I've heard it over and over again, "Hi! I am starting a new business and need a new logo!" My first reaction is, "Awesome!" and after I dig in I find that many business owners have given absolutely zero thought to their overall brand and aesthetic. Your business goes SO much deeper than a logo if you want to find success. You, my friend, need more than just a logo, you need a brand. Before I knew anything about branding I associated the word "brand" with cattle ranching and techniques used to distinguish what animals belong to who. Have you ever had a rocky mountain oyster? I have. So yeah, cattle images ran through my head before I ever learned what I now know about running a business and the importance of a brand. So let's start at square one, what is a "brand"?
defining the word "brand"
Okay, this can be complicated or we can keep it simple. Let's go with simple. Your brand is what your potential clients and/or customers thinks of when he or she hears your name. What are some big business names that you love? For me when I think about Anthropologie a very specific picture is put in my head. Yes, I know the logo and can recognize it, but when I think of that brand it goes a lot deeper than the logo. I think of how I feel when I shop in that store or online. I think of the color palette that is their company. It's like Target. Target is so much more than the logo. If you are like me, I feel something special when I go inside a Target. I can develop images in my head right now of things that are Target, or "Tar-je". The fact that Target has a nickname only confirms the strength in their brand and strong relationship they have with their customers.
Your brand is your identity as a business owner. It tells and explains to your audience what you do and why you do it. Your brand is how people recognize you in a crowed marketplace. As my business evolves, it is my goal as I continue to grow that people will see one of my pictures on Instagram and before even seeing who posted, they will just know that it came from me. This takes time, but if you look at my feed you will see consistency in my work, and my brand. Your brand is more than pretty colors on a page, or a logo. Your brand is a combination of your logo, color palette, fonts, patterns, consistent style, design, and print material.
your logo is not your brand
It's part of it, yes it is, but it is not your brand. It is a small piece of what goes into play when developing a strong and successful business. You may have a logo that you love, but your content, color schemes, photos, voice, and ideas across social media are different, confusing, and all over the place. It's extremely hard to establish trust with your clients and customers if people can't even figure out who you are or what you do. A strong logo is great, but if you are not consistent in all the other aspects of your brand, you will have a hard time finding success, or your ideal clients. Your clients want to know who you are. They want to feel a connection to you as a person. If your brand doesn't have a clear message, strong voice, vision, or great content, people are just going to be confused. Establishing a strong brand package will take all the questions away that potential clients may have about who you are and what you do.
So what makes a strong brand?
Consistency. I have learned this the hard way on my own personal business journey. However, once I figured it out and realized that my brand didn't make sense and figured out how to pull it all together with strong brand elements, colors, fonts, etc., the clients came with it. My brand now makes sense. When people click on any of my social media accounts they will know exactly who I am, what I do and who I serve. Consistency is the biggest factor is how you grow as a business and gaining new clients/customers. Like I said before, it should be your goal to create and establish a brand that your clients know is you before they even see your name next to the image.
I have seen it too often in my short time as a designer where a designer creates a quick logo but nothing else for the client. If you work with a designer, you need to ask for more than a logo. You need to ask for a brand. For my clients who book a logo with me and not a website, I give them everything they need to grow with that logo, which includes their own brand style guide. Before you give anyone your precious, hard earned money, you need to ask questions. You should know your designers process, what you are getting out of the package and ultimately determine if it is something that will help you grow your brand. Below you will see my own branding elements that I created for Emma Rose Designs when I redid my website and rebranded myself from my little handmade shop to what it is now. Everything I do with my business revolves around my color palette, fonts, and brand elements I put together. I'm proud of my own journey and I know that my success thus far has been because of my brand, and hustle (of course.)I have seen it too often in my short time as a designer where a designer creates a quick logo but nothing else for the client. If you work with a designer, you need to ask for more than a logo. You need to ask for a brand. For my clients who book a logo with me and not a website, I give them everything they need to grow with that logo, which includes their own brand style guide. Before you give anyone your precious, hard earned money, you need to ask questions. You should know your designers process, what you are getting out of the package and ultimately determine if it is something that will help you grow your brand. Below you will see my own branding elements that I created for Emma Rose Designs when I redid my website and rebranded myself from my little handmade shop to what it is now. Everything I do with my business revolves around my color palette, fonts, and brand elements I put together. I'm proud of my own journey and I know that my success thus far has been because of my brand, and hustle (of course.)
Making the Investment
I'll go ahead and throw it out there, like I mentioned in my previous blog post, "What I've Learned In My First Three Years as a Creative Entrepreneur", in order to make money in business, you are going to have to spend money. I dive into that in more detail on that blog post, but I'm just going to say it again. Investing money on your brand is not easy, trust me...been there, done that. Yet at the same time it is truly one of the biggest, and smartest financial investments you will make for your business. Your brand will set the foundation for the future of your business.
I'll be honest with you when I say that the investment is much more than money. When you make the financial investment with branding, you have to invest your time. Building and growing a business is hard and takes time. Even if you are hiring a professional designer to help you with your brand, don't think you are off the hook because in order for your designer to do the very best job possible, you have to dive in deep to who you are as an individual and business owner. Before I even start the design process I spend quality time getting to know my clients through communication and questionnaires. When you take the time to sit down and dig deep you will create a strong and authentic brand.
Alright, now it's time to take a leap of faith. Are you ready?
Are you tired of spinning your wheels when it comes to your business and asking yourself, "Why is this not working and why am I not growing?" Well, take some time to look at your current brand. What does it say? Is it consistent? Does it even make sense? Are you feeling like another face in the crowd, screaming to the masses and not getting heard? Well, I'm here to tell you that the missing piece is your brand. So yes, a logo is great but I hope this post has opened up your eyes to see that it goes so much deeper than that. Your brand is important, your story is important and you are important. What's holding you back from making one of the best investments for your business?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Emma is fine art photographer and graphic designer for photographers who are ready to take their business to new heights. She is a dream chaser who wanted to find a way to work from home & stay home with her daughter. Her passion for photography and design has led her down an exciting road of discovering who she is as a business owner and individual. She is passionate about working with her clients and making connections with new people every day. Learn more about Emma here.