I'm a firm believer that every mistake and failure we experience teaches us something. However, when it comes to branding I'd love to save you the heartache of making a major mistake if I can.
So what is the number one mistake I see business owners make? To be honest, it comes down to just one thing—positioning. Brand positioning is all about how you frame your product or services. Not literal framing of course. I mean the way you talk about what you sell, how your brand sounds, and how you differentiate it from others in your industry.
When you take a misguided approach to positioning, your whole business will suffer. Like trying to play with darts with chocolate chips, not much will stick. So instead, let me drop some knowledge so I can help you sidestep that mess. I know this next truth will be a tough pill to swallow, but it's the key to helping you position your brand for the kind of success it deserves.
Now take a deep breath and stay with me here.
It's not about you
The most common branding mistake I see business owners make is basing every decision on their own preferences—on what they like. I know how extremely difficult it is to stay objective when it comes to visuals, but the success of your business is at stake here. Don't choose branding just because you like the way it looks.
Your customer is the hero
When it comes to brand positioning, it's not about what you like. It's about your customers and solving their problems. What you're selling soothes their struggle and answers their prayers, right? Amazing, but how do they know that?
Don't choose branding just because you like the way it looks.
Before you can sell to your customer, you need to get her attention. You're not going to do that with branding you designed for yourself. If you really want your business to succeed, you need to craft it for your ideal customer. And I'm not talking about men and women ages 1-99. I meant your distinct, unique customer with a name, story, and struggles of her own.
Make your customer the cornerstone of your brand. Hinge your strategy on resonating with her. Your brand will work its optimum magic when it speaks her language, understands her struggles, and shows her the way to reach her own victories.
Every brand needs strategy
The good news is that you and your customer probably aren't as different as you think. The majority of the brands I work with have a lot in common with their target audience, and—with some assistance—these similarities are the secret sauce in their brand. When you discover how your story aligns with your customer's, you can share it in a way that truly hits home.
That's where I come in. You see, although it may appear that I'm designing for my clients, I'm really not. I'm designing for the customers of my customers. Together my clients and I study their customers and get to know them. We figure out what will resonate with those customers, and we build the brand strategy—and eventually craft the whole brand identity—around that.
But, Melissa, how do you keep your clients happy if you don't care what they want?
I absolutely care what my clients want. What they really want is for me to craft a quality brand for them, to make it easy to use and flexible so they have room to grow, and to build something for them that will last.
Of course I want my clients to be head-over-heels for the final branding, and I make sure they are. But that's because my clients understand that I'm not making art for them. We're not making pretty pictures for the fridge—I'm solving their problems. Each design decision I make isn't because I like the way it looks. Every decision is serving a need and contributing to a greater vision for their brand.
That's the beauty of partnering with a brand designer like me. I'll help you step out of your shoes so you can see things from your customer's perspective. We'll craft a stunning brand that grabs and holds her attention, and then you can share your story to a captive audience of dream customers. In the end, my clients are ecstatic because they hire me for design but I give them much more.