January 3, 2020

How to create a brand that makes you money

There’s more to branding than just graphics. Here’s how to create a complete brand that makes you money in just 8 steps:

(If you don’t feel like reading, watch the video version HERE)Brand Foundations - How to Create a Brand That Makes You Money

Most people think a brand is simply made up of the visual elements we’re accustomed to seeing:
  • logo
  • colors
  • fonts
  • mockups in canva
  • make your website match

… and you’re done!

But the reality is, your brand visuals are actually the very last part of your brand composition. Those visual elements are the brand’s final expression being put to work. This is what you see on the internet, websites, packaging, commercials, and advertising.

But it’s only about 12-15% of what truly goes into designing a real brand.

What most businesses don’t understand is that the real brand work comes way before a logo is ever designed. 

No one wants to do that work though. They just want to jump to the fun stuff (picking out colors for example) before they really know why they’re choosing them.

I use a visual example of a tree to describe what a branding process actually looks like behind the scenes.

A good designer will walk you through all of these steps. If you’re the owner of a business, this plays along the same lines of mindset work, where there’s an internal process that dictates the external results.

Without internal work, you cannot successfully execute the external.

How to create a brand that makes you money in 8 steps


This diagram helps you to see how these pieces all fit together and how they are all necessary to a successful brand. 

Some of this work you may have done before with a business coach – and so some of this information may already be really clear to you.

But what I find is that most people skip these steps, or they ‘kind of’ do the work, or they forget to revisit all these pieces each time they pivot or uplevel in their business.

And then they’re confused as to why people aren’t responding.

I’ve done it myself so I understand its not the FUN part, but it is the foundational cornerstones of your success, so I’d implore you to take a first, second or even 50th look at these through the eyes of a BRANDING standpoint.

Here’s how to create a brand that makes you money in 8 steps.


I’ve separated them into 3 areas of consideration:


A. The internal (underground, invisible) pieces: Purpose, Mission / Vision, & Values
These are all inner pieces of your brand, without which the external pieces won’t resonate.
Don’t even try. Don’t spend money on graphics before you do this. They won’t work.


B. The bridge (ground-level, translation) pieces: Positioning & Communication Strategies

These are pieces that set you up to move from the internal to the external. They’re “how” you translate the internal message into the external representation.


C. The external (above ground, visible) pieces: Brand identity system, graphic elements, working those elements.

These are the final branding pieces that most people think of. Here we create color palettes, logos, and graphics and set up a strategy to use them effectively in the world.

Let’s briefly touch on each one and learn why it’s important.


1. Purpose:
(underground / internal)
See diagram: roots

This is the meaningful reason behind why your brand exists.
  • Why did you start this business?
  • Who do you help?
  • Why do you help them?
  • How do they feel?
  • What difference have you made?–> AUTHENTICITY BEGINS HERE.

If you aren’t authentic here (many people aren’t) then you’re going to have a lot of trouble later on.


2. Mission & Vision:
(underground / internal)
See diagram: roots

Where is your brand going in the future and what commitments are being made to achieve that vision?
This is also more of a goal – how many people can you impact?
Use this as your brand’s internal GPS system: your destination & how you plan to get there.


3. Values:
(underground / internal)
See diagram: roots

This should be closely aligned with your purpose. Your values make you more human.

What do you stand for? What do you believe?

This is the moral compass (so to speak) of your brand, which people resonate with more than you might think. (Consider how political Nike has become recently with Colin Kaepernick)


4. Positioning:
See diagram: ground-level

This is where you understand the “landscape” of your market.
  • What makes you stand out?
  • Who is your audience/buyer persona?
  • How well do you know them?
  • Who is your competition?


5. Communication:
See diagram: ground-level

What do you want to say and how? Your tone of voice, your language, and your personality all line up here to come together and create a core message you put out into the world.
This is where you emotionally connect and use your archetype to call in the right people.
Remember you only exist in the mind of your audience. Its what THEY decide you are… not you.


6. Brand Identity System:
(above ground / external)
See diagram: tree trunk

This is the foundational collection of elements that all tie together and ‘how’ they tie into your message and personality. Before you can even create the logo and brand elements however, you need to establish the brand look and feel.



7. Brand Identity Elements:
(above ground / external)
See diagram: branches

  • logo
  • logo variations
  • typography
  • images
  • colors

This also includes the standards at which you use these pieces and how you use them consistently.  It’s more than just slapping it in the corner and calling it a day. You decide ahead of time how you want your brand to show up.


8. Brand expression:

(above ground / external)
See diagram: branches

Finally, we get to what you tangibly can see and that works for you: those printed and/or digital graphic assets. This includes designs for your website, advertising, social media, signage, business cards, brochures, event paraphernalia, and so on.



^^^ So you can see this is actually a very SMALL part of the whole brand workup.
The final graphic assets are commonly confused as the only real part of the brand when in reality they only make up about 15% of what a professional brand is designed to do.

So if you haven’t done that other work (the other 85%), then your graphics are not going to carry you the way that you might be hoping. You won’t get the recognition and loyal followers on graphics alone.


Final thoughts:

1. Your brand is a living, breathing, growing thing inside your biz.

If you have exactly the same brand as you did 5 years ago, then you’re most likely stagnant.
If you’re growing as you should as a business, then your brand naturally grows and evolves with you.

2. Without the roots (the internal work), then

  • your branches cannot bear fruit
  • you cannot attract the right audience
  • anything above ground essentially dies without a root system

3. Without the leaves & branches (external brand elements), then the roots waste their purpose.

If your audience cannot find you, or you don’t provide a “hospitable environment,” your business will wither up and die as a result.


That’s branding in a nutshell.

If you’re only focused on graphics, then you’re missing 85% of your brand. That’s a major piece.
I just delivered an audience persona worksheet to my email list to help you get started with this.


If you’re not on the list (or haven’t taken the archetypes quiz yet) – GO HERE – so you can get that helpful 3-4 pages of clarity on your people and how to talk to them.

This is really important — most people and most businesses are NOT doing this stuff.

If you actually did the other 85%? You’d be waaaay above the curve and doing things that very few people out there are doing, and you’d create a brand that truly does make you money.

Let me know if you have questions or need help 🙂



How to create a brand that makes you money

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