7 signs brand message design is not for you

People ask this question, a lot. What’s in it for me?

Branding, brand design and message design are areas of focus for Design Kompany and what’s in it for you is, ‘A lot!,’ but, that’s only if you’re ready for receiving it.

Because it takes effort and conversations that may be challenging, there are a lot of requirements to ensure a good fit. There are, for example, lots of ways a project could go super well: great communication, trust, and valuing the work the other can do.

Certainly it’s a beautiful thing when people can explore their brand identity design through the creative process, and arrive at clarity. I’m lucky to have had the chance to guide this process for 50+ SMEs over the years; it’s a cool experience to see people making big changes based on the six-set toolkit Design Kompany created over the years to help people figure out, ‘Who am I?’ Speaking not individually, but as a company.

More about that at the end.

Yet, at a time when AI means automating things designers used to do (like logo design), being able to think critically about one’s identity and message seems more useful as it’s human. We need to talk, to dialogue, to read between the lines, and then get to the lines of thought that lead to real clarity. But arriving at those insights takes skill. Human skill.

I’m curious. I’m learning. I’m reading.

Online, there are some opinions floating around about, generally, the value of design. As in, why not let AI do everything. But I believe in the old school graphic design and classic creative processes to arrive at ‘a-ha.’ I see it when I see it: it works.

But this is not for everyone.

I love brand message design. It’s what I can help SME owners with, and their teams. You get to walk through the tried-and-true six-step process, and I see this, you find alignment and clarity. It is revealing.

But when is this process simply not the right fit?

I think there are seven signs it’s not right for you.


7. You’ve got less than a year of experience as an owner


I know it takes time to get to know who your key audience is. It takes learning what works, what doesn’t, what people say about you, and what kind of project you just know you will not want to repeat.

I feel startups are not a fit for brand message design because it’s too soon to know. Where you are and where your business is. Early-stage companies tend to confuse their owners’ ideas with the business’ persona, heck, even companies quite far along might not distinguish.

But there’s a point when you realize you are not your business. If you’re a startup, you’re still about five years, I estimate, away from that moment of clarity.


6. You question your staff’s long-term commitment

I know it’s not easy to find cohesion in a team; don’t commit money and time to a brand message design project if you haven’t got your A team set up, and you know, and they know, you’re in it for the medium-term together, at least. No one knows what the future will bring.

But, I feel, your brand story is going to rely heavily on the quality and commitment of the people who work with you. So when your team is changing a lot, it’s not a good time.


5. You’re unwilling to accept that you don’t know what you don’t know

This one is pretty straightforward, yes? It’s quite hard to work with people who aren’t ready to say, ‘I didn’t see it like that. Tell me more.’

The best design projects are a conversation that leads us to interesting places. Together.


4. You don’t know what you’re selling (yet)

This is related to #7. It takes time to discover what it is that you are offering that people are also interested in buying. Sometimes you don’t know when you begin, and through the process of trial and error, you get to see what it is that’s uniquely your own, where you are, for the people you are being asked to deliver services to.

It takes some time for some of us to figure these things out; but if you don’t know for sure what it is you’re selling, and that is something people want, then the product development, I feel, should be the first order of business.



3. Too many people want to ‘weigh in’

Don’t let this happen.

Design by committee never, ever works elegantly. Choose a small set of people to work on the content marketing team, so you don’t have too many cooks in the kitchen and too many bottlenecks when it comes to making decisions. And executing on them, too.


2. Inwardly, you can’t care anymore

Burnout is real.


1. You can’t see the value of brand message design

What is the point of brand message design? How can it be of help?

I found a pretty comprehensive Brand Messaging 101 guide at Asana.com.

Here’s one part that I really liked:

‘Communicating about your business is one thing, but communicating as your business is another. The latter is brand messaging, which is how your company speaks about itself. Consistent brand messaging can help you build a loyal community, inspire word-of-mouth-marketing, and create a unique brand identity for your business.

‘What is brand messaging?

‘Brand messaging is how your brand speaks. It’s streamlined communication about your business, informed by strategy to convey your unique value proposition (your brand promise) to your target audience. The purpose of coordinating your brand messaging is to ensure that you’re saying the right things at the right time, and that in doing so, you’re encouraging others to share about your business. Effective brand messaging influences PR and the way others feel about your business.

‘Your brand is the personality of your business, and the brand messaging is the way you communicate. For example, your brand personality can be seen as an expert, fun, sophisticated, honest, authentic, or friendly. In your brand strategy, identify how you want your brand to come across, and then speak to that. For example, if you want to be seen as the expert, your brand messaging framework should include technical writing and statistics. If you want your brand to be perceived as friendly and quirky, you probably want to dial back on the statistics and include jokes, puns, and even emojis in your messaging.’

Read the whole article at the source. The link is: https://asana.com/resources/brand-messaging-framework


That’s the ‘seven signs that brand message design is not for you’ that come to mind at the time of this writing. Did I miss something?

Let me know.

Just this, though, for now. Good luck with your content marketing strategy.