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Branding Myths and the Hard Truth About How to Brand Your Business

These days I’m seeing a lot of people trying to do some pretty crazy stuff with their branding. I suspect they just don’t know how to brand their business. I also see some crazy expensive branding fees. These so-called branding experts are charging way too much money for not a lot of work. But then I also see some amazing branding experts out there leading the way like David Brier and Danielle Miller.  

I hear lots of talk about the mystery of branding. I hear weird rumors that everything is all about your logo, that you have to have a website, that you have to do all of this STUFF to have proper branding.   

Hogwash!

how to brand

It seems there are just too many myths about how to brand your business.

Myth #1: Your brand and your logo are synonymous.

Can I repeat that again? Your brand is not the same as your logo. Your brand is the look and feel of your business. It’s the experience that your clients and customers get when they interact with and do business with you. It is the entire package that is you and your business. Your brand is expressed through everything you do, including the customer onboarding process or the ‘Thank You’ cards you write.

In fact, you don’t even want to put your logo on those hand-written ‘Thank You’ notes and cards!

I understand that the latest trend is to use fancy fonts or handwriting fonts to write out someone’s name as a logo (and then charge hundreds to thousands of dollars to do just that). That’s interesting. But it doesn’t always convey your brand’s identity and individuality.

It doesn’t convey that magic something that is your brand.

Instead of going with the current flavor of the month, try going with colors, logos and messaging that reflect the essence of your business.

Myth #2: Your brand is a “thing” and is static.

I believe your brand should reflect the identity and message that you want it to convey, not someone else’s idea of what it SHOULD convey. It is also a living thing that will change over time as your business changes, and if your business is new, then it WILL change.

I also subscribe to the idea that it doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful, especially where social media is concerned. Too often people fall into the “perfection” trap. They believe they have to have the perfect website, with the perfect photo shoot and the perfect videos. They drop a lot of money into developing a website in order for it to do its job, and they feel they have to do all of their opt-ins and website content, and have everything perfect before they put themselves out there.

Nothing could be further from the truth. The reality is that your brand will change over time.  Very little you do will be totally perfect. Trying to make everything perfect before you begin your business, or begin to attract customers is just going to keep you from making any money whatsoever.

One big dose of reality that you should get used to is that your business is very likely going to change. Your brand will shift dramatically over time as your business shifts. That’s not something they talk about online or in business school.

If life has it’s ups and downs, then business is like living on the Manta Roller Coaster at Sea World (i.e fast, lots of flips and ups and downs!)

how to brandSo, how do you build the “right” brand for your business?

The answer is that you take inspired, if imperfect, action each day. You go ahead and put yourself out there and show up as your business. Ask potential clients for business. Build relationships. Be real.

Try out different messages, if needed. Sometimes it can take a few tries to hit on exactly the right verbiage that resonates with your audience.

Try different colors. Since colors are an integral part of your brand, it can take a few tries to get exactly the right colors that express your own individuality and business. Just because the most trendy colors are black and white, or brown and white, or whatever, doesn’t mean that you then need to follow the herd and integrate those exact colors into your brand.

Pick the language that you feel is a great fit for your business. Choose carefully, but don’t spend hours, days and weeks trying to get it completely perfect.

More likely than not, your brand will change over time. And you’re likely going to rebrand every 18-36 months in your business. Spending months and months trying to get the perfect look may only cost you more money without getting better results.

Pick what seems to work at the time and don’t tie yourself up into knots. The more you put yourself out there, the better.


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Meet the Author: Haley Lynn Gray

Haley Lynn GrayHaley helps female entrepreneurs create a strategy plan for their businesses – so they can make enough money to spend quality time with their family, pay for their children’s dance lessons, pay bills – and not worry about where the next client is coming from.

Haley is a serial entrepreneur and founder of Leadership Girl. She helps other entrepreneurs build their businesses by sharing the benefits of her business education and experience through Business Coaching.

Whether you want to get a new business off the ground or expand an existing business, Haley can assist you.

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