Today we cover five key examples of why you should wait to invest money in your professional brand.
As a brand designer myself I keep harping on about the importance of brand design and how it can truly transform your business. But contrary to popular belief I don’t think it really is a good investment for every business. And you also don’t need to rebrand every year to stay relevant. So let’s take a look at the biggest misconceptions and the telltale signs to look out for that tell you when you are ready to invest in brand design!
We’re just going to get straight to it. Investing money in hiring a brand professional (a solopreneur, agency, studio, etc.) is not a good fit for every business owner.
Yes, sometimes, it’ll make complete sense to just buy the templated logo off Etsy or the semi-custom brand from our own shop, True North Templates. That going through the full branding process is, for lack of a better term, a little overkill.
But how, then, as a business owner, do you determine whether or not you can get away with ‘just the logo’?
Today, we’re walking through five examples of when you should not invest in hiring a brand professional.
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In This Article
>> The difference between ‘just the logo’ and a full brand
>> Example one: new business owner
>> Example two: new program or offering
>> Example three: business name uncertainty
>> Example four: lack of ideal client clarity
>> Example five: you just need design execution
>> Rather watch than read?
>> Additional brand resources.
The difference between ‘just the logo’ and a full brand
Usually, when we say you’re getting a logo, it means you’ll walk away with a logo, a set of brand colors and maybe font recommendations to use in your visuals – graphics, website, etc. This could mean heading over to Fiverr or Upwork and paying someone for a few hours of their time to create it. Or, you could buy a templated logo. Either way, you walk away with a logo for your business.
The difference of going through the full brand process is that it’s generally not something that is done in a few hours and you walk away with a lot more than the logo and color recommendations.
When WCO clients hire us for their branding, they first receive dedicated time to work through their brand’s strategy and messaging. Then, we move onto the visuals and they’ll walk away with a logo, logo variations, colors, patterns and/or graphics, and typography. In a nutshell, the branding process is a lot more in depth and detailed than what you’d get if you hired a designer to create a logo for your business.
Because branding is a detailed investment, it’s not necessary or needed for every business owner, in every instance. There are instances when ‘just a logo’ will be able to fulfill your needs, whether it’s temporary or long-term.
Example one: you’re a new business owner and uncertain about your direction
Let’s say you’re a new business owner and you’re in this ‘test the waters’ mode, trying to decide what you want to do or sell. There is absolutely nothing wrong with being in a space of indecision. In fact, I think it’s a rite of passage as a business owner. But, because of this lack of clarity, it’s not a great time to invest in your brand.
And that’s what it is – an investment of both your money and time.
The purpose of having a brand and putting in the work to create something, is so that it will grow with you. But in order to do that, you definitely need to be all-in on your business.
If you’re not (which is totally okay!) then getting a templated logo or hiring someone for a few hours to create something is going to serve you well until you’re ready to take your business to the next level.
Yes, you want to look professional and put together but here’s the thing. You don’t need to embark on the full branding process to get that look. The branding process will better serve you when you have clarity on your business and more importantly, who you’re a great fit for. Without that information, an investment in your brand may not result in something that will be able to grow with your business.
As a new business owner, what is the bare minimum to get you up and running?
Example two: you’re offering a new sub brand, program, product or service and haven’t proven it out, yet
There’s a certain level of excitement that comes with starting something new. Whether it’s a new part of your company, a new program or a new service, it makes sense that you’d want to launch it with the best of intentions. And, that you want to share it with your community in a way that puts its best foot forward.
However, there are some instances when uncertainty about the new program, product, service or offering means it’s not necessary to do a full brand. So, what are the bare minimum visuals you need to get this thing out there and in front of people? Once you have a proven concept, then it generally makes more sense to invest in the brand and really make it work for you. Until then, just a logo will do just fine.
Example three: you’re not 100% sold on your business’s name
I think this is pretty obvious but sometimes the obvious often gets overlooked.
If you have reservations or hesitations about your name but want some visuals to test it out, just a logo will be just fine.
That being said, there are some brand professionals that will help you out with naming, so if that’s your only hangup, it still may be worth making the investment in branding. The distinction is to understand whether or not you have other uncertainties along with the name or if that’s the only one. Also, if you want to test out a few names or see how the visuals look with the options, it might be worth going the ‘just a logo’ route until you narrow down your choices a little more.
Example four: you haven’t nailed down your ideal client and/or you think you’re business is for everyone
This one deserves to be shouted from the rooftops.
Friends, the whole point of a brand is to evoke certain thoughts, feelings and actions, and the only way that can be done is if you’re clear on who you want to influence in the first place.
Your ideal client profile helps to guide certain visual brand decisions like color selection and typography.
For example, your visual brand is going to look a lot different if your ideal client is a young, single woman living her best life in the city versus a retired male, enjoying golf in a retirement community.
So, if you’re circling around in a space of uncertainty about who your business is best able to help, go ahead and pick up just the logo, so you can get out there and start getting clear on who you want to serve. Once you have a better understanding of your ideal client profile, then think about investing in branding. That way, you can ensure you’re creating something that is going to intentionally attract your right people.
Example five: you know exactly what you want designed, you just need someone to execute on that direction
In some instances, you realize that you are envisioning something specific for a logo in your mind and you need someone to bring it to life. This is a great opportunity to pay someone on an hourly basis to create that thing you need. You aren’t looking for a strategic approach or a more in-depth understanding of the audience or brand behind the visuals. You just need a designer to create.
I do need to mention that sometimes clients will come to WCO with a vision in mind and we do our best to bring that to life. The difference though is that we do the strategy work prior to the design phase to ensure that vision is aligned with the goals of the brand. Sometimes the vision isn’t matching with how they want their brand to be experienced, in which case it’s our job to recommend adjustments, based on the strategy. This type of collaborative approach isn’t necessary all the time, especially if you aren’t needing the strategy portion clarified first.
Moral of the story? If you’re in a space of proving your concept, there is absolutely no shame in the ‘just a logo’ game.
Because a strong brand should bring ease and enjoyment into your business, which is especially hard to do if you’re unclear on what you’re all about as a brand.
The goal is to get you out there, selling your thing and learning about the brand experience you want your business to have. That way, when you’re ready for the full branding process, you have the knowledge and history to draw upon, resulting in a brand that helps you amplify your good work and connect with your right people.
Happy branding 🙂
All my best,
Need additional branding resources?
Learn three common brand mistakes that hold back business owners from achieving their version of success.
Dive into this comprehensive guide to branding your business to create and manage a brand that speaks to your ideal client.
Here are four distinct signs to watch out for when navigating if it’s the right time to get serious about your branding.
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