Branding is a buzzword that has been used a lot, especially in the online business world. You know it’s important, you know it will help you achieve your goals, but you’re not sure when you need it or when you need to re-design.
Do you get it when you’re just starting the business? What if you already have some branding in place but don’t know if you should upgrade?
No matter where you are in your business, you should have some kind of branding in place. The earlier you can start implementing it, the better.
You want to build recognition from the moment you launch the product or service and continue to build that recognition throughout the life of it. Having a professional and consistent look will only help your business grow.
People pay attention to design, in fact:
The brain processes visual information 60,000 faster than text.
– 3M Corporation, 2001
That is an astounding statistic and only stresses the importance of visuals in your business. But that also signifies the importance of effective visuals, which includes everything from your logo, website design, business card, social media images, and services sheet.
Anyone can make visuals these days with the introduction of programs like Canva and Pic Monkey. But these visuals aren’t always effective. Design not only has to look good, but it needs to function well and have a purpose. Without that, it’s just wallpaper.
There are a few ways to tell when your brand is no longer effective and outdated and it’s time to invest in a new one.
You’ve changed focus
It's natural for businesses to change and grow over the years. Sometimes your focus changes from client-based to product based or even changed from one niche to another. It’s part of the natural business evolution. If your business hasn’t changed at all throughout the years, then it likely hasn’t grown very much either. Change is good and a very necessary part of running a business.
But with that change in focus, you need to be sure that your brand is evolving with it. If you’ve narrowed or changed your niche, your ideal client has also likely changed. That means your visual style needs to change to reflect that and attract the right people.
Whether you've done a complete 180 or just slightly tweaked who you're serving, it's good practice to re-evaluate your brand and ensure that it's still in-line with what you're doing.
You DIY'd the first one
We all start somewhere, and money is tight when you first launch your business. A lot of people go the DIY route for their first logo, which is okay and completely normal. As as a designer and business owner, I would argue that doing it right the first time is really important so you can start building a consistent image. But not everyone has the resources to do that.
If you’ve DIYed your first branding, got it off of fiverr or Etsy, it's probably a good idea to invest in a designer. A DIYed logo can only get you so far.
It’s not bringing in the right clients
Your brand includes every single visual element (from photography to graphics). The main purpose of all of these is to attract your ideal client. Different markets will value different things in their life, which changes the design or visual style you use to attract them.
If you’re not booking the type of clients you want, this is likely due to your visual style. The best way to start booking the ones you want is to ensure that your brand is aligned with what your ideal clients want. Are they attracted to more colourful, vibrant, fun brands or do they like the subtle, clean and neutral ones?
Completing an ideal client exercise is a great place to start. This involves creating personas for your ideal clients including everything from their demographics, to where they shop, what their home looks like and what their main pain points are. All of these sections can be used to create a mood board to represent them in a visual way. This becomes the foundation of your visual brand.
You can even go as far as testing the visual style against some of your real-life dream clients. If they love the look, then you're on the right track. If they don't like it, then you have a great resource to find out how to fix and tweak it so it aligns with them.
It doesn’t feel like you anymore
This is the number one concern I hear from online business owners. Their branding just doesn’t feel like them anymore and they can’t quite pinpoint why that is (or some can, but haven't looked into booking a re-brand).
You know your business through and through, and if your gut is telling you that your branding just doesn’t feel like you, then listen to it.
If you know that your branding isn’t working, but can’t quite form the words to explain it, don’t worry it’s completely normal! It’s my job as the designer to help you uncover those answers, and get to the root of it.
During my client consultations, I ask as many questions as I can to get an idea of who they are as a person, what their business is and where they’re headed with it. This allows me to get a well-rounded view and see the entire picture as an outsider.
Reach out to the designer you want to work with and ask for a consultation. Use, this time, tell them about your concerns and main problems with your current brand. They will likely have suggestions for how to move forward and whether you would benefit from a re-brand or if some simple tweaks would work for you.
We all know branding is important, but it’s also important to recognize when it’s time to change things up in order to make your business more effective.
There are a few signs you can look for to see if you’re in need of a refresh including:
- You’ve changed focus
- You DIYed the first one
- It’s not bringing in the right clients
- It doesn’t feel like you