and share that inspiration with me. I take them through the following process to jump start their inspirations:
Defining your target audience/ideal customer
The easiest way to create inspiration for a new brand (or rebrand) is to really get clear on who the brand will be serving. Who do you want looking at the brand and going yes, yes and more yes to purchasing your products or services? You can define your customer by literally creating a persona of the person. Who are they? Gender? Age? What is happening in their life that they need your product and service? And probably the most important question: What problem are you solving for them? How do you solve it better than anyone else?
After answering these questions, does something spark for you? Do you get a bit inspired on the type of person you want to be working with or selling to?
Use Key Words to Define your Customer
After answering the questions above, you may see similar words coming up in the answers, or feelings, or emotions. Using those inspirations, pull out some key words that you find are starting to represent your brand or who your brand represents. Use the following prompts to help you.
Emotions + Problems
Does your customer need help juggling work and home life balance? Is he/she struggling to climb to career ladder? Here’s where you’d use the answers you came up with for the what’s happening in their life and look at what you’ve answered. Do they have fear in suppressing their progress? Are they excited? Make a brain map of the types of emotions they may be going through: happy, motivated, excited, scared, transitioning, etc. Make it as thorough as you’d like, and then group the words on similarity until you get five really strong, representational words for you.
These are the emotions they are feeling that leads them to seek you out to help solve their problem.
Emotions + Solutions
Similarly, you’ll do the following with words that will represent the solution you’ll be providing to them by using your product and service. Brainstorm and map out as many as you can (toot your own horn!) and then narrow them down by grouping the similar ones, and then choosing the strongest word and the one that represents you the most.
These are the emotions you want them to feel because they’ve used your service.
Finding Other Brand Inspiration from Websites
Now that you’ve got your core brand words (at this point – this can change!) you’ll want to use the power of the internet to start collecting your thoughts, emotions and feelings with the brand. List out a few favourite websites you have thought were beautiful or really spoke to you in the past. The websites do not have to have anything to do with your industry.
While on their website, really look at why it is resonating with you. Try to think about the different reasons why you’re attracted to a particular item. Can you easily identify who they’re ideal customer is? Is it you? Identify the ways that they’re accomplishing that by the words that they use in their copy, the types of images (are they using people or items in the images), the colours they’re using on the website, the fonts, etc. Note everything you LOVE about the website and why you’re liking it. The more thoroughly you can identify it for others, the easier it will be when working on your brand with your stylist and designer.
Knowing the Elements you Don’t Want (and Why)
Knowing what elements of a website you don’t feel fit is just as important as the ones you do want. This will pull on the fact that you’re unique and offering a unique service. You are different and the elements of other websites you don’t think resonate with you will help determine how to bundle up your difference to your ideal customer!
The why is super important here. Try not to write: I hate the red colour on this website because I hate red. Dig deeper. Maybe it’s because red represents anger to you, or reminds you of anger, and you’re on a website that is selling calming candles. Put some thought behind your ideas and turn it into constructive criticism. Play the game – like you’ll be sharing this helpful information with that business’ owner.
Pinterest for Brand Inspiration
The fun part! Everyone loves hanging out on Pinterest (even though sometimes it can be for hours!) because it’s such a great tool for inspiration. It’s such a great tool for focusing your ideas in one place and gathering inspiration for you, as you move along the development of your brand process – and for your stylist and designer. Start a secret board and then start pinning. Take the 10 words you’ve identified above, and start pairing them with the lifestyle of the persona you’d created. See what comes up and when you see an image pop up that speaks to you – pin it!
Don’t hold back – this is just an inspiration board and nothing is wrong, nothing is right and you’re not going to be tied to anything hear. Keep in mind – this is the inspiration you want to keep with you while you’re on the brand journey. If you’re ever stuck with an idea, or offering – you want to be creating an inspiration board that you can look at whenever you want to bring you back to the main focus of your brand.
As you’re inspired, keep going off the pictures you’re finding. Try and always ask yourself if the image you see matches the words, emotions, feelings of the persona you mapped out.
Putting it All Together for your Designer
The more thorough you are in inspiring yourself, the more thorough and confident you’ll be when your brand stylist asks you similar questions as above as they are attempting to get in your head and brand. Any designer will tell you that the clearer the direction of the brand is, the clearer the answers given by the brand owner – the easier the liked-designs will flow. That’s what it’s all about – right – YOU loving the design for your brand.
Creating an Offline Vision Board of Inspiration
Taking your inspiration board offline can be a great tool to ensure your brand is always on your mind. It can also help develop your ideal customer even further when you’re going to be looking through magazines, books, newspapers and print outs to create the best inspiration board to hang in your office to view at leisure.
This is optional, but I always highly recommend it to ensure that you:
Get focused on your brand whenever you’re working on it.
There will always be times you may feel a little discouraged, overwhelmed or challenged – but having an inspiration board near your reach – you can be just the kick in the butt you need to get back on track and moving towards your ultimate goals (which should be clearly laid out on your board!!)
Have an Inspiration Board you want to Share?
Share the link below to your Pinterest board (if public) and if not, take a screenshot of some favourites you’ve put in there and share that one. Love to see what you’re coming up with!