If you’re thinking of DIYing your brand, you’re in the right place. While I absolutely love doing the work for my clients, not every business owner is in the position to invest in working with me 1 to 1 and that’s ok. In fact, it’s more than ok because offering support to business owners who have decided to take on the brand creation task themselves has been such a fun adventure and brings a completely different set of experiences and challenges compared to working with my done-for-you clients.
I would describe being part of my DIY club Brand Creator as being similar to when you have a goal to improve your diet so you hire a nutritionist versus hiring a personal chef. A nutritionist is great if you are on a tighter budget and have the time to prepare your own meals, they will be there to help you towards your unique goals and support you with their expertise that allows you to then go away and create those amazing meals yourself. Versus when you hire a personal chef, you tell them your goals and the sort of food that you like and they take the entire task off of your hands which is amazing if you’re super busy or have a bigger budget to play with. They are both great solutions for different people.
Since working with clients who are trying to DIY their brand, I see the same mistakes being made again and again and have discovered 5 key things that can help you avoid these when you are trying to go it alone:
Creating your brand and thinking about your visual identity isn’t just a here and now creative task or something you think about when you’re trying to create a social media post or work on your website. Your brand should be an integral system in your business, just like your booking system or your email system or your social media planning strategy. You need to think about creating a brand system as this will save you a tonne of time in the future, make it really easy to outsource work when the time comes and just help you create a business that is easier to grow.
One of the key ways to turn your creative brand ideas into a system is to make sure you:
a) choose visual elements such as colors and fonts that work together well. Do this by allocating time to experiment with using these elements in actual designs to check how they work as a system and not just as stand-alone pieces.
b) Record these choices accurately and in a way that is easy to refer back to. My Brand Creator students complete their own brand guide which becomes a bible for their visual identity to help them maintain consistency when they are showing up on social media and beyond.
Brand Strategy can feel intimidating and confusing but it doesn’t need to be, it can be as simple or as complicated as you make it. The most important thing about using brand strategy is that we’re not making decisions purely based on our own preferences or because something is trending but because we have a real reason to believe that the decisions we are making about our brand are accurately communicating something about our business to our target audience.
When we make decisions based on our own preferences instead of having a goal for our decision you’ll usually find that you end up wanting to change your brand after a short period of time because YOU are no longer connected with it or it comes out of fashion. You’ll also find that you find it hard to gain traction and grow your business because what you are communicating about your business through your brand doesn’t accurately represent what you’re delivering which leaves your clients and audience a little confused.
This is a big one and to be honest, this probably applies to all areas of business but I always tell my club members and my 1 to 1 clients also that branding is a continuous process.
Now that doesn’t mean that you should be changing your brand every week (see point above) but it does mean that, especially as a new business your brand will grow and change as your business evolves. It’s only with time that you get to really know your business’ core strengths, where your passion lies, and what this means to your clients.
Secondly, there are so many elements to branding, some that as a newcomer you might not even be aware of. Elements like the tone of voice, custom icons, collaboration guidelines, imagery styling etc – even if you have the help of a brand expert on hand, when you’re trying to DIY your brand all of these things can seem a little overwhelming and it becomes like balancing lots of spinning plates. It takes practice to understand, create and implement a complete brand strategy so start with the simple things first and work your way up. For example, perhaps just start with a logo design, color scheme and font palette and start using them consistently, and then once that’s become easy then start considering the tone of voice, then start considering brand patterns etc.
Don’t feel like you’re failing if you don’t get all of these things perfect at once, even if you can improve one thing you’ll experience the benefits in your business.
Make sure that once you’ve created your brand visuals and brand strategy you are consistently applying it across all touch points in your business. This includes your social media (all platforms), emails, interior, business cards etc. We want your clients to feel like they’re engaging with the same business at whichever point they’re at so that we build that trust, familiarity, and connection and make that sale as easy as possible.
A helpful way to keep on top of this is to do a regular audit of your touch points. Write a list of the places where your clients and audience experience your business and then check that your branding is applied accurately to all of these every month or quarter. For example, go through your website, social media, interior and make sure that they all feel consistent.
I use the phrase “aligned brand” a lot and that’s because – being in alignment is THE. WHOLE. POINT. of creating your brand. When you have an aligned brand you are communicating with your clients and potential clients accurately about your business, you are magnetic to your dream clients – the people who will absolutely love everything that you do and become raving fans and it will become easier to grow your business.
Therefore, an alignment checklist is a super powerful tool to make sure that your branding decisions are on point.
Your checklist should list at least 4 feelings or communication goals that you want to achieve with your brand and you should be able to tick off all of the items on the list with every decision that you make. For example, when you’re choosing what caption to write on Instagram you should run this past the checklist and make sure it’s in alignment. When you’re choosing your colour palette, this should also tick off all of the items on your list.
Your list might include things such as: Calm vibes, girly, bold, youthful, exclusive, accessible, heritage, formal, expert, passionate etc. These words will obviously look different for different businesses.
Start thinking about how you can take action on these 5 points today and remember, my DM’s are always open to help you with any questions! If you’re not following me already you can find me at sugarbranded
Or, if you’re ready to start harnessing the power of branding right now so that you can charge more for what you do and grow your beauty business I am currently taking on done-for-you clients AND welcoming new members to my DIY branding club – drop me an email for more info: firstname.lastname@example.org