3 Essentials to Effective Branding: Lessons from Brand Chicago

As an entrepreneur, I recognize the importance of having a strong and recognizable brand. Over the weekend, I had the opportunity to attend Brand Chicago. This intensive branding workshop covered a broad spectrum of topics as they relate to personal, professional and business branding. Experts in the fields of social media, advertisement, sales and design outlined, from their perspectives, how to establish an effective brand and the pertinence of doing so. The event, hosted and organized by Brittany Applegate a brand consultant and advertising professional, focused on educating and elevating attendees to gain impact.

The format of the event included six main speakers and a panel filled with experts in marketing, entrepreneurship and sales. While the speakers focused on various specific topics, there were consistent themes, throughout the conference, that enforced the overall ideas of these experts.

Designed By: A’Darah, Queesview Creative Studios

Consistency Is Key

To kick off the event, Brittany began by laying the foundation of effective branding. Highlighting points such as connecting the dots (aka story telling), brand strategy, visual and verbal identity. Under her concept “Survival of the Littest” is where we’re first introduced to the idea of consistency. Here she highlights the combination of consistency and focus, to emphasize the impact these have on developing and sustaining a brand.

While “Breaking Through the Clutter”, Maya J. Hicks a Social Marketing Manager with Mirum Shopper, reinforced the necessity of remaining consistent as it pertains to social media. Through consistency you are able to stay relevant, grow your following and engagement, build out a voice, as well as curate a look and feel for your brand. Without consistency, you’re unable to manage and shape the perception of your brand to the very consumers you are hoping to attract.

Brand Chicago Founder Brittany Applegate | Photo Credit: Natalie Frazier

What’s In It For Me?: Value

Johnnie Lovett, Assoc. Director of Strategy and Research at Ten35, delivered a profound presentation on “The Power of Insight”. Johnnie first defined insight as “a deep intuitive understanding of culture”, which should be used to change perception, invigorate passion and showcase shared value. By understanding how your audience thinks, responds and what they hold dear, you are able to position your brand to fulfill that need and plug in necessary holes for your consumer.

During “Possibility & Profits”, Crystal Dyson the Co-owner of Glam Express and a territory manager for Amika, challenged the audience to assess how they are creating value for their potential consumers, collaborators and investors. Her presentation, which focused on the power an effective pitch can have on developing and elevating an existing brand, walked attendee through step-by-step of how to ensure a pitch is successful.

Do You See What I See?

Imagery and visuals are one of the most impactful ways to communicate a brand. We associate the golden arches with McDonald’s and a classic blue and white color scheme with Facebook. Images speak volumes for a brand before you’re even given the opportunity to explain it verbally. A’Darah, owner of Queensview Creative Studios and Creative Director of The Brkn Co., explains that even something as nuanced as choice of font communicates value to a consumer. In her presentation of “Designing Better Brands,” she broke down logos, websites, photography and social media and how imagery is conveyed through these platforms and even rates you should expect to pay for quality services.

IP Attorney, Femi Masha | Photo Credit: Ajibade Ashola

In developing engaging visuals to convey your brand, it’s important, especially for entrepreneurs to protect them. Intellectual Property was an interesting and necessary topic that Femi Masha, Intellectual Property Attorney at Brinks, Gilson and Lione, shed light on. Highlighting the differences between trademarks, copyrights, trade secrets and patents, he fielded questions form the audience to hone in the importance of protecting the brand many have works so hard to establish.

Myself and other attendees walked away with a wealth of knowledge to apply to our own brands whether it be personal or business related. So whether you’re an entrepreneur, corporate employee or side hustler learning how to strengthen and develop your brand is critical to your success.