1. Choosing an agency or freelancer who doesn’t research your competition.
You must, must, must know what is best practices in your market place before you dive in yourself. You know the saying, “know the rules well, so you can break them effectively.” Well my saying is
know your competition well so you can compete with them effectively.
9/10 of the companies who come to me believe that their marketplace is crowded. That’s part of the curse of living at a digital age with everything you want available at the tap of your fingertip. Knowing what others in your industry are doing means you’ll be able to level up how you’re doing it. Your brand does not exist on a website or social media channel. Your brand exists in the minds of your customers. If you’re not researching your competition and customers you won’t be able to design in a way that your customers will relate to / vibe with / fangirl over.
And we want your customers to fangirl out.
3. Working with a non-graphic designer (ie. your cousin’s, neighbor’s, old babysitter).
Often times non-designers who offer to create branding are artists, or someone who has played around with the program they’re planning to design in for you. Other times, they’re not even using the program, but in this example we’ll give them the benefit of the doubt! There’s a lot of danger in choosing a non-design or DIYing if you’re planning to see a lot of growth in your business quickly. If you’re on a really tight budget I know this can be tempting, but there are alternatives.
On the other hand, if you’re really green in your own industry, investing what may be the majority of your start up funds may not be the best option.
Some examples when hiring an agency may not be the right move: Your business is your only source of income, but you’re still not able to pay your bills. You aren’t ready to invest the time that it takes to help a designer understand your business. Inexperienced designers can be great to hire if you have a very small budget, you know exactly what you want out of a design and you’re not concerned with your designers process. And do your best to keep someone inexperienced from highly stylized design trends.
4. Hiring someone who isn’t up to date on graphic design trends.
This is often the opposite problem that #3 describes and I see it all the time. There I am minding my own business (sort of), looking at my competitor’s websites, and I see someone who says they have 12-20 years of experience. Then I go to their website and their portfolio looks stuck in the 90s.
Want your logo to look like it was made in the 80s? Give it crazy patterns in bold color palettes.
Do you prefer the 90s? Add heavy drop shadows! And don’t forget to outline all of your text.
In short, you want someone who knows what the modern trends are, so your new branding won’t look dated, but they should also not be so entrenched with the styles that all of their designs are obviously from the same designer. Our designs are thoughtful and as close to timeless as we can possibly make them.
5. Hiring someone who has an extremely obvious design style
This essentially loops back to the designers who don’t do their research. If you hire someone just because you like the way their designs look, and they have a clear design style, chances are they’re going to design your logo in that same style. Now let’s say that their style is highly detailed and they consistently only use bright, bold primary colors on their projects. Chances are they’re not educated about the marketplace of their clients, and just want their designs to look the way that they like.
6. Hiring a company that just makes pretty things, instead of useful things.
We love beautiful designs as much as the next person. Probably more even. But we won’t only focus on a look for your brand. We dig deeper than that! To increase customer loyalty you have to find people who believe in your business’s values. If your brand strategist only cares about making something that looks pretty, people may like it, but they wont become your brand FANS. Fandom comes from aligning your audience with your core values. People shop and Whole Foods because they value organic foods and a great environment. It’s not that they inherently want to pay more for food in general! (Although at times people do believe that higher cost = higher value) The reason people choose to shop at Whole Foods instead vs. WalMart is because they value what the company provides.
7. Hiring a design team that doesn’t care about SALES and marketing.
Sales and marketing are the only two things that make ANY business money. Our brand development includes establishing a marketing edge for your brand to lean on. We believe your messaging is one of the most important pieces of your branding puzzle. Some designers are afraid of selling. Some think sales = being pushy or rude. After years of practicing sales, reading books on the subject and listening to training programs, I now know how to sell without fearing being obnoxious, and without turning people off.
There’s no shame in selling great products and services. (That’s why we’re selective on the people we work with. We’re not like the lawyers who will take a case even if their client is guilty. If you’re guilty of not delivering quality products or services, great design won’t help you.) We’d be happy to act as consultants directing you on how to create better quality content that would then lead to us being able to sell you with confidence! Then you can sit back and watch the dollar bills start pouring in.
1. Hiring an agency who really believes community > competition.
Community is a wonderful thing. Connecting with people and helping those I work with lights up my life. But I know that your community isn’t the one who pays your bills. You have competition. When your ideal customers hires you instead of them that means you’re going to be able to reach more people. At First Sight Creative is here to help you beat your competition.