After 18 months of wedding planning, I finally tied the knot with my dear husband last month. Having come from the world of event planning in a former life, the hard work required came as no surprise. But there was a whole aspect of wedding preparation that I didn’t see coming: as I settled into planning mode, I realized that the process was the ultimate branding exercise of my husband and I as a couple.
Branding a company is not so different from branding a union. At Kelton, we’re helping companies build or rejuvenate their brands to connect with target consumers every day, and I was able to draw from this experience to help my husband, Davi, and I craft our own personal brand story to share with friends and family.
Looking back on our planning process, we took a few key crucial (but simple) steps to present a cohesive, branded union. Apply these basic branding principles to discover and express your married brand DNA:
Decide Your Brand Values
At its simplest iteration, branding is all about communicating core values. To identify your unique values as a couple, sit down with your fiancé and discuss the most significant aspects of your life together. Write down the two or three most important values, and keep them at the forefront of all wedding planning activities.
Engage Your Audience
Once you’ve decided on your values, look for natural opportunities to communicate them to your guests throughout your engagement, at your wedding, and beyond.
The first occasion to showcase your married brand DNA is typically on your wedding website, which tends to include a story of how you first met, as well as bios of everyone included in the wedding party. Take this opportunity to use a writing style that is authentic to your union. For example, my husband and I love to have fun, so we created a playful vibe on our site by adding some fictional components and jokes into our story.
The look and feel of your website is equally important. We took our website design seriously and used Squarespace rather than a generic website wedding template, because we mean business when it comes to design! (Just in case he’s reading this, I should note that my husband Davi is fully responsible and gets all credit for the website.)
If design isn’t your forte, you can still add personal touches to templates by selecting on-brand colors, and by uploading images that reflect who you are as a couple.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is top of mind for any strong brand. Since your guests are your target audience in this scenario, don’t forget to consider your GRM (Guest Relationship Management)– platforms!
Consider which social media platforms most of your guests enjoy, and use them to build up anticipation for your big day. We actively sought to generate excitement amongst family and friends by posting on Facebook leading up to the wedding, creating an Instagram hashtag, making Spotify playlists, and sending emails with relevant information and humorous content.
On Your Big Day
Your wedding is perhaps the most important moment for you to express who you are as a couple, and there are endless creative ways to show your core values at the main event.
Family is a core value for many couples, and my husband and I are no exception. To demonstrate our commitment to family, we made a point to continuously thank our guests for helping to shape the individuals we are today and for their love and support in this next chapter of our lives.
Since my husband and I have both lived abroad, and my husband is Brazilian, we decided to also highlight our appreciation of other cultures. We put this into practice by infusing elements from Brazilian culture into our wedding via a capirinha bar, bem casados and brigadeiros (traditional Brazilian wedding pastries and chocolates), bossa nova music during the cocktail hour, and classic Brazilian music during the reception. Our key messaging around this international attribute is that both cultures are important to who we are, and to how we plan to live our lives in the future.
Keep it Consistent
For any effective campaign, the ultimate goal is for a consistent reflection of brand values across all marketing initiatives. For your personal brand union, this means that all of the events you host and invites you send before, during, and even after your big day should all tie into your overall brand values.
Let’s say your married brand DNA is sophisticated and elegant, yet whimsical. Take care to make sure that these attributes are reflected in your venue, food selection, registry, and design choices. In addition to selecting your wedding colors, consider adding even more personality by creating custom fonts. Create a duogram and a monogram to be printed on all collateral, including everything from wedding stationary to cocktail napkins, pillows for lawn furniture, and custom corn-hole sets. As my husband can attest to, it can really spiral out of control!
Branded Ever After
Like any solid brand strategy, you can only establish your authentic core values by having a clear identity and a very cohesive, consumer-driven behavior over time. In the end, all of our hard work paid off and we truly had the most memorable, best day of our lives that we had hoped for. What’s more, we learned about ourselves as we shared our couple personality to our target audience (our loved ones).
Though we are glad it’s over and able to focus on enjoying married life, the “branding” aspect of our union is a constant work in progress. In order to build a lasting and strong brand we have to continue servicing our consumers regularly or the “wow” effect may fade. Kelton helps brands throughout the world achieve this objective, and if my husband and I are serious about our “married brand” we should do the same – but only after a few Pina Coladas at the beach.