what to do if your brand doesn't feel like you.
We've all had days where we question what we're doing and whether we're headed in the right direction in our businesses. You may look at your website one day and realize you've been so busy running your actual business that it hasn't been updated in months. Or, you may see the shiny new branding that your peer has and feel like your own is suddenly not very good.
If you're feeling like your visual brand isn't what you want it to be, it could be that you simply need to take the time to define it. Or, you're playing the comparison game, which is not a good one to play. Whatever your motivation, there are ways to love your brand again.
First, determine the cause of your doubt:
• Is it because there is a new trend in your industry? Perhaps you've started to see that a lot of businesses in your industry are using watercolor strokes in their logos, for example, and you feel like you might be missing out on the trend. But think about it: do you really want a logo that looks just like everyone else's? Be careful that you are motivated by strong decisions and not FOMO on the latest trends! Don't let the fleeting trends make you doubt what you've already built. Go for timeless and well planned.
• Is it because your brand isn't fully developed? You may have thrown together a logo yourself, and frantically make graphics as needed without well thought out plan. When you don't have clear visual brand guidelines, it makes every new thing you have to put together feel like a huge task that eats up your valuable business time. This can easily make you doubt what you are doing and feel like your visual brand is not up to par.
• Is it because your business has changed? Maybe you started out in a specific niche, and as your business has grown, you know either have expanded what you offer or refined your area of expertise. For example, you could have been a coach for women business owners, but now you've expanded to working with start-ups to advise them on marketing and SEO. If your brand has shifted, it can mean it's time for a visual shift as well.
Once you know why you are doubting your brand, you can take the necessary steps to either make the change or quell the doubt. Choose from the steps below to build something right for you:
• Define your brands values and goals. Before you can build a visual brand that truly represents you, you have to know what it is you're representing. Who are you serving? What problems are you solving for them? What sets you apart from similar businesses? When you know the answers to these types of questions, you can begin to build a visual brand that translates this message to your audience -- or realize that your current brand is a great fit after all. Make sure you are answering these from your business's perspective and not your personal one -- you may love glitter and horses at home, but if you are selling a clothing service for men, it won't be a good fit.
• Build out your brand into a system. If you simply have a logo and struggle to know how to put together the other graphics you need, take the time to develop your brand guidelines. Decide on a color palette that you will always stick to (2-3 main colors, and a few accents/neutrals), select 1-2 main fonts that will be your standard, and consider items like patterns, photography style, and overall key brand words, like sophisticated, bohemian, or minimalist that will influence your style.(See my post on building a brand board here!) When you have this to refer to, you will feel more organized and bring that vital cohesion to your brand. It may feel redundant to you, but it will help your visuals connect with your audience and instantly know when they see a post or email that it is from your brand.
• Invest in a designer to bring it all together. You may be able to come up with some great ideas when it comes to the design elements of your business, but a professional can take all that passion you have and turn it into a well designed system. Once it is in your budget, find one that has the style you are looking for, and watch your new brand come together before your eyes!
With so much information available on blogs and websites, it is so easy to constantly check out what other people are doing and play the comparison game all too often. If you know the core of your business and what it means to the people you serve, the customers will come -- whether or not you have that watercolor logo everyone else does or not. Remember: your business is bigger than you as an individual, and your visual brand will show it.
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