It’s time to be transparent about what it looks like to work with a brand identity designer. All too often, small business owners and entrepreneurs seek to outsource branding without realizing their foundational role in the process.
While working with a brand identity designer removes “design business branding” from your to-do list, working with an experienced designer may drudge up some work. You didn’t realize you needed to do it, but it’s essential in preparation for your business’ new, strategic brand identity.
I’m going to ask you four — basic but sometimes tough — questions you need to answer before working with a brand identity designer.
I address each of these questions with new Parson Lane clients who are branding their business for the first time or rebranding to move in a new direction. (So much so, that the alternate title of this blog could easily have been “Discover what’s inside the Parson Lane Onboarding Questionnaire!”)
Whether you choose to work with me or another brand identity designer, I hope these questions help you define your brand and guide you toward the authentic branding your business needs to flourish.
What sets your business apart?
If you already have a tried-and-true elevator pitch. Great! However, if you haven’t outlined this information yet, you probably already have a more conversational answer you share with your family, friends, clients, or neighbors when they ask.
Don’t worry about sounding professional — just tell me what makes your business different from others like it.
If the terms “elevator pitch” or “unique selling point” make you anxious, forget about them. Sit down with your business basics, compare them to your competitors, then tell me why someone would choose your business over another.
What do fulfillment and success look like for your brand?
Once we acknowledge that part of business success is profit (unless you own a nonprofit), then we can separate that from the more fulfilling feeling of internal success. In the future, you want to look back and say you accomplished your goals or your mission, right?
What is that mission statement? What’s the purpose of your business? (I want you to be able to answer this question in 1-3 sentences.)
Now, keep that ideal version of the future in mind, and ask yourself what your business looks like in that timeline.
Remember, your mission should encapsulate what your business is and does today. Your vision for it describes what you hope it will become.
Mission = What your business does now
Vision = What you hope your business will become
How do you want others to describe your business?
We can consider how you want your brand to look all day, but maybe a better question to ask is how you want others to talk about it.
Do you want them to associate your business with rigid professionalism, relatability, or fun? If you passed someone at the grocery store and overheard them talking about your business, what would you hope to hear them say?
Questions like this, along with a few style questions will help me get a feel for your brand design expectations, even if you aren’t quite sure what you’re envisioning yet.
Who does your business help and how?
You don’t need to spend days researching your target market to tell me who your business serves. General observations about the people you serve will suffice.
If you’re just starting out, consider the customers you’re most likely to attract or hope to attract. What do those people have in common, and what perceived problem or frustration are you helping them solve or avoid entirely?
The problem they’re experiencing doesn’t need to be outlandish. It could be they want locally sourced or hand-made goods that tell a story, but they don’t have the time to become the homesteaders or curators they imagine they could be.
Now that you’ve answered these four questions, you’re ready to begin working with a brand identity designer. I’d be honored if you decide to include Parson Lane in your branding journey.
If you’re looking for a creative designer to help you grow your purpose-filled business or nonprofit, schedule a free 15-minute consultation to find out if Parson Lane is the key to your branding transformation!