004: Does Your Illustration Have A Brand?
You may be asking yourself, “Why do I need a brand for? That’s just a logo and some colours, maybe even a certain font that you use on your website, right?” A brand is so much more than the visuals.
Why is brand important?
A brand is important because what you do with it reflects on you. Like it or not, you already have a brand. People already have an opinion of you. Your friends, your family, your colleagues, even your clients think about you in a certain light, or darkness.
To create a definition: A brand is the culmination of your goals and values, defined by its actions, interpreted by its audience.
As an illustrator or a business person it’s not imperative that you know everything about branding, but you should be conscious of what you do and why you do it.
You’ve got to back up what you say through your actions otherwise nobody is going to trust you – nobody will trust the service you provide.
I was once given some great advice: “Treat your most valuable customer as you would treat your best friend”. You wouldn’t lie and deceive your best friend, because they wouldn’t bother to hang around with you anymore.
You should be transparent with your audience, be that your customers or your clients, because they are the ambassadors for your brand.
Visuals vs Values
Your branding is really the values behind the visuals. The visuals are just what get people engaging with your brand, the initial thing that grabs people’s attention. Sure, you should pay a lot of attention to this, as it’s what initially defines the audience that engages with you. However, it’s the core values of your brand that will keep them sticking with you.
As a creative type, I love getting lost in the visual branding of a business.
From the concept behind the logo to the intricacies of colour theory, the visuals fascinate me. Nevertheless, it’s not healthy if that’s as deep as you’re exploring your own brand.
Adapting for your audience’s needs
You will find as you progress with your business that you cannot always control what people perceive about your brand. Still, you can make changes that benefit your audience.
A great way to know exactly what your audience thinks about you is to engage with them.
That may sound scary for some people, but it really shouldn’t be.
Your audience is made up of the people who you are trying to help with your service and your products. To find out their wants, needs and enhance their experience with your business, you need to communicate with them.
Don’t neglect negativity
It can be common to find negativity about your brand on the Internet. As much as we want to, we can’t please everybody.
Some people will advise you to simply shrug it off. “Haters gonna hate,” and all that.
Never neglect your audience.
If you come across any negative feedback on social media or by a customer, you should attempt to talk to the person and resolve the issue.
Even if something bad has happened, the way you react to and resolve the issue is important. Letting others see how you handled the issue in a professional manner may ultimately improve your relationship with your audience.
Personally, I’ve had experiences with business’s that provide an extremely poor service after I’ve bought from them. All they care about is the initial sale of a defective product.
Due to that horrible experience with their brand, I’ll never buy another product from them. They’ve lost out on my custom forever. Furthermore, I actively tell people to not buy their products because I don’t want others to have the same experience.
I would hate it if people had that experience with my business. Even if it costs you to fund the return of a product, it’s worth it. Neglecting your audience could cost you far more in the long run.
More information on brand
Struggling with the intricacies of branding? There is a great resource I can recommend that I used to help mold and define my own.
By signing up to the Invisible Details podcast newsletter, you will receive a FREE e-mail course. A fantastic tool for brand building, ‘9 Key Questions for Building a Successful Brand Foundation’ provides a ton of value.
In addition, you’ll receive updates for when the latest episode of the podcast is available to access.
I can’t stress enough how much value is packed into each and every episode of the show.
This is a great remedy if you’re struggling with branding or if you’re simply looking for some answers. I definitely recommend following the podcast and listening to everything Cory Miller and Kyle Adams have to say. They really are gurus of branding, experiencing consistent success with their own businesses.
Get your brand right and keep hustling.