Self-sabotage: we’ve all been there before. Self-sabotage can look like the lies we tell ourselves to avoid taking action in our businesses.
Self-sabotaging energy had the nerve to show up in my first few strategy sessions. I was just about to hop on a brand strategy workshop with my client and my palms were profusely sweating with no end in sight. All of these doubtful questions rolled around in my head: What if I say the wrong thing? What am I even going to talk about for so long? What if I don’t have any good ideas on the call?
While I could have let those negative thoughts take over my mind, I found the strength to say no to all of that self-doubt. I’m sure you’ve been there too and understand how much of a battle it is to keep our mindset in check.
You might be scared of failing, equally scared of success, and fearful of the extra responsibility that comes with adding branding strategy to your offerings. I’ve felt all of those things and want to let you know it’s normal. But the only way forward is to expel those negative thoughts and try it anyway!
A good brand strategy session requires someone who can ask the right questions and tune in as a strong listener. Your primary role is to help your client truly see themselves and their brand. Listening and being inquisitive are must-haves in this process.
While you might shy away from that word “strategy” since it’s usually associated with more complex marketing plans and lingo, I encourage you not to. Just because business strategy and design haven’t always gone hand in hand, doesn’t mean us designers aren’t needed in developing strategy. We touch on this concept in my free “Brand Strategy for Designers” workshop.
Here’s the tea, designers should be involved in the strategy because we see things differently than other people.
Traditional marketing experts only see in numbers, facts, and figures. While numbers are important, so are people — aka a brand’s ideal customer. Us designers are natural advocates for people. Most likely you consider yourself to be extremely empathetic. You probably feel more than others and are acutely aware of others’ emotions. That deep emotional understanding is exactly what the modern day brand is lacking — not enough empathy, emotion, nor connection with a brand’s people.
A business may just see users, but us designers we see and understand people. If empathizing and understanding people falls in your wheelhouse, you can certainly conquer and succeed at brand strategy.
People buy when they understand the value behind their purchase. It’s really that simple and we need to take that approach when marketing our creative thinking! The challenge is to show your clients the value of strategy and how a pretty logo by itself won’t get them to their desired revenue goals.
The key is to help the potential client truly see the value of brand strategy in a way that feels good for BOTH of you. All of us know what it’s like to be on the other side of an icky sales pitch, and it usually doesn’t produce a sale. But with a clear, step-by-step sales process and pre-planned scripts, you’ll feel confident and calm when offering brand strategy to your clients. Throughout my brand strategy mini training I talk about how systems and scripts revolutionized my success rate and confidence when pitching brand strategy on sales calls.
This is one of the most common pushbacks I get from designers about adding brand strategy to their packages. I definitely understand. I am the first person to order food through a mobile app instead of calling in my to-go order. I’d probably be content if everyone could just text me.
If you fall into the same camp as me, I feel you so hard! But I promise that leading these sessions is actually really fun and easy and usually your clients end up feeling the same way!
If you’re feeling stressed and under pressure when executing a brand strategy session, remind yourself that your client already hired you and that means they trust you. It’s such a simple thing, but it can be easy to forget!
And while you’re at it, stop hiding behind those branding questionnaires and get them on a video call! Connecting with them in the workshop will build a stronger client relationship while simultaneously deepening that trust with you as the expert!
Nothing is worse than people letting their limiting beliefs hold them back and keep them from taking action towards their dreams.
True growth always happens outside of your comfort zone.
If you feel ready to dive deeper into brand strategy and what it could look like for your business, I like to invite you to binge my free workshop “Brand Strategy for Designers: How to Master the Essential Steps”. This mini training covers more on the why behind offering strategy calls, the critical, often overlooked, question you need to be asking to create a solid brand strategy (and how to get the best answer), and my personal story of raising my prices 10x and consistently booking dreamy clients.
Craving more insight on brand strategy? Check out my post on the 3 Brand Strategy Mistakes most designers make!