If you follow me on Instagram, you'll notice I talk a lot about purposeful branding. So why is purposeful branding important and why is it so powerful for small businesses now more than ever? As a brand design expert, I work closely with conscious brands and, believe me, once we figure out what their brand purpose is, it becomes one of their biggest strengths!
In today’s blog post, my goal is simple: help you understand the reason why, as a conscious brand, you need to put in that extra effort and think about what your brand purpose is. We are not talking cute templated brands you can easily snag off the internet anymore. We are talking purposeful branding, that is, a strong brand that has a purpose that goes way beyond looking “modern” or “trendy” or simply “beautiful”.
Let’s dive right in!
Before we understand how purposeful branding works, let’s start with some basics: why is purposeful branding so important?
I have spent the past years working for top design and advertising agencies. Needless to say, agency life is high paced. I designed entire campaigns in a couple of days, created brand identities from scratch, and designed entire websites in a crazy short period of time.
These experiences were not only thrilling, but they also taught me invaluable lessons when it comes to brand design. It always shed light on the issues that many businesses face when it comes to branding and designing. One issue that came up multiple times was how branding and design were often treated as less of a priority in business. Instead, it was perceived as “quick and easy fix” to make something “look beautiful”. In my opinion, that has given branding and design a bad reputation, and overall, completely neglected the value of purposeful branding.
The reality, however, is much different. Branding and design can, in fact, bring much value to your business and should never be pushed down to the last spot on your to-do list.
After seeing brand after brand put out the same-trendy-looking design time and time again, I realized that there's a gap between the understanding of what design is and the creativity in the process.
What do I mean by that? Well, to put it simply, too many businesses get swayed by pretty designs on Canva or Pinterest without giving much thought to how these designs align with their brand purpose. For those who have put in that extra effort to understand the process of creating a brand design that compels the audience to stop, soak in the creativity, and ponder on the meaning behind what they see (like when you contemplate a beautiful painting in an Art Gallery). If done correctly, your audience can clearly understand the meaning and story your brand is telling. The light bulb turns on. And the deal is done: your brand has been imprinted on their mind and you’ll be pretty hard to forget!
Here’s the truth coming from an experienced brand designer herself: when you use the quick and easy, templated design, you're making a bad business investment. Here are the 3 key reasons why:
It does not tell your story. It is easily copied, lacks uniqueness, and might not align well with who you are. With a template, your brand won't be authentic, recognizable, or consistent. And these are the 3 most important things that your brand has to be if you want to attract solid leads and create a loyal customer base.
With the lack of clear and purposeful branding, you will easily be swayed by the next Canva update or Pinterest board you find. Don’t get me wrong, these websites are amazing platforms to gain inspiration and trigger more creative flows, but they can also limit you if you’re not careful. You might get stuck in, what I call, the “finding the next big thing” mode and never feel truly satisfied with the design you find.
The result of the above 2 points: energy and money wasted. With templates, you’ll probably go through multiple “rebranding” and change your visual brand and design the following year (or more times after that!). This constant seeking of what template matches your brand story the most will soon drain your energy and leave you burnout. Also, all the time spent on these brand makeovers can reflect in potential customers lost, money spent in the wrong places, and your working hours being sacrificed.
Purposeful branding isn't templated, copied, or made just to be beautiful. It's the kind of branding aligned with your company's mission, values, and offerings. It comes from the inside out.
When your branding and design are backed by a strong well-thought-out purpose, then you can’t get much wrong. You could be doing the most outrageous thing but, guess what, if it fits with your brand purpose, it will only be applauded by your ideal customer!
Here are some of the top benefits of having a strong purpose behind your branding and design:
One of the most important things your brand design has to achieve is being recognizable. That can be in terms of colors (think red and white for Coca Cola), logo (I bet you can recognize that Starbucks logo ANYWHERE - I sure can!) or any other distinctive element that you can use over and over again. When you brand with purpose, every element that you bring into your design fits perfectly and is there to last.
Just like Miki Agrawal, you can also tell your story in the most unique way. When you work closely with a brand designer, they will delve in deep and then even deeper, questioning your “why” and what truly makes your customers want to choose YOU over anyone else.
Know that feeling when your confidence is on fire and you’re marching along, shoulders straight, chest up, eyes on the prize (in my case that prize is those vegan coconut cookies waiting for me on that kitchen counter while I’m typing this)? Well that’s what purposeful branding and design do for you. When using purposeful design for your business, not only will your brand be visually stronger, but you'll also finally feel more confident about every piece of design you later create.
Purposeful branding design lasts and expands while maintaining its integrity. It leverages creativity to explore unique solutions for a unique brand, and it isn't exclusive to big corporations.
While using templates and DIY hacks are great solutions in the early stages of your business, you will reach a time when you’ll have to sit down, grab some tea (or Kombucha) and think about your brand. That time is usually when you are starting to get a bit of traction, when people are starting to refer you to their friends and you can feel it in your belly that something amazing is about to happen.
Even when you’re just starting out, you want to have a solid foundation for your visual branding. It makes expanding your brand over time so much easier. By the time people start to care and give more attention to your business and your products, you would have already done your homework and created your purposeful design. And, trust me, that time will come much sooner than you expected!
How about I give you a headstart and help you gain some clarity around this whole branding and design mumbo jumbo? I have been in this industry for quite some time now so I got a few tips and tricks up my sleeve. Sign up to my newsletter, “The Purposeful Branding Insider” to get exclusive advice from me, special deals, and promotions I only send out via email, and more fun stuff! Let’s create that conscious brand that you have always dreamed about together!