At one point in your business, you get to an intersection where it is time to leave the DIY brand behind and get serious about taking your brand to the next level. At this point — if you don’t have a background in design yourself — you want to hire a professional branding graphic designer or brand stylist. Someone who knows how to get the best out of your business or brand.
When I started to it was not unusual to start a project with; "Hooray, this is going to be fun! Let's get started! ». Now, almost after 11+ years and create 150+ brands globally, I know that if we start the conversation with a question like; "Yes, but what does your ideal customer group look like, and what changes do you want to achieve?", I will be able to do a much better job.
Asking the right questions simply makes me a better designer.
Are you considering designing or redesigning your brand's * visual profile and online existence? A strong brand and a clear visual profile are the results of truly understanding their customers!
So my best tip for you is not to jump into a design process until you can answer the following 5 questions clearly and distinctly:
01. What is your story?
Why do you do what you do? What are you passionate about? What is it that drives you? What's the story behind your business? Feel free to formulate a few lines on a sheet of paper.
02. WHAT ARE THE CORE VALUES OF THE COMPANY?
When people think of your brand or product, what are the feelings and associations you want them to have? Feel free to spend a few minutes writing down everything that your business values. Then take a break and come back a little later to create a top 5 list of core values.
You can also try to find 5 adjectives that best describe you / your brand. Is your brand happy, bubbly, and colorful?
Or maybe it is sophisticated, stylish, and minimalist?
These adjectives will be useful to keep in mind when gathering inspiration and making important decisions related to visual profile and how you want to communicate with your customer group.
03. WHO IS YOUR IDEAL CUSTOMER?
Who are your customers? Or which customers do you dream of working with?
The advantage of creating a customer profile - even if you only do it in a quick and easy way - is that you ensure that you focus on the one you want to reach.
Because it does not start with a product, a service, or a blog post. It starts with the customer. Who is your dream customer? Maybe you already know this customer well?
If not, try imagining your dream customer. And feel free to be as specific as possible.
- Who is she/he?
- Is it a private person or a larger company?
- What needs does the customer have?
- What budget does the customer have?
- What company/industry does he/she work in?
- Is the customer playful and creative? Or maybe formal and sophisticated?
- In which channels and platforms do he/she prefer to have content communicated?
Knowing your target audience well is also about knowing why the customer chooses to work with you, or not work with you. An example: If you are a wedding photographer, your target group is certainly young women. And young people (especially) like services that are in line with the times and trends. Although your favorite colors are pink and turquoise, which are also reflected in your visual profile, the customer may not perceive these colors as contemporary and modern. In other words, it is not always right to make decisions based on personal taste. The primary goal is to attract potential customers.
04. What do you do/deliver that customers cannot get elsewhere?
What makes your brand unique and indispensable? What one often finds when trying to find the answer to this question is that in most cases, it is unlikely that any competitors can offer a similar product or service. But maybe it's how you make your customers feel that makes your business unique? Or is it the company's core values or history that makes you stand out?
What do you do/deliver that customers cannot get elsewhere? You can try to formulate it like this:
I help (your target group) with (what you offer) through to (how do you do it / how do you stand out in the crowd).
Mine might look something like this:
"I help passionate entrepreneurs and small and medium-sized businesses with branding and design by offering them personalized and unique customer service and design packages that give them all the tools they need to launch and use their new brand / visual profile with great confidence."
05. What is your goal?
… And what changes do you want to achieve? Feel free to start by defining your current situation. Ps. This is an important step in the process because it is now that you define your "goal line". If you do not know where you stand now, how will you be able to measure your results and progress during the process?
Maybe you're in the starting pit with a brand new brand? If not, take with you the experiences you have had in the past when planning and formulating the goal. What have you learned? Is there anything you want to change? What are you going to do more of? A fresh, new start means new opportunities, and then it is always wise to summarize and evaluate to learn from good and bad experiences.
The goal should be as concrete as possible. Spend some time finding a goal that triggers your motivation. Where do you want e.g. to be at the end of 2020? And why do you want to achieve just that?
Ps. Here you will find my WANTS & NEEDS form that everyone who contacts me must fill out!
* Brand, brand, brand !?
Trademark and brand (and also English brand) are often used interchangeably. It's easy to go a little buzzing. For what exactly is the difference between a brand and a trademark? Is there any difference at all? And why is it so important to understand the difference? For a product or company, a trademark is a special feature that can be patented. A name, a distinctive logo, color combinations, or anything else associated with that particular product or company. Coca-Cola's glass bottle from 1915 is a classic example.
Simply explained, a brand is the sum of all the associations one has to a product, the company, or you as a person. Logos, colors, images, etc. help to communicate your brand, but they are not the brand. What the customer says when he/she describes your product, your company, or you, that is your brand. If the associations are uniform and clear, you have a strong brand. If the associations split in many different directions, you have a weaker brand. If the associations are negative, you should do an important reversal operation.
And remember, visual identity is more than just a name, a logo, and a beautiful color palette. It's also the way you communicate. Your visual identity is your visual voice - not what you convey with words, but what you convey with images, logos, illustrations, colors, etc. Your visual voice is like a fingerprint - a unique way of defining your brand.
After you’ve answered these questions, or brand stylist. Look at their portfolio and look at the work they’ve already created — for clients and free work — and what others say about working with them. Ask for an intake consultation to see if you’re comfortable with your choice. If you get a bad feeling or already notice miscommunications, abort the mission and find someone else.
"After you have answered these questions, Trust your brand designer."
And after all the questions to ask yourself before you work with a brand designer or brand stylist, meeting them, and checking their portfolio, trust the process. They’re a professional, have the experience and know what they’re doing. So trust them.
Do you need help with your Branding?
Look no further because of the person you need to work with! Go and so we can talk about how I can help you create a consistent and strategic brand with a badass visual identity including a brand styling book.