eCommerce Lifestyle
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What’s Your Style?

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Anton shares how to create a Branding Deck and Style Guide for your business to make sure you have consistency as you grow your team.

 

Here's what I cover :


  • Branding Deck
  • We recently had our Quarterly Meeting and planned for the next Quarter.
  • We realized we got away from our style guide and went over where we got off track and goals to get back to our guide.
  • It's important that you know what your brand is and even if you have freelancers, the style guide will be able to show them who you are and stay close to your brand.
  • ​You should have this guide built even when it is just you. When you grow, it'll already be done. 
  • Transcripts

    Hey, what's up everybody? Anton Kraly here from eCommercelifestyle.com and welcome to another episode of the eCommerce Lifestyle Podcast. I am recording this episode today from back at my Home Office that's in North Carolina and I'm recording this one on the Monday after we just wrapped up our offsite team meeting that we do every quarter. So if you've been listening to the podcast for the past year or so, you've probably heard me do similar episodes to this where I go through different things that we covered at our quarterly meetings and what we do at them, by the way, is we just get our team together, at least our team that's located in the states, and we will go to a different location. We meet up, we get a conference room for three to four days and we go through numbers from the previous quarter. We go through how we performed, if we did better than we thought or worse than we thought.

    We look at what we were actually trying to achieve and then we make sure that we have a plan in place to make sure we either get back on track or we keep doing more of what worked if we blew our goals out of the water. So again, we just wrapped that up. We covered a lot. I started doing these short little videos on our Facebook page Facebook.com/dropshiplifestyle. And they're also on our Instagram at just @dropshiplifestyle on Instagram where you can see little quick takeaways. But I'll probably do a couple episodes over the next couple of weeks or something where I'm talking about some of the bigger takeaway is that I think are applicable to everybody's business and that don't get deep into the weeds of things that are two private to share about our own businesses.

    But what I wanted to talk about today is something that came up when we were reviewing our numbers and that was our brand styling. And what we were looking at is our social posts. So we have different KPIs for every part of the business, different key performance indicators. And when we were going through our social ones, we were trying to figure out, what posts works the best, meaning got the most engagement, got the most reach, got the most results, and which ones didn't.

    And as we were looking through kind of our history of our posts, we realized that we had gotten way off what our style actually is. And I'll go through some of what the style is. But what I want you to take away from this episode by the time we wrap it up is the fact that, one, you should have what we call a branding deck and, two, that everybody on your team and every contractor you hire and every freelancer you work with should have this.

    And every time somebody is creating a piece of custom imagery for your website or for social or for an email and everybody that's going to your website to make a new blog post or to update a product page or whatever it is, they should have a copy of this because what happens and what happened to us,

    we even have this, right? We have a branding guide. As you bring on more and more people to your team, including some freelancers, things get off track and as we saw it really quick and you don't want that to happen because the goal of having this is so that somebody, if they're on your Facebook page or your Instagram or your YouTube or your Pinterest or they're on your about us page on your website, then they're on a product page. Then they're on a collection page. Then they're on a blog post.

    No matter where they are, they should be able to instantly know that they're on the same website and what happens when people aren't working off the same type of constraints, right? In your your branding deck. Then things stop matching and it you might as well be going from one of your competitor's Facebook pages to your website or you might as well be on a totally different website's about us page because the type of images you use there don't match your homepage. And when things like that happen, it causes confusion, it causes distraction, it gets your business out of alignment and it's something you just don't want it to happen. So this is really easy to set up. It's no more than a couple hours work and I promise you, as you grow your team, as you bring more people on, as you hire out different roles for even freelance, like one-off gigs, this will help make sure everything stays on point.

    So the things that we'll just cover quickly in this podcast are having a brand persona, your brand promise, your mission statement, the visuals, your logo, your brand style, and branding guidelines.

    Side note on all of this also: We also made a template deck that you can download for this if you want. And it's in Google slides, you can go into it and just edit it. If you want to get that, go to ecommercelifestyle.com, click on episodes and then this episode is going to be called, I think it's going to called "What's Your Style?" So go to that episode and you'll be able to get the deck under that. So the first thing that you should have on this deck is your brand persona, right? And this is the different values and attributes that embody your brand. So this is something like if it was a personality, right? What would it be?

    And that could be something like, "We're funny." Right? We want to insert comedy everywhere we can. Again, on our homepage, on our about us page, on social. Or maybe it's something that it's super professional, right? What type of words are you using and what type of words should your social person be using? Should they be using hashtags that are maybe ... What's the right way to say it? Maybe that are a little PG-13 or R rated or do you want to keep everything just super, super professional and clean? And again, these are things that people would know and in this scenario, these are things that people would need to know if they're writing copy for you, if they're running social for you. So again, those are things that you want to include in the brand persona. Even things like what you should be talking about, things you shouldn't talk about, opinions on certain things in your industry, that could all be there.

    So your brand's promise, that's the next part. This is where you should have this literally in your branding deck where it says something like, "We love to help" whoever your audience is and why they truly matter to you and what you want to help them with, right? So if you are selling something, let's just say you're selling chandeliers, right? Like the example I give.

    Maybe you say, "We love to help interior designers because we want the easiest way for every interior designer to find the perfect chandelier for their client's home." Or, "We want them to find it as simply as possible for the best price. Whatever that is, you should have that promise, that thing in your brand deck as well."

    That way, again, when somebody is coming into your company, even for one project, they can see that and they can instantly understand what you're all about and why your business does what it does. Again, that will help them when it comes to copy, literally putting words on paper, and when it comes to imagery that represents that.

    The next thing you should have in your branding deck is your mission statement. Pretty self explanatory, but you want your team and your contractors to know what your mission statement is.

    Now the next thing, right? The visual aspects of your brand. This is where we got off track because again, not everybody that we brought onto the team had this. But here you want to have all of the colors that align with your brand. So let's just say you're doing something in the surfboard industry, right? You're selling water sports stuff.

    Well, maybe you want a navy blue, a marine green, a sea foam color, a cloud white, whatever those colors are, those colors should be identified in this deck. So the person that you hire to make you a new logo doesn't make it red and orange, right? You want it to match the colors that are going to be seen throughout your website, throughout social. So again, people know where they are.

    Again, what emotions and symbolism should your visuals portray? So if you're all about having fun and surfing and you're going for that endless summer vibe, then you should have actual images of those posters and different art from that genre in your brand deck so people can see that when they're working on your stuff and be like, "Oh, this is what we're going for."

    If they don't have that, they might get a clip art picture of a guy in a surfboard that looks like it's from Windows in 1995. So you want to have those visuals there. If there's any other logos and other art you like online that matches your brand, you should have those examples there as well.

    Now logo, again, pretty self explanatory. You want to have your logo in your branding deck so that your team can use it. But you don't want to just have your logo, right? You want to have different versions, so you want to have your logo in a compressed format for the web, so something that's 72 dots per inch. Whatever pixels you want it. But tiny so it's not gonna slow down sites when people use it. You want to have your logo as a PNG file so it has a transparent background, you want to have a white version of it, as a PNG so people can use that if they're putting it on a colored background. You want to have, for both your colored and your uncolored, a massive size that's three hundreds dots per inch in case you're ever using it for print media. All of those different variations of your logo should just be in one spot. They should be in this deck.

    So again, whether you hire somebody to make a flyer for your company or a tee shirt or a social media post, they can just pull that, put it on, boom, you are good to go. So make sure you have that.

    The other things that we'll just briefly hit on is brand style. So here, this is where you want to talk about fonts. This is another big thing. You should have however many fonts you're going to use, I think less is more, but whatever fonts you're going to use should be there. They should be listed, you should have them broken down by what color they should be and you should go as far as the font size and weight. So what do I mean, right? Let's just say for your H1 tags, so H1 being the main thing, the header.

    What size should it be? Is it 44 pixels? Is it bold? Is it semi bold? What's the font name? Is it black? Like color code Hex 0000? Or is it slightly lacking gray? Whatever that is, that that should be clear. What about your H2 tag? What about your paragraph tags? What about things like quotes? So all of that you want to have, again, laid out so there was no guessing. So that when somebody goes and makes a new blog post on your store's blog, they're not just choosing a font and choosing Open Sans because they like Open Sans when it should really be Arial or something, right? So you want to be super, super clear with that.

    Other things. Main color for your website, color for buttons, font for buttons, size for buttons, secondary colors, accent colors. And you want to go as deep as having it where you actually have the color codes. Again, they're called those hex color codes. Those six digits that's Alphanumeric. But whatever they are, people should be able just to use that so they can get the work done. Have it stay on point.

    So one other thing that I'll give you that we have in the branding deck that you could download, again, go to eCommercelifestyle.com, click on episodes and then go to the episode called, "What's Your Style?" You could download this. But you want to have the images that you want to use, right? So in your branding guidelines section, again, you'll be able to see this when you download it, but you want to have actual images that are already on your website and how you want them to look.

    So let's just say there are images of people, right? If you have actual human faces and humans using products, then you should say that, cause that's not enough. Let's say you sell sofas, right? If you just say, "I sell sofas." And you're writing an article about how to choose the perfect sofa for a modern living room in a New York condo, whatever it is, if you just send that to a writer and you tell them to get images, they're going to find that some photos of sofas.

    But if in your branding deck, in the style section, you have photos of people sitting on sofas and you have a note that says "We use photos of people actually using these things." Then your photos will have people sitting in them. Right? It won't just be random stock images. And sometimes for us as the business owners, and especially in the beginning when it's us doing all of this, it just feels like, "Oh yeah, of course it's going to be somebody on the sofa because I'm the one that's doing all this."

    But again, the goal is always to grow. The goal is always to bring people onto your team. So that's why you want to make sure that this is built even when it is just you. That way when that first person comes on, you're not doing double work 'cause double work is something that every company falls into and as the name implies, it's a waste of time.

    So yeah, I think the best thing that everybody could do, again if you don't have one of these created already, would be to go to ecommercelifestyle.com, click on episodes, this one's called, "What's Your Style?" Click. I'll have a link in the notes section. By the way, also, we have all of the transcripts from every previous episode.

    And as I've been doing, I just want to give a quick shout out and a thank you for our newest five star review on iTunes. You guys know I love this, but this is from Composer1853, he said "For the aspiring eCommerce professional, anyone who is interested in making a living through eCommerce should give this a listen." So appreciate that. Thank you, Composer. Appreciate the the five stars. Goes a long way, helps the message spread, helps more people find out about the podcast.

    So yeah. If anybody hasn't left the podcast yet and you're getting value, I would really appreciate it if you could hop over to iTunes, go to eCommerce Lifestyle, leave a quick review. It means a lot. And if you're not subscribed yet, the podcast is literally on every player that I think has any type of audience at all. So just go to your podcast player search eCommerce Lifestyle with Anton Kraly. Click subscribe, you'll get notifications every time I publish a new episode right here. By the way, if you're new here and you think like, "I don't even understand what you're talking about, Anton. This is, this is a lot. I thought I was going to Just sell some stuff online."

    Listen, what I want you to do if you're that person is go to dropshiplifestyle.com/webinar. Again, dropshiplifestyle.com/webinar. I have a free training there, about two hours long, going deep into how to get started with building a highly profitable semi automated store. And of course once we get into it, I take you through this whole process in detail. So hope you found this useful, guys. I'm going to get to our team meeting that's about to start. Make sure we're on track, make sure our branding deck and style guide is updated, and I will talk to you all in the next episode of the eCommerce Lifestyle podcast. See you, everybody.

  • Anton Kraly says:

    Creating your own style guide may seem like a tedious project but trust me, it’s worth it!

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