Developing a “Look-Tone-Feel” for Your Jewelry Brand
When you’re in the process of planning to launch a jewelry brand, you must do more than simply design your jewelry pieces; you must also identify your target customers and decide on the best way to share your brand with them, both visually and through language.
Before you make arbitrary design and communication decisions about your brand, or you hire a graphic designer without any strategic goals in place, you’ll want to set your brand standards. You can do this by creating a Look-Tone-Feel document after you’ve performed Competitive Analysis and outlined your Customer Personas.
Your brand embodies everything you represent as a business, the same way a personality captures the essence of a human being. A Look-Tone-Feel document is like a business plan but specifically for your brand, and it typically includes the following elements:
Brand Mission and Values
In your brand mission, you should strive to capture the emotion you’d most like to evoke from your customers. For example, your business’ mission might be to “create affordable fine jewelry for everyday wear”, but your brand mission should strike a deeper chord, like “empower women by giving them the opportunity to express themselves in a playful way.”
Your brand values should capture the reasons why someone might buy from you as opposed to a competitor who sells a similar product. For example, your customers may choose you because you value trust and transparency, and you’re always clear about how you source your materials.
The “Look” portion of your Look-Tone-Feel document will cover elements like design style, fonts, colors, model guidelines, and product photography guidelines. If you don’t feel like you have the language to describe these elements, you can start by making bullet points or compiling screenshots of other brands that capture what you’d like to achieve. Then, during a later stage in the brand development process, a marketing consultant or graphic designer can help you flesh out your initial thoughts.
Don’t be afraid to describe your design style using adjectives you might use to describe a person, like: quietly alluring, feminine, luxurious, outgoing, etc. After all, your brand is a personality, and you should feel like you’re creating a character who will play the central role in an epic story.
One great place to start looking for font inspiration is Type Wolf or typespiration. If you’re not sure about the colors you’d like to associate with your brand, try Adobe Color, which allows you to view color palettes based on the color wheel. You can also upload an image to Adobe Color, and the tool will extract that image’s dominant colors.
Become an observer of retail brands. Make a list of all the brands you admire, no matter what the reason. Then, comb through their branding and marketing efforts: visit their website, shop their product pages, pick up a print catalog if applicable, and subscribe to their emails. Make mental notes about how these brands use color, font, models, and photography. Then, you can borrow details that resonate with you.
Your brand’s “Tone” refers to how you speak to your customers on your website, in your product descriptions, in your email marketing, in your social media posts, in any other forms of content marketing, and in paid advertisements.
You’ll want to set the communication goals and standards for your brand voice. When you communicate with your customers, what do you want them to take away from the exchange? Would you like them to understand your brand mission, feel ignited by your enthusiasm, or develop a sense of trust? Then, which adjectives would you use to describe your voice, and which types of words feel appropriate, i.e. casual slang or more formal, multisyllabic words?
BarkBox is one example of a brand that has really nailed down its tone, which is playful, fun, and sometimes “punny”. They’re not afraid of being corny and using exclamation points. Apple is another brand that’s always consistent with a minimalistic, intelligent, and even-keeled voice. Once you start paying attention to how your favorite brands speak, you’ll likely start to notice they’re all very unique in their approach.
If you’re struggling to understand tone, think of your favorite people and they way they speak. Do they gesture with their hands, or are they more subdued, preferring to share only a few well-chosen words? The way they speak and communicate is likely in line with their personality.
The “Feel” part of the Look-Tone-Feel document refers to the overall feeling you want customers to have when they interact with your brand. Do you want your customers to feel inspired, happy, refreshed, relaxed, encouraged, trusting, confident, or acknowledged? Whatever it is, you should articulate it and always strive to make customers feel that way.
Once you have a Look-Tone-Feel in place, you’ll be better prepared to communicate with your graphic designer, who will create assets like your logo and any other visual elements. Your graphic designer will also take your Look-Tone-Feel and translate it into a brand style guide or brand identity guide, which will help you remain consistent in all your branding and ensure that you always follow the “rules” of your brand. To see an example of a brand style guide for a jewelry brand, check out this guide for Wolf Circus.
Your customers will know you first and foremost by your brand identity, so you’ll want to do everything in your power to build a memorable and positive brand that can also grow with you as you scale your jewelry business. A Look-Tone-Feel document plays an essential role in that process.