Say you’re not feeling well. You go to the doctor and describe your symptoms. The doctor listens at first, then asks a series of very directed questions to narrow down your particular situation. The doctor will likely review your patient file, perhaps do a bit of research, and return with a diagnoses and a prescription for treatment. You fill the prescription, take your medicine, your symptoms improve—and you’re cured!
Now picture this: instead of the above scenario, you visit the doctor’s office, perhaps with some research you’ve done on your own. You describe your symptoms and demand a particular prescription because you’re sure you know what’s going on. This time, the doctor asks zero questions. After some brief research, the doctor comes back from his office and offers you three prescriptions. He tells you to pick one and see if it works.
Do you think this is the most effective way to diagnose and treat your physical illness? Would you trust this doctor with your physical health and well-being? No way!
Now let’s explore this analogy in terms of the business owner/brand designer relationship…
The Wrong Way: You’re not attracting enough business, so you go to a branding expert/graphic designer and tell her what you are seeing or what you’re not seeing. It’s your business, so you’re the best person to diagnose the problem, right?
In this situation, you’ll often find your designer is inexperienced, and therefore, eager to please. So she provides you with several design options. None of these designs are satisfactory, so you try to pick items you like out of each design, then explain that your designer should now come up with a completely new design incorporating those design elements you liked.
The designer comes back with a design that incorporates your wants. But you’re still not satisfied. And worse? Now you’re freakin’ frustrated. So you ask the designer to go back to the drawing board. In the end, because you’ve spent so much time and money, you now just pick a design and run with it.
But you’re never happy with your new design and it still isn’t attracting the clientele you want. Not a good situation.
The Right Way: You’re not attracting enough business. You consult a professional branding expert/designer and describe your problem areas. The designer listens, then asks specific, direct questions to narrow down your business situation. She looks at your past and current designs. She asks you your likes and dislikes. She asks about your ideal clients and your target audience—and so much more.
The branding expert/designer goes back to her office and does her homework on your business and your brand, based on your input and her wealth of experience and knowledge. When she comes back, she shows you a design that perfectly incorporates your business and is attractive to your ideal target audience
You instantly love it. And you only have to wait a few weeks to see the business rolling in. Brilliant!
The Problem with Self Diagnosis
Do you see the difference? In the first scenario, you self-diagnosed your business and your branding. You didn’t consult a professional for help—instead you controlled the situation. You’re telling the designer what you think is wrong, and then you’re telling them how to fix it. If you’re telling your branding expert how to best design for your branding and your business, then why did you hire an expert in the first place—and more importantly: is that person really an expert?
Think back to our doctor analogy: this is no way to achieve an ideal outcome!
While you surely know a ton about your business, it’s likely you’re not an expert in strategic branding. Therefore, if you want your branding done right, you need to be strong enough to put aside your opinions in favor of the opinions of your target market and the recommendations of a true branding professional.
But you also need to find a great brand designer, or you’ll be left self-diagnosing again. It’s a two way street. If your brand designer offers you three options and says, “pick one,” it’s likely they don’t know what they’re doing.
A great brand designer can learn everything she needs to know about how you operate your business, guide you in defining your ideal clientele, then use that information to create a design that attracts the right target audience to your business, while also showcasing your company’s unique and memorable personality.
The challenge for many is finding the right brand designer: one you know you can trust to help and to understand your business particulars. When you deal with the right professional, you don’t need to self-diagnose. The right designer will know what you need, as well as give you the results you want, but better than you could ever conceive them to be!