Are you thinking about a rebrand?
Or launching a new brand?
You sit down at your laptop, you crack stretch your fingers, and then you begin the relentless search for The Designer. You know—The Designer who will make all of your businesses’ hopes and dreams come true. The Designer who will craft the logo that will make all other logos look like chump change. The Designer who will make your brand look legit.
Because it’s all about finding that one, perfect, talented designer, right?
Truth be told, it’s not.
It’s not enough to put together a group of pretty websites that you like and ask for something similar. Eventually, it’ll feel trite. It won’t feel authentic to you.
That’s why it’s a huge waste of money (and time!) to hire a designer to rebrand your business before doing the inner-soul brand work that needs to be done. Deciding the direction of the brand and the core brand message is vital before finding a designer to interpret the message visually.
I Have a Particular Set of Skills
Let me first put this out there: I’m not really a designer. I sometimes design small projects (like most of my own stuff), but I won’t ever focus on selling myself that way. There’s a lot more to my process of building brands than designing the visuals. In fact, several of my clients work with a different designer after they work with me.
My super power is bringing out the remarkable and meaningful brand that’s hiding beneath the surface of your business. It’s a deep-dive, a subtractive process where we figure out how to communicate your most impactful brand purpose and attract your ideal clients to you.
With that said, before you click that PayPal button to work with The Designer, I want you to be able to answer some very important questions:
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What is your ultimate vision for your work?
Beyond the initial benefits of your product or service, why are you really in business? Ask yourself why? again and again until you whittle down to the basic human need for your work. Are you helping people find personal success? Pleasure? Excitement for life? Is it to help people feel understood? Safe? Loved?
All of our actions boil down to our desire for 1 of 10 basic values defined by psychologist Shalom Schwartz. Download my brand workbook to see the full list (It’s on page 4!).
What is your brand utopia?
What would the world look like if everyone who needed your product or service got to own or experience it? How would the world be different? What would be the ultimate expression of your brand’s vision? Take some time to paint the picture with vivid detail.
- TOM’S (shoes) brand utopia would be that every kiddo has a pair of shoes to wear.
- My brand utopia is that everyone who launches a business is able to attract their ideal clients to them (by building their meaningful brand.)
Also, on a more tangible level, what does your ideal client’s life look like after you work with them? What are the tangible and emotional results of working with you?
How do you want your brand to make people feel?
Your personality can be an extremely powerful differentiator–it affects the whole experience that your ideal clients have with you! Even if your products and services are exactly the same as someone else’s, when you make people feel something about your brand, your brand becomes the no-brainer choice. And, by the way, what brand personality attributes does your brand embody to make people feel that way?
When it comes to you, how will you interact with people? Are you going to be friendly? Loving? Will you lead by example? Are you insightful? If you haven’t yet, take the brand personality quiz.
If your brand was a physical space, what do you see/hear/feel/smell?
Extend your brand beyond the digital space and imagine your flagship retail store with no budget restrictions. What objects would you place in your space? What can you smell? What does the seating look and feel like?
Is it a treehouse? A sacred temple? A dinner party? A locker room?
What is the total immersive experience?
What are your values?
What are your non-negotiables to making your brand utopia come true? What are your brand’s morals? What do you believe to be true about this world and your work in it?
Here are mine:
BUSINESS IS PERSONAL
We’re all human; let’s act like it. Embrace it. I live this truth every day by helping brands connect to the emotions, values, and personality behind their business.
Among my friends, “weird” is a badge of honor. For my clients, I help them uncover their brand of weird that’s been buried under the mandate of professionalism for too long.
You are capable of so much. Step into it. Small things often take just as much energy and time as big things. Spend your energy and time on something significant.
HAVE SISU? (I DO.)
“The Finns have something they call Sisu. It is a compound of bravado and bravery, of ferocity and tenacity, of the ability to keep fighting after most people would have quit, and to fight with the will to win.” -Time Magazine, 1940. ‘Nuff said.
Now Can I Look at Pretty Designs?
Once you figure out what you meaningful brand message is, then it’s time to translate those into the visual and written communication that will make up your website, email marketing, social media, and other modes of communication. In other words, yes, you can look at pretty designs at this point.
Designers and copywriters need this back story and inner-heart brand work to do their best work. Otherwise, it’s all superficial.
When you connect to your deepest purpose and message, you can count on the fact that your design and copy will hold true for years. You’ll end up tweaking the delivery, the technology, and the tools, but your true brand will keep pointing north.
But your branding must always begin with strategy, with soul-searching, with the deep questions that find what your brand truly is all about.