Let’s talk branding mistakes.
I know that feeling of starting a new business: you’re overwhelmed but so, so pumped about all that’s to come. I know that little push in the back of your mind reminding you that you need some killer branding, too — but I also know the feeling of realizing that you simply don’t have thousands of dollars to drop on customized branding at the moment.
I’m a huge proponent of working with people who can make your branding visions and dreams come to life (hey!), but I’m also fully aware that it’s just not possible for every business at every time — and that’s where DIY branding comes in to save the day.
The way I see it, DIY branding is one of those things that can be done really, really well or really, really poorly. The trick? To work with intention, focus, and strategy when it comes to your branding. Your visual brand is the first thing that potential customers and clients see when it comes to your business, so it’s important to get it right from the jump and avoid making these branding mistakes.
Instead of spending tons of time reading conflicting info and trying a zillion different templates and fonts, focus in on you and your business. That space in between? That’s where the magic happens and the sales start to convert.
When you stay away from these 5 DIY branding mistakes, and you’ll have a stunning and purposeful brand waiting for you on the other side.
Mistake #1: A lack of strategy
First things first—long before you start picking colors and fonts—you need to focus in on a strategy for your brand. Great brands are built with a strong strategic foundation, which starts with businesses that know exactly what they stand for and what they’re wanting to achieve. A big part of this is making sure that you’re doing the work when it comes to the insides of your business. Spend some time asking yourself these questions, and spend even more time digging deep into the details behind your answers:
- Who are my target customers? (Their age, their income level, their gender, their jobs, their education, their location, etc.)
- How do I want to position my brand? (Who, what, when, where, why, how?)
- What am I selling? (The product, the feeling, the expected result)
- Why am I in business? (What is behind that dream of yours that keeps you up at night with entrepreneurial dreams?)
- Why ME? (Of all of the people in the world to buy from, what makes you different?)
By doing the work before you start in on the visuals, you’re much more likely to build a brand that directly reflects the spirit behind your business. By ignoring it? You’re much more likely to build a stale brand without personality… and without much of a point.
Mistake #2: A lack of originality
A big-time branding mistake I see in a lot of DIY branding projects? Brands that look suspiciously similar to others. Whether it’s reused templates from sites like Canva or logo ideas directly ripped off of sites like Pinterest, finding too much inspiration from another brand is a quick way to A) get sued or B) fall into the branding abyss.
When you started your business, you didn’t start it because you wanted to follow someone exactly. You started it because you felt that spark and pull to do something different, and that kind of spirit doesn’t exist in just everyone. Take that light that you have and inject it into your branding in original ways, staying far, far away from mass-produced, unedited templates. Find what it is that makes you different, and find little ways to include that in your brand instead of chasing others. I promise — that extra work makes all of the difference.
Mistake #3: A lack of consistency
When business owners get deep into DIY branding, they often find a lot of things they like. From colors to fonts to text styles to shapes, it’s easy to fall into a trap of “oh! I like this! I need this! I want this on my site!”
As a designer and a brand strategist myself, I encourage you to resist the urge. Great visual brands are consistent, from the colorways all the way to the subtext. While you might love a lot of different things, it’s important to decide on a few cohesive elements and only use those. By making sure that your brand stays consistent, you immediately start to build brand recognition and trust. When you start to pull everything that you like into your brand, you create a messy and unrecognizable one.
Mistake #4: Not thinking client-forward
For the most part, the brand you’re building is to create trust, relationships, and, ultimately, sales from a customer. When you remember that, it’s easier to think of your clients first. When you create a brand that speaks to your consumer — one that lights up their eyes, understands their problems, and warms their heart a little — you’re immediately creating a client base that feels cherished and trusted.
When you create a brand that speaks only to you — one full of your personal favorites, “me, me, me” elements, and “I” copy — you’re immediately losing that ever-so-important level of connection. Client-facing and client-forward brands are the ones that go the extra mile, and they’re the ones you want to focus on creating.
Mistake #5: You’re not designing with intention
Designing and structuring your brand with intention can be tough—especially for DIYers—and I get it. But, it all goes back to the basics: the strategy, the client, the consistency, the originality. Intentionality takes a long, long time. It’s hard to stick to it, it’s difficult to include it in every element, at every milestone, and it’s challenging to get right.
But, those super intentional brands? (Think: Jenna Kutcher, Melyssa Griffin, and Magnolia) Those are the brands that have people waiting to purchase every course, every magazine, and every new loungewear drop. Those are the kinds of brands that encourage people on more levels than one. Be that brand.
Building a brand is a huge effort, my friend. Even considering doing your own branding means that you have what it takes to succeed, and it means that you were built with a little extra spirit and a double dose of moxie.
Truly, DIY branding can be a great option for your business if you do it the right way. Plus, I’m all about helping people to create cohesive, beautiful brands that they’re proud of. Download my Brand Review Guide & Checklist today, and you can back away from the sinking overwhelm and rise up into the pride of DIYing your own branding.
I’m proud of you, okay? Plus, I’m always here to give you a leg up.