Hard and Fast Rules of Branding

by Lizzie Sorensen of Lizzie Sorensen Brand Management

On Twitter I get a lot of inquiries regarding branding, marketing and PR. I’m happy to answer those, and one recently struck me as perfect for this blog. The question was “Are there any hard and fast DON’Ts when branding, or is everything up for grabs, it just depends on style and timing?”

I’m going to break it down in list format, as that seems to be the easiest. This is my opinion, but having worked with brands large and small for a decade now, please take my advice…

  1. Don’t be too trendy with your brand, website, packaging colors or your fonts.
  2. Don’t use more than two fonts unless you absolutely have to.
  3. Realize from the start that just because you like the way your branding looks, that doesn’t mean that the general buying public will.
  4. Make sure print resolution is always high quality on all outgoing materials.
  5. Don’t use these fonts:  Curlz or Comic Sans.
  6. Don’t even think about launching a company without a website. Even if it is just a simple page that links to where people can read your blog, buy your product and get a hold of you. These “people” are customers and media reps,  such as editors. You want them to get a hold of you, or else your business will fail.
  7. You’re going to have to get real, get serious, and give up your name and a real address. You cannot run a business without people knowing your full name (why be shady?), and you need to provide legitimate contact information, especially if you are e-commerce, even if it is a PO Box.
  8. Secure any domains, twitter handles, trademarks and DBA’s that are as close as possible to your business name the minute you have the idea.
  9. Keep a good mix of business and personal on the internet.  You are your brand; everything published can be read and spread.
  10. Evolve.  If something isn’t working, seek help, and evolve your brand, your product selection, services etc.  Don’t give up – seek help from a professional.
  • http://ohmyhandmade.com/members/sara/ Sara Tams

    Thanks, Lizzie! #5 is my favorite!

  • http://gracehester.typepad.com Grace Hester Designs

    Thanks for the easy-to-follow instructions in this “cheatsheet”. I agree with Sara on #5!

    If you’re looking for requests, I find that sometimes it’s difficult to explain the benefit of having a brand and consistent design standards, even as a small independent business. I think that an article on this from your perspective would be a great resource.

  • http://www.lizziesorensen.com lizziesorensen

    Grace – excellent quandry! Will think on it so watch for a post about it soon!

    Sara- women LOVE to use those fonts! Especially Ruby’s kindergarten teacher. Leave it in Kindergarten people!

  • http://www.mommacouture.com Rashmi Budhram

    Great advice Lizzie!

  • http://www.madebybedtimetales.blogspot.com/ Becka

    This is such helpful advice. Thank you for sharing it. Concerning #8, how does one go about securing domains, trademarks, and business names? I feel so lost in such a big sea.

  • http://www.whiskergraphics.com Whitney @ Whisker Graphics

    Thanks for the tips! Funny how fonts can be a hot button! Love #7 – It can be scary putting your name out there, but the more you do it the easier it gets.

  • http://honey-bunch.com nicole

    Excellent advice – especially font usage. So easy to get overly creative!

  • http://www.janesays.etsy.com April Harris (JaneSays)

    I too would like to know more about the best way to secure domain names and such.

    Some really good pointers here…thanks.

  • http://lovelylittlenest.blogspot.com Natalien

    Great tips! Thank you 🙂

  • http://www.daisyscanada.blogspot.com Krystle L

    Great points! Thank you!

  • http://www.thegiftcloset.blogspot.com Heather

    Thanks for the tips. Makes me wonder if I need to freshen up my site look. 😉

  • http://baby-boudoir.com claire gale

    great advice! i love these lists to work through point by point, so good when you’re starting out. thanks

  • Kimberly O

    Concise, clear and concrete! Great suggestions / guidelines! Traditional and classy have lasted the test of time for a reason!!

  • http://www.lizziesorensen.com lizziesorensen

    For any questions that you have about points made in the article feel free to contact me direct! thx!

  • http://www.greencard.etsy.com Katherine Kelly

    I hear “branding” all the time. I feel I know what others are talking about when used in context – however – any clear definitions of “branding?” Cheers!

  • Maggie

    Great advice! Especially about fonts : )

  • http://www.freshpaperie.blogspot.com Simone

    Thanks for #5 – that’s a huge pet peeve of mine! It’s not cute! 🙂