Business Branding: Never do this or risk damaging your brand

And what you should ask instead for your business branding

As a Brand Specialist and Designer, it is a hazard of the job to be in tune to when people talk about their business branding. Whether it is uttering the immortal words of “I need a logo” (Easy fellow designers!) or asking why your business is not making sales, my ears prick up.

For the last few months I have been picking up another business branding question.

The scenario

I am part of a few business groups – it is great way to network, ask advice and also share my own expertise. However, increasingly I have noticed business owners asking this question:

“Which logo do you think I should choose?”

or another variant:

“What book cover do you think works?”

This may seem like a perfectly reasonable question to ask your fellow business owners. But if you want your brand to work do NOT do this!

Business branding woman with laptop contemplating different options

What are you ACTUALLY asking

In these groups you are going to get people who fall into different target audiences and they are not necessarily going to be in the target audience for your business. By asking people outside of your target audience you run the risk of diluting your business branding.

There is also another effect to asking opinions in these groups. When you have a myriad of choices you will have a favourite. But, when you ask in big groups for feedback what usually happens is:

a) there is no clear winner, leaving you in even more confusion of which one works best and/or;

b) your secret favourite one gets the least votes.

Don’t ask your audience to define your business brand…

If you don’t give the market the story to talk about, they’ll define your brands story for you.”

David Brier

As a business owner the buck stops with you – and that includes your brand. It is YOUR job as a business owner to define what your brand is going to be, not by a committee of people who may or may not be in your target audience.

Your brand is your promise to your audience, something that they can trust and care for. By asking a random group of people your brand can become something that may not align with you, and if you cannot live up to their expectations you risk damaging your business.

Who can you ask then?

Your target audience.

If you have a group or even a mailing list ask them. They are much more likely to give you a definitive answer.

Or ask someone who specialises in Branding (aka ME!)

We have knowledge and expertise that can help you make an informed decision based on who your target audience is.

What if I have neither of those?

Okay, if in the event that you have neither a target audience or a branding specialist (did I mention that I offer free brand consultations? Anyway, I digress…) You need to word your questions differently.

If you want help choosing your logo give two options only and give some background about your business. This way it will be a more informed decision and without too big a spread of opinions if you had asked about 10 different variations of your logo.

If you need to ask about your brand you need to be specific. Ask:

“Did you know I did <insert product or service here>?” But being more specific you are going to get a better response than “what do you think of me?” (which is normally followed up with your kind, caring, and thoughtful. Great but that is not going to really help define your brand.)

And when people respond ask them questions – “How do you know I do <insert product or service>?”, “Why do you think this logo works?”.

And the ONE person you really should listen to…

Is you!

Yes you! Gut instinct is amazing when you use it. You’re a business owner, you make the decisions. End of.

Katie x

PS: If you haven’t done so already sign up to my awesome free Facebook group What the (Actual) Font?! and get amazing tips and tricks for your brand identity.

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