I recently polled my follower community on Instagram and it turns out there's a lot of misconceptions on what branding actually does for our business.
"Isn't that when you choose colors and make a mood board", someone asked and of course my answer is sure, but that's only one small fraction ( and yes, probably the most fun part) of the branding process. Branding is more of a give and take. It's a WHOLE LOT of market research and strategy, and when done right will bring in amazing results.
I like to call this give and take "Offers and Returns" - When you offer the right things to the right people the return is more business, better business, and growth. All of these offerings are controlled in part by your branding and your brand strategy. Take a look below and see how every branded feature or element we offer secures a return that helps us build our business!
If you're feeling overwhelmed, don't! In order to accurately explain all the things branding does we have to talk about all the things we try to avoid, like getting organized, intentional, and sometimes we delay paying a professional to come in and do a quality job because we fail to see the whole picture. If you're just looking at branding from a colors, logos and fonts perspective you'll quickly talk yourself out of investing in branding. On the surface they seem like a petty thing to be worried about, but branding is very detailed and has an incredibly complex influence on your results. We also have to talk about making all of these different arms of a full branded machine make complete sense. It's tricky, but again there's no need to be overwhelmed. I'll break it down for you!
Branding is all the ways you appear; to the eye and to the public opinion of your audience. There's a lot of things you cannot control in business, but branding puts a lot of that control back in your hands if you use it correctly. It allows you to create an identity that gently guides people to feel exactly how you want them to feel and know exactly what you want them to know. That control is INVALUABLE. We all want to make a good impression personally. You should want that same thing for your business. We're not talking about shaping and manipulating every opinion out there- you can't please everyone, nor should you be trying to. Instead, we need to have a really focused scope of who our business is for, who we're talking to and how we want to appeal to them. This requires a bit of research and adjustments as we get to know our audience better. That's right. Branding is not a one and done practice. It requires maintenance.
In order to make all of these branding elements and variables make sense together you have to start with a clean slate. That doesn't mean go and delete everything and start over. It simply means you need to sit down and get really reflective and honest with yourself. Do you have the abilities to take on all of the necessary tasks to do this the right way? Have you done a good job setting yourself up for success in the past by
- Deciding what you stand for and what takes priority?
- Staying on brand with original content and updating that content consistently?
- Deciding on your brand culture- how you want to run your business and what values you consider most important?
- Deciding what your five year plan is and holding yourself accountable to achieving small goals as you go forward?
I mention all of this because if you're just winging it, and your identity or messaging doesn't make any sense your audience will pick up on that, which will make them hesitate to do business with you.
So here are my solutions:
- Decide now and set yourself up for success.
- What are your core values and the foundation for which you set your entire business?
- What is your mission statement / your commitment to yourself and your clients?
- How do you want people to feel about your business?
- Know your pricing
- know your order of operations
- have every system organized and in place
I say those last three things because rushing on policy and procedure always leads to making rushed decisions that lack quality and don't always reflect the brand culture you want to be known for.
- Creativity and originality always win
The entire point of branding is to set yourself apart and stamp your business name in the corner of your industry. If you aren't branding with creativity and original ideas you run the risk of blending in and lacking any discernible qualities. You want to stick out in the minds of your audience in all the right ways. Branding can ABSOLUTELY do this for you, but just like most other things the process isn't as sexy as it looks on the outside.
When done right branding should;
- Turn heads
- Captivate your audience
- Drive traffic to your website
- Convert that traffic to Opt-ins and sales
So besides how your business looks there's the strategy of it all. Making your audience feel appreciated, valued, and informed are great ways to earn their trust and respect. Then and only then can you earn their money. Branding reinforces your identity, your messaging, your culture and helps people recognize your business. Again, when done correctly allows your business to grow!
I know it's easy to get distracted by colors and pretty mood boards, but planning and strategy are actually the fundamental backbone of branding. Strategy and Planning are branding insurance policies. They make sure everything that you do is a direct reflection of your brand culture( those values and commitments I mentioned earlier) will directly impact your growth. Then colors and mood create the atmosphere that best suits both your story and your audience which opens up a dialogue.
So if you really want to know what does branding do....maybe I'm a bit bios, but I think I've given quite a bit of proof that it does everything!