Hiring a Brand Designer? Do This First!

by Yaritsa Arenas | Creative Business


Up-leveling your business can be really exciting. If you’ve ever felt a little shame when sharing your site or handing out your business card because what you have visually doesn’t stand up to what you offer and what you deliver, then it’s even more exciting to finally be at a place where you can align your visuals and services.

But here’s a little-known fact about branding and design: A lot of the work is done up-front. Even before you start talking colors and fonts and visuals, you have to get to know your business. Really get to know your business.

In addition to saving money to invest in your designer and collecting sites that you want to reference, there’s going to be some in-depth questions you’ll want to have answers to. This will ensure that your designer is aligned with your vision and business goals so that you get a unique and authentic design you’re proud to share.

Regardless of whether you’re starting your rebrand soon or if it’s further down the line, here are some questions you want to start giving some careful thought to:

What is your “why” and what are your core values?

“Your values create your internal compass that can navigate how you make decisions in your life. If you compromise your core values, you go nowhere.”
– Roy T. Bennett

Writing a mission statement for your site is great to show your clients what you stand for and to see if your values align with theirs. But before you start that, you want to be clear – for yourself – about why do you what you do. Why are you doing this and not something else? Since this is something that you’re answering for yourself, you can be as brutal and as down-and-dirty as you like. This is not client-facing, it’s just something that you have to be clear on so you can make decisions in the future that align with what you’re hoping to create for yourself.

Likewise, you want to have a set of values to measure your decisions against. Do you value luxury? What does that mean to you? Beauty? Authenticity? Abundance? Fearlessness? What do those words mean for you? They may mean something a little different to someone else so it’s important that you not only have a word in mind, but also a clear definition of how that applies in real life.

Who is your ideal client?

“You’re not trying to appeal to everyone, you’re trying to appeal to the right people.”
– Ramit Sethi

People buy from you because they connect with what you say, your story and how they feel they can relate to it. They want to work with someone they feel understands them and their particular needs. Not someone who speaks vaguely so as to not exclude everyone. (Hint: Specializing is not about excluding, it’s about targeting)

Think about it this way, if you want to learn yoga, would you rather go to a yoga studio or a Crunch gym that has one or two yoga classes? If you’re still “window-shopping”, the allure of a gym is that you have a variety of workout options available to you. But if you’re really serious about yoga in particular, you’d go to a yoga studio, right?

So who is that person who is really serious about what you have to offer? Who’s ready to fully dive in instead kicking-tires and figuring it out along the way? Who is excited to work with you and will happily pay what you’re worth?

This goes beyond what they look like and even some of the basic demographics. What do they value? Do their values align with yours? What would make them a good fit for your and vice versa?

Who is your competition and how are you different?

“It is nice to have valid competition; it pushes you to do better.”
– Gianni Versace

We don’t look at our competitors to copy them. We don’t look at them to compare ourselves and feel “less than”. We look at them to ensure we’re offering something to our clients that may be lacking.

There are many coaches out there, but some specialize in business, others in life choices and others in relationships. Even within that, some people are more nurturing and others are a bit more tough-love. How do you stand apart? What makes you different? Again, come back to your values and see what you can pull from them to make sure you’re unique and stand out.

How do you want to be perceived?

“Branding is what people say about you when you are not in the room.”
– Jeff Bezos

It’s easier to make a good impression when you’re in front of someone having a conversation. It’s a little harder when you’re not around and someone else is talking about you. Is what they have to say positive or negative? You can’t control everyone, and each person will have their own opinion of you, but if you provide a great service and treat people with respect, that’s the story they will share with others.

Give some thought to what values you want people to take away from interactions with you. Was it fun? Was it educational? Are you innovative?

Now how do you tailor your client experience to ensure they walk away feeling how you’d like them to?

What are your short-term and long-term goals?

“Your goals are the road maps that guide you and show you what is possible for your life.”
– Les Brown

Knowing where you want your business to be 5 or 10 years out is great because it gives you something to work towards. With that said, it’s also important to set shorter term goals because often our vision of ourselves can be so big and exciting it gets overwhelming.

Understand where you eventually want to be and work backward. This way you know what you need to get done NOW to reach your future goals.

Maybe you eventually want to have your own TV show, but in order to get there, you probably need to start building an audience on YouTube or Facebook live.

Maybe you want to write a best selling book, but you want to polish your skills by blogging or writing essays.

Knowing your end goal will help us start you off in the right direction.

And just as important is flexibility. Staying open allows you to see opportunities that you wouldn’t otherwise see if you have tunnel vision for a particular goal.

Need a little help?

You can join my Creative Resource Library to download my Defining Your Brand & Business Guide with a little more detail on how to answer some of the above questions.

If you’re more of a chat it out type of person, you can also book me for a Brand & Website Review to get you some 1:1 support.

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