Good design is an incredible gift. It can lend a level of beauty, credibility and market interest to your business that nothing else can. However, it is not a band-aid. It can’t cover up issues with your business that aren’t solved. Over the many past months, I’ve made some observations about the craze around branding right now.
Here’s the problem:
Slapping a pretty new label on a business lacking strategy and smarts does nothing.
It actually makes things worse.
Rebranding does not fix a bad product.
Little story here. Once upon a time several years ago I tried creating and selling a product created on whim because I wanted to indulge my crafty side.
They were satin and silk flower rosettes I handmade them out of special materials, glass pearls. They even had the cutest packaging for them. So while they might not seem like a “bad” product (nicely made & packaged, not cheap or ill-quality) —in reality, there was no market for it.
At that time, I knew very little about product positioning or marketing and I definitely didn’t know how to price something to actually make a profit on my time.
It’s easy for creatives especially to wrap their identity up in their product or service. While we should believe in what we do, listening to what the market is telling us about it is part of being a wise business owner. Pouring time and money into branding or rebranding a product for which there has been no market interest is a big mistake.
Rebranding does not replace organization or customer service.
Imagine you drive past two cottages right next to each other that are for sale. Both are painted a pretty color, have great landscaping and a nice front door.
However, upon a closer look, the one is obviously suffering from structural issues and the other is perfectly sound. Which is going to be more appealing? Obviously the one that is safe and sound.
People do look at your visual branding, and it is the thing about you business that see first. However, if they are planning on investing money with you, especially if you are selling a premium product or service, they also look at the systems displayed, listen to the recommendations they hear from friends and evaluate you as a person.
Rebranding does not fix a lack of business strategy or direction.
Branding is supposed to attract a specific kind of person to a specific kind of experience or product. If you’re uncertain and trying to appeal to everyone, you’re going to drive both yourself and your designer crazy and end up with something generic that might not even work.
The point is—when you know who you are selling to—their gender, age, interest, hobbies, and espeically what they like to spend money on—the more you can target your branding effectively.
the point is — make sure you’re ready
If you are branding while any of these 3 issues are going on in your business, the project will be very difficult for you and the designer you are working with. My clients always have to work through an extensive set of homework before we work together about where they are at in their business and who they want to go. Vague answers always give me warning signals.
Professional branding design is a big commitment of time and money—one that you should not rush into without a solid foundation.