130 - The Secrets of Branding on a Budget with Kasia Johnson

podcast | Dec 04, 2017

Kasia Johnson of Merge Forward, helps some of today's biggest brands with their branding and marketing.  We've had several conversations about branding, and what it really means for businesses.  Yes, it's so much more than a logo, however, it also doesn't need to be the extensive crazy expensive thing that we all think of when we think of companies like Apple.  Even if you're a solo shop, there are small things you can do now that make a huge difference in how your business is perceived by the world.

What's your best description of what branding your business even is?  It's visual storytelling and visually telling what your company is.  It's such an important aspect too because it's the first thing that clients see and how they identify with your company.  People don't realize that our brains process something sixty thousand times faster anything that's visual.  So a lot of buying decisions are made on what you see first.

Is branding just a logo and why or why not?  Branding can be the logo, but it's just the start.  Branding is the logo, but it needs to be used in the right elements, and it's being used in several different types of formats.   It's also the color and fonts that go with it or even the images that go with it.

Branding 101, you're starting a business and you realize it's a bit of a cluster.  Where do you begin in putting together a cohesive look?  Kasia suggests to start with something simple.  Too many people try to get way too creative and do something different, and what we want is alignment.  Let's say you have a logo, but you also want to have a tag line that people can identify with.  You want to make sure that logo, tagline, and colors, and maybe even an image are all things that people can identify with.  You want to make sure that goes on every single social media channel.

People are so busy nowadays with so little attention span that we can't process when one thing looks different on one channel versus another.  So the more aligned you are, the more I connect all those pieces, like the Facebook, the Instagram, etc.

Why do you think people overlook it?  Kasia thinks they're probably just trying too hard and trying to invent something new for every single page versus making it simple across all pages.

What are some simple tips and tricks that you can do?  Watch how many fonts you use.  Use only two families of fonts.  Don't go crazy with any more, and make sure you put together a guide for anyone else putting together your social media.  Also, brand everything you put out there with your logo.  Look at your colors and make sure they fit with your brand and keep those colors down to two or three of them.

What are some branding don't's, some things you see people doing that are a no-no?  Kasia feels not enough people put enough thought into branding, it's something they overlook, and yet it's the first thing people see.  Make sure your marketing is consistent and simple.  Also, make sure you have a website, and one that's current and not 5 - 10 years old.   Don't overlook personal branding. If you're spending a ton of money on your business side, but your personal profiles, etc lack, that doesn't look good.

Many people also let emotions drive their branding.  For example, just because you love a color doesn't mean that's the color that should be representing your brand.  So use branding that actually works with your business, not just something you love.

How do you know then what color is right for you?  Kasia suggests going out and researching other companies to see what they're doing.  Look at what others in your industry are doing.  Also, realize that colors are used for a reason for certain things.  So make sure you play with the psychology of colors too.

For the personal branding tip, how much of your business should be you versus your business?  It's a hard one because everyone is so human to human, and with social media you want your business to be a bit transparent.  It can be a way to help boost your brand.  However, if you're not comfortable with that, there's a way where you can highlight your business versus you, but using it a way to highlight your employees or little things like that.

You can have brand ambassadors, just be careful that you create guidelines for them.  Understand that people love stories, and love to watch all of those things unfold.

I love the thought of guidelines.  What are some tips and tricks for setting those?  It's about thinking about who you are as a company, and what kind of voice you would like to show.  Make sure you set some guidelines with the type of content you would like to post and make sure your ambassadors align with your target market.

Any other tips and tricks when it comes to setting the branding stage? Make sure you refresh and updating it every few years.  You should also make sure you have a social presence even if you don't feel you sell a lot on the website and be sure to utilize testimonials on your website.

For rebranding, how much is too much?  How often should you do it, if you're trying to get people to remember your brand?  You can do subtle things like keeping the same colors.  You can also promote that a change is coming so people can get excited about it, and aren't surprised when they go to your site one day, and it's all different.

If you go through a rebranding, how much of the previous stuff do you worry about changing?  Kasia suggests reskinning, but keeping the past stuff as is so you're not messing with the things that people that already know.

Any other last tricks?  Yes, branding doesn't have to be expensive or extravagant, but you do need to be careful about who you hire for your branding.  Get testimonials, not just someone's friend or family member who does websites.  It's important that it is someone who gets your brand and asks you the right questions to help you relay the right message.

You can find more about Kasia at MergeForward.com and email at [email protected]

More About Kasia:   Kasia is an accomplished and reputable out-of-the-box thinker with 14 years experience in creative execution and team management from large corporations to boutique firms. She is an expert at building authentic client relationships and knows how to deliver with dedication. She is a creative and driven problem solver with a proven track record of bringing new light to projects with strong focus on interactive design, social media strategies, and campaign implementation.

She is the founder of Merge Forward, a Digital Marketing Agency located in Dallas, and a Polish-born Texan with an entrepreneurial spirit who enjoys traveling for creative inspiration.

Stay connected with news and updates!

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.
Don't worry, your information will not be shared.


50% Complete

Two Step

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua.