If you need a lil’ hand building your brand on the ‘gram, never fear – our Insta experts are here! Whether your brand’s an old soul, brand spankin’ new or just in need of a makeover, we’ve collated the most valuable tips for creating on-point, on-brand content that really connects. But don’t take our word for it – some of the best branding minds in the biz give us their finest advice for building your brand identity, stayin’ true to yourself + branding out from the crowd!
What’s your advice for building a personal brand on Instagram?
Be authentic. People can see when you’re trying to be someone else or another version of yourself –you change and so will your brand. I think it’s a good idea to write down what you are about on paper. What do you love? What’s your niche? What kind of content will you post? And just as importantly: what won’t you post.
– Emma Hoareau, @emmahoareau.
What would you say is key for building an Insta brand?
Make sure you know exactly what your brand is. Make a mission statement and stick to it. Only use images that are completely in line with your brand ethos. You don’t want to confuse your audience or customer, you want them to know exactly what you stand for and what you are selling.
– Nat Salmon, @nataliesalmon.
How has Instagram helped to grow and strengthen your brand?
Instagram is just one of our brand touch points, and we find a lot of consumers go to Instagram to do their own “credit check” on us to make sure we are the right fit.
Knowing this, we use it to create a feeling, so that when our followers see or read our content we make sure we provide value, connection, community or support. Those are key things consumers look for in a co-working space, so if they can experience it on our Instagram, they automatically connect with our brand.
We then also use it to cross-promote our overall business activity such as event promotions, blog releases, member profiles and so on. We want to make people feel that they are part of the One Roof community just by following us.
– Sheree Rubinstein, @oneroofwomen.
How did you build such a strong, badass brand identity on Instagram?
Our brand identity is so strong because we’ve just been doing our own thing for so long. It doesn’t change every season. Honestly, we’re not wearing a badass persona. We’re just being unapologetically ourselves with no particular strategy or equation for success in mind. We don’t overthink what we post or curate to follow an Insta theme.
Our biggest seal of approval comes from each other, so we don’t care what other people have to say or think about our look or expression. Maybe people pick up on us being comfortable in ourselves and not shape-shifting for others, and that’s what seems badass! Having each other gives an armour of bravery and self assurance, we feel really lucky to tackle life as a team.
– Vanessa & Arna, @nofrillstwins.
What lessons have you learned through building your brand?
I’ve learned that if you’re going to put your name on something, you need to be part of the whole process and have quality control over everything.
When I first created my protein balls, it was my brand, my image. I outsourced the manufacturing, and it ended up not being worth my while. Essentially, the manufacturer was leveraging my brand and my community, one that I worked so hard to build, and they were making so much money off what I’d created. I was getting basically nothing for it, and they were putting a lot of restrictions around the recipes that I could and couldn’t create. I was like, wow, this is really, really unfair.
Eventually I was like, hold on… if it’s my brand, my recipes and my name on a product, I really need to have more control.
– Katie Lolas, @lady.lolas.
Your brands are all so different! How do you go about defining such a strong visual identity and clear branding for each of your businesses?
I think the key to branding is knowing your identity, as if the brand is an actual person, and keeping things consistent. A brand should have a persona and a clear direction from the very start. Once you have that, it’s easy to build anything around it.
“I know both of my brands’ personas so well that if you told me to design a Sereni & Shentel chair or a Bowerhaus toaster, I could do so with ease. Successful branding is consistent repetition over time.”
For those starting out, I would think about more than just the moment you are in right now. How far can you push your brand? Where could it be in 10 years? Could you push into other markets? Could you make more products? What about collaborations? What would happen if you licensed your brand?
I have so many clients that have come to me for a logo, to produce a single item, that come back a year later wanting to go in a completely different direction because the brand name and logo weren’t working.
Successful branding is often a clean logo, a simple name and a memorable colour palette. Less is always more.
– Shentel Lee, @shentel.
What’s your top tip for keepin’ it real and branding out from the crowd?
Stop giving a shit! We waste far too much time caring what other people think – what other people think of you is absolutely none of your business.
Always do what YOU believe in and what makes YOU happy. If posting a half naked picture with your ass out feels good, do it! If posting a piece of educational content about the Great Barrier Reef makes you feel jolly, then damn well do it! But never do it for Instagratification. Because trust me, that fades.
Go to bed every night feeling confident that what you put out in the world is for the better, or has at least bettered yourself. If it didn’t, ask yourself what’s the point and why did you do it?
– Louisa Paterson, @trainlikeaballerina.
“Top branding tip? Stay true to yourself. So cheesy but 100% True.” – Chloe hill, @chloechill
How did you build your strong brand identity and visual style?
The Tsuno brand really came from within me, so up until recently I had never done a ‘brand guide’. It was all just in my head and heart. Originally the branding was a reaction to what I saw on the shelves in stores. I wanted something fun, colourful and beautiful – not medical or too overtly ‘girly’. I wanted to encourage people to display their sanitary products on the shelf and carry them with pride, as opposed to hiding them away with shame or embarrassment.
I’ve had many, many contributors to the Tsuno aesthetic over the years. I do a bit, I’ve had graphic designer friends help with the branding, and on an ever changing basis I invite artists I love to display their signature styles on our packaging. It’s one of my favourite things getting their visual ideas back from our first discussions.
– Roz Campbell, @_tsuno_.
What’s your advice for those struggling to find their brand identity?
Instagram is a great way to test if a brand or idea is viable or not without making a huge investment. But, you can’t expect instant results. The platform isn’t geared for growth the way it used to be, so it’s harder to get traction and many businesses may need to move to a ‘pay-to-play’ strategy to get momentum.
“The three most important things to make waves on Instagram are to be original, consistent and authentic. Serve your audience visuals they’ve never seen before, show up every day, communicate and be present – even if you think no one is listening.”
Most importantly, always be your real-life authentic self. I know the word ‘authentic’ gets thrown around a lot online but to truly connect with a person or brand online your audience needs to know how to relate to you. They can’t celebrate your wins without understanding your struggles, so make sure you show them both sides of the coin.
– Ruth Stephenson, @creativelysquared.
What has running a business on Instagram taught you about branding?
When you run a brand or business online, there’s a lot that it’s going to teach you. But one of the biggest things it has taught me is the importance of self confidence.
Be really clear and confident on your vision and your values and stay true to what your brand is supposed to be. Because if you’re not clear on your brand image, you kind of get lost.
– Jess Holsman, @studywithjess.
What’s your top tip for creating unique content + branding out from the crowd?
Authenticity is huge. Point of difference is also huge, and you have to have passion. I just think whatever you’re doing on Instagram, or in life for that matter – do it with passion! Passion is one of those things that is incredibly hard to manufacture if it’s not there organically.
I guess as an artist, my art posts will always be somewhat unique. I’ve always had a really strong brand aesthetic without being creatively boxed in. I think my top tip would be make sure your colours work as a whole – the overall layout of your feed is just as important as each post and each message that comes along with it.
– Jenna Hutchison, @loveludie.