If you’ve known me for a while, you might have seen my previous posts ‘A Career Of Joy And Fulfilment’ and ‘Is my business fulfilling me?’. Fulfilment, to me, is about everything as a whole working together – from my happiness to my finances, and from my mental health to my relationships. Having a fulfilling business (and life) is about all of those things aligning. However, today, I want to focus on one aspect… creating a brand that feels good.
What is a brand that feels good?
Short answer: I can’t answer that for you, what feels good to me won’t necessarily feel good to you.
Long answer: a brand that feels good is a brand that inspires you, that gives you confidence to do what you do best, attracts the right clients, creates the impression you’ve always dreamed of, does your skills or offering justice, fills you with joy, makes you look to the future with hope and excitement, puts you in the right mindset and position to achieve your biggest goals… it can be the difference between making a ‘success’ of your business or not.
So, it’s quite a big deal, hey?!
Note, I’m talking about creating a brand that feels good here, not just branding that feels good (although we’ll come to that).
What’s the difference between a brand and branding?
Your brand is the ideas, interactions, and lasting impressions, anyone has around your business. It’s what someone thinks about, feels about, and experiences with, your business. Your brand isn’t a tangible thing… it’s all about emotions and perceptions. It’s the connection between your brand values, message, and personality, and your audience.
Your branding (as in your logo, colours, fonts, etc.), on the other hand, is the visual identity of your brand. It helps create a tangible, recognisable, memorable, and (hopefully) attractive presence in the world.
You and your brand
Creating a brand that aligns with your own values and personality can go a long way in creating a brand that feels good.
Now, it is possible to create a brand without any crossover with your own personality. In fact, for some larger companies, it might be impossible to create a brand based on just one person’s values. It’s also important to recognise where you draw the line between you and your brand, and what elements of your personality don’t fit your brand message… but, if you live and breathe your brand (as most small business owners do), it sure does feel good to make it align with you.
It makes everything more natural and instinctive, and it helps you make decisions quicker (from the simple to the meaningful), because if you like or agree with something then chances are it’s right for your brand.
To create a brand that aligns with you, you first need to understand yourself. What do you really want in life? What brings you joy? How do you want to live your life? What are your goals? What is your personality?
I’m someone who really enjoys self-development and making time to question and reflect on who I am as a person. Over the years, it’s made me very self-aware (as in having a great understanding of myself, not as in being uncomfortably self-conscious). I’m still learning and exploring my own personality and dreams for life. Things I thought were true a few years ago, are different now. Things I’d never even imagined before, are now goals I really want to achieve. Life doesn’t stand still, so neither do we.
Whenever I’m reviewing if my brand feels good, I start with looking inwards at myself. Do I feel good? Am I on the right path for me?
A Brand Review
Regularly checking-in and doing a little (or big) brand review, is the only way to truly understand if your brand still feels good. Sure, if you’re feeling content during work most days then the chances are everything is still working well… but if you ever have even a fleeting moment of thinking something needs tweaking or could be improved, a brand review can help.
It’s more than possible to do a brand review yourself. Look at where your brand is now, and how it feels, as well as where you want it to go. Then ask yourself lots of questions to explore if/where things need to align better with your goals and vision.
Towards the end of last year (2020), I offered a brand review to a few people as a thank you for testing out my new brand questionnaire (I ask branding clients to fill it in ahead of working together). What I didn’t expect was both how fun it was, even without then going on to the creative stage of designing their branding identity myself, and how helpful they found it. I mean, in hindsight, I should have realised it would be… I love exploring brand personalities, and it can be hard to get clarity within your own brand because you’re so close to it – so having an external set of eyes across your brand can make things so much clearer.
Now I know how valuable they can be to people; this year, I’ve added Brand Review sessions to my services.
Branding that feels good
A good brand review focuses on how your brand feels. It looks at your brand values, message, and personality, your current offerings, and your ideas for the future. It checks how everything fits and flows together, and that everything is aligned and feels good.
As a designer, I then take things a step further. From your visual branding to your branding materials (like brochures or packaging) I can check that the elements within your brand that need to look good also feel good.
You can have the most gorgeous branding or product label, but if it doesn’t actually align with your brand values, message, and personality, it won’t feel good.
I like to use the analogy of clothes. Have you ever walked into a store, seen an incredible outfit on a mannequin, and decided to try the look on yourself, only to find it didn’t suit you at all? It’s not that the clothes are bad (although, well, sometimes their quality can come into question!), it’s that the outfit wasn’t designed for your body shape, colouring, or personality. It might not look good – clinging to the wrong places, but it also might not feel good – because it doesn’t feel like ‘you’.
Branding and branding materials are exactly the same. They need to look good AND feel good for YOUR brand.
Creating a brand that feels good can be a bit daunting and confusing when you know things aren’t aligning but you can’t put your finger on why, or you don’t know how to tweak things. However, once you make it happen… it can be the inspiration and confidence you need to move forward. You deserve a brand that fills you with joy and gives you the best chance of fulfilling your dreams and goals. You deserve a brand that feels good. Make sure you understand yourself well and what you really want, then do a brand review, and check everything aligns. Live the life you love.