Category: 7 Super Secrets

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If you have a new business and need an identity or if you’re looking to rebrand what you already have, let me share some brilliant stress-saving tips with you on how to focus your mind and prep the perfect brief to achieve top notch results from your designer.

Articulating everything you do, why you do it and the values behind it is a challenging task for any business owner, let alone putting it all down on paper for a designer to interpret.

In this post you’ll find 7 easy steps to help you look at your business on a deeper level and think hard about the impression you want your new branding to create on potential customers. You’ll learn powerful questions which, when answered, will help your designer interpret your business attributes into tangible design that hits the perfect chord.

Plus, having these pointers under your belt will hopefully take some of the stress away, helping you to get under the skin of exactly how you want your new branding to feel and, for those of you rebranding, perhaps unlock a few doors towards understanding how your business, your customers and your industry may have changed since you first started.

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1  /  WHAT DO YOU DO & WHAT ARE YOU BEST KNOWN FOR?

Knowing exactly what your role is within your business and what you do from day to day will help your designer understand your involvement; physically, mentally and emotionally, and this can really help them understand what makes you tick.

It’s very likely your previous experience in the working world has shaped who you are as a person, your values and how you run your business today so make sure you tell them your story.

Specific questions to ask yourself:

What does your business do and what’s your involvement?

What did you do before you started your business?

What do you think makes your business unique, both in it’s product and in the way it operates?

 

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2  /  WHAT’S MOTIVATED YOU TO ADDRESS YOUR BRANDING?

You might be a new business in which case you need a visual personality from the get-go. If you’re rebranding, then you’ve already acknowledged something isn’t right about what you have at the moment so ask yourself what that is exactly.

What’s been the driving force behind you wanting to rebrand?

What are you expecting from your designer?

What results do you hope to see from this identity change?

 

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3  /  WHO DO YOU LOVE WORKING WITH THE MOST?

Get inside the mind of your ideal customer and you’ll open up so many more opportunities to work with like-minded people. Your new branding will showcase what you know they love, talk to them in a brand voice that resonates with them and demonstrate that you understand why they buy from you; ultimately enriching your product and everything you do.

Questions to ask yourself:

What would an ideal customer buy from you?

Walk yourself through the process of working with them. What’s their personality like?

Why do think they love to work with you?

 

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4  /  WHERE DO YOU SEE YOUR BUSINESS IN THE NEXT YEAR OR MORE?

If you have a clear idea of where you want your business to be in 2-5 years time then share this with your designer. Your new branding needs to work hard for your business now as well as carry longevity to work hard in the future. If you plan on relocating, introducing more products or services or perhaps expand your team then it will have an impact on how your business is perceived by the public.

Think about:

What is my goal for the next year or more?

What things need to change in order to reach this goal?

How should your new branding reflect these changes?

 

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5  /  WHAT VALUES ARE BEHIND YOUR BUSINESS?

Your built-in values will be the heart and soul of your business so it’s vital your designer understands them. These attributes can determine colour, font and shape choice as much as written content so think carefully about the morals, ethics and attributes behind what you do.

What 3 words best summarise your most important attributes?

What design already inspires you and why?

 What do you do differently to others in the same industry?

 

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6  /  WHAT IMPRESSION DO YOU WANT YOUR NEW BRANDING TO CREATE?

Now we’re getting down to the nitty gritty! By now you’ve already asked yourself who your ideal customer is so understanding how you want them to feel when they experience your brand should be fairly easy. It might seem obvious but think about them as people; what type of lifestyle do they have? What magazine might they read? What car do they drive? Clarify your customer archetype and you’ll know what look and feel will be most attractive to them.

How do you want your customers to think and feel about your brand?

If a customer described your business in one sentence what would it be?

What are you most proud of?

 

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7  /  WHAT RESULTS ARE YOU LOOKING FOR FROM YOUR NEW IDENTITY?

Create a shopping list of everything you expect at the end of your brand journey. Knowing what you ultimately need at the end will give you and your designer focus so that time doesn’t drift and you know you’ll have products in your hands or online to show off as soon as you need them.

What tangible things do you need at the end of your brand restyle?

Make a list and prioritise each item, including dates if you can.

How will you measure the results of your rebrand?

 

I hope these steps and questions really help you focus and whilst your designer will have more questions around these, you’ll be 10 paces ahead and in the perfect mindset to get the best results from your branding venture.

 

If you’re struggling to know what answers are right for you then I’d love to help. I offer a free one-hour branding consultation with no obligation where I’ll help you establish a solid brief that fills you with confidence before investing in design. You can also discover how to get the best from your graphic designer on my recent post 7 Super Secrets: Getting the most from your Graphic Designer & Rebrand Experience

As my business is still young I’m offering portfolio-building rates at the moment! Drop me an email or a call: studio@makingwavescreative.com  /  07701 047433

I’d love to hear from you.

 

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Let’s face it, branding or rebranding your business is tough enough without the worry of knowing how to translate all of your ideas to your designer.

It can be an overwhelming time but if you’re considering changing your business’s look then you’re already half way there…

…because you’ve acknowledged something isn’t right with what you have now.

Perhaps you’ve come to terms with the fact that what you have now just doesn’t cut the mustard anymore or maybe your business has grown so quickly it’s left your brand identity for dust? Perhaps you understand that keeping your branding up to date and ship-shape is the way towards winning more new and exciting opportunities? Whatever your reason, you’ll be passing all the responsibility of your business image into the hands of your designer and that’s a big challenge for any business owner.

Today I’d love to use my experience in the industry to share some simple tips on how to get the very best from working with your designer.

 

1. CLARIFY YOUR VISION

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OK. Grab a mug of tea, tuck yourself away in a quite room for a few minutes and start to get some clarity around what you actually want to happen for your business over the coming weeks/months.

First things first; write a shopping list of all the tangible things you want at the end of your project and roughly when you need them completed by, so for example, Logo/Brand Identity – 1 month, Website – 3 months, Stationery Printed – 1.5 momths, etc. It might seem daunting at first and they don’t have to be set in concrete but understanding what you need from the outset will give you and your designer a clear perspective, honest expectations and reachable targets.

 

2. GET INTO THE MINDSET

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It sounds obvious (and somewhat tedious) but it’s so important. At this early stage don’t get too wrapped up in what you want your new branding to look like, this is what you’re paying your designer to do!

Start to think about your business ethos in more detail and try to create a list of buzz words that best explain the impression you want your new branding to create. Steer clear of words like ‘professional’ or ‘quality’; these are a given in my book and are very subjective. So for instance, if you sell high-end watches then your buzz words might be expensive, glamorous, dramatic, innovative, edgy, etc. Your designer should incorporate these words in your brief and interpret them cleverly into your new branding.

 

3. STAY FOCUSED

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Don’t lose sight of why you started this journey in the first place.

The venture of rebranding can become overwhelming especially when you’re being pushed to think of your business in ways you hadn’t perhaps thought of before. Bear in mind that the passion and personality you have behind your business is very often a driving force for the design process so make sure you communicate this with your designer at the briefing stage. If there are brands out there already that hit the right chord with you then share them with your designer; it doesn’t mean they’ll copy them, it means they’ll have insight into what design style excites you and understanding this is often a large part of a designer’s challenge.

 

4. GO WITH YOUR GUT FEELING

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Stay grounded and true to your business values while you’re reviewing your new designs.

Remember you’re rebranding because it’s likely you understand your target market much more now than when your business started, so always have that ideal customer in mind and follow what your gut says they’ll be most attracted to. A great designer should challenge the way you think about your business, perhaps push you a little out of your comfort zone, yet be able to create designs that feel right. If it doesn’t feel right, tell them, and explain why it doesn’t feel right.

 

5. DON’T FALL OVER WHAT’S IN FRONT OF YOU

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Because you’ve invested so much financially, practically and emotionally into your project, a common mistake to make is to overanalyse your design.

There’s a fine line between staying focused on your brand values and simply thinking too hard; it’s an easy trap to fall into especially after you’ve seeing your first drafts. Suddenly what your designer has created feels overwhelmingly real to you and your business and if every element doesn’t have a compelling reason for being there then your whole brand is in jeopardy. No so. It’s perfectly OK to have elements that just ‘look great’ as long as the brand identity as a whole pulls together successfully and meaningfully. So try not to let yourself get hung up about whether the line under your tagline is 1.5mm thick rather than 2mm! A great designer will have already thought about this carefully.

 

6. GET FEEDBACK FROM THE PEOPLE WHO MATTER

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Sensible marketing research can be incredibly valuable if done properly, or equally confusing if not.

Avoid asking family or friends what they think of your new designs unless they’re fully involved with your business. Often feedback from these sources, regardless of how much you value their personal opinion, can be misleading. Ask staff and existing/potential customers; they’ll be honest because it’s in their interests to be and because they understand your service they’ll give the best advice. Having said this, try not to be governed by what they say, just review it with an open mind and critique your designs constructively. What overall impression do you get? Will it translate cohesively onto everything you need on your list? Does it make you excited at the thought of what it could do for your business? If you’re not sure then don’t be afraid to ask your designer, they will understand your brand message and how it will translate inside out.

 

7. RELAY FEEDBACK WITH CARE

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Your designer will be confident that what they’ve created feels right for your business but they won’t take criticism personally, they’ll just want you to be as clear and decisive as you can.

And try your best to get all of your feedback to them in one big hit whether that’s over the telephone, Skype or in one email. You’ll feel much better for structuring your thoughts this way and your designer will love you for being clear. There’s nothing more confusing for a designer than attempting to patch together 12 emails of conflicting comments over a 5 day period, especially when it’s obvious your thought-process is evolving as you write! So ask your designer any questions if you need to, let them know your initial reaction to the designs and then step back for a day or two, allow yourself time to digest them and resist leaping into writing that epic email until you feel ready. It doesn’t have to be long but a little space away from the project can spark new perspectives when you re-approach it.

 

I hope you’ve found these tips helpful! You’ll also get tremendous value from my 7 Secrets Series which includes How to get focused for your new brand identity where you’ll learn 7 brilliant stress-saving steps on how to smartly articulate your business values into a working brand identity brief, ready for your designer.

 





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