Hiring a custom brand designer is no small decision. It's not only a big investment, it's a surprisingly vulnerable process. You're essentially trusting a relative stranger to “get you” well enough to translate your personality into an entire living, breathing, public-facing identity.
That can be scary!
So, how do you know if you're ready to take that big step? Here are seven GREEN FLAG signs that building a custom brand is the next step for your business.
You don't see yourself in your online presence
If you’re not looking at your website, your social feed, or any other place you show up online and thinking: THIS IS ME, that’s typically a sign you need a brand overhaul.
When we don’t show up in aligned ways online, it leads to less alignment in our business. We don’t feel as confident in how we present, and that can carry over into other areas (like how we pitch ourselves or how we interact with clients).
You're attracting clients you aren't aligned with your personality or values
Take a look at your current client load. How many of those clients are the kind of people you DREAM about working with? You know, the kind you click with right away and consider inviting to Friendsgiving? The kind that bring you that fantasy project you’ve been waiting your whole professional life for?
I’m talking about those clients.
Now, you may not have a stacked roster every month of the year, and there will inevitably be clients who edge out others on your “favorites” list, but if your brand is regularly attracting clients who are a total personality misfit, hard to work with, unreasonable, or have ABSURD expectations about what you offer…
I hate to be the bearer of this hard truth, but that’s on your branding, bestie.
A thoughtful, well-designed brand will help you attract more of the right kind of client and weed out the wrong kind.
Your mentally ready to raise your prices or go for higher end clientele but don't feel fully confident
Have you thought about pitching your service for more money or going for bigger fish clients but felt a creeping hesitation you just can’t seem to get past?
That’s the result of having a brand you don’t feel you can fully back. If you’re not beaming with pride every time someone asks for your website URL or lands on your Instagram page, it’s probably time to take the step to raise your branding standards to the same level you hold your client care standards.
You're thinking in terms of ROI over cost
Custom branding is an investment. It’s not a set of new business cards or a flashy new tagline, it’s an entire philosophy that backs everything your business does, says, and shows to the world.
That means it needs to be backed by some serious strategy and skill. And the old adage definitely holds true here: you get what you pay for.
If you’re starting to think about custom branding with a “return on investment” mentality, that’s a good sign you’re ready to begin the conversation with a branding specialist.
You're spending too much time working on the business and not enough time working in the business
When you’ve made yourself the creative director, content producer, admin, marketer, and COO of your business, things start getting overwhelming pretty quickly.
Wasting hours, or even days, trying to DIY your brand when creative direction and brand strategy isn’t your genius zone is not only exhausting, it’s downright disheartening.
When you’re a startup business and you have all the time in the world to tinker around building your own website or throwing your own business card design together, great!
But if creative branding initiatives are taking you away from operating in your business on a daily basis and hurting your productivity, it’s time to outsource.
When you think about your brand, you experience cognitive dissonance
Remember the first time you lied to your parents? Even if you were a bit of a rebel, I’m assuming the majority of us can relate to that twinge we felt inside knowing we weren’t be honest.
It's a visceral feeling of misalignment with your truest self.
This same feeling can happen within your business when how you’re presenting doesn’t match the level of investment you have in yourself or your business.
If you’re someone who cares deeply about what you do and who you do it for, you’ll always feel out of whack until your brand represents that.
Whether we want to admit it or not, the brand experience we provide our clients, from first interaction to final details, is not separate from the personal attention we provide.
In other words, you can’t say you’re giving your clients your best if your brand experience isn’t giving its best.
The thought of letting an expert lead the creative process feels like a relief
When hiring a creative brand specialist, you should expect to be the “screener” of the creative process, not the director.
Being ready for a custom brand build means being ready to accept your position as the passenger of the process.
A great brand specialist won’t ask you what you want, they’ll figure out what you need and then translate that into visuals and messages that connect you with your audience.
This process requires trust.
If relinquishing the creative wheel to an expert who’s ready and happy to hop into the driver’s seat sounds like exactly what you need, custom branding is something you should strongly consider.
This doesn’t mean you won’t be able to provide feedback or adjust course, it simply means you’re willing to give up control of directing the process.