More Than a Logo: Wistia's Guide to Show Branding
March 18, 2021
Whether you’re creating a podcast or a video series, you need to make sure it’s all wrapped up with a shiny bow on top before you put it out into the world — yup, we’re talking about your show’s branding.
Although it sounds simple, branding is a super important part of how your audience perceives your show, and it goes deeper than your show’s name and logo.
Branding is something your team should take into consideration while your show’s coming to life. Great shows will weave their branding throughout their entire concept, including all audio and video elements.
We put together this show branding starter kit with input and insight from the Wistia Studios team. If they sound familiar, you might recognize them from our branded video series and podcasts like One, Ten, One Hundred, Brandwagon, and Talking Too Loud. Let’s dive in!
Selecting your show’s name
Let’s start with your show’s name.
When it comes to brainstorming a name for your show, the first catchy thing that pops into your mind might be awesome, but you should poke holes in your ideas to strengthen them. You should also consider what already exists out there.
“When it comes to brainstorming a name for your show, you should poke holes in your ideas to strengthen them.”
If you’re creating a podcast, conduct some competitive research on iTunes or Spotify before you step into your initial brainstorm. The same goes for your video series! You’ll learn what other people are already talking about, and you can use their ideas as a starting point for inspiration. Here are our team’s top tips for landing the perfect show name.
Think about your target audience
If you’re trying to appeal to a specific audience, hone in on their interests; if you’re trying to appeal to a broader audience, you might want a name that’s less on the nose with your main message.
Open a thesaurus
Head on over to Thesaurus.com to figure out other words that also mean the same thing you’re trying to say.
Drop names in Slack
After your initial brainstorm, present a few names for your podcast or video series in a chat to your wider team who weren’t involved in the brainstorm. Let them upvote what they think sounds best!
Avoid bad SEO
It’s important to note that having the same show name as someone else isn’t ideal for SEO and discoverability.
The perfect show name will end up aligning with the tone of the message you’re trying to communicate, your business’s brand, and what your show is all about. And remember, it’s okay to start from scratch if nothing feels right!
Artwork and visual branding
Now, let’s talk about the design elements people will see when they watch or listen to your show and recognize it out in the wild.
Although visual concepting applies mostly to brand development for video series, it’s also important to think through how you can add visuals to your audio show. Here are the elements our team focuses on.
Your show needs a polished logo! Your logo will help you stand out on streaming platforms, social media, and more.
Choose your typefaces and be consistent with them. Typography might be used throughout your series in different ways, like animation or banners introducing guests. Depending on where your show lives on your site, you can customize your landing page following the typeface guidelines you set up for yourself. One resource we use to find typefaces is typewolf.com.
Consider your color palette. If your company’s brand already has a core color palette, you can start by referencing that. Then, decide how much flexibility you have to branch out from your core brand with secondary colors.
You might want to explore motion studies and transition styles to help with your show’s pacing.
Think about your show’s format and how you’re intentionally filming your shots. Do you want your participants centered? Did you plan out your shoot location in advance? What about b-roll or stock footage in your episodes? All of these elements communicate your brand to viewers.
Compiling high-quality images and clips from your series for your marketing team will come in super handy for distributing your show; for podcast promotion, we like to create audiograms and custom show art to share on social. These visual elements help bring life to audio shows.
For podcasts or video series, show trailers will help folks get the overall gist of what your show is all about and get them excited for the release. Think about how to pique their interest. For a video show, pulling sound bites and having a voice-over to explain the show is a common route to take. For podcasts, instead of pulling soundbites from the show, it could be easier to make an intro of what your show is about and telling folks when it’s coming out.
Brand elements weaved throughout your show
Lead Producer, Adam Day, who also worked on creating our podcast Talking Too Loud, explained how anything memorable or repeatable about your show can become part of its brand.
When you’re starting, notice what you naturally do in each episode, what consistent elements you’re drawn to, and be intentional about working them into your series.
“Artwork and visual branding is a good starting point, but notice what happens naturally. For example, in Talking Too Loud, our intro is part of our brand that we found naturally — ’Hello! Welcome to Talking Too Loud with Chris Savage. I’m your host, Chris Savage…’ In early episodes we didn’t have this, but the rest of the episodes do. It happened naturally over time and now it’s part of our routine. The fact that Savage mispronounces Sylvie’s last name is also part of our brand. Think about these organic elements and what sticks, and lean into them where it makes sense.”Adam Day
Here are some less obvious things that end up becoming elements of your brand in your video series or podcast:
If you have guests on your show, you should tell them how you’d like them to dress for the camera. Not only will it help guests look and feel great on camera, but your audience will be able to focus on whatever it is you’re trying to communicate.
Look for locations that fit the style guide for your show. Are you looking for clean spaces with lots of symmetry and straight lines? You can rent spaces using Peerspace, which is like Airbnb, but for filming. Take the time to do some set designs.
These could be anything! They might grow to warrant their own segments in your show. For example, we expensed a ‘91 Volvo wagon here at Wistia to transform it into the ultimate Brandwagon for our series Brandwagon — and our audience got to watch the entire journey.
The format you choose becomes your show’s backbone and should drive other creative decisions related to your content. Some examples of video formats are talk shows, docuseries, and product reviews. A few popular podcast formats include narrative-style, solo, co-hosted, 1:1 interview, and panel podcasts.
Inside jokes/running themes
As you’re producing your show, inside jokes or running themes might form naturally. Don’t be afraid to lean into those for your audience!
Cast or recurring characters
Your audience has the opportunity to form a connection with everyone who ends up on your show. Your cast or recurring characters become an extension of your brand who offer their own unique values.
Music or sonic signatures
Your music and how you sound is like a character in your show. For podcasts and video series, you might have a theme song. Throughout all episodes, you can also weave in various sound cues for your audience. When it comes to choosing your music, third-party licensing sites are well-outlined with how you can use music in your media. If you want to compose or work with a composer from scratch, you can set up an exclusive access agreement with the creators and buy the rights to use it.
These can be any graphic or visual element that is an accent such as hand-drawn animations and title cards. Title cards are one visual cue when you’re introducing a guest.
This is part of the look of the show. In post-production, you can push the colors around to make blues more vibrant or add a warm vibe to everything and change the mood.
It can be just one of these things, several of these things, or all of these things that make up your brand. Any element that is reinforced in the majority of your series will become part of the show’s brand — so be careful about what those things are!
“Any element that is reinforced in the majority of your series will become part of the show’s brand — so be careful about what those things are.”
Consistency throughout your series
The ultimate key to branding is having consistency throughout your show. Whether you’re working with audio or video, there are plenty of ways to go about establishing memorable moments for your audience to connect with your brand. We hope this show branding kit gives you a great place to start!