It’s easy to get caught up in the hustle when it comes to launching and building your brand. The external pressure of those who are succeeding around you (or at least, seem to be succeeding), combined with your own excitement about your business and its potential sometimes makes it hard to stay on track. Here are three common mistakes in brand building and how to avoid them.
Getting your logo designed first
Come on, we’ve all done it. Found that designer who looks like they’ve got an aesthetic you like the look of (and kinda looks like what other entrepreneurs out there have for their logos), briefed them and waited excitedly….. then been less than wowed by the end result. It’s all about that brief, baby! If you’ve said, “Hey designer, here’s my business name and this is what I do” and that’s your brief, well that’s just not gonna cut it. Designers are great, but they’re not mind readers. They can’t know what your brand’s purpose is, what you stand for and who you’re trying to reach. They can’t know what the category norms and cues are for your industry in terms of colours and typography styles. That’s where a detailed brief comes into play. Add a mood board and you’ll top their list of favourite clients for life!
Also, when it comes to design (and most things, really), you get what you pay for. If you’re hunting for mind-blowing design on a cheap freelance platform, it’s probably not going to happen. If you want to look the part, it’s worth investing in someone’s expertise properly.
Not really understanding who you are serving
A target of “everyone” is not actually “targeting” anyone. A lot of entrepreneurs stop at simple demographics, like “women aged 18-40”. That tells you nothing. A woman of 18 is likely to have a very different mindset and lifestyle to a woman of 40. They’re facing different challenges and have different dreams. They have had very different life experiences. They’re probably motivated by different goals. It’s understanding these things intimately that can help you better empathise with your audience and therefore, reach them in a more meaningful way. Describe them not as someone doing a political survey would – describe them as complete humans with rich and dynamic layers of personality and behaviours.
Once you’ve built this profile, actively find ways to test your hypotheses about them. Ask people in your email list about their lives and challenges. Ask them on social media. Engage with them in groups they hang out in online and in person. Compile that beautiful tapestry of an image of your ideal client one insight at a time, remembering that actual behaviour (what they actually do) mightn’t always match their stated behaviour (what they say they do).
Expecting results immediately
Just because you plan for growth and success, doesn’t mean you’ll get it immediately. Unless you’re sinking thousands of dollars into support activities like brand-building advertising, your organic growth is going to take time, a whole lot of precious time. Brand building is a nurturing process for long term success. Start small and celebrate the small wins you make with your brand along your journey. There are so many failed entrepreneurs who wish they hadn’t grown so aggressively and lost sight of what they were really there to do.
And remember, you don’t need a 7-figure following to be making an impact. Don’t be fooled by those vanity metrics. Authentic brands make plenty of impact with small, loyal followings (and in fact, are often envied by larger brands who just can’t foster that same kind of trust and relationships with their mass audiences). In our saturated world, it’s those who understand quality over quantity who will ultimately win.
Invest wisely. Learn voraciously. Grow sustainably. That’s a recipe for brand success right there.
I’m a brand strategist and marketer with 12 years’ experience managing some of Australia’s best-loved consumer brands. I help startups, entrepreneurs and established SME businesses shape their brand strategies from the ground up – because your brand is sooo much more than your logo. And it all begins with strategy, not design.
Since becoming location-independent corporate refugee in 2016, I’ve travelled the world and helped build brands for new and established businesses across Europe, the UK and Australia.
When I’m not being a passionate advocate for my clients’ brands, you can find me quaffing craft beer, raiding a stationery shop for more pens and notebooks I don’t need, or not-so-secretly dancing to 80s music. Don’t be shy: connect with me on Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter or at www.abrandisnotalogo.com.