Many of the clients we work with come from what we call a "DIY Brand." A DIY brand is that first brand (logo, website, colors, imagery) businesses create in their first year using scrappy means. You may have created your own website on Squarespace, or you might have found some "up and coming" graphic designer to make you a logo on trade. Perhaps you're using stock photography.
Around here at Prim'd, we actually believe that in the beginning building a DIY brand is the best way to go. In fact, we often encourage people to do this when they're just getting started.
The reason for this is simple: In the beginning, we want to see our clients focused on "doing the thing," versus spending loads of money on bright and shiny objects. In those first few months or year your most important job is to gain experience, gain clients, figure out if you actually like the thing, or if the thing works.
Expensive websites, shiny branding, sexy moodboards, and most importantly smart strategies can wait. Your job is to get to work.
"The Cringe" — AKA your inflection point
There does come an inflection point however, where you will outgrow your DIY brand. Most business owners start feeling brand-shame, or getting what we call "the cringe." They look at the stuff they cobbled together months prior, and their skin crawls. They want to burn everything down and start again.
This is an amazing thing! In fact, we recommend you celebrate it!
While most of our clients are more focused on what they hate about their brand or how it no longer reflects them, getting to this point is really just a testament to your growth and hard work.
Feeling cringy means you've surpassed those hard first few years and you have a real business on your hands. It means that you know more about your clients now than you did when you built your business. It means that you likely have a sweet spot developing, and you're thinking more about the best parts of the work, or what you really want to be known for.
The good news is, rectifying that cringe and growing your brand into the next phase of who you are is really fun.
Getting strategic about your brand growth
So many clients at this stage will reach out to one of three people: a web designer, a graphic designer, or a photographer.
But during this inflection point, a web designer, graphic designer or photographer is not the best person to help you. You need to be looking at the "foundations" of your brand not just that "outer layer."
Let me tell you why: this critical inflection point is where many brands choose what they want to shed, and which pieces they want to expand into. You might need to reposition yourself in your marketplace to get noticed by the clients you really enjoy working with. You might have to decide you're not working with a certain kind of customer anymore. You might decide that you need to re-package your offerings.
None of the things I just described are web development.
Nor are they photography.
Nor are they design.
All of those pieces are strategic decisions that require some deep, intentional thought. Those decisions requires mindfulness and careful consideration. It requires, well, a strategist.
And while there are web designers that are also awesome strategist, we find that not all of them are. Same thing with photographers — while there might be a handful out there that are decent at helping you decide who your brand is, most of them are better at helping you decide how to translate that brand into beautiful imagery that will work for you.
Most website designers and photographers actually LOVE working with clients who have been through our brand strategy, The Brand Plan. These clients come to them actually ready to get to work. They have the answers to their questions, do less heming and hawing, less making it up as they go along, and ultimately rely less on the designer or the photographer to tell them who their brand is. Instead that designer or photographer gets to focus on what they're actually best at: translating the key tenants of a brand into great visuals. And the client, often finds they save time and money, because they've done the deep work first.
Isn't that how it should be?
If you're experiencing some brand shame, we totally get it. And we want to hear from you so we can share more about how you can transform your brand into the newer, bigger, bolder, more expanded version. It all of that starts with having that strong foundation through a great brand strategy.
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