Does your brand show your clients an authentic picture of your business’s personality? Does it shine with your style? Does it feel like it fits you perfectly?
If your answer to any of the above is “no”, and your brand doesn’t truly represent you, then you’re setting your clients up with unrealistic expectations. Clients expect that your brand will be an accurate reflection of what you’re all about. If they look at your brand and see an energetic, enthusiastic image, but then working with you is serious and hard, then you’re creating a gap between their expectations and your delivery. And that’s a path to an unhappy client relationship.
How can your brand wind up being off-base? Here are a few scenarios that show how this can happen:
- You let “what you’re supposed to be” drive the branding process. You made your branding decisions based on what you think your clients might respond well to — instead of thinking first about creating a brand that shows your soul.
- You were afraid to show the “real you” in your brand, because that may not look professional. You designed something that focused on looking professional instead of being exuberantly you. The result? A brand that falls flat or feels guarded — neither of which helps you to bond with your clients.
- You rushed into the design process, trying to get something done on a deadline. You just sped through the process, making quick decisions, and giving hasty feedback. Now you’re looking back at the brand you created, and wondering what you were thinking!
- You didn’t tell your designer the full vision behind your business. Perhaps you kept quiet because you thought that giving them less information would help them be more creative (which is not the case!) Or maybe you couldn’t think of what to say, and your designer didn’t ask a lot of questions. You wound up with something that’s based on their assumptions about your business — and we all know that assumptions just aren’t good.
How do you avoid designing a brand that just isn’t you?
Create a brand that is an accurate representation of your business by taking a strong position in your business. You need to do some critical thinking, make some big decisions and fearlessly declare your strengths and attributes.
Get on the path towards taking a strong position by answering these questions:
- What is your ideal vision for your business? Your brand should make a statement about that vision — so you have to get really clear about the vision in order to create a brand that reflects that.
- What experience do you want your clients to have? What should doing business with you feel like? What should they get out of it? How do you want to impact them? Create a brand that shows your clients what they will get out of working with you.
- What do your clients say about you? If you get the same comments or compliments over and over again, then there’s a good chance that you’re getting an evaluation of how your business is showing up. Take note and use that in your branding.
- How do your logo and materials “look and feel”? Designers say “look and feel” for a reason — your designs should evoke a feeling when people look at them. If they seem emotionless, then look at how you can infuse more meaning into them. And, if the feeling isn’t right, or doesn’t match up with the way you want them to feel, then take steps to align your materials with your business to create a unified front.
- If you have a brand already, does it look the way that you want to be seen? Sometimes, determining if you already have a good thing going, or if you can find room for improvement can really help you to see the right direction.
Those questions should get you on the right track to figuring out who you really are in your business, so that you can show that in your brand.