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I’ll be honest, I’m not a huge fan of DIY branding. I truly believe that a professional designer is what takes a brand from decent to unforgettable. That said, I do also understand that not everybody starts out with the ability to afford the visual identity designer of their dreams, so I decided to create a blog series all about building your own brand.
DIYing you brand design isn’t going to be easy, but if you take the time and use the right resources, you can put together something you’ll be proud of! If you are wondering whether or not you really need to brand yourself or your business take a look at this blog post.
Branding is something that legitimizes you as a business and creates trust with your audience. If you are just starting out, having a brand will give you a leg up because you will look like you are already established – at least to a certain extent – obviously you will need great content to back it up!
I think the best place to start with your branding is to define your target audience and business goal. I have a complete, in-depth blog post about defining your target audience here. But basically, you will need to work through specific, targeted questions and give thoughtful (yet concise) responses.
My top ten Brand Discovery questions to define who you are as a business or entrepreneur:
1. What industry are you in and what products or services do you offer? What problem does your business solve?
2. How is your business perceived? What do your customers say about your brand? How would you like your business and brand to be perceived?
3. Name a couple brands that you would like to be compared to. What do they have in common?
4. How are you different from each of your main competitors? Define your unique value proposition.
5. Who is your ideal customer? (Gender, age, marital status, education, etc.)
6. What issues do your ideal customers encounter that cause them to seek you out? How do you solve these issues?
7. Where/how do your customers find and connect with you? (what social platforms, search engines, etc.)
8. What motivates your customers? What are their hopes and fears?
9. List 3 words that describe the personality of your business/brand.
10. How does your brand look and feel?
Okay, you may feel totally confused by these questions. Don’t worry. It’s not easy for everyone to sit down and answer these essential brand building questions. Even I sometimes feel as though I have a hard time defining my own brand. It’s very easy to over think your brand and to feel overwhelmed when trying to create your brand identity. So, I’m going to lead you through these questions and how I would answer them.
1. I am in the graphic design industry and specialize in visual identity design and social media styling. I create brand identities for businesses and solopreneurs who either need a brand overhaul or have not yet branded themselves.
2. My business is a high-quality design studio but is also perceived as expensive, especially for start-ups. My customers say my brand is smart, creative, and worth the investment. I would like to be perceived as an expert brand identity designer, creative powerhouse, and business leader.
3. I really admire a lot of freelancer out there, Nesha Woolery, Elle&Co, to name a few. They both have a strong online presence, are experts in the brand identity field, and are trusted by businesses and designers alike.
4. I am different from other brand designers because I work with one client at a time, and give my full, undivided attention to each project. I hand-craft my designs and provide training on how to use your brand’s creative assets, maintain your website, and create content.
5. My ideal customers are solopreneurs and small businesses who are ready to buckle down and invest in their business. They can be any gender and are probably 25 to 54. Education level is most likely some college or higher. They are self-employed.
6. My customers are tired of feeling stagnant in their business and want more out of their visual identity. They want to be consistent and unforgettable in the minds of their customers. I solve these issues by partnering with my clients and bringing their brand to life with and in-depth brand identity development process.
7. My customers find me online, through Google, Bing, and surprisingly, even Yahoo. They also find me on Pinterest, Facebook, and even Instagram. I connect with my customers primarily through social media and my blog posts.
8. My customers are motivated by their business and growing their brand. They hope to make an impact and share their awesome products and services with the world. They fear being lost in the crowd.
9. Creative, smart, trustworthy.
10. My brand looks like a solitary walk on a colorful beach at sunrise and feels like warm summer mornings, sitting on your porch. It’s happy, it’s playful, but muted.
So, I know that last question may seem a little silly, but I really can envision my brand as those things. I am an extremely creative and playful person, but I also like to focus and work on one project. I pour my heart into my designs and I think that is where the solitary and muted tones come in for me. I am an odd mix of serious and playful – really though, I am.
I encourage you to take a few thoughtful moments to go through these questions and answer them as best as you can. If you are just starting out it may be harder for you to get a sense as to where your customers will find you but take a guess or write down how you’d ideally like them to find you. If you feel like you need to know more about your target audience be sure to checkout this blog post I mentioned earlier! This is a much more in-depth customer profile and I have included answers from a client, so you may get a better idea of how to get to know your dream customer.
I would love to know your answers to these questions! Please comment below and tell me about your business and if these questions helped you define your brand. Be sure to stay tuned for my next post in this series – finding inspiration and creating a mood board.
Please be sure to comment below!