The question then becomes: Does the brand you’ve created align with what you want it to be?
The visual part of a brand is just a small component. There’s so much more going on behind the scenes. The language you use, your writing voice, the way you interact with people, your vision, your purpose, what motivates you. Think of it like your business’s personality.
The best way to determine the brand you’ve built is by asking people. If you have a great relationship with your clients, they would offer the best feedback. If you are newer, find your ideal clients on Facebook or at networking events and see if they would be willing to give you some feedback for market research. If it aligns with your business goals, consider offering them a free call, a discount on a product or package, a free assessment, etc in exchange for their time. Ask them how your business makes them feel. Ask them if they had any perceptions before working with you and if those perceptions were changed after working together. Ask them how they would describe your business to friends and peers.
Pay attention to the exact language they use. Especially take notes on repeated words or ideas. This is really important because what they say about you is your brand.
Now, is it the same as what you wanted it to be?
If so, great! Congratulations on being clear and taking the necessary steps to get where you are.
If not, you have two choices.
Choice #1: Make the conscious decision to let go of the brand you meant to create for the brand you actually have. This decision works if you have a strong client base you enjoy working with and you’re happy with your work. Or maybe you like the brand you accidentally built and you want to keep moving in that direction.
Choice #2: Start making the changes required to shift your current brand to your desired brand. This could happen because the people you work with now aren’t the same as who you started working with. It could be because you weren’t really sure how to communicate your brand. It could even be that you literally didn’t have a brand when you started.
Neither choices are wrong. It’s a matter of what you want and if, at the end of the day, you feel satisfied with your business.
If you decide to go with Choice #2, you’ll need to realign your voice, language, client interactions, and determine how you’re going to reach them. Next, you’re ready for updated visuals that accurately reflect your business’s personality. The visuals – your logo, business card, social media headers, Facebook and Instagram graphics, blog post images, e-books, all the things you use to reach your clients – let your clients know they’re in the right place. I love trying new restaurants, so let’s use that as an example. How would you feel if you walked into the doors of a restaurant with a really elegant name and sign but found yourself in a room with picnic tables and mason jar glasses? Or if you were going to the picnic-tables-and-mason-jar-glasses restaurant expecting a homestyle meal but you were brought an elegantly-plated fine dining option? It’s not a bad experience necessarily, but you might wonder if you’re in the right place.
When your clients see something of yours in a busy newsfeed, they need to immediately recognize you. And if they aren’t clients yet, your visuals should stand out to them so they see you “in the crowd”.
To help you in this process, download the free Brand Personality Worksheet. This is where the branding process starts. When you get clear on who you serve, it makes it easier to create the visuals to attract them. This worksheet will guide you through the steps you need to consider before jumping straight to logos, fonts, and color palettes so you don’t find yourself in the same situation of a misaligned brand. And when you decide to seek additional help, the worksheet will have you ahead of the game! You’ll save time and be able to clearly communicate what you’re looking for.
Your feedback is greatly appreciated! Leave a comment below if this was helpful or if something was missing. I’m always looking for ways to improve.