If you are in the process of building your brand or are thinking about getting started, I have some advice for you. There are three common mistakes that pretty much all entrepreneurs make at one point or another when working on their brands. The thing is, these mistakes can make a huge difference in how your brand grows, evolves, and draws in clients for you over time.
1. DON’T START WITH YOUR LOGO OR ANY OF YOUR VISUALS
If you haven’t heard me say this until now, no worries, I will say it again. A BRAND IS NOT A LOGO. A brand consists of so many different parts, and I am not talking about the colours, fonts, and photos you use with your logo. A brand is everything that you do! Your looks are only a part of it.
And when you are creating a logo, it’s NOT FOR YOU. A logo is the face of your brand so the point isn’t for it to be something that draws you in, the point is to attract your target audience.
And then your brand strategy comes into play by helping you convert that audience that your logo attracted into paying clients.
If you changed your logo fifty times, then you are targeting fifty different audiences!
Now, I am not saying to never change your logo, however, if you do change it, make sure you do it for a good reason, in a way that betters your brand, and let your audience know. Otherwise, you may end up losing your current audience AND confusing any new people that come your way.
The thing is, logos are supposed to be long-lasting, memorable, unique, and representative of your brand. Their job is to draw your target audience in so that you and your content can convert them into clients. As such, creating a logo before you know what your brand stands for or who your audience is, is never a good idea!
The alternative is for the logos, or any of your visuals, to be created based on your personal preferences, design trends, and what others are doing. This usually leads to the logos being changed later on, which can cause issues with your current audience losing track of you and confusing anybody new.
Take a look at my articles, four questions to answer before getting a logo and a brand is not a logo for more information this. There are still some that think that the logo is the cornerstone of your brand. But the thing is, do you really need a logo? Here are some questions to answer that can help you figure that out.
2. KNOW THE VALUE BEHIND YOUR BRAND
How valuable is your brand? I have a post up about a value ladder on my Instagram you can check out here, but the other day we were talking with a friend how, as a coach, you can’t expect somebody to buy your services and get a monthly retainer if you’ve never done it yourself. The experience is a huge part of better understanding your audience.
So, I want to talk a bit more about this. Firstly, a value ladder is a classic tool that helps you map out your services in a visual way, ascending in both price and value. However, I want you to take that ladder and instead of creating something for your clients based on your services, I want you to look at it for yourself and your business. You can use a value ladder in any part of a business to see how much value you place on it. For example, your brand.
Let’s go with the popular example of logos (even though I said not to start with one above). If you pay for a $10 logo or create a free one on Canva (not a good idea, by the way) and do nothing else, then that’s how much your brand is worth. Your clients won’t see a value beyond that.
Keeping that in mind, I want to talk about Nike for a moment. That swoosh logo we all recognize cost $35 back in the 70s. Going with my previous statement, you’d probably agree with me that Nike isn’t worth $35. But the thing is, for a company with a net worth of almost $35 billion, it’s not that swoosh that got them there. Think about the brand strategy behind Nike, the slogan of just do it, and the years of research and positioning that the company did. Consider for a moment, if you ever decide to buy Nike shoes is it because of that logo or because of what that logo represents?
So, when I am talking about the value behind your brand I don’t mean go and spend thousands on getting a logo. I mean go and spend time to do your research and figure out what your audience wants. A strong brand based on research and experience, with strong positioning, core, essence, and identity can help turn a swoosh into a JUST DO IT and your $10 logo into a $10 million brand. And 45 years of learning about your audience and becoming an authority in your field doesn’t hurt either.
In addition, I had a post previously talking about popular branding myths. I want to stress two of them here because they have an impact on how you view the value behind your brand. Value is not only about money.
THESE ARE THE MYTHS THAT ONLY BIG COMPANIES NEED A BRAND AND THAT PEOPLE DON’T CARE ABOUT B2B BRANDS.
So, here’s the thing… it doesn’t matter if you’re working for yourself, by yourself, and plan to continue that way for the rest of your business, or if you have 50,000 employees worldwide and are opening another office on the other side of the world, or if you are at any stage in between, above, or below those, a brand is for anybody trying to sell.
Because it doesn’t matter how big your business is, a brand isn’t built for you it’s for your audience… so even if you have an audience of ONE (unlikely) you want that one person to know not only that you exist, but that you exist FOR THEM.
On that note, what is the difference between a business-to-business brand versus a business-to-customer brand? Since a brand isn’t built for you, even if your audience is another business, that means your brand is for them. The purpose of the brand is to connect with your audience, no matter who they are.
I want to give you an example that will automatically debunk both of these myths. I am an entrepreneur and a small company of one. When I was interested in hiring a business coach, I was looking online for someone that I can connect with. I was specifically looking for female solopreneurs, individuals like myself, that have some of the shared values that I do and a personality type that I can connect with as an individual. As such, I was looking for value information, online presence, response times, language (a big one for me is spelling), personality… I was looking for a brand.
So, as an individual service provider… having the core and essence of your brand that your audience can connect with will help them choose you, while positioning and the visuals of your brand will help them know you exist.
3. DON’T RELY ON SOCIAL MEDIA FOR EVERYTHING
If you suddenly lost access to social media, will that stop you from getting paid? The answer should be no.
There are a lot of things that can happen when you rely on somebody else, especially a big corporation that doesn’t care about the individuals. (Yes, I know this from experience, I’ve been messaging the support team for Instagram for almost a month now since I lost the reels function and still no reply.) In my case, it was only a feature I lost that made me change my content planning a bit… but forget losing a feature…
What are you going to do if your account gets blocked?
Or if the app you’re using (Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, whatever) gets blocked in your country?
Or if they decide to start charging users based on how long you’re on there?
Now, you may be wondering what this has to do with branding. I’m going to talk a little bit on here about the impact of not having your own platform for your brand. Imagine the worst-case scenario and you can’t get back on your favourite social media platform for whatever reason. And there’s no news if you ever will be able to or not.
Consider the following…
How will you find your audience?
How will your audience find you?
How will you communicate with them?
And these are only in the worst-case scenarios with social media. What about regular every-day stuff? What if post lengths drop to twenty characters, or no more photos, or only AR videos will be allowed? What if Instagram suddenly went purple and turned off the DM function?? Any of these things can happen. I want you to consider what type of impact these will have on your brand. If you can’t get any more clients, then that means you are too dependent on that platform.
Your brand shouldn’t be created in a way that accommodates whatever platform you’re on or what type of content you can post on there. The purpose of a brand is to connect with your audience, so if your audience is expecting AR videos and communicating only through comments, be prepared to change your content strategy. But do not change your brand strategy.
Now… I am not saying to stop using social media, far from it. What I am saying is to have it as part of your brand, not everything on there.