From everyday, casual wear – boyfriend jeans and leather jacket – to your little black dress and heels, to me branding meant having an upscale wardrobe for your business. Something that was nice to have, but not necessary to get the job done.
A simple name logo with clean text was all I needed… until I actually went through a real branding experience, which I’ve dubbed as brand therapy. I’m sharing all the behind-the-scenes lessons learned to help you determine if your business – and your clients – are ready for branding.
My brand journey began as an idea that hit me out of the blue while driving my kids to the doctor – you know, because the best ideas come while in the shower or driving, right? I found an insanely awesome (and slightly profitable) way to help our community through our website. However, I wanted it to be pretty. In order for that to happen, the rest of the Fearless and Framed brand needed to be developed. The point here, I started the branding process only because it was the first step needed before starting my real project. In my mind, it was just a part of the fun, but boy did this journey teach me otherwise!
You might wanna pin this one… some serious food for thought here you may wanna use later. Pin this real quick:
The hunt for the right brand design + web developer team was the most difficult part of the process. If I only had a nickel for the amount of people I reached out to who responded with, “What’s your budget and timeline?” rather than actually taking the time to look at my project! Hot damn. This was THE BIGGEST TURN OFF (I hope every design team reads this, because it was annoying + frustrating + unprofessional all around). It became clear to me that a lot of designers are hit with people who end up not having the budget or expecting an overnight job. So, I started to send a screencast of my project and clearly state in my emails that I realize this project will have a price tag and will take time. This seemed to work, because when I was recommended by a designer I love to Ann with Grit & Wit, her and her developer, Iurie, actually listened.
We had several conversations before committing to the multi-phase project together. I can’t speak for them, but for me it wasn’t about finding an order-taker who solely designed and developed my vision. It was about finding people smarter than I am in this topic, who really listened and took this on as an all-in project, not just another job. While you’re seeing my new branding and core site, you’re not seeing the site idea that started all of this. With that piece, I wanted to add that as I was in total dreamland for what the idea can do for our community. Iurie even took the time to be like, “how are you monetizing this?” So rather than just taking the project to get paid and giving me what I asked for, it was obvious their care in my results was exceptional. Ann made it clear that the branding process really is a process (I call it brand therapy) and Iurie was there to make sure this was a smart business investment.
So you see, our pre-contract signing chats weren’t just about due dates and money. It was about truly understanding everyone’s goals and affirming the possibilities can happen. It was about setting expectations and being on the same page to be clear on the results. It was about understanding how each person’s role will impact the end result.
And speaking of results, this is a snippet of the site’s transformation:
If you’re on the right track with the 9 questions, but still on the fence about giving your business an impressive brand look. I want to share an excerpt from a book I freaking loved by Sevenly’s Co-Founder, Dale Partridge, called People Over Profit*.
The twenty-first century is an aesthetic era. The way you look in an interview can determine whether or not you get the job. You may not let your child play with a neighbor, because the other kid’s appearance unsettles you. The visual presentation of a billboard or commercial can influence whether you patronize a business or visit a website. Colors and fonts and layouts have never meant more than they do now.
In our current age, visual elements are no longer representations of the brand but an expression of the brand’s heart. So design must be a core value of any organization. Whenever something has your name or fingerprints attached, it can’t be less than great. Visual design is the first touch point most people will have with your company. It can dictate the rest of your relationship. So make sure you stack your creative tam with all-stars.”
There was a point during the brand + site development process where I was frustrated. I’m not going to sugar coat it and make the process all fun and games. It takes some real effort and hardcore patience on your part. There were times I felt like I was putting so much time into something that wasn’t doing anything for me or our community (yet) – like I should be working on other things on my long to-do list. That part of People Over Profit* landed on my lap at just the right time. The excerpt reaffirmed that once our project was complete, our site will be an impressive first touch point… and according to my test site users and performance goals in the first days, it is.
Totally worth it!
When you pay attention to detail and graciously give away some of your profit to quality and experience, people notice. This kind of notice is memorable and will influence your clients and web visitors to return.
Impressive branding isn’t about being cool or resulting in an oooooh reaction. Impressive branding should be about leaving a memorable impression with your dream clients or customers.
So before you click away, let me leave you with this.
Take these 9 Questions from above and set them in a place you’ll remember once you get serious about branding your business. On this worksheet, I’ve also included all the links recommended in this post so you have ’em for safekeeping.
Links with * are affiliate links – we get a small kickback, but the price never goes up for you.
I’d love your feedback and open-ended conversation so we can continue to serve you better.
Hey Storyteller... Pick one and pass this onto a friend: