Branding Basics: 3 Tips for New Business Owners
Have you ever bought an outfit that wasn't really your style because you needed something to wear that night? We all have. It's easy to pull the trigger on something for the sake of urgency or just wanting to get it done and move on. Branding is no exception. I have had clients reach out to me asking if we can create a logo in less than a week, because they have an event to go to and they want to have business cards in hand. Can I design a nice looking logo in a week? Absolutely. Is it the best way to approach branding? Hell nah!
A brand should tell a story and it should be developed with a holistic approach. Sometimes I feel like a broken record saying this, but branding is a strategy, not just a logo. It's your own unique message that will set you apart from competing businesses. Your goal is for your clients to believe in your brand SO MUCH that they ONLY want to work with you. Here are 3 tips to elevate your brand.
1. Think Long Term
Don't get me wrong, the brand design process is super fun, and I can see why my clients are often eager to dive right into color palettes, mood boards and logo comps. It's creative, collaborative, and the end result is pretty! But that's not what it's about at its core. A well-defined branding strategy is based on your business goals, your vision, your purpose, your target market / ideal client base, and most importantly how you wish to be perceived by your audience. This applies whether you are an attorney, a restaurant owner or an eyebrow specialist. (Trust me, I work with all of the above!) Before I even begin designing a mood board, I have my clients fill out an in-depth questionnaire about their business and branding goals. The answers to this questionnaire are the foundation for their brand strategy, and they are extremely helpful later on in the process.
2. Be Confident!
How is confidence related to branding? In more ways than you think. Confidence will take you far. It's attractive. It's a statement of power. When someone is confident, you take them seriously. On the contrary, if you don't believe in yourself or you doubt your abilities, that negative energy will be felt by those around you. Whether you are just starting out as a brand new small business owner, or you're 20 years into your career, you can't expect people to be confident enough to pay you for your services if you're not confident in yourself. Having a professional, cohesive brand identity that you're proud of can help you let your potential clients know that you're legit and you mean business.
3. Repetition is Key
Aristotle said "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit." This is so true. Someone told me a long time ago when I was looking for a tattoo artist to look for the worst piece in their portfolio. If you are okay with getting THAT tattoo, then go ahead with that artist. That is great advice. To have done one kick-ass tattoo is cool, but to have a large portfolio full of outstanding work is much more credible. The same goes with any industry. You wouldn't want to hire an attorney who's only won one case, would you? Or a doctor that's only seen two patients? Whatever it is you do, do your best but also make sure you do it consistently. When you are consistent, people will recognize and remember you. How does this apply to branding? It means you define your voice, develop a brand style that tells your story, and consistently put out the message that is uniquely your brand. Have questions or need help with your brand strategy or design? Start to take action today!
I'm Gretchen Kamp.
I'm a graphic designer turned business owner who lives in yoga pants and is fueled by pizza and red wine. I am a soon-to-be fiancé to a handsome nerd, and a mom to a goofy snaggle-tooth rescue pup. I love traveling the world and teaching other female entrepreneurs everything I've learned in the last three years of full-time self-employment. When I'm not in my design studio, you can find me at Cyclebar or galavanting in San Diego with my semi-insane girlfriends.