At one point in your business you get to an intersection where it is time to leave the DIY brand behind and get serious about taking your brand to the next level. At this point — if you don’t have a background in design yourself — you want to hire a professional branding graphic designer or brand stylist. Someone who knows how to get the best out of your business or brand.
And that can be scary.
Look I get it, you’re giving away a very important part of your company into the hands of someone you might not know so well. But this is a very crucial part of taking your business to the next level. Letting go of parts that you aren’t an expert in will help you grow your business or brand into the business it can become.
To make this process go well and end up with the brand of your dreams that attracts your ideal client, you need to ask yourself these 5 question before you start the process.
5 questions to ask yourself before you work with a brand designer or brand stylist:
#1 WHAT IS YOUR VISION?
The whole process will go much smoother when you have a vision for your business. So one of the questions to ask yourself before you work with a brand designer or brand stylist is ‘what is your vision?’. To make this question less loaded, you can break it down in three parts:
• Your business dream
If you think about your business when you started and where you want to go, what do you see? What is the dream vision of how you want your business to turn out? For me personally I see my business being focused on different bigger, international projects in other countries and smaller, more local projects for starter businesses. All focused on realizing the best brands.
• Your business goals
So now you know what your dream vision looks like, how are you going to get there? Which numbers do you need to hit? Are you focused purely on conversion (making money) and lead generating (attracting new clients)? Or do you want to create more of a brand experience and pull clients in? For me right now it’s about creating brand awareness (getting people acquainted with my brand) & lead generating (I need to make my business thrive).
• Your why
Your why is the purpose behind why you do what you do. Not how you do it but why you do it. The questions you need to ask yourself: what are my brand values, what does my brand stand for and what are my beliefs? You can find mine on my about page here.
This first question really dives into your branding strategy. So I get that you might not know all the answers to these questions but you always have some idea. Your business goals don’t need to be SMART yet — I personally also offer branding strategies to clients — but you need an overall vision of what you want to achieve, what your brand stands for & what your focus is. You can read more about branding strategies here.
#2 WHO IS YOUR IDEAL CLIENT? OR WHAT ARE YOUR DREAM PROJECTS?
When creating branding for your business or brand to take it to the next level, you need to know who you want to have as your dream clients. Branding needs to be strategic and attract your ideal client. The only way to do that, is to know who they are.
• Who are my current clients & do they fit with who I want to work with?
• What do I love about my current clients?
• What don’t I like about my current clients?
• What’s a client I really don’t want to work with?
• Who is my dream client?
Describe the client that you dream of working with. Who is this person? What do they do? How do I help them? Even if you love your current clients, your dream client can differentiate from them.
Make sure you build a demographic profile of your dream client — age, gender, location, job, living situation, income — but also a psychographics profile — lifestyle choices, interests, needs.
“Sometimes you don’t have one ideal client but ideal projects. What projects would you want to work on?”
Sometimes you don’t have one ideal client but you have ideal projects. What projects would you want to work on? Who do you need to influence to get that project? You can also replace current or dream clients with current or dream projects in the questions above to give more insight into what your ideal projects are.
#3 WHAT PROBLEM ARE YOU SOLVING?
After deciding on your ideal question, one of the questions to ask yourself before you work with a brand designer or brand stylist is about the problem you solve for your dream client. This question is important because your branding should represent why and what you do for your ideal client.
For example, you’re a social media manager for freelancing business women. They have a lot to do but also want to keep up with their social media because that is where they generate their leads from. Unfortunately, their work and meetings are taking up all their time and they often have to give up free time or hours in the evening to keep up with the gram. Your problem to solve: give back valuable downtime to these freelancing business women. How do you solve their problem: by managing their social media accounts for them so they can focus on their work and you generate valuable leads for them.
#4 WHAT MAKES YOUR BUSINESS OR BRAND UNIQUE?
Unless you have a genius idea nobody has thought of, you probably have competitors that are targeting your ideal client. So to make sure that your ideal client wants to do business with you and not your competitors, you need to think hard about what makes your business stand out.
In most cases, it’s your why — that you’ve figured out with question #1 — that sets you apart from your competitors but it can also be types of services you provide that others don’t. Think of free next day shipping, a longer period to return products or a discount the next time they’ll use your services.
“For freelancers and small businesses the unique focus is probably the person behind the business. It’s your characteristics that offer something unique that your competitors can’t.”
For freelancers and small businesses the unique focus is probably the person behind the business. It’s your characteristics that offer something unique that your competitors can’t. For my business it’s my unique eye for branding, my analytic brain and being an introvert — which helps me to listen and ask the right questions. But it’s also my style as a designer.
#5 WHICH EXPERIENCE DO YOU WANT TO GIVE YOUR DREAM CLIENT?
What should be your dream clients takeaway when they get in touch with one of your brand touch points? Is it a certain feeling or an action they want to take. For example, when I worked with Evelyne from Social Media Interactie, she wanted the women who came in contact with her business and new logo to think her brand is feminine and affordable.
This highly affects how a logo or a whole brand identity will turn out. At first she wanted a clean and smart font — which is mostly used for more upscale brands that sell premium products — because she thought this would make it look more professional and clean. However, if your dream client is someone with a smaller budget — in her case it were female entrepreneurs without a large disposable income — you want your branding to represent that feeling and experience. Now the logo for Social Media Interactie matches her tagline, her why — making online marketing affordable — and her ideal client.
AFTER YOU START WORKING WITH YOUR BRAND DESIGNER OR BRAND STYLIST
After you’ve answered these questions, trust your brand designer or brand stylist. Look at their portfolio and look at the work they’ve already created — for clients and free work — and what others say about working with them. Ask for an intake consultation to see if you’re comfortable with your choice. If you get a bad feeling or already notice miscommunications, abort the mission and find someone else.
“After you’ve answered these questions, trust your brand designer or brand stylist.”
And after all the questions to ask yourself before you work with a brand designer or brand stylist, meeting them and checking their portfolio, trust the process. They’re a professional, have the experience and know what they’re doing. So trust them.