“I really need to get my brand sorted out” is one of the comments I hear most often from business owners.
And there’s just so many things I have to say about that, specially when said business owner is standing next to me, looking confused, overwhelmed and and sometimes just frustrated.
The reality around that statement is that there’s TWO things they need to consider:
- what their brand really is
- the role that visual brand plays in their business.
Let’s start with their BRAND.
If you are one of those folks who believes your brand is your logo, your company colours and that mermaid image you use in your collateral, STOP.
Your brand has a lot less to do with the visual items than you think. Your brand is
- what you stand for;
- what your business is about at its core;
- what people expect to receive when they do business with you;
- your mission in serving them
- (and so much more!)
So you see, your “brand” is a lot less about colour swatches and fancy fonts. It’s about the big picture, what you hope to achieve, and the problem that you solve for your clients.
Now let’s deal with VISUAL BRAND (or brand image).
On the other hand, your VISUAL BRAND is that side of branding that gets business owners excited and ready to go. Here’s where you get to sit with your designer and really make that visual identity come alive.
This is the fun part where you think about symbols, logos, logotypes, potential taglines, style of photos, colour choices and so on.
This is the part where people usually get stuck. And some never get past it. Because until a business owner knows what their brand is, he/she can’t explain to the designer how to best share that with his audience.
When people first tell me they need to “sort their brand out” this is what I recommend:
- get yourself a nice notebook
- set some time aside when you’ll be alone and without distractions
- think about what your brand really means.
Then start writing notes. Lots of them. Get it all out in writing, because just giving yourself time and space to think about your brand is usually a big (BIG) first step. If you haven’t articulated why you’re in business, how can you tell others? If you haven’t verbalized why your company exists and how it’s different from the competition, how can you show others with visuals?
So you see, until you have that “brand” portion sorted out, it’s really not a good idea to hire a designer. Because when you’re in that place, you’re really at the start of the line, and hiring anyone at that point to design would be a waste of time and money. Because your designer will not know what to aim for. She will not know what you want your audience to see. He will not know the best elements to use the feelings you wish to convey.
So before you start collecting colour swatches and downloading free scripts, put the brakes on and think about what it is you wish people to see. What’s the impression you wish to create? What ‘s the mood your business really represents?
And once you’re clear about that, then get yourself a designer.
You can call on me! 🙂