When starting a business, we often want to DIY various tasks. We get it — expenses can sometimes get overwhelming as an entrepreneur. While we at Poised Avenue believe investing in brand identity is something that will always bring you a return on your investment, if you aren’t ready to invest just yet and would rather DIY your brand identity, here are 3 of the most common mistakes you may make — and how to avoid them!
The first mistake DIY brands make is that they don’t feel authentic to their brand personality. When there is a disconnect between branding and business, it is hard for your audience to trust you — they may become confused by who you are, what you offer, or, even worse, you may attract the wrong audience altogether. Your branding should reflect your company at its core. This can be an easy mistake to make when turning to Pinterest for inspiration or by purchasing a generic brand template. Pinterest favors what is trendy, and trending designs may not align with your business or the audience it should be attracting. Similarly, brand templates are made to appeal to the masses, causing them to lack unique qualities. You want a brand that stands out but is still authentic to you. If you’re going the DIY route, here is a key takeaway to consider: think about your brand values and then try to imagine them in visuals. Is your business playful? Then you may opt for a more bright and wide-range color palette. Is your business professional and polished? Then the bright and colorful color palette won’t reflect that. It needs to mirror your brand personality, so opt for something more streamlined. An easy way to turn your core brand values into visuals as a non-designer is to imagine what type of person would share those values. A business with core values of wisdom, confidence, and professionalism may be personified as a professor while a business with core values of optimism, playfulness, and wit may be personified as a child. What do these people look like? How do they dress? Use this exercise to imagine the types of colors, fonts, and more that would best reflect your brand.
Not Strategically Motivated
Related to core values, the third most common DIY branding mistake is that the identity is not rooted in strategy. The value of a strategic brand is immeasurable because you want your brand to work for you. It’s not all about the form but also the functionality. When DIYing your brand, you need to devote time to the strategy before working on the visuals.
Want to give DIYing your brand strategy a go? You can keep it simple! Ask yourself these basic questions to get started… Who are you? What does your business offer? What differentiates you from others? Then, use the answers to those questions to consider 5 core brand values that you want to showcase through your brand visuals. Next, think of your target audience. What do they value? Who are they? Describe them in detail! Your brand identity’s function should be to authentically portray you in a way that communicates effectively to your target audience. In other words, where you and your audience overlap is where your brand’s identity must be.
When DIYing your brand, keep in mind how your branding should work for your business. You want it to be effective! Take the time to strategize, design visuals authentic to your brand’s core values and its ideal audience, and stick to your brand guidelines.
The biggest mistake business owners face when they DIY their brand identity is inconsistency. Consistency is key when building a brand. Consistency is important because it builds trust with your audience. The more they see something, the more they understand it and it begins to feel familiar to them. Familiarity = trust. Similarly, consistency builds brand recognition. Those who invest in professional branding can even make this mistake by not following the brand guidelines. Brand recognition is important because it creates a competitive edge within your industry. When a potential client recognizes and is familiar with your brand, they’re more likely to choose it over another brand… even if they know equally little about either.
When DIYing your brand, make your guidelines simple! Use a very condensed version of professional brand guidelines by breaking your brand identity into 3 basic visual components: your logos, color palette, and fonts. Keep those components the same on all your brand collateral. Get specific here. Your colors should go further than being “yellow and blue”. It should even go further than being “mustard and navy”. You need color codes for both web and print to ensure you’re using the same color every time across all media. Feeling lost in color matching for multi-media? Start with choosing hex codes if you’re mostly web-based or CMYK if you’re mostly print-based.
Have you made any of these mistakes above? Are you currently making them?