Branding, Marketing

How to Pull Off a Cohesive Brand without Being a Copycat

Guest Post by: Nicholette von Reiche, Nicholette Styles

You don't have to be born with a camera in your hand like Emylee, or have a wicked eye for design like Abagail, to create a gorgeous, unique brand like Think Creative Collective.

And, although there’s nothing quite like the original, there is a straightforward formula that helps their brand stand out. A formula that gets their ideal audience to take notice and click on their images, instead of mindlessly scrolling through their feeds.

It’s all about creating a consistent and cohesive brand, one that’s going to gain you all the right followers. It’s a skill the TCC girls have totally mastered, and pull off seamlessly day after day. It’s an amazingly simple strategy that is totally doable (yep, even for you and your biz!)

So, let’s learn about their secret (or not so secret) ways.

You don't have to be born with a camera in your hand like Emylee, or have a wicked eye for design like Abagail, to create a gorgeous, unique brand like Think Creative Collective. And, although there’s nothing quite like the original, there is a straightforward formula that helps their brand stand out. A formula that gets their ideal audience to take notice and click on their images, instead of mindlessly scrolling through their feeds. It’s all about creating a consistent and cohesive brand, one that’s going to gain you all the right followers. It’s a skill the TCC girls have totally mastered, and pull off seamlessly day after day. It’s an amazingly simple strategy that is totally doable (yep, even for you and your biz!) | Think Creative Collective

1. Work your branding elements

Know the vibe you want to achieve and select your colors and fonts accordingly.

The ladies of TCC are all about creating a massive shift in the entrepreneurial world, promoting a supportive community, ease, and empowerment. Their “why” is an open book and rests firmly at the heart of their brand, and they work it strategically and openly through every channel they use (read more here.)

Because of this clarity,  they know exactly what feelings they want to project and promote (friendly, encouraging, informative), and can zero-in on their visual brand accordingly.

From there, it’s all about simplicity and consistency: picking and sticking to two(ish) fonts, and selecting the perfect brand colors to use time and again.  A reliable brand = a recognizable brand = a brand you like, know and trust.

Consistency is the key to standing out online. Sounds too simple, doesn’t it? Maybe even counterintuitive? But, seeing the same color palette and the same fonts over and over works some magic and trains your target audience to associate those visuals with your biz.  So even though they scroll through hundreds of images every day, when one of your graphics pop up, your ideal clients will be saying "I know who that is!"

If you want to share in style, like the TCC ladies, remain mindful of consistency within your brand. Create and maintain a standard for your biz that you’re proud to stand behind, then make like Ol’ Faithful and use your brand elements regularly and reliably everywhere you share. Consistency isn’t boring, it’s smart.

2.  Use high quality images

If you’ve spent any time with these two savvy chicks, you’ll know they use beautifully styled images that effortlessly capture (and hold) their tribe’s attention.

With so much content hitting people from all sides (seriously, it’s a jungle out there), it’s more important than ever to keep your visual standards high. Beautiful images lend your biz extra credibility, and show how much care you take in every aspect of your work. The photos you use are a direct reflection of your brand, so don’t settle for pics that are dimly lit or cluttered, or flat out boring.

Think about it: we (especially the ladies) are visual beings, and if we want to create meaningful connections with our audience (and grow our biz),  then using images well is an absolute must.

So, if you can’t take your own images, what can do you do? 

  • Find the right style of images

Not everybody has the eye, the skill set, or the time to photograph their own images. Stop beating yourself up about your shaky camera hand (that leaves your pics looking like the Blair Witch Project got an iphone) and get busy working on the next best thing: finding high quality stock images that will complement your brand. Yes, it’s an investment, but with that little bit of money up front, you’ll be able to curate a beautiful, reliable source of photos you can use to style your brand consistently. Not to mention the valuable time spent suffering sweats over terms like “aperture” and “white balance” (um, what?) that it will free up to do other, more important business things.

My fave stock photo go-to’s? Bloguettes, Haute Chocolate and Ivorymix.

  • Know how to use your images

    Get ting your visuals to match your vision takes time. A great way to start, though, is by looking for images that transmit the vibe of your brand. You’ll want to focus on photos that pick up on your branding colors, images that have one filter, and those that maintain a consistent feel.

Think about your ideal client, and what kind of images she’ll be attracted to and will connect with. Is she a 20-something single lady who loves yorkies, Ikea furniture, and colorful planners? Or is she a 30-something busy mom who digs succulents and monochromatic design schemes? Zeroing in on what aesthetic resonates with your dream audience will make it so much easier to choose photos that reflect (and attract) their tastes. Even better? Put those Facebook stalking skills to use! Check out the likes and interests of someone you know who would also be a crush-worthy ideal client or customer.

Then, you just need to choose a style of photography to represent your brand (and its ideal customer) and use it consistently to build instant recognizability.

Oh, and if you really want to master that purdy flat lay that has you drooling over TCC’s insta feed, check out this awesome post on How to style your images for branded flat lays.

Ready for the next tip?

3. Repurpose your images

Repurposing is something the TCC girls do very well. 

Their blog posts become mini posts of inspiration on Facebook or Instagram. Their images get revamped and recycled and used across all of their social media platforms and online spaces.  Reusing these visuals helps make their look (and brand) easily recognizable, and in turn makes their content stand out. They’ve taken the time to create their look and feel, and they stick behind it, re-posting it cohesively and consistently. 

This bears repeating: 

They don’t create a Pinterest pin image, feature blog image, facebook image, and Instagram image for every related post, they just use one. Yep, one.

They cleverly select a photo. They crop it for Instagram, and apply their title and branding to it. One single, gorgeous, perfectly created and designed image to share and promote their blog post, webinar, courses, whatever. 

It’s clever. It’s repetition. It works. Use it. 

4. Switch Photoshop for Canva

If you and Photoshop (or InDesign), get along, totes ignore this step. If not, keep reading.

If you’d rather endure one million waxing sessions than spend time in Photoshop, Canva might be your next favorite design tool.

Canva makes it super easy to create consistency across your biz visuals, thanks to its ability to easily save formats and its crazy simple drag-and-drop design method.

For example, Canva is a great way to create templates for your Pinterest graphics, just dream up one design and you can change it up over and over again by visiting the “Present Designs” section and switching out images (or remixing your font/color combos.) If you're using you own images, drag those babies into a photo folder so they’re easy to access. Voila! You’re a graphic designing whiz!

Just remember: one image, across all your online spaces, equals familiarity. Plus, your tribe will be so intrigued they can't help but want to learn more.

5. Add personality to your headlines

TCC’s headlines are anything but vanilla, and yet, they’re still SEO friendly.

Did you suddenly feel the need to reach for the mouthwash when I mentioned SEO? Totes get it. But then let’s break down their formula. I’ve been paying attention.

There’s certainly a science to writing a great headline, and the girls have spent a lot of time and many caffeine fueled nights to hone their badass blogging skills and master great headlines (get inspiration here: 101 irresistible headlines that convert.)

Here’s how to run your headline through the TCC Test:

Type in a few options of topics or words you want to write about. The words with the highest monthly searches and lowest competition are the words that your ideal client might be typing into google search.

  • Sass up your headline.

Once you’ve chosen your term, use that in your headline.

Two of my favorite headline analyzers are Co Shedule and sharethrough. Remember to use your Google words in your headline to increase your SEO.

Pro tips:

  • Keep tweaking until you feel you’ve got a great score, as well as totally fun and fresh phrasing that will make your ideal client shout “Tell me more!”
  • Don’t forget to add some personality, and to use the same voice all throughout your copy and posts; if you’ve never typed a curse word before, now is not the time to freak out your audience. Keep it natural, damn it.
  • When scanning, most peeps read the first three and last three words of a headline. Put special focus on these magical triplets.


Want more tips? Check out these awesome templates to create catchy titles by hubspot.

Feeling inspired? Bet you didn’t think capturing some of that droolworthy TCC magic, and making the SEO gods happy in the process, could be so easy.  But, by following these simple steps, you can craft a brand (and look) that’s unique, cohesive, classy and inspiring. That’s right, just like our beloved TCC.

We can’t wait to see it!


About the Author
 

Nicholette von Reiche is the go-to Canva Queen for creative, style-savvy entrepreneurs who want to create gorgeous, cohesive designs for their business that they can promote with confidence.

Born in Cape Town, South Africa, she’s had several fascinating past lives, including work as a Food Stylist, Event Coordinator, Health Coach and Home Stylist before bringing her talents online to teach (and do) Canva Styling for female biz owners. Needless to say, she knows a thing or two about what it takes to create beautiful spaces, places and experiences.

When Nicholette’s not building her Clever with Canva Empire or creating custom Canva templates for clients, you can probably find her on a (hopefully scenic) patio with a glass of crisp white wine, restyling her scatter pillows or building Magna tile mansions with her toddler, Pomeranian and husband.

Nicholette von Reiche, Nicholette Styles
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