Myth: I only need a designer to make my business look pretty.
The following statement may come as a surprise, but let us explain: the core of your brand has nothing to do with aesthetics.
Hope you were sitting down for that one 😉
To illustrate this point, let’s look at all the components that make up your brand:
Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon, has a famous quote that goes something like this: “Your brand is what people say about you when you leave the room.”
Think about one of your favorite businesses. Let’s use Whole Foods as an example.
How would you describe Whole Foods? I’d probably use words like, “upscale”, “clean”, “organic”, “expensive”, “quality”.
Notice, none of those words really relate to aesthetics. I didn’t say “green logo” or “brown floors”. Though I would argue that Whole Foods’ green logo and brown floors contribute to the overall mission of being clean, upscale, and organic-minded by creating a visual vibe that matches.
The core of your brand is rooted in your mission. Why do you exist? What kind of experience do you create? What does your brand stand for or promise to its customers? Who does it exist for?
The job of a designer is to take the answers to everything listed above and translate it into something visual.
Let’s go back to the Whole Foods example. Here is Whole Foods’ official mission statement:
Whoever designed Whole Foods’ visual brand looked at that mission statement and asked themselves, “Now how do I communicate that mission visually?” They were likely provided with information like who is Whole Foods’ target customer, and what is the strategy behind their messaging and voice too.
With all that in mind, they chose a clean green and white color palette. They drew an illustration of a freshly picked carrot. They recommended that every Whole Foods store used similar earthy, yet modern, colors and finishes. They designed with purpose in mind.
Now, let’s imagine the designer was not given that mission statement before designing a brand for Whole Foods. Let’s say our designer received a brief that went something like this:
Who knows what our designer would have come up with!
Pinpointing your mission and your overall brand strategy *before* designing the visual elements of your brand is crucial. Otherwise, your designer may be able to come up with something that looks nice, but it won’t have any meaning behind it. The best brands capture their mission in every way possible: through their messaging / the words they use to talk about themselves, through their visuals, and through the experience that they create for their customers.
Do you know your business’ mission? The easiest way to boil it down is by answering the question: “Why does your business exist?” And the answer may not come easily. Your mission is the most personal aspect of your business. It’s why you get out of bed in the morning. It’s why you want to serve people. It’s your “why”.
Once you know your “why”, it becomes much easier to decide on the rest of your brand strategy. Your target customer, your brand personality, identity, aesthetics, and everything else that makes up your “branding” should be centered around why you exist.
So, why does your business exist? Drop us a comment and let us know.
P.S. are you a business owner struggling to find clarity in your brand strategy? You might need a Brand Check-Up! Brand Check-Ups are mini strategy sessions where we take a comprehensive audit of your brand, assess your goals, and create an action-plan for moving towards them. To learn more or to request a quote, head over here.
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