So I recently rebranded my business because I was feeling stuck. Here's how I got unstuck.Read More
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The next time you have a project in need of design, go to your design meeting prepared. Gather all your project info together and see if you can answer these questions:
Preparing for design
Some of your answers may change as you have the conversation with your designer and their expertise brings new ideas and perspective to light. Be prepared with answers and be willing to hear new ideas that may lead to better success in the long-run. If you keep your objectives in mind, how you get there can happen a number of different ways.
- Can you clearly articulate your overarching brand strategy? If you can answer yes to the questions on this Brand Assessment Checklist then you have the elements that go into creating your brand strategy even if your strategy hasn’t yet been developed.
- Is there a particular event this project needs to be completed for?
- What’s the budget?
- What are you trying to achieve with this project?
- Why are we doing this (and not something different)?
- What medium will we use and why?
- What are the goals?
- Define the audience.
- Who are they?
- Where do they hang out?
- What are their likes and dislikes?
- What will capture their attention?
- How do you know?
- Do you have access to your audience (i.e. could they be interviewed or surveyed somehow)?
- Why are they not doing what we want them to?
- Why should they do it?
- Define success. (e.g. “I want my boss to be happy” or “I need to get 200 subscribers”).
- What will the approval process look like?
Download it: Project Definition - 18 questions
How do you feel about handing out your business card? If you hesitate at the thought of sharing your card, we should probably talk. You can ask that same question about any piece of collateral you have.
If you’ve done your homework, you already know that your audience wants what you’re selling. So what’s the problem? If they aren’t buying, then the way you’re talking about your product may not connect with them. It might be your words. It might be your visual style or it might just be how you arrange your content. Are your top-level messages jumping off the page? Everything else should take a back seat. If that top-level message is working, everything else is just supportive, and they will read it. But they won’t read it if you don’t first capture their attention. So get their attention—that is your first priority.
If it doesn’t feel right, then something is not in alignment. Your gut is not wrong. But knowing what the problem is and how to fix it can be more challenging. So I created a brand assessment sheet to get my clients thinking and to help them identify weak points in their brand strategy and look & feel.
Want help evaluating your collateral? Request the brand assessment sheet and I'll send it your way.
Here are a couple of resources that I’ve found very useful and that I like to direct my new clients to. I thought you might find these inspiring or helpful.
Explains the relationship between Purpose, Mission, Vision & Goals. A great resource to look at when you’re just starting your business or to look back on if you find you’re perhaps missing something in your strategy.
Liquid Brand Exchange: Steal This Idea by Marty Neumeier
An excellent video that talks about the importance of understanding your purpose or your “why” and how it can be used in your business. I struggled with nailing this down for myself for quite a while. Then I saw this video. I highly recommend it. I also mentioned this video here.
Why do you do what you do?
That can be a really tough question to answer. It’s not about what you do. And it’s not about making money.
It’s about what drives you to do the work you do.
I personally struggled with this question for a long time. I recently watched an inspiring TED talk by Simon Sinek about figuring out your big “why,” and it finally clicked for me what my purpose is. I believe that any story worth telling deserves to be well designed. That’s why my business exists.
"I believe any story worth telling deserves to be well designed."
You probably aren’t the only one who does what you do. But you are the only you, so you likely bring something to the table that a particular segment of the market wants. Being really clear on your purpose is the thing that will attract the people you most want to work with and who most want to work with you. And they’ll also be the ones most likely to appreciate and recommend you.
Why is this so important?
Aside from attracting your audience, by clearly articulating your purpose you and I can make clear decisions about your strategy. And it ensures that your decision-making process will build a business that supports your purpose and vision even when plans don’t turn out as expected. It’s the thing you always fall back to.
Put it up on your wall and tell me about it when we meet.
Why do you do what you do?