branding mood board collage

How to boost your business with branding – the right way

You’ve probably thought about whether you really need the whole shebang to boost your business: a website and a full brand identity with logo, colours, fonts. Not to mention business cards, stationery items, social media templates.

And the list could go on and on.

The answer is simple. And complex: no, you don’t need all of it.
But you need almost all of it.

Why?

Because your business doesn’t operate in isolation.

Unless you have a pioneering business idea for a start-up offering products or services that have never existed before, you face fierce competition. On your local market definitely. But globally as well.

Just think about how the internet connects almost every part of the globe. How services can be delivered virtually. Products can be shipped from warehouses sitting on another continent.

So why would someone choose you? Buy from you?

That’s what you can shape and influence with your brand identity.

So what is branding?

Marty Neumeier illustrates it up to the point in his below illustration.

illustration of a woman saying to a man 'I understand you're a great lover

And it’s really not only about how your business comes across visually.

It’s how you communicate with your clients:

  • In person.
  • On the phone.
  • Or on Skype.

 

It’s about how and what you write:

  • On your website.
  • In your blog posts.
  • Even in your client proposals.

 

For the younger generation it’s also how you come across on social media. And if you aren’t on any social media platforms with your business, then it’s high time you create your account.

Take a look at Hootsuite’s Global Digital Report 2019:

illustration of statistical data depicting global mobile, internet, and social media use
  • The number of internet users worldwide in 2019 is 4.437 billion, up 8.6% year-on-year.
  • The number of social media users worldwide in 2019 is 3.499 billion, up 6.1% year-on-year.
  • The number of mobile phone users in 2019 is 5.110 billion, up 2.6% year-on-year.

 

Being available online and on social media gives businesses an enormous pool of clients and customers. And as the numbers are growing year-by-year, for the success of any business it’s vital that they leverage this to their benefit.

Some things even branding won’t fix

While good design is a valuable gift and branding can boost your business, it won’t help with everything.

Branding can not only make your website or product a feast for the eyes, but it can

  • enhance credibility and
  • lend a level of market interest to your business.

 

A suitable logo, well-chosen colours and graphical elements give your business a

  • professional
  • cohesive and
  • established look.

 

A good visual identity cuts through the noise and distinguishes you from the competition. It builds a loyal tribe of fans who can’t wait to work with you once they see you or your products/services.

But it won’t be the solution for all your problems.

Because branding

  1. can’t fix a ‘bad’ product
  2. doesn’t replace customer service, and
  3. won’t cover up a lacking business strategy.

#1 My product doesn’t sell well: Can a new design boost sales?

If you’ve conducted a proper research beforehand and you know for sure that there’s a market for what you offer. Then Yes. Branding could help.

Your product may not sell as you’ve expected because it’s similar in colours to a rival’s. And customers pick them instead of yours.

It could be that the

  • colour choice,
  • graphics or
  • other brand elements on the product don’t speak to the intended target audience. 

 

Or send a mixed message.

These issues often arise when the branding was done by the business owner in a DIY fashion or it was done by an enthusiastic amateur.

But the culprit may not be your branding at all!

Are you properly marketing and advertising your product? Each and every day?

  • Using the right channels?
  • Reaching the right target audience where they hang out?
  • Communicating the benefits and values the right way?

 

If people don’t know your product exists, why would they choose it? Also if they don’t see

  1. what problems it solves,
  2. how it could help them
  3. what value they get from it, well, they won’t buy it.

 

Let me emphasize again that branding is not only about visuals. It’s also about communication. Using the right words, speaking to the ideal clients and customers in their own language.

If your product doesn’t sell well, it may be hight time critically evaluating your brand vocabulary and copy, too!

And No.

You see, just putting a new fancy design label or logo on a product may not be the ultimate solution.

So if you’ve launched a product on a gut feeling only. And there’s little to no interest in people to buy it. Then pouring time and money into branding or rebranding is a huge, huge mistake.

Fix your product first!

#2 My stellar brand visuals don’t attract/retain enough customers: Is it time to rebrand?

Probably Not.

If you hired a professional designer in the first place to work on your brand identity, then you need to look deeper.

People don’t simply buy by the looks of it. Though a pleasing design helps.

  • They search and research.
  • They read reviews, recommendations, testimonials.
  • They check you out as a person in your blog posts and on social media.

 

A poorly handled negative review, or a complicated product returns policy, the lack of money-back guarantee assurances, and an inferior customer services, can ruin what your striking brand visuals have otherwise accomplished.

#3 I don’t attract the right people. Should I rebrand?

Probably Yes.

A business tries to attract a certain group of people to a specific kind of experience or product they offer. A well executed branding can help you achieve that. For that you need an experienced designer though.

But if you’re uncertain who your ideal customers and clients are.
If you’re trying to appeal to everyone.

Then you’re going to drive both yourself and your amateur hobby designer crazy. Who you hired on the side to save some money. And end up with something generic and blah that won’t do any good to your business.

So before you even approach the thought of branding your business, take a step back and get familiar with your own business. And by that I mean get intimately familiar!

Only when you know who you are selling to, can you target your branding effectively.

Does knowing their gender, age, yearly income help?
Yes. To a certain degree.

What about their hobbies?

  • She drinks her coffee with a splash of milk and no sugar.
  • He likes to take long walks with his dog after arriving home from work.
  • They travel to an exotic destination every two years for summer holidays.

 

Well, if you’re not in the coffee business.
If you don’t sell dog supplies and accessories.
If your blog doesn’t give practical tips for long distance travel preparations or any luggage organization tricks.

Then these are pretty useless details.

When you create your ideal client profile focus on details from your own business point of view. Don’t let yourself distracted and carried away.

The key takeaway to branding - be prepared and ready

Whether you give it a try and brand your business on your own or you hire a designer to do it for you, you should get prepared.

You need to be crystal clear about

  • what you do,
  • why you do it,
  • what your core values are,
  • how you want your business to progress in the coming few years.

 

It’s not easy. It takes some dedicated time and self-reflection.

sample pages from the ebook How to prepare for a business branding

If you need some inspiration and guidance regarding branding your own business and what it involves, download this case study for FREE. It contains a bonus checklist with actionable steps if you decide to DIY your own brand.

When I was working on ARRA design studio’s branding, it took me two weeks to get there. I set aside daily at least two hours, took my journal and a cup of coffee or a glass of wine in the evening. And I just brainstormed and wrote down:

  • my current reality,
  • the journey that lead me here, and
  • my dreams and aspirations for the future of my business.

 

I ended up with about 25 pages of raw material that I have re-read and amended a few times, till I felt that this is it.

This is what my business is about.
This is what it means to me.
This is what I want it to mean for my clients.

Having this kind of clarity is liberating. It really fuels you up with ideas. And any time you are in doubt

  • about your mission,
  • what to post about,
  • what kind of visual materials to use, you just need to look at your notes.

 

Also, if you decide to hire a designer, they will ask you about your business background, story, your ideas, wants and don’t-wants.

Having this already prepared. Having thought about this already will speed up your branding process.

And as we all know it, time is money.
The sooner your brand and website is up and running, the sooner you can start earning money.

Ready to have a lasting brand that attracts your dream customers?

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