This is NOT an easy question to answer. I feel there have been a LOT of new brands or BIG rebrands coming out this year. Let me just say that I am SO unbelievably happy for everyone who has taken the leap recently (like us!) but have also noticed the pressure it has created on young creative entrepreneurs. This might not be a popular thing to say, but if you are just opening the doors to your business and are feeling the pressure to create your identity, branding might NOT be the first thing to invest in. Let me explain...
This time last year our business was in the awkward-middle-school-phase of it's development. No, really. If I'm being completely honest, we were 100% struggling just to figure out the day-to-day, let alone answering the BIG questions needed for branding! It took a lot of work to decide our direction, our voice, and to just grow up in our industry! I seriously can't image what our brand would look like today if we hadn't stopped and answered certain questions before investing in branding. It was hard at times to be in brand-limbo, but the wait was beyond worth it!
Want our advice?! Here it is...
Can you answer YES to the following questions:
- Do you have the money to invest in branding? DIY is all the rage BUT not when it comes to branding. Creating an identity for your business requires a professional, and I promise that taking the time to save up for a professional will be worth EVERY penny!
- Do you know where your business will be in 5 years? This is something no one ever thinks about, but you aren't just branding for where your business is today. You are branding for where you want your business to be 5 or even 10 years from now! Long range thinking is a VITAL pre-step to the whole branding process.
- Is your business unique? When starting out, we tried so hard to mimic how successful wedding photographers did business. It took a while a bit of courage to be comfortable enough to travel unpaved roads, but it was an important part in discovering our identity!
- Have you defined your audience? Targeting your ideal customer is something you want your brand to be able to do, but it's hard to make that happen if you don't have it defined. Knowing your ideal customer and learning about their demographic is hugely helpful before getting started!
- Can you define "branding"? Be careful, it seems like a much easier question than it actually is! If you need help with this answer, we love this post by Elle and Company!
Did you answer YES to all?! Then I would say GO FOR IT! If you move forward, I can't wait to see all the pretty things you and your designer come up with and how it strengthens your unique identity!!
What if I answered no?
- Wait. It's going to be frustrating being in limbo for a while, but it's ok. The best thing you can do if you are on the fence about branding is WAIT. I know this isn't a popular stance, but I strongly believe that you need to be confident in your business and it's direction before investing in branding.
- Dream BIG. If you have extra time before branding your business, make it an opportunity and plan out where you want your business to be one day! Write down all your goals and make moves!
- Love the start. I talk about the first days of business like they are this crazy jungle of troubles, but really it is unbelievably wonderful! There were lots of hard lessons but there were lots of great ones too! Don't forget to love all the firsts! And one day, there will be a first brand too!
I so hope this has helped you with such a tough question!!