First things first. For the purposes of today, we are talking about brand identity. The collection of physical and digital visual assets that communicate your unique message to the world. Boiled down simply, all the things that you can see about a brand.
The number one mistake that I see entrepreneurs and business owners making, is creating an inconsistent brand identity. This might look like using WAY different brand colors from one piece to the next, or totally different fonts, and even creating totally different moods with pictures. This makes it difficult for old customers to recognize you, let alone the new ones you need to attract!
Let me give you an example:
Imagine you’re in a busy city square in a city you are only visiting for a week. You come by this bright pink mobile cart with the most amazinngggg blueberry muffins you’ve ever tasted in your life. The owner behind the counter is a blonde woman wearing a bright pink apron, and she hands you the muffin in bright pink wrapping.
The next day you go back to the square ready to enjoy another muffin before you leave the city. You look ALL over for her pink cart, but you don’t see it anywhere. You go back to your hotel room and vent to one of your traveling companions. Only your companion tells you that the lady was there, but today she had a blue cart and a hat on (and not a single scrap of pink to be seen) so her business was incredibly difficult to spot in the busy square.
You’re bummed. You’d have seen her right away if she had the same pink cart and apron, but instead you don’t get the world’s best muffin before going home.
This is exactly what you are doing to you customers with inconsistent branding – hiding in plain sight!
Your customers need to recognize you easily and immediately. You’re already trying to capture their attention in mere seconds, while investing tons of energy (and probably money) to get that attention. Don’t make them burn any more calories trying to hunt you down and decide if that was you.
This consistency not only builds awareness, but it creates trust. Show up for your customers in a way they will know you anywhere – like your favorite sports team.
How did you get here?
- Lack of time and resources: You’re busy, and you may have started with a bootstrap budget, so you created enough to get you up and going. You’ve added to it over the years, but without any real guidelines.
- Lack of knowledge: Your primary job is not that of a designer, and while of course you want a well designed and functional brand, you don’t always know what that looks like or how to get there.
- Change in vendors: As your company has grown, you’ve used several vendors and each brings a slightly different flair to the materials they are creating.
How do you fix it?
The first thing to realize is that any time you are talking about your brand identity, you need to step back and look at the big picture. Approach your design solutions as a holistic system – each of the parts must support one another and work integrally.
Most business owners are putting out content at an unprecedented rate, and a lot of these content pieces are created internally for quick social posts, and shares. It’s never been more important to have some solid brand guidelines to govern what those pieces look like.
So, if you haven’t already, invest some money in creating a solid brand identity. Not only will it help your customers recognize you, it will make your life a whole lot easier. You don’t have to think too hard about what something should look like when there are already parameters in place.
Ready to bring some consistency to your brand identity?
Start with the Brand Identity Cheat Sheet I designed just for you. It goes over 3 simple steps ANYONE can take right now to create a more consistent brand identity.
Looking for someone to help? Aspireen offers a variety of brand identity services to whip your brand into shape and help you show up for your customers. Contact me for your free 30-minute brand consultation.