Why Strategy is a Hugely Vital Step in The Branding Process

Branding design has been my focus for over a year now. I recently underwent a bit of a revamp in regards to my services, though. I had one of those moments where I know what is right and can coach others, but hadn’t revisited the ideas for my business and myself. Here’s what kept happening: I’d work with a client who would need more than what we had originally talked about or was included in my package. It would be random tasks, not directly design related, and I was always unsure of how to tackle the awkward “well I don’t really…that wasn’t included…money…” conversation. I thought I had landed on the answer in developing a coaching package, because to me it made sense that most of the questions fell into the realm of starting a business, what to do, where to post, how to make opt-ins, etc. But that didn’t feel quite right either; I couldn’t find a way to organize the package enough to have a detailed end result but also leave it open enough to feel flexible and customizable.

I’m being transparent with this process because I think it’s good to point out that owning a business isn’t all hashtags and retweets and big launches, but instead there are moments of confusion, trial and error, and so on.

Moving forward, I kept thinking on it. Usually at 2am when I couldn’t sleep. How could I make sure that my time and energy were being compensated, my packages were clear cut and made sense, and my clients were getting everything they actually needed to be successful?

It dawned on me the way best ideas do: in the shower.

I was thinking through my design process. Thinking of ways to make it more efficient, more explainable, and more approachable. I was thinking through ways to differentiate myself from competition, but actually provide something useful and needed.

When it hit me, it hit me in a total “omg, duh” kind of way, because if I look back at the evolution of TheCrownFox, THIS is what I initially started out wanting to offer. I started out using a tagline that said something about “strategy and design” but then somehow along the way abandoned the strategy portion and lumped myself in with all the other designers out there. Oops.

I’ve mentioned this story in another blog post, but that’s not the point of today’s blog post. What I wanted to talk to you about is why having a branding strategy is important and why I now include three strategy sessions in my signature process. Edit: as of 2017 I no longer offer branding + strategy design. But this post would still be helpful to learn why strategy plays an extremely important role in design.


Let’s be real for a second – design isn’t the end all, be all in business. I obviously think design is very important and valuable and necessary for how you position your business, but it’s not going to solely grow your business.

Good design is important, but it won't grow your business by itself. [Tweet That!]

I hear you, as a designer what the heck am I talking about? Hey. I have a business online and I can tell you that there is more time put into social media, content, and client work than into actual design. There are tasks I do every day to grow my business that don’t require me opening Photoshop or Illustrator or anything like that. I know that design is important, but it’s not the focus.

You do need good design when it comes to having a memorable and impactful logo, having cohesive social media graphics, having a kick-butt website, and so on – but just having those things isn’t going to do enough. It’s not going to make people come to your website, subscribe to your list, buy your products, etc. It might help those causes, but you need more than design. You need strategy.

You need a strategy to get your blog content shared and accessible, a strategy to know what and when to post on social media, a strategy for your newsletter, for your list, and for growth. Having great design with no strategy is like me baking a cake: it might look really good on the outside, but when you cut into it there’s a weird sound and it deflates and looks both gooey and burnt at the same time (how!?). Maybe that’s a bad metaphor, but I think you see my point.


Here’s where I get kind of mind-flippy – BRANDING is important. But branding does not equal design.

Branding is a big deal. First you figure out your groundwork – your foundation or base for your business, then you work on the visuals… but what next? That’s when we focus on strategy. In Set Up For Success there are three strategy calls throughout the entire process – they help inform the visual development and help clients get a vision for moving forward and answer the terrifying “what next?” question.

Strategy is kind of an intimidating word, right? Like it sounds like it might be manipulative, or skeezy – but it’s not. It’s just creating and having a plan for business growth. I want clients to end our time together knowing where their leads are coming from, what interactions they are going to have with these leads (through newsletters, funnels, etc.), and how they are going to get their business noticed and growing. If you don’t know the answers to this for your own business then you need to revisit your overall strategy.


Something that basically sucked to learn in online business is that it’s not “build it and they’ll come” in regards to customers or leads. It’s more like “work, work, work, work, work” and then maybe pause for a snack and work some more. Creating content, interacting on social media, writing newsletters, hosting webinars, doing Facebook live… there is a ton to do.

Navigating that and having a plan of action to accomplish all of those tasks (and more) falls under strategy and falls under what I want to help clients do. My main goal is have people be successful after we work together and at this point, just designing isn’t enough.

So, all of that to say that strategy is essential for your business growth and figuring it all out on your own is tough. It took me nearly a year of perfecting my process and packaging to figure it all out and I don’t want it to take you that long. Even if you already have a killer website and beautiful logo, you can still work on your strategy moving forward and make sure your business is ready to blow the end of this year out of the water.

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!

How Does Branding Add Value To Your Business?

Branding your online business is incredibly valuable. The investment is worth the overall positive effects and growth potential good branding can bring you. Whether you are just starting out or going through a rebrand, I strongly urge you to take a moment and reflect on what branding is and what it can do for your business. I don’t mean just choosing a color palette (and I certainly don’t mean just choosing your favorite colors), but the whole process of branding. From foundation, to strategy, to design, and so on, every piece of the puzzle fits together to form your business.


I talk about this a lot, but a HUGE benefit of proper branding is the foundation it will force you to create for your business. Good branding cannot exist if you haven’t taken time to analyze your target audience, develop a brand vision, and so on. Those formative steps are a part of any true branding experience.

Consider it a “Discovery Phase”. Designers need it to move forward and create effective visuals, but you, the business owner, benefit from it too. There are questions that come up during this time that you might be included to “figure out later” (spoiler alert: there is never a “later” in online business), but I promise you, taking the time now will help your business.

Without establishing a foundation for your branding (and business) you are going to fall into the trap of trying to “do all the things!” or feel so overwhelmed and unsure what to do that you might throw in the towel.

Creating a foundation for your business will set up the path towards success. [Tweet That!]

If you want an in-depth look at what it means to build a proper branding foundation (and business foundation) I recommend getting Branding 101: Building Your Base. This eBook contains worksheets and guides to help you answer the essential questions to create a foundation for your business that is strong, stable, and easy to grow on.


Everything we are doing out in the online world should be driving traffic back to our website (or potentially your store if you are brick and mortar). We want to constantly be building awareness of our business, so we can reach potential customers or clients. The point is: you can’t have a business without customers and you can’t get customers if they don’t know you exist!

Online, you will never have a customer stumble by your business and stop in “to check it out” so you have to bring them to you. Awareness is two-fold in the sense that I am not just talking about your social media graphics, but also your messaging and your brand vision. Both of these go hand in hand (and fall under the umbrella of branding).

Part of a great branding strategy includes how you will gain awareness (social media? Opt-ins? Guest blogging?) and should be figured out early on in your business. You can have the greatest idea, but if no one knows about it then you can’t grow a business.


Here is where your visuals come into play – being cohesive across all platforms and areas where your business might be found is essential. Branding creates that. A cohesive presence for your business builds trust, recognition, and shows that you are a professional.

The goal of cohesive branding is that when someone sees you on Instagram they recognize your graphics or messaging because it’s the same visual presence on Pinterest, or Twitter, or your newsletter, or your blog, etc. You use the same colors, talk about related content (i.e. you won’t find a blog post about what I ate last weekend because that has nothing to do with my brand vision), and just generally are promoting the same ideals across the board.

Creating a system for your branding so that you can quickly and efficiently put out visuals that represent your business (and look recognizably the same). Use templates so that each and every time you are being consistent. Outside of the technicalities of creating a cohesive presence, you also want to make sure that you’ve established a clear brand vision, to that any content you post (even if it’s a motivational quote) serves the overall goal of your business. 


Support, or engagement, is a benefit of good branding. Once you create this cohesive presence and people begin to gain awareness about your business, you’ll start to generate a following of people who trust and support your business.

I don’t just mean financially support, though that’s necessary. I also mean support with sharing your content, introducing you to their audience, validating your ideas, and eventually potentially buying your service or product.

If you have a haphazard feeling, messaging that flies all over the place, and a general feeling of unprofessional vibes you will find that support can be hard to gain. I can attest my quick growth to the fact that I had a strong message, talk A LOT about branding, and a look that said, “I know what I am talking about, I am a professional” that was unified across all social media outlets.


Professional doesn’t have to mean stuffy – and thankfully, branding also gives room to include and showcase your personality. Your personality is important in your business, especially if you are strictly online. People want to buy from people – not big, huge corporations with no names. The connection you create with people, by using your personality, will often times be the deal closer (there are a lot of designers out there, a majority of my clients end up working with me because we connect on a personal level). 

Good branding does that. It balances both the professional and the personal, appeals to your target client, and helps you to scale your business. When I work with clients, part of the foundational or discovery phase includes talking about why you stand out, or what makes you different from your competitors. Part of that will come down to your personality traits (as well as how you package your services and position yourself). You want to highlight facets of your personality that will stand out to your target client and make them excited to work with you.

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!