Updated: Aug 19
I never went to business school. In fact, many small business owners today didn’t. But I did study design. And design is all about creating solutions. It’s about finding the simplest approach to achieve a desired outcome. A designer’s guiding principle is do more with less.
And that should be every small business owner’s guiding principle too.
By simplifying your business processes, you save yourself a LOT of headaches, time, and money.
And the best way to do it is through brand strategy.
A Case for Simplicity
Our brains today are bombarded with five times more information than they were 25 years ago . They are working overtime to filter out what’s important from what’s not.
In order to grow your business online, you need to grab the attention of the right people in a matter of seconds.
The greatest thing you can do for your future customers, is to make things as EASY as possible for them to process. From your creative to your messaging, it all needs to be super simple to make it through their overworked brains.
When your messaging is clear and your mission is focused, you’ll get more recognition because it’s easy to understand.
But the best part is, by simplifying it for them, you’re also making things easier for yourself.
What does Brand Strategy do?
Your brand is made up of every experience surrounding your business. From the way you look, to the way you sound and how you make people feel.
When you think of your brand experientially, it forces you to think of the bigger picture at play. How do all of the pieces of my business come together to create a particular brand experience or to suggest a particular experience?
To do this, you need a plan. The strategy is the plan.
Your brand strategy serves as the foundation for your business. It looks at all of the pieces of your business — your messaging, your audience, your persona, mission, brand positioning, and so on — and creates a cohesive plan.
It is the key to streamlining your business processes.
Simplify your Messaging
I get it—it’s super hard to resist writing out as much as possible on your website or in an ad campaign. You can do A LOT for your ideal customers, and you may miss your chance to convert them if you leave anything out.
Quite the contrary.
If your messaging is about a dozen different things and you’re including every last detail in the hopes that something in there will appeal to them—their brains will shut off. They’re literally trying to preserve energy, so they move on.
In Selling the Invisible: A Field Guide to Modern Marketing, author Harry Beckwith says “Get to the point or you will never get to the close.”
So how do you simplify your brand messaging?
You need to work on better understanding what that central theme is in your business. What is your key goal as a business and how can you convey that in the simplest, most direct way possible?
Start by asking yourself questions like:
what do I want my business to be known for?
what impact am I trying to make?
how will my customers feel after buying my product/service?
My challenge for you is to attempt to strip away any excess from your current offer or offers. Focus on one key message, the one that you want your brand to be known for, and work to sum it up in 10 words or less. But still make it interesting.
Stay clear of frilly language and make it crystal clear who it’s for, how they’ll benefit, and how it’s different.
The more you take away, the more you’ll gain.
Simplify Your Creative
Content marketing, in particular on social media, relies on a lot of creative. And unless you are hiring a social media manager to oversee all of the operations, it is a time suck!
So many small business owners struggle to keep up with the demands of content creation. They end up posting for posting’s sake or they just copy what other business owners are doing to stay on top of trends.
But that is just time and energy wasted.
When you have a brand strategy to guide your content marketing, it allows you to streamline your processes. Which, believe it or not, will actually generate more promising leads and growth in your business.
Your brand identity should be simple. You should have a series of different logos to work with, a specific group of colours, and a handful of brand fonts. That’s pretty much it.
Remember, less is more.
To make things even easier, you’ll want to have branding guidelines so you know exactly how to use those brand assets consistently. If you don’t already have them, establish your own rules:
decide which colours will be the primary players and which will be used less often
assign roles for your brand fonts: headlines, subheads, regular paragraph text, etc.
decide which logos will be used where
decide which colour combinations are best and which should be avoided
establish the style of imagery you’ll use within your brand Learn how to curate your own brand image library for free.
Why are brand guidelines so important? Because they ensure you show up consistently. Remember, you want to make it is easy as possible for people to recognize you. And when you show up consistently, it leads to increased brand awareness.
When people become familiar with your brand, they grow comfortable with your brand. This comfort leads to trust and when we trust a brand, we’re far more likely to buy from that brand.
Brand Consistency Increases Revenue
Brand consistency leads to increased brand awareness, which in turn increases brand familiarity. When people become familiar with your brand, they grow comfortable with your brand. This comfort leads to trust and when we trust a brand, we’re far more likely to buy from that brand.
A study done by Lucidpress reported that brand consistency has the ability to increase your revenue by up to 33%. Here’s how that works:
By showing up consistently, you make it easy to be recognized
By refining and clarifying your messaging, you shape your reputation
By establishing content pillars, you increase engagement with your desired audience
By having cohesive customer touch points and clear, consistent messaging, you reinforce their impression of you and increase your brand equity
All of which leads to increased trust and all of it is achieved through brand strategy. You’re able to simplify your business because brand strategy is all about making a plan that focuses around:
understanding your goals and the impact you seek to make
knowing who your audience is and understanding the depths of the problem you have a solution for
speaking their language so they feel seen and heard
building a cohesive experience and feeling around each area of your business
having a visual identity that is designed to grab their attention
On the inside of your business, a brand strategy streamlines your day-to-day operations, leading to more intuitive decision-making.
On the outside of the business, it makes everything feel intentional and deliberate, like everything has its right place. This harmony makes the value of your brand feel inherent.
By making a plan to make things simpler, you can be more profitable by doing less.
Jenny Henderson is a brand strategist and business mentor. She collaborates with service-based solopreneurs to design memorable brands that allow them to make a living doing what they love. Since 2020, her branding studio has become a place where small business owners learn to think like a brand.