Branding (Why Design + Development are not the same thing)

You know what today is?! SUNDAY FUNDAY! And today it is all about branding.

Something I say [probably WAY too often] is that your brand precedes you. Your brand is what people think about when they hear your name, what makes people hire you, buy from you and work with you. Your brand is your identity. But too often I see clients, friends and coworkers stripping "branding" of its elements in favor of simple design—but branding is so much more.

Today I am excited to have Brittany Barnhart of JustCurious.co here to talk to us about branding and the value of developing a brand beyond the design! Brittany is a passionate designer helping entrepreneurs and small businesses find their visual "voice." Find her at @justcuriousco!

Branding is everything. The power of great branding for a business can have a significant impact on not only establishing the success of that business, but also in increasing sales. Branding is all about conveying a message, and carrying that message through all of the different aspects of your business to develop a voice; that voice is your brand.

That is what the business uses to market, reach out to current and potential customers, and reach their goals. Without great branding, a business is lost. There’s nothing for customers to relate to, or become emotionally attached to.

Today I want to talk about three "truths" that stand apart from the "false" belief that branding=design without development.

1. Customers want a brand that they can believe in and grow with.

That is why branding is so important. But beyond that, that is why brand design and development are two equally important, but significantly separate aspects of building a business. 

In most cases, clients seek out designers to give them a logo. What they aren’t aware of is that they are looking for so much more than ‘just a logo.’ That client is seeking to create a brand, a visual support that will help their company develop a voice in the sea of businesses.

2. Branding is what makes you stand apart.

Through intentional and great branding your business can stand leaps and bounds above the competition. Not only is it important for a designer to help and guide a business in determining the visual direction, but it is also important for businesses to seek out developmental guidance to assist in carrying the visual aspects of branding throughout all aspects of their business.

3. A successful business has a clear idea of what their challenge is, who they’re pushing their brand towards, and how it’s going to grow.

Every time I work on a branding project with a client, I require them to meet with me in person (or via skype if they’re out of state) and talk to me about their goals. I have an entire questionnaire that I go through so I can completely understand what the business is. Questions I include are:

  • What’s the challenge?
  • What’s the goal?
  • What will people think or feel when they see your brand? 
  • Who’s the competition?
  • What makes you unique?

When a client doesn’t know where they’re going, they may not be ready to get branding done, or they may need a little guidance. These are all incredibly important things that need to be thought through, not just for the designer, but for the owner as well. Every business has a reason behind it and that is at the core of a brand. It’s why it got started, how it’s going now, and where it’s going in the future.

Ultimately, the most important part of developing your business is to be intentional with branding. Make sure that you are working with professionals that not only can support your visual needs, but also those who can help lead you to success through the development of your brand. 

So, what about you? How are you working to develop your brand, beyond the design? Let me know below!