What does branding have to do with attracting more customers and readers?
When you look at your colors, fonts, logo, social media feeds, content, website, and designs, do these elements represent your business in the best possible light?
Branding can set you apart from your competitors, bring your target audience to you quickly, and even make you memorable.
Most people start their online business without any brand clarity. But later pay the price when they have to rebrand.
But what does branding really mean and how’s it different from marketing?
Today, I have invited the brilliant Kady Sandel to discuss why branding is so important for business, and how it can help grow your business!
Kady gives you the step-by-step branding program to help you position your business, find your audience, and motivate them to buy from you.
She also shares her best tips for creating a powerful brand strategy right away (when you start your business) along with the top 3 branding mistakes most entrepreneurs make.
So without further delay, let’s get started with the interview!
How to Attract More Customers and Readers: Branding Tips from Kady Sandel
1. Can you tell us about yourself and your business?
Absolutely! I’m Kady Sandel, and I’m the brand strategist and CEO of the branding agency Aventive Studio.
I help entrepreneurs develop brands that set themselves apart from the competition, which includes everything from their visual designs to their content strategy.
We start by developing a brand strategy and getting clear on the “special sauce” that sets their business apart. Then my studio creates visual elements like website designs, logo designs, packaging, and brand boards that align with their strategy and attract the attention of their target audience. The end goal is to help my clients grow their businesses and make more money with a memorable brand.
When I’m not working with branding clients or writing new posts at AventiveStudio.com, you can find me spending time with my husband, our newborn daughter, and our two fluffy cats.
2. What inspired you to start your business?
When I was a little girl, I told my mom that my dream was to make a billboard. She was confused by what I meant and thought I wanted to stand on ladders and paint billboards (which does sound fun!).
Once I discovered the design industry, my dream became more clear: I wanted to create beautiful designs that captured attention on billboards, so I studied graphic design and communications in college. I also had the urge to work for myself, but I wasn’t sure how to do that or where to start.
I worked for a sign and printing company in Las Vegas, but when I moved to Denver I couldn’t find a job. After about 4 months of active job searching with no success, I decided to delete my resume and never look for a job again.
I knew I had to start a business at that moment, and I simply had to make it work – there was no alternative. It was the perfect time!
I started out as a freelance designer where I created logos, flyers, brochures, stationery, and other design elements that business owners needed. I didn’t just want to make nice-looking flyers and designs – I wanted those designs to actually result in sales and success for my clients.
As my business grew, I shifted away from creating one or two designs for each client. Now I work with businesses that are looking for a brand strategy and a visual identity to will grow their companies in the long-term, and I help other entrepreneurs plan out their own brand strategies through blogs, my book, and my online course.
3. What do you love the most about being an entrepreneur and what frustrates you?
The answer to what I love most and what frustrates me the most about entrepreneurship is the same: wearing all the hats.
One day I just want to get into the creative zone and be a brand strategist all day. In those moments, I don’t want to work on business expenses, social media ads, invoices, emails… all the other odds and ends that need to be done.
Then the next day is the opposite: I crave different challenges and want to work on a mix of invoicing, strategy, ads, emails, networking, etc. So the same thing that I love frustrates me as well 😊
A fun fact about me is that in addition to my branding agency, I’m also the founder of a coworking space in Austin, Texas! I have learned a lot about online entrepreneurship as well as what goes into running a brick-and-mortar business, and I have so much respect for business owners as a whole.
We are all learning as we go and doing our absolute best to make our businesses work, and I always keep that in mind when working with my clients, readers, and course students.
4. Do you work full-time on your business? How many hours per week do you work and what does your typical day look like?
Yes, I do work full-time for my branding agency. I spend about 40 hours a week working, but I don’t maintain a rigid work schedule.
Sometimes I don’t work for the whole morning and I work in the evening instead, or sometimes I take a weekday off but then work all day on a Sunday.
I really work when I feel like it, and I take time off when I need to – I don’t have a typical day to describe. The only things that are consistent are my morning coffee, inbox zero, and some creative writing during the day.
I have always tried to “work smarter and not harder,” but now that I’m a mom that concept has become extra important to me.
I love finding new ways to optimize my time, identify where I can personally add the most value, focus on that, and delegate the rest.
5. I see that you have helped tons of bloggers and entrepreneurs including me with your Brand Clarity course, can you tell us more about it?
The concept of branding can be overwhelming, and there is a lot of conflicting branding advice that doesn’t make sense for every business. I created the Brand Clarity course to walk entrepreneurs step-by-step through the process of creating an effective brand strategy that is 100% tailored to their unique offer, target audience, and industry.
The course focuses on the concrete “how’s” of creating a brand.
For example, one module addresses how to position your brand. We go over how to identify your true competitors (who are often not the ones you think!), and the accompanying workbook includes a matrix where students analyze the components of each competitor’s branding.
By the end of that module, students are clear on how they need to emphasize their own businesses in order to stand out. The whole course is structured in a hands-on way so that by the end, students can confidently communicate their brand to their ideal clients.
Once you have a brand strategy in place, you no longer have to guess or “throw paint at the wall and see what sticks”—you have a concrete plan on how you will reach your target, attract them, and motivate them to purchase from you.
6. Can both new and advanced bloggers and entrepreneurs use your Brand Clarity Course?
Yes, definitely! The Brand Clarity course is suitable for both new and advanced entrepreneurs.
If you’re just starting out, Brand Clarity will save you time and help you see results so much faster than if you try to DIY your brand on your own.
New entrepreneurs who take Brand Clarity can avoid experiences like sitting down and not knowing what to post on Instagram, or having a logo designed and later realizing that your logo has hurt your growth potential because it doesn’t express the true essence of your blog or business.
If you already have a business or blog, Brand Clarity is the perfect resource to help you refine your brand.
In the course, you will evaluate every piece of your existing brand with a fine-toothed comb and choose what will stay and what needs to change. This will help you can scale more quickly and strategically – especially because we go over how you can make those changes.
7. There are so many business tools and resources out there, so can you tell us what distinguishes your course from the rest?
The Brand Clarity course is different from similar branding courses because it contains absolutely no fluff.
As a busy entrepreneur myself, I don’t enjoy wading through endless amounts of content & bonuses & files in order to solve my problem — I want quick and effective results that I can apply immediately.
I kept that in mind when creating Brand Clarity, and every piece of the course is laser-focused towards answering the question “How will this component of branding help your business grow?”
Another distinguishing feature of Brand Clarity is that it includes a 1:1 video call with me. I rarely offer individual brand strategy calls like this, but I felt it was important to provide personal attention and touch since every business has such different needs when it comes to branding.
Since students have the opportunity to discuss their unique branding challenges with me as part of the Brand Clarity course, they emerge feeling confident that their brand strategy makes sense and they are on the right track.
8. Why is branding your business important?
Picture a generic skincare product whose label blends in with the rest of the items on the shelf – you would hardly notice it, let alone buy it!
But if that product had eye-catching visual designs and a tagline that quickly convinced you it could solve your skin problems, you might pick up the bottle, learn more, and decide to give it a try. That is the power of branding.
Branding has two components: brand strategy and visuals.
Brand strategy is the plan that we create in the Brand Clarity course, and visuals include the logo design, website, business cards, packaging, and anything else that your target can see. Having both strategic direction and remarkable visuals helps entrepreneurs grow their businesses – which is the ultimate goal!
9. Can you share some of the ways we can increase brand awareness and grow our business?
Brand awareness is the reputation and name recognition of your business, and it is built over time. If you have never bought a Tesla, but you know what I’m referring to when I say “Tesla,” that’s due to the brand awareness that Tesla has built.
My top recommendation to increase brand awareness is to focus on improving your consistency. Consistency over time, both with visuals and content, is what will create long-term trust with your audience.
If your business posts on social media three times a day for a while and then goes silent, your audience is going to question that. If your colors are bright in your logo but grayscale everywhere else, something will feel “off” to people who see your branding even if they can’t put a finger on what it is. Start by addressing any inconsistencies in your branding and marketing efforts.
Not every post is going to result in a sale that moment, but you can think of each one as a seed that can lead to future sales and referrals. I wrote an article that goes into more detail on five ways you can build brand awareness for your business here.
10. What is the difference between branding and marketing?
Branding is the rock-solid foundation of what your business stands for, and your brand is expressed through colors, fonts, themes, values, brand voice, target personas, and more.
Marketing is the active promotion of your business and the tactics you use to get your brand in front of the right people at the right time. Both branding and marketing are important, but branding needs to come first because it is the foundation.
Once you have a brand strategy in place, you will know what your marketing materials need to say, what colors they should use, and what marketing efforts would be most effective to reach your target customer.
Related Post: 5 Ways to Target Your Niche Market
11. What are your top 3 branding tips?
Number 1: Analyze your competitors and find interesting ways that you can stand out from them. Maybe their content sounds stuffy, so you go out of your way to make your brand voice sound friendly and approachable – that would be a great example of positioning your brand.
Number 2: Know your target client and make all of your branding decisions with them in mind. If your target customer loves TikTok, and you don’t know how to use TikTok – it’s time for you to learn TikTok. Your brand needs to show up where your customers can find you.
Number 3: Develop a content strategy and speak in a way that your target customer or reader can understand. Focus on the results they will receive, avoid jargon, and use a similar content voice on your website, flyers, and social media pages to maintain consistency and trust.
12. What are the top 3 branding mistakes you see new entrepreneurs making?
Here are the 3 branding mistakes I see most often:
- Not having a brand strategy
Your brand strategy needs to come before you design your visuals. Many entrepreneurs aren’t aware of this, which is why so many businesses ultimately go through a rebranding: they picked out a name or colors at the beginning, and later they realize a different brand identity would be more effective.
Rebranding can be a great experience and is nothing to be afraid of – even large brands like Dunkin Donuts and Formula 1 have rebranded!
But rebranding does take some time and investment, so by creating a brand strategy before designing your visual branding, you can set yourself up for success and reduce the frequency or likelihood of rebranding.
- Not understanding who their ideal client is (yes, everyone needs one!)
If your business targets “women,” that is too broad. If your business targets “women in their 30s who live in France and love fashion,” that is still too broad.
Your branding and marketing would be more effective if you turned that description into a single target persona like “My ideal customer, Lily, is 34. Lily lives in Paris and loves fashion, and she works at a magazine, and she hangs out at Café de la Lune after work.”
Get as clear as possible so you can then attract anyone who is similar to Lily.
- Not having visual brand consistency
If the colors on your website don’t match your book cover, or if your social media feeds are inconsistent with your product packaging, those are small mistakes that can ultimately make a big difference when it comes to sales and customer trust.
Once your branding is in place, tools like brand boards and brand guideline documents will help you, your team, and your contractors maintain a consistent brand voice and visual identity no matter what mediums you use.
13. Going back to your Brand Clarity course, will it help attract new customers or readers?
When entrepreneurs and bloggers have a compelling brand in place, not only do they attract new customers and readers (which they absolutely do, and quickly!), they also attract the right customers and readers.
Rather than your business reaching a large hodgepodge of people who may or may not ever share your posts or buy from you, the Brand Clarity course will show you how to build a brand that appeals to those who are likely to become genuine fans, collaborators, partners, and shoppers. This targeted approach is crucial if you want to scale and grow.
Like most things in business, you can try to build a brand on your own – but I have never been a big fan of losing money while I try to figure it all out myself. Working with a professional can cut your learning curve, save you time, and help you get results faster, and that is what Brand Clarity is all about.
14. In addition to your Brand Clarity course, do you offer any other products and/or services for bloggers and entrepreneurs?
Before creating the Brand Clarity course, I wrote the book BrandFix: A Brand Strategy Guide for Busy Entrepreneurs to demystify the concept of branding for startups and business owners.
BrandFix is perfect for anyone who wants to have a better understanding of what branding is and how they can apply it to their business. The book also provides insight into the most common branding questions I receive, like about how to decide whether or not to be “the face of” your business.
You can also visit AventiveStudio.com where I often post educational content on how you can attract more customers and craft a brand that people will remember.
Kady helps businesses scale by creating memorable and strategic brands. She regularly speaks to business audiences about effective branding and networking strategies. She loves cats to a fault and can usually be found drinking coffee with copious amounts of creamer.