What I Wished I Would Have Known About Branding Before I Launched
Here’s a fun fact about me: Hued Design Studio is my third creative adventure. My self-deprecating humor calls them laughable failures, but when I really think about them, they taught me a load about myself and what works best for me.
In addition to learning about email marketing, finding clients, social media marketing, squashing self-doubt, and learning how to be productive, one of the biggest blunders I had with my previous side hustles was my branding.
There’s a huge difference between those businesses and Hued, and I’m not afraid to say that the biggest difference is that I take my branding way more serious now.
There are three things that I wished I would have known about branding before I started trying to turn my side hustles into the real thing, and what you can do to avoid those blunders.
I thought my branding was just my logo and some colors
I had no idea the big wide world of branding and just how deep and psychological a great brand is. I come in contact with so many big name brands with fantastic branding identities, stories, and emotional messaging and I still had no idea that that was what “branding” was.
I thought: “Oh yeah I have a brand. I designed a logo and picked some colors I liked and bam!”
I never thought that my logo is a huge conveyor of not only my personality but the of the type of work that I do.
I had a light and airy stereotypical photographer logo when nothing about me was light and airy. I loved moody photography with rich blacks and slightly muted colors. I could never get into the pinks and pastels because that wasn’t me.
However, my first logo wasn’t telling people that I was moody. It was telling people that I wasn’t that different from my local competitors and that I was confused as to the type of work that I wanted to produce.
WHAT CAN YOU DO:
Think about the other businesses in your niche or industry that you admire and try to see the big picture of their business as a whole. What is their tone in their blog posts and tweets? What types of images do they use? What do their logo and website design say about them?
After that, try to think of your business that way or ask a friend what they think of your business as a whole. What words come to mind? Moody? Funny? Playful? Professional?
See how other people see your business and see if it matches up to how you see it.
Not incorporating more of my personality
I’ve got a big personality and I have no problem saying that! But I was one of the people that thought that putting too much of your personality into your business wasn’t professional. People wouldn’t want to be involved with someone that is that open and emotional.
No clients want to hear about your struggles with certain aspects of your field because then why would they hire you?
Knowing everything I know now, even typing that makes me laugh. So damn foolish.
From what I’ve learned, those types of posts are what helps you connect even deeper with the people that truly resonate with your work. Every day I try to add more of my personality to my business because I realize:
If I’m going to be skyping you, talking to you on the phone, chatting through email, and creatively investing in your business through your website’s design: I don’t want to hate your personality. I don’t want you to hate mine either. What’s the point of running my own biz where I don’t like my clients?
Infusing bits of my personality in every touch point that potential clients come across, allows them to see if we’re a good fit before they even get in contact. It helps them weed me out if need be.
I allow me to connect on a deeper level with more entrepreneurs in my field. When I share my struggles on twitter or Instagram, I hear from other designers or other creatives about either their struggles with that too and/or how they’ve dealt with it. Being more open on my own platforms has allowed me to dodge a lot of painful bullets in business.
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
Take the next blog post you’re planning to write and write it out like you’re sending an email to a friend that asked you a question. Let things flow naturally and don’t worry about structure or formatting. Then once you’re done, go back over it and clean it up a bit.
If that’s too much of a leap for you, schedule out some non-business related tweets or posts about yourself and your personal life. Got a new dog? Do an Instagram story.
Redesigned your office? Post on Facebook! Bought a new book about the changes in how comic books are drawn? Post a thread about it on Twitter. You’ll connect with someone. I promise.
Not realizing that inconsistency is a big deal with how people see my brand
I’m very surprised that the perfectionist in me allowed myself to be inconsistent with my branding, but in the beginning stages of my many creative endeavors, that’s exactly what I was: inconsistent.
I was changing how my graphics looked constantly, doing multiple mini rebrands, going dark on social media and my blog for months, not writing to my newsletter for months, all of that.
Yes, everyone needs a break and shit happens. Of course. But I was so new to the industry and trying to run a business that my brand couldn’t afford the inconsistency.
Every period of going quiet made it even harder for me to get back in and re-establish those connections. I had to start over from scratch each time.
I’m not going to sit and act l follow my schedules to a T now. But I am more focused and determine with Hued. I truly believe that this is the industry that I belong in, and I’m determined to make it work.
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
Schedule social media posts in advance. Have batch days where you create a ton of blog posts in advance and schedule them out. This allows you to still be seen if you do need to take a break.
If you take a break, whether because you have too or because of mental health reasons, don’t be hard on yourself. You HAVE to take care of yourself above all else.
Branding can be this vague word that a lot of people may or may not agree on totally, but here’s what I can tell you branding is for sure: how you choose to connect with your audience, how you talk to them, and what you want them to feel when they interact with you.