Eleanor Bowie Design and I joined forces recently at Freelance Mum to speak on this topic and as we’ve had lots of requests to do so, we’ve turned it into a joint blog for you.
We’ve both worked with enthusiastic business owners who’ve jumped the gun and dived headfirst into building a website, printing business cards and ‘branding’ photoshoots before really understanding what their brand is (I was one of them 3 years ago!!).
As the summary turned into a bit of an epic read we’ve split it into two parts. Part one will cover how to define your brand and part two will explain how to turn your brief into a brand document and what to do next.
My own expensive mistake
When I started out I did the same thing many new business owners do…. I believed I needed a logo, a website a personal branding photography session and goodness knows what else so that I could launch. Shame I didn’t know that was hog-wash!!
I ended up with a logo I thought I wanted (that wasn't right for me) and a website that did not do what I needed as I hadn't realised that my web designer wasn’t actually a designer - ‘just’ a builder and I actually needed a brand designer first! Who knew?!
I met Ellie at Freelance Mum and she did a ‘repair’ job for me. She helped me distill the essences of my brand into something that feels cohesive to both sides of my business. Together we created a brand that wasn’t what I thought I wanted, but was absolutely what I needed! That’s the benefit of working with an independent professional, your thinking gets challenged and the end result is often much richer for it.
Not everyone is in a place where investing in experts is an option, so in our talk Ellie and I explained how to do the best DIY job that you can. Here’s part one, knowing what you need to know before you start anything else!
There’s a sensible order to do things…
If you want to maximise your time and your budget, there’s a way to optimise both. Before you start on branding projects, first deeply understand your brand. I don’t mean fonts, logos and colours I mean the essence of your business. The fundamental reason that you set up shop in the first place.
Define your target client
WHO is your target audience/customer? Get to know them in detail. Learn their pain points and aspirations. What brands do they like or are influenced by? Why? We can’t stress enough the importance of deep-diving into your ideal client avatar and we don’t mean how old there are or where they shop. This is about understanding how to speak to them in a way that will resonate. There are many resources available that help you define your ICA (ideal client avatar) but do look for ones that take you deep. You want to have to answer questions that you don’t know the answer to, yet, as this will really help you get to the nitty gritty.
Define your own business
WHAT do you stand for? What are your values/goals? What are you selling? What does it need to achieve? How will you measure its success? Do you want to do more of something than something else? What is it? Do you know your product mix sweet spot of profit/enjoyment that maximises the use of your expertise? Only when you understand exactly what your business needs to look like can you begin to think about how to promote your services.
A few areas to think about….
WHERE will customers find you? Online, Social Media, Networking, Events, Shop, Studio, Markets? The products you’ll need and the style of imagery that will bring you to life will vary depending on the usage.
WHEN? What’s your deadline? Do you have an event coming up? Do you have 100s of business cards to use up first? Be realistic! If you’re rebranding, ensure you’re able to update everything at once. Otherwise it’s just confusing for customers.
Now write your brief down as it’s time for the next step which you’ll find in Part Two coming shortly!
In the meantime, if you’d like any help, feel free to contact either Ellie or I or even follow us on social media as we both share a lot of content on this topic. Most of mine is on my LinkedIn profile, but there are bits on Insta and Facebook too.