You came back for part two!
Yesterday we talked about why we care about your business's success when many design companies couldn't care less if you succeed or fail: It's because HDco is centered around marketing, branding, and design – not just design. We want to get to know you, understand your business, and work with you to grow your biz. But unfortunately we're not peering over your shoulder every moment of your business day to guarantee you're on brand.
That's why we always want to give our clients all the tips and resources we can to help them out.
As I mentioned yesterday, 90% of what kills new brands is unintentional – and almost always a result of not being truly equipped to maintain your new brand.
If you know exactly what to watch out for in the first months of maintaining your new brand, you'll be more likely to avoid the major pitfalls that bring even the best brands crashing down.
Today's post is all about making sure you know what those threats are. So we're alerting you as to...
Three Ways You're Ruining Your Brand 😱
(And how to turn the tables!)
Let's jump right in, shall we?
Here are the three BIG ways you might be ruining your brand without realizing it:
1. By IGNORING DETAILS
So you're more of a type B person. You're not good at keeping the little things straight. Your mind is other places. Etc, etc. Please, keep the excuses coming.
It doesn't matter why you've neglected to keep your company on-brand. No matter the reason, failing to pay attention to details cripples your brand's authority.
You use a shade of green instead of making sure it's your shade of green. You print out client materials using an off-brand typeface because you're in a hurry. You skimp and revert to using your old business cards because you don't want to shell out the money to order a new set.
Newly branded business owners slide into these laissez-faire habits all the time. NOT GOOD! 🙅Inconsistencies build up over time to severely weaken your audience's perception of YOUR quality.
You created a brand to make sure your business is recognizable, dependable, and trustworthy. You will not achieve that goal without maintaining consistent brand quality across everything you do!
2. by NOT EDUCATING YOUR STAFF
Especially when your brand is brand new, it's extremely vulnerable to misuse. When you're rolling out big changes, you have the opportunity to create a 'new' first impression among your audience – and you don't want their first impression to be that you don't know what you're doing.
A brand mishandling early on can make a disproportionate impact on the way your customers view you.
When you're launching a new brand, it's absolutely imperative that everyone handling brand materials understands the brand and how to use it. Period.
Even if YOU understand the brand perfectly well because you've been working closely with your designers for weeks, it doesn't mean your staff is on the same page.
Unless they've worked in branding, it's likely that your team members won't know what good brand practice is. They haven't learned the key facts that you've picked up from working with your designers, and they weren't in the room to understand why you're making changes.
Some up-front staff education is in order here! It's your responsibility as a business owner to make sure that everyone fully understands the new brand and knows how to use it. Consider asking your designer to hold an educational session for your crew if you feel their expertise would make a bigger impact on your team!
3. by EXPERIMENTing
(Now THIS ONE is what's really going to break your designers' hearts! 😥💔 )
We know the story: Inspiration strikes and you decide you'll try switching out typefaces for a while. Or introducing new colors. Redoing the icon. Changing your tagline. Nooooo, no, no! PLEASE no! 😖
When you actively experiment with your brand, you're tearing apart everything you've worked to build. You'll come out with an unrecognizable Frankenstein of a design and a lot of confused customers doubting that you've got your *ish together at all.
The time for any and all experimentation is before you launch your brand. That's why we spend countless hours getting to know you, your company, your goals, your needs, your audience, your desires BEFORE we work with you to create your brand.
It's why we have a revision and approval process: because a final brand is final.
Once you debut your new brand, it's time to switch gears from "create and experiment" to maintain and grow.
Those are the problems.
now here's how to turn the tables:
Stop. Think. What's causing you to do any of these three things? Are you overburdened with work responsibilities, and skimping on brand details (1)? Is there a communication roadblock between you and your team (2)? Or are you just unsatisfied with your brand entirely (3)?
Whatever the cause, your brand is suffering.
A wilting brand is oftentimes a key indicator of a wilting business. Branding and marketing are the two main ways you interact with your customers. Maintaining brand consistency is a business imperative. Just like maintaining accurate expenses – it's a must. The bottom line: Failing to maintain a consistent brand presence is an indicator of a larger problem with your business.
So what do you do? Well, if you're so bogged down in business details you're no longer ensuring that your brand is consistently maintained, something has gone awry in your workflow. Suggestions? Maybe you need to charge more for your time. It was the solution we needed.
If there's a roadblock in communicating with your team, perhaps it's time to re-evaluate your communication strategies. Or maybe you reconsider a recent hire. Our suggestion: Put together a mastermind group of business owners to talk it over! You need advice stat.
And if you can't stop tinkering with your brand once you have a professional, established brand presence, it seems you're valuing small creative self-indulgences over what's right for your business. Ouch! Sorry, this is some real business #truth coming out here. Continually tinkering with your professional established brand presence is a serious indicator that you may be fundamentally unsatisfied with your business.
And if you don't have a professionally crafted brand at all? It's time to stop messing around and get one!
The key takeaway from this is:
Creating a brand is a big commitment with the potential to create enormous returns.
But you need to consider your choice of brand in the same way you'd consider any other big commitment.
Before you lock in a brand decision, you need to ask yourself the same questions you would when considering a potential partner, or contemplating a big move: Can you see yourself with this brand in five years? Ten years? Where is it you want to be at that point in your life, and will this brand help you get there?
Then, once you've made your decision, consistency is key: you and everyone who works with your brand materials needs to fully understand what your brand is (hint: it's way more than just a logo!) and how to use it.
The fact that creating a brand is a serious, long-term commitment is why we're available as consultants and offer our services on retainer: for your brand to be successful, it must be constantly and consistently maintained.
Have you ever caught yourself doing any of these total brand NOs? If so, what were you doing and how did you address the situation?
Hit me up to let me know what you've got!
We're working hard to show you what five years in business looks like. Comment here or on Facebook with topics or questions you'd like to see us cover. Or maybe just links to your favorite GIFS. You can also tweet us your feedback @hootdesignco or @averyenderle, follow us on Insta, or come check out our Pinterest boards.