We all want the best brand we can get, right? I assume so, since you're reading this blog. I've talked about in previous posts how a good visual brand isn't just "pretty" - it's functional and communicates well. Because a brand is functional rather than decorative, it interacts with all the other areas of your business, which can make what seems like simple graphics actually a subtly complex facet of your business.
With that in mind, today I'm going to be talking about how planning for your business, and including your visual brand in those plans, can help simplify your workload and improve the quality of your brand. And if that interests you, just wait - I have a gift at the end that will help you take this marriage of planning and branding to the next level.
It Makes You Think About Where You Really Want to Be
An effective visual brand is based on the foundations of your business. At the most basic level, that's what your brand is communicating with your audience: what you do, why you do it, and who you do it for.
Planning for the long-term growth of your business helps you re-evaluate and re-focus on your foundations. When you're just focused on the day-to-day operations of your business, it's easy to get off-course; maybe you start taking work you didn't originally offer, or start working weekends just to get everything done. That's definitely happened to me a few times in the past three years.
Let's talk about the big ideas you should reevaluate when you set long-term goals.
Why do you do what you do? Why do you love doing it, and how does it help others? This then trickles down into the services you offer, and your brand values.
The "ideal client"
I know the concept of an "ideal client" has been talked about a lot, but I don't believe it has to be as detailed as people make it out to be. It can simply be knowing what clients you do and don't like working with. My ideal client isn't just one kind of person - I like working with small businesses, churches, and women. That's a pretty broad overview, but I also have a list of kinds of businesses I don't like working with - big corporations, businesses based on making women feel bad about themselves (body-shapers, plastic surgery, etc) or masculine brands, Something as simple as a "yes" and "no" chart can work if it allows you to easily recognize opportunities when they come. Figuring this out helps you design a brand and content that attracts the right kind of people.
Price points have everything to do with branding; it's the biggest difference between name-brand products and off-brand. If you don't have a clear idea of how much money you want to make, and therefore how much to charge, you'll have a hard time making sure your brand is reflecting the cost of your products/services.
Again, an effective visual brand is based on the foundations of your business. Knowing these things helps your brand have clarity in what you're communicating, and planning forces you to get clear on them.
Measurable Goals Allow You to Anticipate Design Needs
Choose marketing platforms you can commit to
It's very easy to over commit to marketing when you're constantly being told that every platform is essential for business growth. If you actually plan out how much time you need for each post on each platform (including graphic creation), you're less likely to stretch yourself thin. Planning and budgeting time also makes it more likely that you'll be able to stay consistent with the marketing you do commit to.
When creating content, budget time for design
I feel like a broken record, but design has purpose. By planning ahead of time, you can budget adequate time to create beautiful and purposeful designs for all of your marketing efforts. If you create a content marketing plan and schedule, then you can budget time not only for creating the content, but for creating the supporting graphics.
This is just a peek at how planning your business, and including your brand in that plan, can really help take your branding to the next level. Planning and branding are also two great tools for growing your business; especially when they're used in conjunction. That's why I've created the Growth & Branding Business Planner. If you're ready to make some concrete goals for the coming year for your business, I highly suggest using this planner to gain clarity and make sustainable plans.