Branding 101

Build A Brand To Remember

Brands come in all shapes and sizes. Successful brands come in a much more limited set, restricted by guidelines, business values, and investor concerns, among other things.

I have spent more than 20 years working on branding issues. It has been part of my work in creating and developing brands and their strategies for businesses around the world. One primary lesson I learned about branding is, it’s important to always be open to learning from experts who have plenty of experience in branding, even if you have a pure, raw, natural talent for it.

And while that is obviously true for just about any subject, it is even more so in branding, because branding involves making a connection between people, … not just yourself … and the ideas and messages communicated by the brand. And here’s why this lesson is so incredibly important: If you don’t make the emotional or mental connection with whoever sees the brand, then you probably won’t form any further relationship with that person, so you’ve already lost them before you ever had a chance to get to know them.

Branding pre-requisites

Understanding what makes brands succeed or fail is a preliminary requirement before you go about trying to grapple the process on your own. Normally, it involves more than one person to get the job done right.

Without being too metaphorical, a brand is a lot like a tattoo. It’s kind of permanent, if it’s done well, but even the best made brand will experience subtle changes over time. If not maintained properly, it will eventuall fade and become less appealing. If maintained well, it will become more beautiful over time, and can even be refreshed from time to time by great creative visionaries and artists.

Given this idea, it is important to spend some time considering the Pros and Cons of various color palettes and combinations. Test with your instincts, your feelings, your thoughts, and yes, with blind test groups where possible. If you’re a one-person show, then test with a professional graphic artist or brand designer. If you can’t afford to do that, then test with a trusted friend, or better yet, multiple friends, if you can’t afford to do a proper multi-panel test. You’ll be surprised how others perceive the greatness you have conceived.

Don’t just sit there. Decide.

Eventually, you will need to pick a set of colors that you think will work best.  Go ahead. Do it. Don’t be afraid. These colors can be changed .. even if only slowly .. later on.

As an example, here are the main colors I decided to go with for this site, when I got to this point in creating this lesson. They’re nice and richly saturated. They go together, complimenting each other with a strong enough contrast without blinding the eyes.

theme colors for yasha.harari.org from 2014 march 7

And here is the custom cartoon image I created and decided to use as my branded avatar for this website, once I arrived to this point in creating this lesson.

yamaha harari custom cartoon avatar

Then, I put down on paper my thoughts about what I communicate through the SEO and Marketing tutorials on this website. And I boiled it down, pretty quickly, to just three words. Marketing. Savvy. Shared.

Mixing those ideas with the colors and cartoon image of myself and my name, I came up with this branded header.

yasha harari website cartoony brand headingTotal time: 20 minutes, including 15 minutes for the graphics and 5 minutes to write about it here.

Note: If you can’t design well or make cool graphics quickly, hire a pro. It’s worth it. Go to odesk or fiverr or freelancer sites anywhere online and you can get graphics done … affordably.

    Useful Brand Builder Resource:

    Need a cool graphic done on time and under budget?
    Get what you need right now, at

That site has been around many years, and has a network of over 10 Million users. I have used their services often, and I definitely recommend them.

By the way, here’s a great video about branding from a TEDx event, by a guy named Sasha, not to be confused with me, Yasha.

And here’s another clip, which you actually have to read, that explains pretty well (in 2011 terms) a big picture summary of the history of branding and how it has changed over the centuries.

And of course, if you enjoyed what you read in this article and want to help me in my effort to put Google to the test, then please share the link to this page on your social media profile or wherever else it could benefit others.

OK, that’s it for now. Good luck making your own kickass brand that’s memorable, and totally awesome, and stay tuned for the next lesson in building a top website.

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