Think of your favorite brand.
You follow them online, are subscribed to their newsletters and purchase nearly everything they sell. Do you have a brand picked out?
Now, examine them closely. Why do you like them so much? Is it their style, the way they communicate with you, the way you feel a connection to them that you can't quite understand?
That's because they have exceptional branding. They understand who their target audience is (you), how to communicate with them effectively (hello, Instagram) and provide you with the services you desire (gimme all the fitness gear).
Do you want to create a brand like this for your business? It's possible!
As long as you aren't misguided by these three common brand misconceptions.
Branding should fit my personal aesthetic
If you've ever worked with a professional brand or website designer you probably received a questionnaire. This questionnaire would have asked you contemplate your mission statement, goals and most importantly your target audience.
When you are in the midst of creating a brand, the only person you should be concerned with is your target audience. What does the design communicate to them, how do they connect with your brand and does it speak to them in a way they enjoy and can understand?
To summarize, your branding has nothing to do with your taste and everything to do with the taste of your target audience.
Branding can change seasonally and should adapt to trends
Again, not true.
The purpose of a brand is to create a connection with your target audience so they can remember you down the road. In order to do this you must create a purposeful brand that exhibits consistency and dependability.
If each time you were to visit Target's website they had different colors, typography and messaging, you would be confused. You couldn't connect to their brand if their brand was always changing.
Does this mean you can never update your branding? Of course not! Target has grown and adapted over their years in business. Below, I included their logo from 1962 and today's logo. This is a great representation of how you can adapt your brand - rather than changing your brand. They didn't dump their iconic logo for something trendy. They modernized their existing logo.
Branding is just about the visuals
You guessed right, this is also incorrect.
Your brand can be broken down into a few main categories: brand voice, identity and visuals. If you are creating a visual brand and nothing else your brand is incomplete.
Your brand voice is the intentional use of words to express your brand. Whether you thoughtfully brand your business's voice or not, your audience does receive it. From your blog posts, to Instagram captions, to email, your brand voice is coming through.
Your brand identity is the message received from your business. This is important and why I suggest not conducting your own brand audit. You may know what message you are intending to send, but that doesn't mean that is the message received by your target audience.
Your visuals are clearly important to your brand, but they don't make up the entire package. Take the time to be intentional with your brand voice and identity and see how it changes your business!
What misconceptions did I leave out? Let me know in the comments section!