Interview with Ali Wright-Hicks, owner of Amari Creative:
Brand strategy has become a trendy buzz phrase in the business world, and I have been really curious how it applies to the yoga and fitness world. Once I started to dive in, I realized quickly that big brands that spend time on a cohesive strategy are killing it. Like hundreds of new students a month and retaining them, killing it. When a newbie wants to give fitness/yoga a try, they flock to the brands they’ve heard of, seen and recognize. And FUN FACT: since 2013 there are 107 new fitness/wellness franchises in the US. The competition is growing quickly. So how do you start? And what are some quick tips to make branding easy for you? Let’s talk to an expert for a little guidance here. Ali Wright-Hicks is the owner and founder of Amari Creative, and is a brand strategy rockstar. She’ll explain why you need one & how to start.
L: Can you explain what a brand strategy is?
A: In a nutshell, brand strategy is the combination of the visual and experiential aspects of your business story.
When most people think of their brand, they think of their business name and logo. Sure, a catchy name and striking design are essential, but quality brands have substance. A professional brand uses brand assets, brand identity, and brand experience to showcase the purpose of the business and craft a message that will resonate with customers.
• Brand assets are the visual elements of a brand, including logo, color palette, fonts, photography, and layout.
• Brand identity is how customers perceive a business through a business’s name, website, brochures, business cards, social media, advertisements, and keywords.
• Brand experience is the customer’s behavioral response to brand assets, brand identity, products, services, facilities, and customer service.
L: How can someone not creative (like me) start the process of brand strategy?
A: Identify your ideal customer. It will make all of your business decisions more simple because you are aiming to attract (and retain) that person. Get to know your target customers so you can best serve them through your branding. Consider things like: gender, marital status, whether or not they have children, their location, their occupation, their income, and their hobbies. You can even give your ideal customer a name, so that when you are making business decisions you can think, “Would Jane still come to yoga if we took away childcare?” Or “Jeff works late most days so he can’t go to a class unless it is after 6, maybe we should offer evening classes.”
L: What makes a brand memorable and inspires loyalty?
A: Consistency. Consistency is the key to brand strategy. Imagine you are looking for a new gym. You find one online that looks like what you are looking for. The website shows a picture of the gym that has bright white walls and includes a middle-aged couple on the treadmills. So, decide to try this gym out and when you walk in the lights are dim, the walls are painted black and bright red, and there is loud music on. The main demographic at this gym is male college students and all you can find are weight machines and not the cardio machines you were looking for. That would be confusing, right? You need to be consistent with all your brand visuals and messaging for you to build trust with your clients.
L: How can we simplify marketing materials like flyers and social media posts?
A: First, invest in good photography. Use this photography consistently throughout your marketing materials. Once you have good photography, use Canva. Canva is great for making social media posts and simple flyers and graphics. If they are bigger projects, save yourself the headache and invest in a graphic designer on an hourly basis.
L: What advice would you give small business owners when they start designing (or redesigning) a logo?
A: “A friend of a friend’s brother said he dabbled in graphic design”. We can’t tell you how often we hear this when clients come to us for a rebrand… Don’t fall into this trap. Sure, maybe you’re your friend’s, friend’s brother is an incredible designer, but you need to do your research before you commit. Find 2-3 logos you love. Consider fonts. Think about what style and feeling you want the customer to have and associate colors with them. Once you feel ready to start building your brand, use your research to communicate your branding vision with your designer.
L: Thanks love! Let me know what link you want when I give you credit!
A: My website is www.amaricreative.com. Feel free to reach out with questions!
For more info on how brand strategy can help your marketing efforts (and retain your clients) schedule your free consult with me.