Founder Series: Brand Building

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One day I hope to look back at my original logo designs and feel proud of how far SOS has come, and also of course laugh at my complete lack of creativity and imagination. Although 2 years has passed since I first registered the company, I still have a very long way to go. So following the first sample and product in hand the next part of my business journey needed to be building the brands identity. Here is a little insight into my process.

Where do you start when building a brand?

Now this is a very good question and I am sure my approach is a little haphazard, however for me, the first step was to identify the brand name, feel, and Identity (or at least part of it’s identity). To begin with I started to write down keywords and ideas for what I wanted the name of the brand to express and encompass (my lack of creativity didn’t do me any favours here).

Sustainability | Oceans | Seas | Nature | Fitness | Ethical | Sweat | Workout | Training | Honest

I really wanted the name of the business to be quick, catchy and well recognised with a more detailed name underneath its acronym. I also had little confidence in my ability to express the story of the brand and its meaning without using the actual defining word ‘sustainable’ and therefor a few options included ‘Sustainable Sweat’ and ‘Sweat Sustainably’ which weren’t great.

It took a lot of words, written down on a piece of paper before I finally decided to register the business as ‘Sustainable Ocean Sweat Ltd’. Time has now passed and to be honest I don’t really like this name at all and I am very aware it isn’t exactly catchy. It didn’t take long for this realisation and after panicking that I had paid for it and registered it already I decided, that although this was the registered name of the business it was not going to live on and be well recognised worldwide. . . I had to keep thinking.

I went slightly back to the drawing board (or in this case pencil and paper) thinking of what could be the core brand name whilst also giving a nod to it’s registered counterpart, and so with that, SOS was EVENTUALLY born - A cry for help at sea and a distress signal capturing our ocean plastic crisis. SOS also perfectly aligns with Save Our Seas which is at the core of my mission.

How if you were so lacking in creativity did you design your logo?

If you missed it I highly advise you scroll to the top of this blog post and see a logo I once created for SOS. . . The reality of running a business or starting a business is that you will have highs and lows and be very skilled in some areas of the business and completely the opposite in others (again scroll to the top). For me creativity is one part of the brand that I struggled (and continue to struggle with) and so thanks to a friend of a friend I met the incredible John Randall. John has held my hand throughout the whole design phase and so much more and I honestly couldn’t have found a more kind and helpful person to capture the story of SOS and my mission, tie together my messy ideas and bring the brand to life

After sending John some of my terrible designs, he quite amazingly produced what now for me defines what SOS is all about, something that is premium, chic, bold and nods to our plastic ocean crisis and cry for help at sea.

How did you build your website?

This is a continuous learning curve however one thing I knew for certain was that although SOS is a small brand, I wanted it to look and feel professional and premium with an easy to navigate website. This is still a work in progress and I am learning the ropes as I go so any feedback is always very helpful!

I initially looked up and purchased the domains which I believe once you have a name for your brand is the first thing you must do to ensure you secure it as well as various social media handles. It may be that your ideal domain is taken and there may not be a workaround so a new name should perhaps be sought out. Once the domain name was purchased I basically created free trials on various Ecommerce platforms including Wix, Shopify and Squarespace and down to ease of use and a small product range I opted for Squarespace. I think in the future this will shift to Shopify which seems more flexible for Ecommerce brands but for now Squarespace works for me.

Where did you begin with social media?

Social Media is a maze and in a similar way to the website I am still finding my feet, style and personality for the brand through this channel. A real challenge is that I do not come from a blogging or influencer background or photography background for that matter and so knowing the perfect angle, the right effects and themes to incorporate into my ‘Grid’ as well as the overall style and eye catching content and imagery is very difficult. Quite frankly, it’s a real struggle. I quite literally post photos that I feel aligns with the brand (Often taken on my old Iphone 7) and I accompany these posts with us much detail about SOS and the sustainable focus I have as possible. This I hope will help increase the brand awareness for those who don’t know much about what I am trying to achieve.

It’s difficult to see other accounts explode with followers in a matter of days or weeks thanks to their founders previous account following and it’s often hard to remember that there are so many other small brands out there in the exact same position as me. I am very proud of what I have achieved so far and so thankful for all the lovely people that engage with SOS, have sent me kind and supportive messages and are following my journey. Building a strong community of sustainable and conscious minded individuals is a huge part of SOS and I really hope one day to run and host fitness events and bring us all together!

My social media has good days and bad days and pretty much every story posted will result in a few unfollows which is always a little disheartening. I want the people who engage with SOS to love the content I create and believe in the brands messaging as opposed to hundreds of thousands of disengaged followers.

Check us out @sosactivewear to see my ever changing themes . . .

So I now have the barebones of a social media account and a website with some amazing branding (Thanks John) up next I needed to start thinking about content, organising a photoshoot and working out how I can start to increase brand awareness and get people seeing and talking about SOS.

Please follow my journey where I will next be sharing what happened next and how I went from an idea to a reality.