Of course my opinion is that working on your brand is crucial for your business. This means getting clear on what your brand is all about – that clarity helps to give you direction and focus – and then applying that clarity to your visuals to create a logo, sub-marks and sub-brands, icons, illustrations, patterns, colours, fonts and photographs that align with your strategy, creating visual aids for your story and share extra layers of meaning with your audience.
This process helps to give you focus and communicate more clearly with your audience, but it’s possible to mess it up (and to fix that!) Here’s some mistakes that you might make when you’re thinking about your brand and developing the strategy and visuals.
Skipping out on clarity.
When you’re working on your strategy it can be tempting to skip out on the parts that you struggle with. Even if it’s HARD, it’s really worth spending figuring out and getting clear on the tricky bits. Usually these will be your values, your mission and your goals. Not spending times on these areas will mean you’re missing essential pieces for your brand where you’ll lack clarity. A defined brand means an aligned brand – which helps you to create experiences, moments, visuals and opportunities which emanate these pieces and bring your brand to life for your audience.
If you’ve been following me for a while you’ll know that consistency is practically my middle name (it’s actually Jessica, but that’s what the C stands for 😉 ) Brand consistency is about sharing the same messages everywhere, using the same visual style everywhere, not being one version of you here and another version over there. Wherever you go your brand should feel like the same person, the style, the same personality is showing up. So that your audience don’t feel confused or duped.
Brand consistency isn’t about showing up at the same time every day – it’s about knowing what you’re all about so you can be that everywhere – and using a style guide so that your visuals are recognisable and memorable no matter where your audience encounter your business.
Ignoring your people.
It really matters to know who your ideal customer is. Your people are central to your brand strategy – if you don’t know who you serve, how can you create offers, content, an experience and purpose which centres on them? Getting clear on who these special people are who will benefit most from your thing, love it, pay for it and tell others about it too means your business has the best chance of success AND you’ll be able to use your brand to appeal to those people above all others. Connection matters.
Spend some time chatting to your best customers, run a survey, get to know them. It’s worth it.
Being a copy cat.
No-one likes this. Not only could you get in big trouble but it really, really doesn’t help your brand if you’re using someone else’s ideas to show up. You don’t want to dilute your own brand, be fake or confusing. Pinching other peoples ideas based on THEIR brand focus will leave you confused and with a patchy image. Being yourself is always going to be the best way. Coming up with your own ideas, using your own strategy and visuals and focusing on that, will help you to stand out for the right reasons.
Ignoring your online places.
So easy to do. There are SO MANY online places where your brand can be and keeping them all updated can be quite the challenge. Focus on your website as your main place, but don’t neglect your social media.
You don’t have to be everywhere, but everywhere you are needs to be consistent with the same story and style so that when people follow or research you, you’re giving off the impression they need and showing that you’re up to date.
Following the sheep.
There are always trends. The latest Pantone Colour, a font that everyone seems to be using, glitter, a style of illustration or logo, trending audio or a thing that you see over and over again that looks fun to try.
Just because something’s trendy doesn’t mean that it’s right for your brand or that you need to do it too. Always refer back to your brand strategy and only follow the trend if it’s a solid fit for what you’re all about.
These things are all very easy to do. If you’ve done any of them yourself, please don’t beat yourself up for it. You aren’t alone. I have fallen into these traps too. Taking too long to follow my own advice and find clarity, changing my mind over and over about who my best customer is before I put in the work to figure it out and discovered multiple ways to help you do that too. Seeking out trending Reels audio, thus attracting all the wrong kinds of people to my content..
If you can skip these steps, you’ll be winning. Create connection, be consistent and stand out.
Amy Purdie, The Brand Explorer takes you on an Adventure to discover what your brand is all about, helping you with your brand strategy, brand visuals and content ideas. You can join Amy’s Brand Success Club or join her in your very own Private Brand Adventure.
Amy has been enjoying designing logos, brand identities, illustration, print work and websites – since 2007 fuelled mainly by tea and chocolate.