I had a few interesting chats with a number of people over the past week about identity, branding and how many times that proverbial cart is put before the horse when a business decides to move forward with their marketing and promotional efforts. Both savvy vets and newbie business heads alike are often found misplacing the order of their little ducks when lining them up in that productive row.
More often than not, myself and my design counterparts have been hired to create or spit-shine an identity, with the challenge of breathing new life into a brand after previously unguided steps have been taken, forcing your design professionals to retrofit the branding that could have been implemented properly from the outset. For instance, your website is essential, but did you ask for your logo, identity, colors and brand message after asking for your site to be built, or worse yet in the process of having it designed? Did you find a fantastic design professional and ask them for a site creation and "oh, by the way, maybe a new logo?" Interesting.
Did you spend thousands on the most fantastic interior design and architecture that, in all honesty, has nothing to do with your brand or message—aside from a few loose ideas of what you might envision fitting your product or service offering? At that point it leaves you trying to reactively outfit your physical extension (i.e. building or shop) with your identity, brand colors, etc. after having your build-out done already. Having a creative professional actually direct and be involved with all aspects of your company's branding from the beginning of your action plan may set your business on the right track with guidelines to crafting a total brand experience from the first "hello" or handshake, to the exit with services rendered or product in hand. Didn't think of it that? I know. You're not alone. That's where the investment shows it's true worth. When you go to get that perfect fit your, tailor takes your measurements first, to outfit you the best way possible. When putting clothes on your business, why not have your tailor present and ready to do work for you?
I'd be naive to think that cost is not part of the issue. Pinching pennies is understandable in the economy we've faced in the last couple of years. But let's talk really real; if you are starting a business now, you aren't exactly pinching that hard are you? Things may still be a little slim, but you are embarking on a rough sea that will see you taking on water, no matter how sound the vessel. Why start if not starting out the right way? We design types aren't out to pick your pockets with over-inflated pricing and high-minded ideals. Well, not most of us anyway. We are business people, just like you. Yet our business is that art of giving yours the proper visibility and appeal to highlight what it is you do best. Having a sit down with a creative pro, well versed in the areas of marketing and brand building may yield better results from the seed of your idea. That's a common misconception perpetuated by some bad apples in our creative midst; We're not here to change your mind or thwart your own ideas for your own business… we're here to enhance it!