I can not believe that it’s already been 3 years since we had this little idea to create STARTplanner!
I am so thankful for this journey–the mistakes and the victories. As I sit here and write this post from my desk at STARThq, I can’t help but feel grateful. My STARTplanner desk 3 years ago was in my home office, a kitchen counter and a garage floor. Jenny was in across the country and set up a desk in her dining room. It was just an idea, looking back, we were clueless, but we learned and learned quickly. We had a ton of heart and that passion is still very much still there!
People are what drive me and I am so thankful for the relationships that I have made on this journey. One of the things that I believe Jenny and I do well is creating brands, so in honor of our 3rd birthday, I wanted to share with you guys my a few ways we have built our brand so you can apply it to your life!
First, remember YOU are a brand. I fully believe people don’t just invest in products. They are investing in the people behind those products. So, if you are thinking about launching a business or if you have a business make sure you look at yourself. Even if you don’t want to be an entrepreneur, you can still brand yourself! To continue advancing your career, you should constantly be networking, keeping business profiles up to date, learning and putting out content that authentically represents you. The cornerstone of my brand is where here on this site that you are reading. I believe everyone should own their domain names. This is how much I believe that when selecting my kids’ names I made sure I could acquire their URL for them. Yes, I own all my kid’s domain names and one day I plan to give it them and I really feel like it could be one of the best gifts I can give them!
Invest in a visual appearance of your brand first. Logo, colors, photography, paper selections. A brand is how someone perceives your product or service. Details matter. I am NOT a designer, but Jenny is brilliant at this and we work really well together paying attention to all the little details that leave a lasting impression on our customer base. Obviously, you might not have a Jenny in your world, so if the overall creative process is not your expertise (it is not mine) then invest in a graphic designer that can make sure your image and message align with your goals!
Give your brand a voice. Decide right from the get-go what your tone will be (e.g.: serious, silly, fun, professional, edgy, etc.). Then, when writing your content-always keep it in the same tone. This should be carried over in all aspects of your branding, from your website to emails, any print collateral, social media, and even videos. STARTplanner as a very upbeat, fun, conversational voice. I have always wanted everyone to feel as if I am talking directly to them. Whereas STARTdetoxing we are personalizing the brand as well but it is more conservative and less fun since it is on the medical side. Trust me I will still add my spunk in places. 🙂 The voice is how people interpret your brand.
Are there ways in your business that you can personalize the experience for them? Once you determine your voice, the more you can personalize the experience for them the better. With STARTdetoxing we are trying to find a way to customize a note inside every box with the customers’ name! For STARTplanner.com
the entire messaging on the shipping box has a warm and personal tone. “Welcome! Meet Your New Best Friend. Go ahead give them a name!”
From the time you see the box in your mailbox it is fun and geared and getting them excited! Which gets me excited!
Last, but certainly not least (and most important in my opinion) is consistency and customer service. Building community and providing Customer Service is HUGE and will leave that lasting impression on your customers. By making sure that there is frequent interaction with your company, it will both keep your company in the forefront of peoples minds and also create a personal connection with them that will likely lead to referrals and future repeat business. My rule is always set an expectation for your brand, then over-deliver! Customer service is important and being authentic for your community. It is what I honestly love the most!
Here are a couple images looking back on the last three years of us growing STARTplanner.
And yes this is our original logo ideas back in 2015.
This was the mood board we created. You can see our color pallete was just three colors.
This is our first planner and it was put in a bag that I hand stamped our logo on and a white box.
We first used just white boxes and customized with caution tape.
We literally shipped out of the garage. Walking up and down the stairs a millon times.
When the business could support it we got our first lease and was thankful no more steps.
Then as you guys know we purchase STARThq and redid to call it our headquarters for STARTplanner.
Here is Jenny and I finally sitting in a legit office!
Our office is not the only thing that has evolved our brand too as we could afford it. Now, look at the planners, the inner boxes, and shipping box. No detail has been spared!
Here are the the planners in their own boxes. With a custom welcome note from us.
Details matter. Building a brand matters. This just didn’t happen overnight. It is constantly revising and making things better! Invest in a brand though!