What are you doing to make your clients choose you over the competition? What are you doing to ensure your clients don’t see any competition at all?

While you can’t stop focusing on the product you’re delivering, what if you start to consider yourself as the commodity? Remember … Your brand will be defined by the experience your clients have with you. Your clients expect they’ll receive the product/service they’re investing in. Your brand will be successful only if that experience with you goes beyond their expectations. You’re the only component that will set you apart from others who offer the same things that you do.

Understanding that you are the most important aspect of your brand is the first step towards developing a brand identity that will endure the test of time, and elevate you above any potential competition.  As independent business owners, we have an amazing opportunity to connect with each client. We have the ability to personalize each transaction, and create an experience they won’t forget.

All too often, branding is associated with a logo. Design can easily take the route of ‘trendy’ when it’s not approached in a deliberate way.

Here’s an example: When a client comes to us for a brand identity project, we talk about them first and foremost. We want to know answers to questions like:

  • Have you considered how you’re perceived by potential/current/past clients?
  • How did you make it to this point in your business?
  • What’s working/not working with your current business model?
  • What are your passions and how have you incorporated them into your business so far?
  • Does your current brand identity reflect your personality?
  • How do you want your clients to see when they see your work or meet you in person?
It would be easy to say, “What kinds of things do you like?” … The answers might be things like, “Letterpress, succulents, soft colors, chevrons, san-serif fonts” … Anyone could combine those element to create a logo, but how has that helped you? How has it made you take a look at the core of your brand?

It’s not how you create a brand identity, and it’s definitely not how you create a brand. Your brand shouldn’t be defined by nouns … It should be defined by adjectives. Beyond that … These adjectives shouldn’t be words that describe nouns, they should be words that describe feelings. No one ever says they love their grandmother’s homemade apple pie because it’s ’round, vintage, and colorful’. They remember it and love it because of it’s full of love, emotion, and reminds them of the way she used to let them play with the flour while making the dough. Every single bite reminds you of her, and there’s nothing you look forward more each Thanksgiving than that pie. Grandma didn’t switch to canned apple pie filling when it was available. Sure, it would have been easier, but that’s not why she made it.  It’s always better than the last time, and once she’s gone, you know that no one else will be able to make it like she did. 

Are you grandma … or are you the pie? Why not be both? You’re deliberate in the implementation of your product/service just like grandma. You put your heart into all you do. You work harder for those who will appreciate what you’re giving them. Your work is the pie. No one else can make it like you can, and nothing else can compare.

You’re the only you.

  • Have you had a chance to read part 1 of my branding series? If not, be sure to check it out.

We are currently offering one-on-one brand reviews and consultations. If you’re considering rebranding, let’s talk first. Maybe you just need a little help with strategy, or you’re not sure about how to best represent your brand visually. We can talk on the phone, Skype or in-person to give you some perspective. Just send me a hello, and we can talk about the details.

We’re currently booking brand identity clients for 2012. Though, we don’t accept every client that comes our way: we love working with creatives who are passionate about what they do. We love clients who are crazy about design and understand that branding is more than a fancy logo. If that’s you, let’s talk!