The judgment of you and your business happens rapidly…like within seconds of interacting with your content, web presence, marketing material, ie. anything you put out there about your business.
These few precious seconds are vital for establishing trust and credibility with potential clients.
And the sad reality is once they’ve had that initial impression of you it is an uphill journey to try and rebuild that relationship.
So you have to make those seconds count and having a polished professional brand goes a long way in earning that trust and credibility.
So what are some signs that your branding looks unprofessional to your potential clients? Before we get to that I want to take a second to talk about all the places that your brand lives because it may be a surprise to you how you are unknowingly affecting your brand.
Your brand is the way you define your business. It is things like the messaging you have in your social media, email communications with your list, potential clients, past clients, collaborators, biz besties…ie everyone you communicate with.
Your brand is also your visuals, everything that someone can look at and associate with your brand. Things like the packaging with your mailings, your logo, the social media graphics you use, the clothes you wear in your photos, the subjects you photograph and the way the pictures are edited all help strengthen or weaken your credibility and trust with potential clients.
I have a story to tell you about how powerful your packaging is if you ship products to clients. I’ve interacted with and bought several items from this brand that I love, they are cute and they put a lot of thought into the details of their brand. They typically include fun packaging, branded elements like stickers or notes, or even a sweet thank you. Fast forward to my most recent purchase, it was just my purchase shipped in a white bubble wrap without any branding.
I felt crushed, my favorite brand didn’t put any additional thought into this shipment. I absolutely love seeing how they love on their clients and this time they just didn’t.
And if you do work with local clients, people in your community and word of mouth referrals your interactions with others in public can also strengthen or weaken your brand reputation.
Now onto the fun stuff….the 5 signs your brand is coming off as unprofessional.
No clear vision
This may sound overly intimidating to even consider but having a clear concise vision can really help you and people you know understand what you do so that you can talk about it.
I’m going to tell on myself for a second.
When I first started I used to tell people I was a blogger, photographer, graphic designer. Then their eyes would glaze over because while I have lots of skills it wasn’t connecting with them. I wasn’t being very clear and therefore people didn’t know what I really could help with. Then they didn’t talk to me when they needed my services.
I had several people tell me after they got a new brand, a new website, family photos, etc… that they didn’t know why they didn’t think about me when they were looking for a professional.
Let me tell you…this is so discouraging. It is definitely not what you want to hear from the people you want to work with.
But it is a recoverable situation. I promise.
Just too many everything… too many “styles” too many fonts, too many colors
Another sign your brand needs a little TLC is that there is too much going on. You’re using too many styles of graphics (watercolors, overlays, 3D text) and every image is different. You’re using too many different fonts either in general or on one piece. The same with colors.
If you are constantly changing your fonts, colors, and style you’re starting from 0 every time you put something out there when trying to build recognition with your audience.
You want to pick consistent colors, fonts, and styles so that your audience instantly recognizes your content when you publish a new post.
This is partly the result of having too many everything like I talked about above but also you’re inconsistency in sharing your vision. Or showing up inconsistently. Posting once every once in a while is going to make getting traction difficult because you aren’t showing up and building a relationship with the people you want to work with.
If you don’t have time to post everywhere or blog consistently cut back on where you are trying to be. Then focus on growing from there.
Remember the fable about the tortoise and the hare. Even slow consistent work will help you reach your goals.
You’ve outgrown your brand or you’re out of alignment with your brand
Chances are your business will or has grown and changes since you started maybe you niched down or changed something significate in your ideal client avatar. Or maybe you’ve shifted your entire business like going from services to product based.
If you haven’t made changes in your branding it is very likely that you will find your branding holding you back. You aren’t attracting the right people to your business, or people are having that dazed and confused look on their face when you tell them what you do.
It could be anything from as small as tweaking your messaging to an overhaul of your brand.
The only thing I do know is that by not doing anything and continuing business as normal you are holding yourself back.
And the last thing I want to talk about that can make your brand look unprofessional is the quality of your images.
I know that a lot of people don’t have access to professional photography or have the time to set up, take and edit their own pictures so they make do with cell phone photos.
Unless you are taking good quality photos with your cell phone your putting out less than professional images for your brand. Meaning you look unprofessional.
And in this case, done is not necessarily good enough. Take some time to learn phone photography skills and you’ll see a great improvement on the quality of your photos.