Here's a little bit of what I've learned from being in the biz.
Five Perks to Solidifying Your Visual Brand
Today, let’s talk a little bit about branding! And, when I say "branding", I mean the way that you communicate visually (although branding is often much more than visual) to potential clients!
In other words, if a client saw a product or communication from your company, would they be able to tell that it came from your company based on the design? If they visited your website, would your color scheme give them insight into your style and business values? Consistent, strategic branding across all of your business platforms has many perks! Let's talk about a few of them.
1. YOU LOOK TRUSTWORTHY
The way you visually represent your business says a lot to your potential client. Solidifying your branding communicates that you have a vision and systems in place to carry out that vision. For example, a strategically branded website says to a client that you expect them to be there, they are valuable to you, you care about the way they perceive you, and that you are up-to-date and have the resources to provide them with the services they need.
In contrast, when a client can see inconsistency and disorganization in your branding, It only makes sense for them to consider that these might be larger underlying problems in your business. Not sure you agree? Have you ever visited a website and thought, “goodness, these people need to pull it together before I would trust them with my (insert thing you wouldn't trust them with)!” Or, perhaps, “they must be new to the field,” Or, even, “they probably went out of business, because this looks like it hasn’t been updated in ten years!” We are constantly making judgements regarding business’ capabilities based solely on the way they visually represent themselves.
Basically, good, strategic branding lets a client know that you’ve already done the work to get your ducks in a row, so you’re free to provide them with great service.
2. YOU DEMONSTRATE WHAT YOU OFFER
When you are well-branded you are showing your clients your unique style and values. This is especially important when thinking about client retention. You want your visual presence to demonstrate the type of work you actually do, and therefore attract and retain clients that are interested in working with you because of what you uniquely bring to the table. For example, when I'm looking for a good small-batch coffee to try, my eye is typically drawn to natural colors, unique and rustic-looking packaging, and texture. In contrast, when I am out of money at the end of the month and just need a cheap caffeine fix, I'll broaden my gaze to include those shiny, block of bold-color packages that are just good enough to keep my eyelids open.
Your brand is telling a story about who you are, and you want to make sure it's an clear and honest story.
A potential client that can see what you value and offer through your branding is more likely to retain your services; a client that mistakes what you offer due to unclear branding is more likely to ask a lot of questions, only to discover they’re actually looking for something else. This brings me to my next point...
3. YOU SET YOURSELF UP TO DO THE WORK YOU WANT TO DO
Branding doesn’t only communicate what you offer now, but sets you up to do the type of work that you really want to do! This might not apply to all businesses, but in the creative fields, your branding can communicate your area of expertise and style to potential clients. For example, photographers who produce moody work often find themselves using darker colors and heavier lines in their branding, while photos specializing in light and airy imagery often opt for whites and pastels paired with whimsical, organic shapes. All of these choices demonstrate to the potential client "this is what I value stylistically, and this is what I do", and help that individual to make a more informed decision regarding whether a business is a good fit for them or not. The more clients hiring you based on your "style" (i.e., strategic visual branding), the more often you’re doing the type of work that gives you life.
4. YOU ATTRACT YOUR IDEAL CLIENT
Believe it or not, you can say a lot with a purposeful color scheme!, font, and design. You suggest a more or less expensive product. You can appeal to youthful or to a more-established individual. It’s really all about fit, and the fact is, many of us have learned the hard way that fit can be more valuable than a deposit! Finding yourselves attached to clients that are not a good fit for you often means extra time spent in communication, headaches, and stress. It’s in these moments you find yourself asking, “Why did I start my own business, again?”
You want to set yourself up for success, which means making your client happy! But, that’s a lot more difficult to do when that client is not on the same page as you in terms of their budget, timeline, style, or potentially even personalty. However, clear branding (paired with good verbal/written communication, of course) can draw clients who share your vision and value what you do, while steering away clients who don’t.
5. IT’S JUST EASIER IN THE LONG RUN
My final point is a practical one! Once you have your branding decided and documented, it takes a lot of the guesswork and confusion out of creating flyers, designing emails, updating websites, etc. You don’t have to think about what font to use, because you’ve already made that decision! If you’re working with a designer, you can just hand off your branding board and let them get to work without long conversations about the “feel” of your brand, and endless edits! Yes, having your branding solidified just makes everything a little easier.
BUT, BEFORE YOU GET TO IT...
Before you solidify your branding, solidify what you want your company to be, what your goals are, and who your ideal client is. Do you want to be the fast-food of designers (for example), pumping out quick, simple designs that require a smaller investment but are still satisfying? Or, are you going to be the five-star cafe of designers, focusing on a high-end product, with personal customer service, and a raised pinky on top? In other words, figure out "who" your business is and where it's going, and let that drive your branding! You'll be booking your perfect client and doing work that is all-you before you know it!
Want some help with branding!? I’d love to sit down with you to discuss whether or not we’d be a good fit! And, if we are, I would love to help you discover the direction you want to take your business, and to build a branding guide that helps you meet your goals! Please check out the rest of my site to see what I’m all about!