Branding can seem very personal, especially when you’re building a personal brand. It can be hard to detach yourself from the process and stay objective.
I know exactly how that feels! After all, I have a brand that’s full of my own personality, yet still has to appeal to certain types of people, who are not necessarily just like me.
Today, I wanted to talk about getting out of your own way and creating branding your business really benefits from.
Why do we need branding?
Answering this question may seem simple: we want to be memorable, to set us apart and make us look professional. But is that all?
When we create branding for our clients, we always think about the goals they want to achieve. Is it to look like an industry expert? To become an influencer? To level up their business? To get more clients? To attract better brands they can collaborate with?
All of this probably, yes. But most importantly: branding is to fix problems they’re having.
If they attract the wrong type of clients (those people who can never afford them, who are not really interested in their type of product), if their conversion rate is low, if they’re struggling to build their credibility, influence… their branding needs to help you fix that.
If they’re perceived as a very strict person, where in fact they’re very warm and welcoming – thye’re losing potential clients. This also needs to be fixed by purposeful and strategic branding.
Branding is a way of sending the right message to the right people, in the right state of life/business. Then, it will get our clients where they want to be.
Who is it for?
This is actually the most important question of all.
When you’re building a personal brand, like when you’re a blogger, influencer, speaker or a coach, it may seem your branding has to be personal: it’s about YOU. It makes the most sense in the world, right?
Actually, it’s not!
It may surprise you, but branding is never really about the person who it’s made for. It’s for their clients, audience, readers, customers, followers! Therefore, it should be adjusted to their state of mind, mood, a way of thinking, behaviour and expectations.
It has to be in line with the personality of the person it’s made for, but ultimately, it’s not about what they personally like.
Politicians are the best example of personal branding I could think of. They may have some color preferences, they may like to dress a certain way. Their most important goal is to reach a certain audience with a certain message. They want this message to be received in a certain way too, and so they dress in a way that helps them do that.
Of course, their clothes need to fit their physique, hues need to make them look attractive and appealing, but they all need to be thoughtful.
They don’t wear red jackets when they need to appear like they are the person who’s going to install structure and balance. This would be too risky: this color may present them as someone who is too strong and may not be trusted.
They conduct a thorough analysis of the audience they are trying to persuade and they consciously choose how they should be dressed, what kind of language should they use to speak to them, so they get their way.
You should be doing the same thing!
Your audience should be always the starting point of your branding.
- Who do you want to attract?
- What kind of message do they need to receive to buy from you / book you / follow you?
- How do they prefer to be talked to?
- What state of mind are they currently in?
Your personal aesthetics vs. your audience needs
It’s important that you are proud of your branding. We don’t want you to dread looking at your website or stationery! At the same time, it’s more important that it works for you and gets you where you want to be.
If your new branding connects you with the right audience, gets you your ideal clients, helps you build your credibility and influence, presents you and your business in a way you want to be seen – does it matter if you personally are not crazy about it?
Would it be better if you had what you love but still struggled with your business?
I’m sure you’d prefer the first option! That’s why it’s important to be open to something else than what you’ve imagined and pinned on your Pinterest board. It might be it’s going to be working for you a lot better !
Branding is a strategic process and your designer should understand the color theory, how fonts, shapes and graphics influence the mind and how to use it all to your advantage. If you’re not getting the strategy process and your designer cannot explain why they have chosen these particular visuals or fonts for you, it might be you’re not going to end up with something purposeful.
How visuals affect the brain
Depending on what mood you’re in, you may perceive red color as energetic/happy or intimidating. Depending on your mindset or state of mind at the moment, you may perceive a minimalistic website as boring and faceless, or refreshing and inviting.
It’s important to understand all factors that come into this perceiving. The same color, layout or font may be received differently by different people. Sometimes the same person may see things differently when they are in a different mood!
Our brain processes visuals 60k times faster than text! This means in a matter of seconds, your brain has processed visuals from my website, my branding, color palette and fonts and you decided if I’m a designer for you, or not. This already happened in your subconscious mind. My Pinterest graphic made you decide if you like to click through to read this post among others.
With this in mind, you probably realise, that you literally can’t afford this to be done wrong for you!
That’s why in the long run, branding can’t be pre-made, it can’t be accidental and most importantly: it can’t be only what you personally like (although you should feel proud of it!).
It has to be thought through, strategic, purposeful. You have to know why you’re using this color palette, this type of fonts and this type of visuals.
So who’s your branding for?
To get your branding right, you need to be really purposeful and strategic about who your ideal client really is, how they feel right now and what needs do they have to fulfil.
Try to envision them in as much detail as possible. Have you worked with them already? If so, what kind of people were they? What did they say to you when they first contacted you? How were they feeling when they enquired about your services or bought your product? How were you perceived then? Was it easy for you to sell to them?
- What do they expect from your brand?
- What needs do they need to fulfil and how?
- How do they like to be talked to?
- What sort of action do they expect from you?
- How do they want to be treated?
- How do they want to be seen themselves?
Don’t be afraid to put people off
We all want to be liked, preferably! We’d like everyone to love us and accept us, but the truth is, it’s not possible. Simply because people are so different.
It’s great, though! Imagine how dreadfully boring the world would be if everyone was so alike you couldn’t even distinguish them.
Thankfully, some people love us, some are OK with us and others we will never win over. What does it mean for you?
It means you have to decide who you want to be liked by (preferably you like those people too!) and try to appeal to them boldly enough, that everyone else is put off.
Stop trying to find the sweet spot, where the biggest possible audience has something in common.
Don’t be afraid to be bold for YOUR people.
Go for it!
Get out of your own way
Finally, get out of your own way, babe! If you’re ready to level up, become an influencer you always wanted to be, build a brand that’s memorable and freaking amazing – treat it like a professional.
Think strategically, build a brand full of personality that will connect you to the right people.
Let yourself be open to solutions different than you might have imagined, be open to using colors you wouldn’t paint your walls with, and visuals that are bold and send the right message to YOUR people.
If you do that, you’ll see your business bloom, your brand become memorable and your influence grow.
Have you been having problems letting go and being objective about your own brand? Let us know in the comments, what was the toughest thing to let go for you?