Before you start branding or re-branding your business keep in mind that you must have at least 1k followers on Instagram first. Also, you cannot possibly do it yourself, you must hire a professional right away. Oh, and all you need are some stunning graphics looking just like the ones of the girl whose Youtube videos you binge-watched last night.
Ahhh, yes of course I’m kidding! *duh* :)
There are so many misconceptions about branding, I can write an article about the 100 branding mistakes to avoid not the 10! But just because I know you’re busy running your tiny but magical online empire and won’t have the time to read a novel on that (arguably) very interesting topic, let’s crack on the top 10 branding mistakes to avoid.
The top 10 branding mistakes to avoid
1 | Not starting right now but waiting to have “a real business” first
I consider that the biggest mistake of them all. Your brand is the face and the soul of your operation and if you’d like to create a meaningful business, that goes beyond “selling stuff online”, you need to do the branding work asap. And there’s so much you can and should do before you even get anywhere near a design app! Which leads me to the next big no-no...
2 | You start with your logo and graphics and not with your story, dream customer’s story and your mission.
Looks are important, but they are not everything. You wouldn’t want to be just a pretty face without a soul, would you? So, why would you allow your brand to be? Your business needs substance, a certain depth only your story can give it. And like it or not, this is work only you can do — no one can write your story for you, so be prepared to do the hard work yourself.
3 | Thinking you must hire a pro or not do it at all.
Nothing beats a professionally designed brand, so much is clear. But you can start small and scrappy and go from there. In fact when you’re just starting out it could be very beneficial to wear a lot of hats and dabble into everything — it’ll give you enough basic understanding to know what you want the professionals you hire to do for you later on. You can brand your business yourself, but you don’t have to do it all from scratch. I’ve created branding kits you can choose from here.
4 | You don’t create a vision board
One of the best things to do when you start a project is to create a vision board. Let’s say you’re writing and illustrating a children’s book. Before you jump in and start scribbling, create a vision board of how you want the kids to feel when turning the pages and seeing your dreamy illustrations and how you want the mamas to feel when reading the story to their little ones.
The same should be done for branding. As with any other project, create a vision board of the feelings you want to spark up in the hearts of your dream clients. I like to use Pinterest for that and I’m sharing my process here: How to Use Pinterest to Find Your Brand Style + Free Workbook
5 | You think you just need a logo
I often say that your logo doesn’t matter. I don’t really mean it’s irrelevant, but think about it: Would you date a guy who is just a pretty face and no soul whatsoever? Nope! At least I hope you wouldn’t. And you don’t want your brand to be just a one-night-stand material either, do you? So make sure you tell your story the best you can.
6 | You neglect copywriting
I don’t like the saying “a picture can say a 1000 words”. An image is powerful and triggers a response, there’s no doubt about it, but words carry magic, too. All spells need some kind of incantation to work. A picture is free to interpretation, which is great for evoking feelings, but words are our primary tool for communicating ideas. Use your words and your voice to share your story and values, don’t just rely on pretty pictures. I’m going through Miss Forleo’s Copycure and I think it’s a great tool to learn how to write better copy.
7 | You aim for complexity and perfection instead of simplicity and consistency
You won’t get it perfect. Not the first time, not even the 10th. There always be something that bugs you, there always be tiny (or not so tiny) mistakes here and there. Allowing all this fluff to stop you is just wasteful.
The one method that has always worked for me so far is to start super small and grow as I go.
When I got my roller skates I wasn’t immediately jumping off ramps like a true Moxi girl. No. I was carefully cruising the very smooth and save alleyways in my local park with 0.0001 miles per hour. I was wearing full protective gear and sweating like a champ. My goal is to roam the streets like a Moxi girl one day but I know that won’t happen right away and it won’t happen at all if I’m not prepared to suffer some wobbles and falls (let’s be honest here, lot’s of them). So always aim for excellence, not perfection.
8 | You rely on others to tell you what to do
Your designer, VA, copywriter, etc. are your business BFFs. However, you and you alone know what’s best for your business and you are responsible for building your brand. You need to make all the decisions and create the value, the content and the core of your tiny empire.
Remember: your business is your responsibility. And it will be this way until you have a business. So get comfy with making and taking decisions, especially when it comes to your brand.
9 | You copy somebody else’s brand
You know that’s an absolute no-no, so I don’t have to go into details on that one. Besides, why would you bother running your business if you don’t have the full freedom to be 100% yourself? Which brings me to the next mistake...
10 | You are afraid to infuse your personality into your brand
If you are reading this and if you’re not here for the first time it’s safe to say you like something about me and my tiny online operation. This automatically makes you a pixie material, and I just know that no pixie is boring, ordinary or forgettable. On the contrary! If there’s something I know about you, it’s the fact that you have magic within you. And I also know that this world needs desperately needs it to heal, find balance, and change for the better.
Now, I know (trust me, I reeeeally know) how hard it is to overcome the shyness, embarrassment, confusion, self-doubt and all the other monsters that live under your desk, and to let the light shine through. And yet, you need to be seen, if you want to help others and be a force for good in this world.
Are you making any of those branding mistakes?
And if yes, what would be the first thing you’ll change to make your branding process more enjoyable and your brand more true to your pixie personality? Let me know in the comments below.