5 V's you need to build an irresistible brand.
When we say the word “branding”, things like logos, color palettes, and font choices come to mind. But we all know that a brand is much more than just the visuals.
"A brand is a set of expectations, memories, stories, and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer's decision to choose one service [or product] over another." 一Seth Godin
Branding is how the outside world perceives and experiences your business.
The takeaway here is that branding goes so much deeper than your visual brand collateral. Branding includes these visual elements, but also transcends them by incorporating the intangible – the feelings, emotions, and experience they evoke in your audience.
According to Planoly: Resonating at an emotional and instinctual level, a powerful brand communicates your values subconsciously, resonating directly with your dream clients, and attracting the right audience.
So how do you evoke this intangible magic? By laying a solid foundation with the Building Blocks of Branding - AKA The 5 V's.
Even as a brand designer, I know that the visuals must come after the deep work of brand discovery. Good branding takes time because it forces you to do the hard work of getting to the core of your WHY and what makes your business uniquely YOU.
Without the building blocks of branding, you won’t have a clear direction for the visual representation of your brand. So let’s get into them.
The 5 Building Blocks of Branding, aka the 5 V's
your lightbulb moment... 💡
Think of where you were when you had that lightbulb moment about starting or launching your business…
- What was the driving motivation?
- Who did you want to help, and why?
- What difference did you want to make in peoples' lives?
- What was your mission?
Your VISION should clearly identify the intent and purpose behind your business. It should also appeal to and inspire your audience, giving them an idea of how your offerings can improve their lives.
Your VISION will give you focus for the future and a mission to drive toward. It gives your brand meaning and purpose beyond just making a profit. Your VISION is foundational to your brand.
people don't just buy the what -- they buy the why.
People want to invest in companies that stand for something.
VALUES show integrity and align with the beliefs of your ideal clients, while also differentiating you from other brands.
VALUES matter because they show that there is an actual human behind the brand. And at the end of the day, people want to do business with other people.
According to Sprout Social: "More than three quarters of consumers (76%) say they would buy from a brand they feel connected to over a competitor."
- What ideals, morals, or ethics do you firmly believe in?
- What causes are close to your heart?
- What issues are you passionate about?
- What are the values you require your team members to uphold?
Communicating your *authentic* VALUES connects with your audience on a deeper level, but it can also lead to niching down, since others that don’t uphold your same values may be naturally filtered out from your following. (Which is exactly the result we’re looking for.)
Sharing your VISION and VALUES builds connection. Your audience will feel your passion, relate to your mission, and connect with your story.
it's not just what you say, but how you say it.
VOICE helps give your brand a personality. It’s the impression your followers get from the tone of your copy—from captions, to web text, to emails, and more. It’s also reflective of the person or people behind the brand.
So, how does your brand "talk" to prospective clients?
- Are you fun and casual with slang and abbreviations, or do you stick to more serious and professional language?
- Are you boisterous and expressive with lots of emojis and exclamations!!!, or more cool, calm, and collected?
- Do you have certain words or phrases we’d catch you saying all the time, or ones you’d never be caught dead saying?
- Do you swear or keep it clean?
My favorite piece of copywriting advice is to “write how you talk.” So give these questions some thought and zero in on your brand’s communication style.
From there, stay true to that distinct voice you’ve pinpointed and carry it through all of your brand communications. Consistency is key.
All the discovery work to discover your WHY can’t just live in your head—it needs to be communicated to count! So shout out your superpowers, tell your story, speak up on matters you’re passionate about, and live out your brand’s values.
Just like an actual personality, your brand VOICE makes you stand out with a distinct point of view, values, beliefs, opinions, and ideas.
visually represent the essence of your brand
This is the fun part.
VISUALS are created only after the discovery process, and should convey and encompass the feelings, stories, values, and vision you’ve identified behind your brand.
VISUALS are critical because our brains are hardwired for visual content—processing images 60,000 times faster than text and remembering visuals over text with much more ease and clarity.
At the very least, your visual brand identity should include…
- Color Palette
- Professional Photography (pro tip: show your face!)
…and be strategically designed to align with the entire spirit of your brand.
There’s a LOT I could go into about visuals, but at the end of the day here’s the most important thing:
Regardless of what you choose for your logo, color palette, or ideal client, branding your business will only work if you use the same elements over and over and over again.
You might get bored of it, but I promise you – when someone repeatedly sees your uniquely-recognizable brand visuals and messaging, over time you'll have "branded" your business into their psyche.
And that, my friends, is how you build that all-important know / like / trust factor.
that magic that gives your followers alllll the feels.
Most designers stop at the 4 V’s of branding, but I’ve added a 5th V to really tie everything together. #extralikethat
Branding backed by strategy becomes an entire VIBE. A set of cohesive visuals and messaging in alignment with your brand’s core values and personality. An arsenal of relationship-building assets that convey your morals and mission on a subconscious and extremely memorable level. It’s powerful stuff!
Once you have the pillars of branding squared away…
…you can move forward with a consistent VIBE in your marketing. Because at the end of the day, vibing with your ideal clients is really what branding is all about.