Branding your business — or yourself — can feel like a really big project. I often hear small business owners discuss the overwhelm they feel when they think about the branding project they’re in the middle of. It’s understandable considering that most of us are not professional brand strategists and managing all the moving pieces can feel like a drag.
Quite often the business owners who experience branding overwhelm describe the feelings during the branding as “being stuck,” “getting more and more confused,” or even as being “totally lost.” They might feel like while they have a sense of clarity about their programs or products, when it comes to their branding suddenly things feel discouraging.
Just like with anything else in life… the right attitude can make the process feel easier, smoother, and “figureoutable” as Marie Forleo would say. So, let’s take a look at how you can shift your mindset slightly to change your attitude about branding and eliminate the branding overwhelm.
Five mindset shifts to eliminate branding overwhelm
1. Your brand is not the final destination — it’s a journey with multiple milestones.
As the very first mindset shift, I’d like you to stop thinking about your brand as something you build once and then it’s done. You need to understand that brand building and management is a journey that will last through the entire life cycle of your business.
Your business will go through different stages during it’s lifecycle: infancy, adolescence, maturity, and retirement. Your brand might go through different stages during that lifecycle as well.
Once you stop thinking about branding as a one time project, and start seeing it as an ongoing process with multiple smaller milestones, it becomes a natural function of your business.
Just as your business evolves, so will your brand. And as long as you build a solid foundation and manage your brand well, you can allow this to happen strategically.
2. Branding (when done right) can actually save you time and money.
One of the biggest branding fears I hear from solopreneurs is that branding will be a constant “time and money suck.” If you have no idea what you’re doing, you keep spinning your wheels, and making disappointing hires, I can totally see why people would feel that way.
I hear you. And I want you to shift from this limiting belief into seeing the potential of saving both time and money good branding can bring you.
How does branding save you time and money? When your brand strategy and messaging are crystal clear and when your visual identity guidelines are well-established and well-documented, the designers and VAs you hire have much easier time creating marketing assets and other brand aligned content for you.
That means less revisions, less hourly work you need to pay for, less time you need to spend directing and guiding them, and less energy wasted in frustration, and absolutely no time wasted on constantly tweaking and changing your branding.
3. You already have everything you need for creating a powerful brand strategy.
The third mindset shift is around your ability to create a powerful brand strategy. “Brand Strategist” sounds fancy, doesn’t it? That’s my title (along with “designer.”) If I ran an agency where the money came 100% from consulting work and me drafting brand strategies for businesses, then it would serve me to make what I do sound as complicated and intimidating as possible, right?
That’s how this work traditionally is done. But what if I told you that you already have everything you need for creating a powerful brand strategy? The agency people probably don’t want you to know that because they want your money. But it’s true.
I used to work in branding agencies in San Francisco and in Finland. And I witnessed it many times over when the strategists in these agencies “extracted” all the critical knowledge needed for a powerful brand strategy from the business owners or their representatives.
You have all the information you need. You just need to learn how to extract it from your heart and brain — and what to do with it. But you have it, and you need to understand that you hold the power.
4. Trust the process: action brings clarity.
If there was one thing I could help all entrepreneurs understand about branding it’s this: “action brings clarity.” I already mentioned the feeling of being stuck earlier in this post. That feeling is holding many small business owners back from figuring out the best branding for their business.
With the misguided idea that you need 100% clarity before you can make branding decisions, many small business owners remain stagnant in the process and end up not only feeling overwhelmed but also creating a mediocre brand.
I’d like you to adopt this mindset: action brings clarity. It doesn’t mean that you mindlessly run to any direction that pops in your head without thinking. It doesn’t mean that you hastily launch the first visual draft of your brand identity.
Instead it means that when done right, the branding process can be broken down into clear bite sized steps where each step builds on top of the previous one. And when you follow the process, you don’t all the time need to have clarity of all the steps ahead of you. You can trust that going through this step will bring you the clarity you need for the next step.
5. Think Lego blocks, not Sistine Chapel
This idea builds on the previous one about moving forward step-by-step, and adds systems thinking to it. Many people think of visual identity as this masterpiece of creativity that brings your business to life. And they’re not necessarily wrong.
But when you look at the “masterpiece” more closely, it’s not the Sistine Chapel, which took years to paint. Instead it’s a masterfully crafted Lego construction where each piece works individually as a solid building block — and together form a clear whole.
This is how you should think of your visual identity as well. It’s a system consisting of multiple individual building blocks. They all need to work together seamlessly, but you can separate them in smaller units and just use those, if need be. And you don’t immediately need all of the building blocks, either.
This type of thinking allows you to prfioritize your needs and first create only those “building blocks” you need — and amend and enhance your collection of blocks as you go.
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