Brand Design: Do I Actually Need It?
I'm just a small business.
I don't have a business, it's just an Etsy shop.
It's just the internet, I don't need a fancy brand.
All of these mentalities are incredibly limiting. "Just" being something means that you're leaving so much more on the table. You KNOW that you have the potential to be so much greater, but you're not allowing yourself to be. Instead, you're "just."
So ok, now that I've convinced you that you're more than "just" anything, do you really need a brand design? Well, the answer is going to be different for each individual. There's rarely a one-size fits all solution, so let me break it down for you.
1. IF YOU'RE A SMALL BUSINESS
YES, you really need a brand. Like, really REALLY need one. There's no getting around it. But that doesn't mean it has to be complicated! Like I said, one-size does not fit all.
If you're starting out with a completely new creative venture and you're just trying to get your feet under you and get a handle on this crazy thing you've started, there's no need to get hung up with figuring out how to have the picture perfect brand. That doesn't mean NO brand, but at this point, a straightforward logo, minimal color palette, and font pairing that reflect your business' mission & values are all that's needed to keep you and your business focused so that you can continue driving your creative pursuits forward with clear intention & purpose.
And honestly, this simple method can work for almost any business at any stage. You definitely DO NOT need to have it all figured out, perfected, and set in stone. Sure, there are basic foundations that you need to define, but that doesn't mean those can't evolve. Things change, people grow, new ideas sprout up. Embracing transformation, instead of trying to force it to conform, is always best.
If you're an established business feeling the need for a rebrand, it can be an incredibly helpful exercise to tear everything down (metaphorically, of course!) and start with a blank canvas, from the very beginning, and see what comes up. And while that may seem like a daunting task, to start over from scratch, having someone on your side to provide a fresh perspective and go through the process with you can make it a much more enjoyable experience. (psst, I can be that someone. 😉)
I'll be writing more about what it means to "brand your business" and the various ways to actually get it done.
2. IF YOU'RE AN ONLINE SHOP
Yup, you guessed it! You too need a brand. It doesn't matter where on the internet you set up shop, a cohesive brand will help set you apart and give your business a boost in the market. But again, you don't need anything elaborate and intricate unless you're like "yes please, let's map out every last detail of my soon-to-be empire!" And if that is you, you should ABSOLUTELY send me a message. ;)
A simple mission statement (to define your purpose) and consistent visual identity (logo, colors, and fonts) can do wonders for not only your business but also your confidence and enthusiasm about the work you do. And if you're sitting there thinking "you know what, I just want everything to be very simple, black & white, plain font because that's what's easiest for me" that's 100% acceptable!
Consistency of any kind instills a sense of trust and familiarity in people and that's what a brand is all about: providing a sense of consistency around your business to help build trust with your audience. But know that a thoughtfully crafted brand tailored to your business' mission & values can be an incredibly powerful tool in helping your business simply standout.
3. IF YOU'RE JUST A PERSON ON THE INTERNET
Well, that's a trick question! Of course, you're not JUST a person on the internet. If you were, you probably wouldn't be reading this. You're more than just another person. You're a personality! Think about the reason why you're even considering a brand for yourself.
What are your long-term goals?
What are your immediate goals?
What are you looking to gain or give with your online presence?
If any of your answers involve utilizing a part of the internet to benefit your life, then yes, a personal brand is for you but not necessarily a hard requirement. You're in the unique position of creating your brand slowly and organically over time. If you don't have an immediate goal that you're working towards, but feel the need to define the path you want to go down, it's incredibly awesome that you're thinking about this now.
Remember, the key to branding is consistency, so the easiest place to start is with your social media accounts. If you don't already have the same username across all accounts, that's the best place to start. If you do, you're on a roll! Go ahead and give yourself a pat on the back.
The next step is to think about what you want to be known for and how you want people to perceive you and what you do. Are you...
This is the very beginning and exactly where you should be starting. Everything else is just a distraction right now. Unless you've already mapped out your personal mission statement, identified your key audience, clarified your values, and dreamt up your ideal client, then there's no need to focus your time and energy on things like logos and signature colors.
Mood boards, however... everyone can always benefit from a good mood board. ;)
So where are you on this grand, exciting journey? Are you just starting out? Or embarking on your next chapter? Drop a comment and let me know! I'd love to learn more about you.