3 Things That Branding Does Not Fix

Here’s a problem:

Slapping a pretty new label on a business lacking strategy and smarts does nothing.
It actually makes things worse.

Good design is an incredible gift. It can lend a level of beauty, credibility and market interest to your business that nothing else can. However, it is not a band-aid. It can’t cover up issues with your business that aren’t solved. It’s easy to focus on changing what’s on the surface, when in reality, the changes need to be much deeper than a new color palette or a nice logo.

There are 3 specific things that you need to know that branding cannot fix. Awareness of these things will help you build a business that is solid and hire a designer at the best time instead of using design as a cover-up for other problems.

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Rebranding does not fix a bad product.
Story time! Several years ago I tried creating and selling a crafty product created on whim just because I really really really wanted to sell something I had created. (Sound familiar?)

They were satin and silk flower rosettes I handmade them out of special materials, glass pearls. They even had the cutest packaging for them. So while they might not seem like a “bad” product (nicely made & packaged, not cheap or ill-quality) —in reality, they weren’t a solid foundation for a thriving business.

At that time, I knew very little about product positioning or marketing and I definitely didn’t know how to price something to actually make a profit on my time.

It’s easy for creatives especially to wrap their identity up in a particular product or service. While we should believe in what we are called to do, listening to what the

market is telling us about it is part of being a wise business owner. It’s possible the match between your passion and the product or service you are selling is not a good fit. Pouring time and money into branding or rebranding a product for which there has been no market interest can be a big mistake. Finding the spot where your passion actually meets a need or desire is key.

Rebranding does not replace organization or customer experience.
Imagine you drive past two cottages right next to each other that are for sale. Both are painted a pretty color, have great landscaping and a nice front door.

However, upon a closer look, the one is obviously suffering from structural issues and the other is perfectly sound. Which is going to be more appealing? Which one would you be more interested in buying? Obviously the one that is safe and sound.

People do look at your visual branding, and it is the thing about you business that see first. However, if they are planning on investing money with you, especially if you are selling a high-cost, premium product or service, they often look beyond your branding. They listen to the recommendations they hear from friends, the systems displayed in your business, and the clarity of your tone and direction.

You can have a ‘beautiful’ biz, but what’s truly amazing is when your business wows the client because of your client experience from start to finish.

Rebranding does not fix a lack of business strategy or direction.
Branding is supposed to attract a specific kind of person to a specific kind of experience or product. If you’re uncertain and trying to appeal to everyone, you’re going to drive both yourself and your designer crazy and end up with something generic that might not even work.

The point is—when you know who you are selling to—their gender, age, interest, hobbies, and especially where they are willing to invest and spend money—the more you can target your branding effectively.

Don’t ignore these warning signals! If you are branding while any of these 3 issues are going on in your business, it will make the process much more difficult for both you and the designer you are working with. My clients always have to work through an extensive set of homework before we work together about where they are at in their business and who they want to go.

If you’d like more tips on building a brand that is both beautiful and consistent, I’d love to have you join me on Instagram or for my weekly email series here.

Lauren Carns

Lauren Carns is a graphic designer who loves helping creatives and business owners make their visual presence shine. She believes that the best brands have not only a pretty face but a kind heart and a story to tell. When she's not designing, blogging, or drinking way too much Starbucks, she loves reading as many non-fiction books as she can and connecting with other creatives online.

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