Ok, so you have fallen into the branding myth trap. Don’t stress! I have some quick and simple brand fixes for businesses, brands and bloggers that need some serious myth busting tactics to get their brands back on track! But what if you don’t even realise you have fallen prey to these common brand misconceptions? It’s ok, don’t beat yourself up - let’s go through them and get those branding mistakes sorted right now!
Also, I know you might prefer to listen to this blog post rather than read it! So I’ve got the audio version for you right here:
MYTH 1: “I have branding: here’s my logo!”
If I had a dollar for every time I heard someone say that they are starting a business, so they’ll need some branding, followed swiftly with “how much would it cost to have a logo made” - I tell you, I’d be one rich lady! You see, this is one of the most common branding misconceptions out there, people genuinely believe branding is simply a logo. And they are equally genuinely surprised when they find out that it is so much more. Let me explain:
Your logo is a hugely important part of developing your brand but it is just the tip of a much bigger iceberg. To create a successful brand, you need to consider the four foundational pillars:
Each of these elements that make up your brand require equal attention. So, as you can see, your logo is only one piece to the branding puzzle. If you are focusing on just creating a logo, you are missing the bigger picture, and you are likely not building a strong brand!
THE FIX: To avoid falling into the trap of believing that your branding is just a logo, think about a brand you like and connect with. Think about all the elements that make up that brand: it might be the logo, sure, but what about their brand colours, fonts and elements? Their packaging, their store layout, their website, their photography, their social media graphics and what they post there, their e-news communications, their swing tags, their shopping bags, their flyers, their brochures? And you might not realise, is it’s also how they talk to you, what they offer you that is unique, how they make you feel, the language they use and the community they build. All of this comes into a winning brand identity. So the myth buster here is to really think about that brand and consider everything about it that goes above and beyond simply their logo.
MYTH 2: “I’m just a small business, so I don’t really need branding.”
Piffle! Of course you need branding, why would you NOT need branding? It doesn’t matter if you are a solopreneur or a lone blogger - branding is for businesses of all sizes. Every business and blogger should be well branded, and likewise every individual too. So even if you ARE your business, you need branding. And I’ll tell you why:
Your brand is always communicating with your clients, customers and readers and it’s important to identify what your brand is saying. If you fall into the trap of thinking that branding is not for you because you are a small business or a solopreneur, you could be giving your clients mixed signals and confusing them. This can be deadly for a small business as confused brands lose customers.
THE FIX: The fix for this one is really all about mindset. Stop playing small! You might just be a small business or blogger but you have big ambition! Get into a BIG brand mindset. How do you do this?
Understand that your brand is worth it. Regardless of the size of your business - you are doing this for a reason! Think about all that time and energy you put into your business - don’t you think it deserves every chance of success? I do. And truly believing this means you will see instantly that branding is vital for you and your business!
Get really clear with your brand mission. What are you and your brand setting out to achieve and who are you both here to serve? Knowing exactly what you are doing and who you are serving will help you to stay focused and create an authentic brand!
MYTH 3: “I can change it later, so this will do for now!”
Not only is this a huge myth, it’s also a massive mistake. There are two key reasons that this is a bad idea. Firstly, if you are leaving your branding uncompleted or not in its ideal form, you are giving your customers the wrong message. You are essentially telling them that you don’t care about your brand enough to put the effort in that it deserves. And you might not realise, but this is translating to your customers and readers in a negative way. They start to think “if she doesn’t care about her own business and brand, then she sure as hell won’t care about me either”. Essentially what you are doing here, is making it extremely difficult to trust you!
The second reason is that businesses that often change their branding confuse people. They become used to seeing one image, one theme, one brand and when it drastically changes (and in the case of some indecisive brands, changes often) it is like brand whip-lash for your community. They feel like they don’t know you and stop noticing your communications and before you know it, you are starting over in more ways than just your brand - you will need to rebuild your community too! Don’t get me wrong, rebrands and brand updates are important (not sure what the difference is? Read about it here.) but remember that these take a huge amount of time and energy. Rebrands and brand updates are not really what I am talking about - I am concerned by the brands that settle for a brand identity that is less than perfect purely because they believe they can work on it later. It doesn’t work like that in such a busy marketplace, you have to be on your game from the start!
THE FIX: Don’t leave it a second longer. Yes, the truth is, you can change it later - but this won’t be without consequence! So whatever point you're at with your branding, ask yourself some solid brand clarity questions (I even have a free mini course walking you through this whole process!). Be honest with yourself about if you are leaving elements of your branding until this illusive ‘later’, or if you are in fact happy with your branding as it is right now.
MYTH 4: “I can’t afford a designer. Branding is just too expensive!”
Now this myth, I can understand. When you are just starting out with your brand and throughout those first few years, money can be in short supply. And if you are a blogger, well, the possibility of generating income might take some time! So paying a brand designer to create your brand identity and all the bits and pieces that go into it can be costly and often not an option.
Your brain starts to go into over-drive: you have the logo, of course, the colours, the fonts, the photography, business cards, packaging, website, storefront, signage, social media, graphics and that’s just the branding. You also have to worry about all the other costs associated with starting your brand. But here’s the thing. It doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg to create a brand you connect with and that communicates effectively with your target market.
THE FIX: A popular solution to the issue of not being able to hire a designer is absolutely to DIY your brand! And this isn’t as scary as it might sound. You don’t need fancy software, Canva is a fantastic tool for creating graphics, including logos and Squarespace makes it super simple to create an effective and stunning website without needing all that technical coding skill that scares so many new business and bloggers away from creating their website!
Related: Getting Started with Squarespace
The main things to remember when creating your brand identity DIY is:
- Keep it super simple. No matter what your skill level, keeping your branding simple is by far a better decision! So many DIYers get caught up in creating a complicated brand identity and it just confuses people, looks messy or fails to stay sustainable over time! Keeping it simple will create a clean, fuss-free brand identity that will adapt and grow with your brand over time.
- You are not locked in. While I am telling you not to change your brand too often, I do want to emphasis that when you create a simple brand, it does have the potential to evolve over time and this means you are not locked in. Sure, the overall brand identity might remain the same, but as you and your brand grow and trends shift, a simple brand identity can be updated easily without losing face with your community.
- Be specific and consistent. I recommend selecting 4-5 colours and 2-3 fonts for your brand identity. Be very specific with what you are choosing, type them up and print them out. Using these colours and fonts only when creating graphics for your brand will ensure you stay consistent and here’s the secret to branding: consistency. Consistency is the difference between a good brand and a great brand that they won’t forget!
MYTH 5: “I let my work do the selling for me, if it’s good, they’ll buy. So branding doesn’t matter.”
I can imagine you put your whole heart into your work. It’s your pride and joy, after all, your offering to the world and it makes you genuinely happy. Let me paint the picture for you: You had that crazy, burning idea - a way to create a better life for yourself, for your family. Freedom, flexibility. Something different. You have a skill, a product, something you can sell and something you can say that will impact others. So you take the plunge, you work evenings and weekends on this idea. You are exhausted after a long week but you know if you can just get this business and blog up and running, everything will change. You won’t be exhausted anymore.
You quickly realise that you need to invest more than just your time. You are happy to do this, remember, this business and blog is a game changer for you. You produce your product, you list your services and you spend hours slaving over your blog posts to make sure that it’s the exact info your people need. You have invested so much money and time and more than anything, you have invested a piece of yourself.
Here’s the thing, without a brand identity that connects with your people, the product, service or blog you put your heart into, it will not sell. And here’s why: Branding connects your brand with your ideal customers and readers. It establishes relationships and builds trust. Without it, your brand is essentially a stranger to the people you so desperately want to serve!
THE FIX: Like Myth 2, this fix is all about mindset. Realising that for all the effort you put into creating your product, services or blog content; equal effort should be invested into your branding. Why? Because you have already invested so much time, money and soul into what you are selling, so your brand really deserves a little attention too!
Think about brands and bloggers you really love. What is it about them that you connect with? And more importantly, would you feel so connected with them if they didn’t have the branding that they do?
My guess is that their branding plays a huge role in how you feel about them and there is one very good reason for this: good branding makes us feel more like ourselves, more authentic and more powerful than you would without it. Essentially, when we look at a brand, we are measure the degree to which we feel it reflects our ideal self. The YOU that you want to be. If a brand can’t establish that connection with their customers, then it’s likely they won’t even get to the point of browsing your products and services, and reading your blog.
If you felt that tingle of familiarity while you were reading these top 5 branding myths, then I encourage you to take action! I don’t want anything at all to hold you and your brand back! So I have created the Branding Mythbuster Workbook just for you. It is full of questions, checklists and cheat sheets to get you and your brand on the right track!