Branding 101: Developing Your Brand and Impact

There was a popular board game that came out years ago with the premise of guessing the different brands we all see advertised everywhere. It was a prime example of the importance of branding! 
If you were to hear the brand Nike you might associate that brand with a check mark. Coca cola with a red can and so on. We are loyal to brands! You may wear clothing by specific labels, eat food by certain companies and so on. 
Brands are important and so is yours! But, I'm just selling cards you may reason. Your business is more than your product it represents you! If your end goal is to grow your business you need to focus on your brand so lets get started with five tips to help you along the way.

Tip 1: Come up with a name that fits what you make.

Our name Unique Time' Designs fits our brand. The Time' in our name means rare, unique or valuable like a diamond. Prior to starting my business I was in Bible college. I have always loved encouraging people especially through handmade gifts. It's fun to give and make people feel special. I was taking Greek(no Greek puns please!) and went to my professor over my business idea. I wanted people to feel treasured. That's when he told me about the word "time' " It was perfect! How many of us struggle with loving ourselves the way God does? We place value on so many things yet most of it is nothing compared to our value as human beings. We are more precious than the most precious diamond! It's why we make unique items, why we make only one. Everything we do comes back to this point. Now that's a thought. Come up with something that will resonate with your customers. 

Tip 2: Get a logo but don't just stop with a logo/brands colors.

This will be on your marketing materials, social media sites and represent you. What mood do you want to convey to your customers? Research color meanings. It's more than fun fonts it makes a statement. If you need help making your logo check out graphic designers on (we don't believe in affiliates - just pass on what we have tried) or ask your friends locally. My friend Justin made mine! Notice the subtle diamonds :) 

Tip 3: Create some type of marketing material

I have done this over my computer but don't love the print quality. I use Vistaprint for everything. Again no affiliates but their customer service blows me away! One week before a craft show I realized every single bit of my marketing material had a massive spelling error. I had just spent over $100 to print what I needed and now it'd be that much and more to get it fixed. I cringed.  I contacted Vistaprint not only did they NOT charge me but they rush shipped everything at their expense even though it was my fault! Now that spoke volumes.
So what do I order from Vistaprint? Any of my packaging inserts. Use their post card options to create coupons, tell people more about your business. How you make things and so on. 
I have also purchased stickers, a banner with my logo, business cards and trifolds. They have tons of options and constantly have coupons. 
I don't like the idea of more paper waste what can I do?
Reuse packaging, find more sustainable vendors offering recycled products or have people take photos of your business information. Huh? Yes! A very popular option now at craft fairs. Print all your business information and frame it. Then encourage your customers to snap a photo of it!

Tip 4: Give out brand appropriate gifts. 

What's the point of marketing materials? To help you remember the brand right? So naturally the materials should be things that connect the gift to the company. But it's rarely the case. In fact the gifts often end up in drawers ignored. I rarely see branding on any of what I have received either! Not only does it not do what it was intended for it wastes money and resources.
I didn't want this to be the result of my hard earned money and time and I don't want it to be for yours either. When I was thinking about my brand I looked absolutely everywhere for something I could give out that would serve as a thank you gift but be applicable to whatever I made. I couldn't find anything "diamond" themed that wasn't cheesy or absolutely irrelevant. So I created my own. One of my best sellers are my personalized towels. I found a mold and a few courses later I've learned the basics of soap making. My diamond soaps are such a simple gesture of thanks that repeatedly get noticed! For my dresses I needed something a little girl would enjoy. So naturally my five year old had input! Treats of course mom, kids like treats!  I found a local cookie decorator who now makes custom cookies for each of my custom dress orders all in the shape of... you guessed it, Diamonds!
I put this concept into practice at a business networking event a few years ago. Everyone gives you their business card, maybe a small gift but I wanted to stand out. To be remembered if you will. So I made tons of soap and attached them to each business card. As people learned about my vision I gave them my card and a soap. Towards the end of the day a lady I had met previously approached me again. She said you know out of all the business cards and people I met today, yours was what I remembered (I was jumping for joy! Mission accomplished!)  There is something so clever and simple about this little soap but man it absolutely is brilliant and I'll use it and remember your story.

Tip 5: Finally, leave your customers with a feeling.

I want my customers to feel loved and cherished. I know there are thousands of options out there and far better seamstresses, but shopping with me should be an experience. I want to have my customers leave feeling like they visited with an old friend not a stranger. To me this business is much bigger than exchanging money for a good or service. I'm investing in people. I want my customers to know I am available to pray for them, I want them to find encouragement and hope. 

I started Unique Time Designs when bullying and suicide were all over the news. I was doing animal therapy and just felt like there had to be more. I know there are so many diverse beliefs and truthfully misconceptions regarding faith in God but for me it is the one hope that has gotten me through some of those challenges I didn't think I'd make it out of. I believe people need hope, need to know they are cherished, valued and have a purpose in this world. If my creativity can generate hope in someone's heart or bring a smile to their face it's all worth it! What feelings do you want to be remembered for?

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