August 2016

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.


FOUNDATION

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.


AWARENESS

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.


COHESIVENESS

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

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.


PERSONALITY

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!


5 Reasons To Focus on Branding In Your Business

Branding for your business, whether it be online, a huge corporation, a small mom and pop shop, an Etsy shop, or just a vague distant idea is extremely, immeasurably, and without a doubt one of the most important part of “getting started.”

Now I know what you are saying: “Uh, hello, designer, can you say biased?” Well, yes. I might be biased, but I also know that it’s true! Branding helps your business in so many ways – it's more than just looking pretty, too.

I’ve started TheShop because branding shouldn’t be intimidating, off-putting, or an idea killer. Now, TheShop isn’t the end all, be all of branding – but it’s a place to start if you aren’t bringing in a ton of cash yet and want something that says, “I’m professional. I’m legit. I’m valuable.” 

If you’re still like, wait, what’s branding? Check out this post but if you’re ready to know why you need to focus on branding in your business, read on!


GIVES YOU CLARITY

Going through a proper branding process gives you clarity on your overall business. By a proper branding process I mean one that asks the hard questions so that you can create a strong base for your business.

Going through a proper branding process will give you clarity on your business (and help you grow)! [Tweet That!]

A mistake I see business owner’s make is that they jump into business, super excited about an idea, but not taking time to think about their “why”, “who”, or “how”. Which – trust me – I get. I did the same thing, even though I actually knew (and was taught) better. It’s just an exciting time and you’re ready to GO! It’s not bad to GO but eventually you’ll need to come back to branding to give you real clarity on your overall business goals, your brand vision, your target audience, etc.

If you’re stuck on those sorts of questions, I highly recommend checking out Building Your Base, my eBook that goes in depth with those questions, your brand’s vision and mission, and more.


BUILDS TRUST

Branding, once you’ve gone through the foundations and moved into visuals and eventually a website and social media strategy, works to create a great brand experience. Trust is built through that brand experience, so you want it to be flawless, wonderful, and memorable.

Trust is built through a fantastic brand experience. [Tweet That!]

I talk a lot about building trust in your business because trust = sales and sales are necessary for your business to be an actual business. To build trust, especially in an online business, takes time and energy – but your branding can definitely help. How? Branding creates consistent experiences, so your audience learns and understands you no matter where they see you: on your blog, in a guest blog somewhere else, on Pinterest, in a Periscope, etc. You are always the same person, offering the same sort of advice/expertise, and consistently teaching or giving awesome information out. Think about the people you trust the most in your life – is it not because they’ve consistently been there when they said they would, were a steadfast and solid person who didn’t flake or waver on their values? Your business can embody those sorts of ideals too.

For more information on building trust, check out this post.


LOOKS DO MATTER

I know I said earlier that branding is more than just looking pretty – and that is true – but there is something valuable in realizing that in business looks do matter. By that I mean: looking professional does matter.

Say you go into a store and everything is disheveled and thrown about and messy and gross. Do you want to buy things? Or do you want to turn right back around and head to the next store, where maybe things are more expensive, but at least you aren’t scared of what you might step on or breathe in. I know that’s extreme, but the same idea exists with your business. You can’t have a messy and unorganized mess of a business and expect people to think you are professional or valuable or worth spending time and money on.

Beyond just looking professional, going through a branding process will help you create a branding identity (or “looks”) that do work and appeal to your target customer for you. The right color combination, paired with the right strategies behind your social media and content, paired with great copy, and so on, will pull in your target audience for you, show them your value, and prep them for purchase.


SHOWS YOUR COMMITMENT

Investing in your business shows that YOU take it seriously. I know that in the beginning investing in branding can seem like the last thing you want to do, which inspired me to start TheShop to cover some of the visuals for you. But, best case scenario, you are investing in a great branding package that includes strategy, visual identity, and a website that are all cohesive and professional.

To your customers or audience this will showcase that you are a “real player” in whatever your industry is. You are a niched, focused, and capable business that can provide real results and want to display your best self.

If I can’t find a website for a business, they’re off my list of potential people to buy from. If I can find a mediocre website and no social media presence, they’re off the list too. I want to work with businesses that are excited, passionate, and I can understand from their branding.


BUILDS RECOGNITION

A quick way to start being seen as an expert in your field is to be recognizable. By that I mean, someone sees you on Pinterest, but then stumbles across your Instagram and knows it’s you. Or sees your name on a guest blog and remembers how great your blog is. Having cohesive branding can give you that recognition.

Recognition is valuable as a factor in building trust, which we talked about earlier. It’s also valuable because it shows that you are an established business with a great presence that is putting out content that people like. That sort of social proof is so fantastic for your business.

You can build recognition by having the same profile pictures across social media, and somewhere on your website. Also, creating a brand mission statement and featuring that across social media and online is fantastic. Finally having cohesive graphics to represent your business is hugely valuable (I’ll be having some blog graphics in TheShop).


If you’re still on the fence about branding, I have a lot of other posts that talk about the value, how to get started, etc. that I’d love for you to check out. I get that branding can be a scary step in your business, but I’m happy to offer you many outlets to make sure you can get started on the right foot. Whether it be working together one-on-one or getting templates from TheShop, I know we can get your business looking professional, capable, and appealing to your target client.



Branding Your Business: online, corporation, small business, Etsy shop, blog

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!