I’m active on social media and as a general rule, I see that people “want branding.” Though, I hesitate to agree with them – because I think the idea of “wanting branding” might mean something different to them than it does to me. I say this because the sentence usually goes, “I want branding. Any logo designers out there?” Yikes.
Here are 4 misconceptions about branding that are so, so wrong.
“I HAVE A BRAND, HERE’S MY LOGO.”
No! No, no, no. I cover this here. I talk about this a lot because it’s the biggest myth and the biggest problem. Your brand isn’t just a logo! A logo is a small portion of your identity, which is a portion of your branding. Your branding helps to create how people perceive your brand.
You do need an identity, and yes, that identity does need a logo. But you also need colors, typography, and collateral. You also need social media design, website design, and blog design. You also need a voice and a way of communicating your ideas and goals consistently. You also need an overall goal or mission for your company. Branding has a lot of very intangible things involved. Well, no, I should say successful branding has a lot of very intangible things involved. All of those things help to create what/how people perceive your brand.
“I’M JUST A SMALL BUSINESS, I DON’T EVEN HAVE A BRAND.”
Mhm. Yes you do. You have a brand, and the fact that you aren’t trying to control how people perceive you is a problem. You, as a person, even with no business interest at all have a brand. Therefore, your business, putting out content and advertisements and interacting with people, on any level, certainly has a brand.
Plus, you are a small business with intentions of growing larger, right? Right! Developing your branding involves developing goals for your company. You can’t grow larger without setting real goals. Your branding, your marketing strategy, and your growth all go hand in hand.
Being a small business, or just starting out, is no excuse to not have branding and not try to develop your brand. You will stay a small business (or less than that!) forever if you don't put the time and energy into these things.
“I’M NOT REALLY SELLING ANYTHING RIGHT NOW, I’LL DEAL WITH THIS LATER.”
Your brand has nothing to do with selling anything. It’s how people think and feel about your company overall. It’s about their experience working with, buying from, or seeing your company in action. Ever wonder why the big semi trucks have those “how am I driving?” numbers on the back? Sure, one is to follow through and discipline irresponsible drivers, but also, it turns a potentially bad customer experience into one where they can feel like they are being listened to and helped. If you just had a bad experience with a semi truck from Target, you might think “UGH! TARGET! THE WORST!” but if you could call and someone could apologize and say they will look into and handle it internally, and also here are some coupons for your troubles,” you might think “That driver was bad, but at least Target understands.”
I say all of that to say, I don’t care if you aren’t currently selling something. I don’t care if you are just a blogger, blogging because you love to blog. I don’t care if you are seasonal and do all your selling during the Holidays. I don’t care, because neither will anyone else. Your brand is being determined year-round, 24/7. You need to be developing branding that positively affects that perception all the time.
Plus, okay, if you aren’t selling RIGHT NOW, then you are probably building your customer base. You want those customers to ACTUALLY buy when the time comes, right? I should think so! Building up a relationship between you and your potential customer and your company should be top priority all the time.
“YEAH, MY BRANDING AND MARKETING STRATEGY ARE THE SAME THING.”
Negative! Your brand is, as we’ve been talking about before, determined by how people think and feel about you. Your branding is your attempt to affect that. Your marketing strategy and your branding may go hand-in-hand, but they are very different.
Your branding is something you establish before marketing ever comes into play. Your branding is larger than a marketing campaign or your companies overall marketing plan. Your branding is the big umbrella. If you like metaphors – branding is the black trouser you will always need and wear. Marketing is the feather vest, or the knee-high socks, or the scoop neck sweaters that come in and out of fashion. You adjust your marketing depending on what’s hot, what’s trendy, what’s getting noticed. You adjust your marketing to fit the time of the year, the season, the current favorite singer or celebrity. Your brand is consistently the same throughout all of that.
Your marketing finds potential customers; your branding creates loyal followers out of them. So, yes, definitely have both! But no, they are not the same thing.
I’m Kaitlyn, your design assistant! I work with successful creative entrepreneurs to create cohesive, clean, and compelling visuals for their businesses. You can keep being the #girlboss you are (but with more time to focus on growing your empire)! Let's set up a time to chat!