There’s a reason why everyone & their mothers are talking about branding & how important it is right now. Everyone wants to know what the right time is to invest in their brand. That’s because a brand is a real life entity & manifestation of your wildest dreams, your purpose, & your vision.
Everyone is in a hurry to create an unforgettable brand for themselves. But if I’m being honest, there’s a lot of hype around branding without it being completely understood. It’s not just a logo, & it’s not just a website. And I would caution anyone against DIYing their own brand without fully understanding the basics of branding & the gravity of the process.
(If you’d like to learn more about the basics of branding & what our branding process entails, see our previous blog posts!)
Your brand is your reputation. It’s what people say about you when you’re not in the room, and if you’re not careful when building it, you risk causing irreparable damage to it. My advice is to always consult professionals when developing your brand, so you can stay in your zone of magic while we work ours!
If you’re on the fence about investing in professional branding, whether it’s the right time, & what you need to have in place in your business first, have no fear—I’m going to break down for you the biggest signs you should invest in branding, and the signs that it’s better to wait.
Signs you should wait to invest in branding
As much as I want everyone to invest in their brand ASAP (I’m a little biased), I do also realize that it’s not always the right time to spend thousands of dollars on professional branding. At Zehra, we strive to ensure that our audience & clients are making the decisions that are best for them, and that requires us to be transparent about our process & prerequisites for onboarding clients.
Here are some reason you might want to wait on investing in a professional brand:
1. You don’t have the budget.
I don’t mean this rudely, but I’m serious. Magic cannot be created when potential is limited. The branding process should be exciting & unbounded as you watch your vision come to life. But if you’re worried about money the entire time, & whether or not it’s a good investment, the process will be over before it can even begin.
Creative vision & possibility will be stunted by lack of available funds, resulting in a final lackluster brand, or worse, an unfinished brand stuck in developmental limbo because there is no capital to fund the project.
The reality is, custom work that makes you stand out from the crowd costs money. And there is no point in building a brand from free fonts & templates—this will make you blend in with everyone else, defeating the entire purpose of branding.
It’s also important to note that when you invest in professional branding, not only will you be paying experts to develop & design your brand & its assets, you’ll also be paying for premium fonts, website hosting, automation platforms, among other things.
If your business is not bringing in consistent revenue, or is built on shaky ground, you might need to go back to the drawing board and get proof of concept before you move forward with investing in branding.
2. You have it all planned out, and just need someone to execute it.
When you hire professionals to develop your brand, you’re not just paying for their skill, you’re paying for their expertise. This expertise involves insights into target market research & competitor analysis, among other things, that will help them develop & design your brand to be a magnet to your soulmate clients.
Creative liberty is needed to come to a resolution that ensures your brand will not only be beautiful in form, but effective in function. Oftentimes, when a client already has a visual plan, it is not backed by research & science, but rather their creative preferences.
But what many people fail to realize is that we don’t design for our clients—we design for our clients’ clients.
If you have a visual identity in mind already & are unwilling to compromise on it, we won’t tell you you’re wrong—but you’re better off hiring a concept artist, not brand developers.
3. You don’t know what you want.
One of the biggest problems we come up against as designers is an inconsistent vision.Here’s the thing—branding is unnecessarily hard if you’re still figuring out the mark you want to have on the world. It requires a crystal clear vision for your business & trust in your brand developer to bring it to life. But if you don’t know what you want, how will you know what it looks like when you get it? If you don’t know where you’re going, how will you know when you get there?
Both Fatima & I have had clients in the past who were unclear on their vision, causing us to go through an endless cycle of revision because they didn’t have a clear enough understanding of who they were, what they did, & why they were doing it.
In the end, the resolution is almost always lackluster, and causes a lot of disappointment on both ends. Not because our work was subpar, but because a lack of clarity limited the potential of the project from the start.
Building a brand requires a lot of tough decisions to be made, and it’s okay if you haven’t made those decisions yet. But analysis paralysis has no place in our branding process, so we ask that those important decisions are made before we begin to work together!
4. You’re not willing to listen & collaborate with professional developers, & want to micromanage the entire process.
There’s something to be said for teamwork & collaboration, especially here at Zehra Studio.We take pride in the collaborative & communicative nature of our process, as it allows us to truly involve our clients in the creation & cultivation of their magical brands & experiences. It’s important for us to be on the same page at every step of the process, so we welcome our clients to bring any & all ideas to the table for discussion & implementation.
We know your vision is important to you, which is why our process is so collaborative. But with that being said, we know that it can be extremely tempting to want to control the outcome of the process. But we also know that a runner cannot complete a relay alone—at a certain point, the baton must be passed to a teammate to finish out the race.
There is a certain amount of trust required to work with a professional branding studio. Rest assured that we are experts here at Zehra Studio, & will be bringing our collective 15 years of expertise & experience to the table when we create your brand!You provide the vision, & we will take that vision & transmute it into the brand of your dreams.
Like I said earlier, creative liberty is essential to the creation of a cohesive, successful brand. But if you want to control the process & outcome, & if collaboration is not in your nature, it may not be the right time to work with professional brand developers!
SIGNS IT’S TIME TO INVEST IN BRANDING:
- With all that being said, there are some telltale signs & milestones that signal that you are ready to invest in professional development of your brand. If you identify with the above points & think you’re not yet ready to invest in one of our branding experiences, no worries—you can join our Facebook group! But if you think you may be ready to go all-in on a branding experience for your business, read on for 4 telltale signs you should take the leap!
1. You have proof of concept & are ready to scale your business.
Branding works best when a business is viable—it would be a pretty large undertaking for a business that doesn’t know its place in the market, or hasn’t made any sales yet. Think of your brand & business like a house—you wouldn’t start furnishing & decorating it without a sturdy foundation, right? When you’ve already built a strong foundation for your business, it provides a strong foundation to develop a brand on top of.
Generally speaking, we expect our clients to already have had clients or customers of their own. That way, there’s no doubt that there is a demand for their products & services, & a gap in the market for us to capitalize on during our branding process.
2. You’re ready to work smarter, not harder.
It can get tiring wearing so many hats constantly as a CEO. And without a solid brand in place, you put a lot more active time into keeping your business afloat.
A brand can be thought of as a savings account—without one, your money never increases in value. But once you invest in setting one up, every single deposit you make has the ability to accrue interest. With a firmly established brand in place, your job (and your team’s job) becomes a lot easier, because everything you do in accordance with your guidelines helps to bolster your reputation & increase your brand’s value.
It creates a container for you to pour all of your accomplishments into, & allows you to keep reaping the rewards from for years to come.Solid brand guidelines also take out a lot of guesswork, making it easier to implement SOPs & workflows to maximize time-efficiency & productivity without burnout. Essentially, a brand not only increases your financial wealth, but your temporal wealth as well.
When done right, a professionally-developed brand will do the selling for you—so you can spend less time generating leads & closing sales, & more time delivering on your promises & enjoying the fruits of your labor.
3. You want to build a community.
One of the best ways to scale your business is by word of mouth—and when you hire professionals to develop your brand, you’ll be able to unite people under one mission, cultivating a loyal audience & a community of brand ambassadors.
As humans, community is our default. Our deepest desire is to connect with others. Individuals have a desire to be part of something bigger than themselves. So by creating & cultivating a community that’s associated with your brand, you are able to provide a greater sense of purpose to those around you. And at Zehra, cultivating relationships, building communities, & creating human-centered experiences are our specialties!
4. You want to hire & expand your team.
Having a solid brand in place is essential when expanding your business beyond being a solopreneur. Your team will be the ones helping to drive your business forward, so it’s important to ensure that they are aware of & abide by standards & guidelines set forth by your brand.
Without a solid brand in place, you run the risk of confusing your team. If they don’t know what they’re working towards, how they should be interacting with the outside world, or what they should be prioritizing, efficiency drops & you spend a lot more time putting out fires than expanding your business.
In contrast, when everyone is aligned under the same vision & mission, team morale & satisfaction increases. When a team is emotionally attached to its work, its physical productivity also increases. And when productivity increases, goals & milestones get closer, quicker!
So, is there a right time to invest in branding? I believe there is. It’s tempting to answer, “always!” or “as soon as possible!” but you want to make sure you have a few bases covered before you spend thousands of dollars on a business that isn’t viable, or before you are completely aware of what you want & what your vision is.
So, where do you fall? If you’re ready to invest in developing & elevating your brand to new heights, check out our branding packages here. And if you’re interested in an exclusive, all-inclusive branding experience, make sure to apply here to get on our waitlist for our Atelier experience!
If you think you’re not quite ready to invest, no worries—you can join our Facebook group here to join in on the magique & be the first to know about new workshops, challenges, freebies, & more to help you grow & scale your brand online.