I’m just starting a business accelerator course called KPI. For our course prep, they have asked us to identify the top seven mistakes we see business owners and entrepreneurs making all the time when they think about their branding. So I thought I’d share them with you…
1) I don’t need to worry about corporate identity – I’m not a big corporate!
WRONG! As an entrepreneur, it’s true that you are your own personal brand. But in this increasingly visual world of Facebook Lives, Youtube and Insta feeds it pays for you to have a visual identity and consistency around everything you share. Whether that’s the logo at the beginning or end of your video, styled posts, typestyles, colours, a brand voice, or a certain look you have wear on camera…branding helps your customers easily identify your content in the noise of other competitors.
2) I don’t neeD brandING – I AM my PERSONAL brand!
NOT QUITE! Yes when you start out, you are your own personal brand, but as you start to generate content, hire staff and expand your business, you just can’t be everywhere and the brand ceases to just be about you. Your personal brand and your business brand are two linked but separate things (think Richard Branson and Virgin). As you scale, a cohesive brand represents your company when you’re not in the room. Your brand personality, ethos and values (apart from the more tangible brand assets) will help everyone in the organisation stay on track, make fewer mistakes and save money and time throughout every aspect of the business.
It pays dividends to nail this stuff sooner rather than later as it will bring immense clarity to everything else you generate from thereon in.
3) I will win business based on my expertise, experience and personality alone
HMMM…! Your competition out there is looking better, marketing more effectively and coherently and attracting more business already.
Designer Raymond Loewy said, “Between two products equal in price, function and quality the one with the most attractive exterior will win.”
Just like in the dating game, we are hot-wired to seek out that which is attractive to us. Yes, we really are all that shallow 🙂
So if your brand looks as good as you actually are, you have better a chance of doing business with your target market.
4) I need more clients before I invest in branding
DOH! Your branding will attract more clients and, if you’ve done this correctly, attract the right kind of clients. With the right branding and clearer messaging, your investment will pay for itself sooner than you can dream of. It will open doors and opportunities that might have been closed otherwise. It will give you more confidence to get out there. And people will take you more seriously from the get-go.
Lorna Reeves of MyOhMy Weddings sold her highest-value package on her first ever sale, to a tune of several thousand pounds, so she made her branding investment back immediately. Despite being a start-up, she presented herself and her company professionally. Her elegant brand (with metallic rose-gold printed business cards) allowed her to subtly yet confidently communicate her premium positioning in the market.
5) I can’t afford to brand right now
UMMM…Really, you can’t afford not to! Believe me that your branding will pay, not cost. How much business is already going to your better-looking competitors who are communicating their brand more clearly than you are? How much business and how many opportunities might you have already lost by not looking the part and not looking credible? How many clients could you win today, this week, with a new look?
6) I/my mate/colleague/mum/dog can do my branding
OHHHH…! Firstly, branding is about more than just a logo. You have to consider your brand ethos, personality, voice, aspirations, audience, the psychology of colour and type… and that’s before the creative and technical knowhow of producing your brand assets for print or online and brand guidelines. Your mate (or whoever) may be able to use a computer programme or wield a pencil, but that does NOT mean they know about design or branding!
True story, one client had previously got their mum to update their logo (anonymity, out respect to their no-doubt lovely mum!). Another client had their techies design theirs. As you can see below, it wasn’t pretty.
What does each logo tell you about the company? Which company would you rather trust with the welfare of your children?
7) Branding is A NICE-TO-HAVE, I’ll sort it eventually. my business and my pitch are more important right now
WHOOPS! Making sure all these elements are in synch is essential to growing your business. At InnerVisions ID we developed the DO-SAY-SEE Model © to help entrepreneurs understand the importance of building these three pillars in tandem to support each other, and avoid the usual mistakes other entrepreneurs make.
In brief summary, your ‘DO’ is your product or service i.e. your business and how you fulfil it.
Your ‘SAY’ is how you communicate about your business in words, spoken or written.
Your ‘SEE’ is anything visual about the business – including you and, of course, your branding.
The red ‘danger zones’ are what can happen if you only pay attention to two out of three of these pillars.
Example: Who will believe you provide a quality service (DO), no matter how much you tell them (SAY), if they then go online and find an awful, dated, clunky website (SEE)?
You can only build your brand when all three pillars align with each other.
We’ll go into more detail about the InnerVisions ID DO-SAY-SEE model in our next blog post.
We know how little time new business owners have and that cashflow is an issue. But we also know the clarity that having a great brand will give you – and your customers.
Due to popular demand, we created the One Day Branding Workshop for startups. With easy payment plans, the day gets you up and running at pace, affordably and in style.