How seriously you take your brand (visually & verbally) can quite literally determine the success or survival of your business.
Design is the silent ambassador for your business.
Something the $60k marketing degree should have taught me – Building a brand is psychological. If you want to do it effectively, you’ll want to pay attention to consumer psychology, client experience, and design strategies that affect our subconscious.
Think of your brand as a story unfolding across every touchpoint you have with an ideal client.
From when an ideal client initially finds you (social media) > exploring your website > making a purchasing decision > delivery of the product/service > and finally to the off-boarding/retention phase.
The most significant area of opportunity for most entrepreneurs (even the seasoned ones): Paying close attention to the consistency in the visual design and verbal messaging, as well as the user experience of every touchpoint. If it’s not friendly to use, too busy or feels like they’ve landed on a completely different business when they click off your Instagram to your website, you’re decreasing your credibility & trust with the ideal client.
Here are the scientific areas we pay attention to when designing a brand identity & the areas we support our clients in building consistency.
Many marketings will scream “pain points” from the rooftops, but consumer trends have shifted. Someone will pay more for organic strawberries because they want to FEEL & DO better for their body. Someone will pay thousands of dollars for a Channel bag because they want to IMPROVE their social status & appearance.
These are not pain points. These are desires and motivations. This is what we call empowered marketing – market & brand yourself as the aspirational version of where your ideal client wants to be, and you’ll empower them to invest in themselves with you.
Make this shift in your messaging and report on how it works. It’s usually quite impressive how you no longer attract the budget shopper questioning your expertise and instead attract the dream client ready to sign with minimal objections.
There is a fine line between aspirational and out-of-reach. We keep your brand relatable & attainable to your ideal clients through vulnerability.
A past version of yourself is often exactly where the ideal client is. Carefully sharing vulnerability points in your story creates relatability within your brand.
Here is an example:
I share how my luxury lifestyle is far from what you might think a luxury lifestyle looks like. I live in a small lake town in the middle of North Carolina in a house with the traditional southern front porch. My Toyota 4Runner is often caked with sand in the floorboards & muddy paw prints in my backseat.
Luxury is a state of ease & comfort. While a black & white color palette can communicate luxury (as it’s easy on the eyes while still offering a bold contrast), it’s not the sole determining factor.
It’s the ease experienced when making a purchase & in the delivery of the service that defines a luxury brand.
You can be a “luxury brand” while still being relatable & vulnerable.
Trigger warning below: mentions of suicide, abuse, and neglect.
I’m also not afraid to share how I lost my brother at only 19 years old to a long battle with depression or how we grew up in a household full of drug abuse and neglect while society was telling me my only way out was to go to a $20k per year college – leaving me thousands of dollars in debt because I thought it was the only way to escape the life I was born into.
I’ve taken that experience & turned it into a personal mission: To show other millennials there is a better path. Especially those who are creative at heart. While also helping raise awareness around mental health & the increasing suicide rates.
Because of that mission, I’ve found a segment of my audience I love working with; Therapists, Counselors, and Health professionals who support those who struggle with eating disorders (eating disorders are one of the leading causes of suicide attempts) – I’m ultimately fulfilling my personal mission by helping them succeed in their business.
This is called a values alignment and can help you feel more fulfilled in your work – and create a sense of commitment between you and the client because you are working towards a shared goal.
Our core value is Radical Differentiation because differentiation creates an easy purchasing decision for a consumer. When everyone and everything looks the same, it can be challenging to understand which product/service is right for us.
90% of the time, NO purchase will be made because we enter into “buyer’s fatigue.”
That means that looking and feeling too similar to a close competitor or industry leader is doing your brand more harm than good.
If a purchasing decision IS made, they often go with the brand with more credibility.
So how do we overcome this? Highlighting what makes YOU different, what unique or uncommon experiences you bring to the table, and why you are just as credible (if not even more credible) than other leaders in your industry.
This is what’s called your UVP or Unique Value Proposition.
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Katelyn Alyssa is the Founder and Creative Director behind Studio Kaly – a Brand Strategy & Design Consultancy born on the cliffs of San Diego, CA. With over 10 years of experience working with editorial brands, Katelyn brings an uncommon mix of strategy and creativity to the table when it comes to brand building.
September 8, 2023