5 Reasons Your Brand Isn’t Working
Running your own business is hugely rewarding, but often it can be overwhelming too. From balancing the books and issuing invoices, to writing marketing strategies and generating new business, everything falls to you.
So it’s little wonder you may not have been able to dedicate much time to building a brand. Perhaps it seems esoteric - something you can get around to later when you have everything else sorted and some more capacity. But that would be a mistake.
Building a credible brand is one of the most important tasks that you face as an entrepreneur. Your brand is what will set you apart from competitors and give customers, investors and suppliers the impetus to buy into your company and what you stand for. Are you getting it wrong? Let’s take a look.
It’s Just a Logo
Many of us make the mistake of believing that our brands begin and end with a logo design, when actually that couldn’t be further from the truth. A logo - and colours, fonts etc - may be one of the most visible elements, but in truth your brand should be about a vision. As Professor Simon Sinek says, you need to ‘start with why’. Once you’ve clearly defined why you do what you do, you’ll find it so much easier to get others bought in. The process of defining your brand needs to take place before the logo design, but more that that, it will inform every single business decision that you make, from your pitch to potential customers to your website design and on into hiring your first employees. So take the time to properly articulate your ‘why’ - the vision and values that you are going to stand for in a crowded market.
You Don’t Know Who Your Customer Is
It’s surprising how many small businesses, when asked who exactly their customer or target audience is, will answer ‘everyone’. And while it would be amazing to have that universal product or service, the only way to be successful as a start-up is to target a narrow section of the population and focus on them. You must know your customer inside out and really understand what they need and what issue you can solve for them in order to succeed. Your role in operations is to be their advocate and make sure that their opinion is never lost sight of. All of your content and visual assets then need to be designed to appeal to this persona.
You’re Not Being Consistent
After clearly defining what your company stands for and who your customer is, you need to stick to what you know or find through research, works for them. Your brand is one of your most important assets and if you play around with the company’s core identity too much you will dilute this and lose all impact. You should be aiming to develop some sort of brand guidelines, and keeping them consistent. Apply them across all platforms, from your social media channels to tshirt printing for your staff, and make sure all suppliers are adhering to their use. Consistency is what you need to make people relate to you and to begin building a relationship with your customer base - people need to get to know, recognise and trust you. And they can’t do that if elements of the branding are changing every five minutes. A brand can evolve over time, but put a halt to any drastic changes while you’re establishing yourself.