Last week, I kicked off my new branding blog series by chatting about the
. Branding as a whole has so many components + moving parts, that it is sometimes hard to pinpoint what makes a certain brand successful + distinguishable. This week, I am diving into one element that helps define your brand that many companies neglect: intentional decisions when expanding your business, or partnering with others.
Expanding Your Business
With the internet at our fingertips, it is such an encouraging time for anybody to start their own business, side hustle, or Etsy shop! I mean… Girl Scouts these days have their own e-commerce sites, which I think is just completely awesome! I see a lot of small shops (graphic designers, web developers, interior designers, etc.) taking a step in the direction of diversifying their income. I, too, plan on doing this down the road, but with a
While exploring various ways to diversify income, I have developed several good ideas that I think would be a smart business move. However, I have to gut-check myself and see if they align with my brand. What do I mean by this? You would think if I see an opportunity to make extra money, I should go for it…right? Wrong. If you have an existing brand, and want to expand to adding new products, e-courses, etc, it can actually
your brand if you branch off in a direction that seems disconnected.
Here is an example. Graphic Designers have the skill set to design stationery, art prints, merchandise, and all sorts of chotchkies. If you are a graphic designer, you have most likely considered starting your own shop selling any of the above, I know I have! There are so many resources and websites out there that will print low-quantities of products, so you don’t have to maintain the inventory in your studio apartment. They will even take care of the printing + shipping for you. No hassle. These businesses are very smart in their marketing, as they understand that most designers/crafters want to focus on creating, and not the logistics of printing, shipping, and not to mention the hefty up-front cost. Sounds great, doesn’t it?
While this model works for some design studios, it is not the right fit for my brand. I value high-quality, personal interaction, and attention to detail… all of which I feel are lacking from these quick-turnaround product websites. If I have a customer/client that wants a print I designed, I want to be able to ensure it is a high-quality print, be able to write a hand-written note as an unexpected personal touch, as well as make sure the packaging is creative + aligns with my brand. I mean… I am not about to leave a fun packaging design project up to the discretion of a third-party source! I am not intending to bash these companies in any way… rather just utilizing them as an example of how to maintain a consistent brand, through intentional decisions. Maybe partnering with these product resources is a good fit for you… and that is okay!
It is these seemingly minor details that further reinforce your brand + vision. Before rushing into a decision to expand your business, you need to ask yourself:
are you expanding a focused + concentrated brand, or are you just diluting your brand across different platforms?