After all, this is where all my experience comes from… I started out as a graphic designer, helping very-first-timers design their first business brands.
Along the way, I learned many, many valuable lessons about designing your first brand… so I thought I should share.
Many first-time entrepreneurs consider designing their brand a “first order of business” – they think that before they launch, they’ve got to design their logo, business cards and their website.
I get it… there’s a lot of not-fun stuff to do when you start your business. Setting up accounts. Creating contracts. Dealing with your business entity choice (whether you’ll be a corporation, sole proprietor or LLC).
This is important stuff, and at the same time, it’s really not the creative adventure you set out to have in your business.
So you avoid it… and try to have some serious fun by commissioning or creating your business designs.
And you’re counting that fun towards the cause of “advancing your business.”
That’s oh-so-wrong. For many reasons.
First of all, it’s a stalling tactic that nervous entrepreneurs use to avoid selling their services. Selling freaks them out, so they say, “I just have to have this website put together… then I can start making calls.”
That’s straight-up crazy… you don’t need a website, or a logo, or really any graphics at all. You just have to start having those first conversations with potential clients and start selling and delivering your services.
It may seem that having a logo will make that transition easier, and the truth is… it’s more likely to hurt you than to help you.
And reason #2 will show you why that’s so important: because a brand is a two-way discussion. You have to design your brand to speak to your ideal clients. To show and tell them what you stand for in your business.
If you haven’t had any clients yet, how can you possibly design your brand FOR them?
You’ve got to create your brand for your clients. They’re the ones listening in and watching you. And so your brand has to be meant to communicate with them.
Because they’re completely serious about a picture saying 1000 words… and you want to make sure they’re saying the right 1000 words to the right people. Right?
Your brand designs should communicate all of that meaning and emotion behind your business.
So, before you design, you not only have to figure out who you’re communicating with… but also what you’re trying to say.
How to figure that out? Answer these questions:
What is your business all about?
And how do you want your clients to feel when they work with you?
In your brand, you have the opportunity to tell your clients all of that, and even more, about your business.
Your brand is powerful because you can show, not just tell.
A gorgeous brand can do so much more than communicate.
• Gives your invisible, intangible service a face and makes it more real and less abstract.
• Turns heads and opens doors for you. Clients will say, “have you seen this?” and pass your marketing along for you.
• Sticks in peoples’ minds, making a memorable, lasting impact.
• Moves your clients from “know” to “like” quickly… and ease the transition into “trust.” You’ll know this is happening when you hear them say, “wow, I love that! Tell me more…”
• Raises the perceived value of your services, cut back on sales objections and speed up your sales cycle.
So, it’s imperative that you put the effort into figuring out what you want your 1000 word-picture to say, and who you want it to say that to. That’s the only way you’re going to make the gorgeous impression you want to make.
Erin Ferree is a brand strategist and designer. She works with small businesses to create brands with substance and style that fit their businesses perfectly.
She’s designed brands for hundreds of small business all over the world. Her brands help her clients attract their ideal clients, outshine their competition and make them unforgettable. She also works with small business owners to develop complete clarity about their brand positioning and to develop total brand clarity.
Her award-winning design work and her writing on design have been published in many books and periodicals.
Erin lives, cooks and plays tug-of-war with her dog Stanley in San Luis Obispo, California.