Branding is one of the biggest and most complex projects you’ll manage in your business. Your brand is the impression you make and that means your brand is this weird intangible thing made up of lots of moving pieces all working together.
On top of that, your brand is always growing and changing. Branding isn’t something you set up once and leave running in the background. Actually, it should be at the forefront of everything you do, and that means you’re technically always working on it.
All that can make branding seem like a big jumbled mess of confusing stuff. It can be really hard to wrap your head around how all the pieces come together to form your brand. But figuring out your brand and building it intentionally is totally worth the effort and careful maintenance.
Knowing your brand allows you to focus your efforts and make the most of your work because your path is clearly laid out on a map. It gives you the tools you need to make a strong consistent impression, attract your ideal client, and grow your business.
I hope you’ve decided to do take on the hard work of getting clear about your brand and aligning everything in your business to your message. I know it’s not easy. I know it can be so overwhelming. And I want to help you.
So here’s a very honest list of 5 mistakes you should avoid when you’re working on your branding:
- Not having a plan
A lot of us start our businesses kinda winging it. And that’s totally ok! It’s better to start imperfectly than to never start at all. But let’s be real. At some point, winging it just isn’t going to cut it anymore.
A strong intentional brand doesn’t just happen. It doesn’t magically come out randomly trying on a million different styles. It has to be crafted and built up over time. And that, of course, takes planning.
So spend some time really figuring out what you do and why it matters. Get in touch with the deepest reason why you started this specific business. Define your ideal client. Don’t be afraid of narrowing in on the people you really want to work with. Find your peers and get clear about who you want to fit in with. Own your goals and make plans to reach them.
Your values, tone, and direction should become more clear and you’ll start to see the stuff your brand is made of. Use this to guide everything you do in your business.
- Making it only about you
It never catches me by surprise when a small business owner wants her website background to be her favorite color. Of if she sends me a link to a logo she’d really like me to copy. Your business feels like a part of you, so it feels natural to have your personality dictate your branding.
But you’ve got to remember that your business isn’t about you only. And your brand shouldn’t be either. It’s not necessarily wrong to have your personal preferences represented. You just have to make sure your likes and dislikes match up with the impression you want to make.
The strongest brands are the ones that represent who you are in a way that resonates with your ideal client and place you in the right group of peers. That means striking a balance between your style, what your ideal client loves, and what’s going to help you fit in with the right people.
Whenever you’re making decisions about your brand, ask yourself, “Am I choosing this option because I like it or because it’s right for my brand?” Even when it’s hard, go with the option that’s on-brand.
- Refusing to narrow in
Focusing your business in can be scary. It means saying no to possible opportunities, possible clients, and possible revenue. It might mean setting aside one of your passions for the time being. But narrowing in on one offering, one ideal client, and one style is crucial to growing your business, especially when you’re just starting off.
Narrowing in on one offering makes it easy for your audience to figure out what you do and why they should come to you. Narrowing in on one ideal client makes it easy for you to communicate in a way that resonates with the right people. And narrowing in on your style means everything you put out is reinforcing the brand message you want to get across.
Focusing in doesn’t mean you’re choosing the one thing you’re going to do for the rest of forever It’s just what you’re deciding to focus on for right now. As your business grows, your focus will probably evolve along with it.
Choose what you want to narrow in on during this time. What one thing are you most passionate about? What one type of client do you enjoy working with the most? What one style gets you the most results?
- Always changing things up
Whether you’re trying to keep up with the trends or feeling afraid of boring your audience, changing your tone, look, and even your actual product can seem like a good idea. But, let me tell you. Consistency pays off way more than always changing things up.
Consistency helps your audience learn what to expect from you so that they can eventually recognize your stuff instantly. It builds a strong impression by always communicating the right message. And it protects all the hard work you’ve put into intentionally building your brand.
But all of that takes time. A strong brand isn’t built overnight. Be patient and give your branding the time it needs to do the work you need it to do.
When you’re tempted to try new colors, new fonts, or a new writing style ask yourself why you want to make the change. Are you bored? Are you afraid of boring others? Are you copying a fun trend? If your reason isn’t something that’s going to strengthen your brand, keep the style you’ve been working so hard to establish.
- Trying to do it all yourself
Building a business means you have to be resourceful. You have to be willing to pick up new skills and tackle whatever needs to get done, even if it’s out of your comfort zone. That’s something I really admire in entrepreneurs. You work harder than anyone and have this determination to do all the work.
But that exact quality can also get you into trouble. You can end up working too hard and taking on projects that fall outside what you’re really really good at. It can be hard to let go and hand things over, even when you know you could really use some help.
Your branding has a lot of moving pieces. Taking on such a big project on your own can be really overwhelming. And you’ll eventually run into something completely out of your comfort zone and completely beyond your amazing skill set.
There’s nothing wrong with asking for help. There’s nothing wrong with letting someone in to help you get your brand on the right track. And, to make things a little easier, I’ll let you know I’m just dying to work with you!
If you’ve been making any of these mistakes, don’t freak out. Trust me, it will be ok! Take a deep breath, get yourself on the right track, and commit to being intentional about your brand from now on. It’s never too late to start building an amazing brand!