The Missing Piece in Branding

We recently had a follower respond to our last blog (YAY) and asked if we could offer some content about what most entrepreneurs or small business owners are commonly missing in their branding. We’re so happy you asked, Jessica! We thought that question would make for an awesome new blog post- so here we are. We’ve even included a downloadable PDF so that you can have a valuable take away.

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So let’s start with the basics here: like what branding actually is. If you haven’t heard already, your branding is much much more than a logo. Think of it like an iceberg… only about 10% of it is actually sticking out of the water, the remaining 90% is below the surface. The tip of the iceberg, the part that’s visible to everyone, is your visual branding- your logo, icons, colors, type, graphic elements, mood board and visual rules. The underlying part, what is unseen, is your  vision, motivation, problems, change, impact and your purpose. Here’s a lengthy definition of branding that our friend and colleague, Jody Collins, threw together for us:


“Branding is about the promise of a distinct, memorable experience. It is about creating an expectation and delivering it consistently every time anyone comes into contact with your brand. Whether it’s the way you answer the phone, how your website functions, how your service performs, or your messaging of what is best for the client. It is how you make your customers feel about themselves and their decisions when they are interacting with your brand. It’s why you shop at store A vs. store B even if the price or product might not be that much different.” (follow him @feralgiant)


Branding is an emotional business plan. So knowing what we know now, it’s easy to see that there are lots of components that make up a brand. Because we (Erica and Elliot) do this on a daily basis- you know, eat, sleep, breathe branding, we see one common thing ALL the time amongst the many branding components. They all have a common ground that causes a hiccup in your branding. We’ve identified it with some of our clients and are constantly trying to come up with ways to improve it for others. Are you ready for it? The big missing piece for most creatives in their branding is not knowing who their ideal client is.


Say whaaatttt?! Yeah, its a real thing. If you’re missing this piece, you’re missing the most important aspect of your branding because you know what? Your brand is not about you. It’s about who you’re serving or who you wish to be serving. That whole iceberg thing we talked about- the 10% above the surface and that 90% below should all be aimed at your ideal client- who you want to attract as your customer. That means that everything you do in your business should be targeted directly to that person you most wish to serve.  


It may sound silly, but you really need to dig in to who they are on every level. Like:

  • Who are they? (Name, age, location, job)

  • How much money do they make?

  • How do they talk? (Buzz words, common vocabulary)

  • What do they value?

  • Where do they hang out?

  • What problems do they have that your product or service will solve?

You may be asking- who do I base this imaginary person off of? It could be a customer you already have, maybe someone you care about or perhaps it’s that customer you wish you had because if you had them repeatedly, you would be working your dream job. It could even be a combination of all of them.

Why is this important for branding? This will be the most important takeaway you get.

  • In order to sell to someone, you have to understand them. You have to see everything from their point of view, create an emotional connection and figure out how to take care of them in order for them to buy from you.

  • If you don’t who your ideal client is, you’ll attract the clients and customers that you wish you didn’t have. They may even turn into pretty horrific experiences making your job no longer fun. These kind of people don’t value you, what you do or the way you price yourself. Boo. You don’t want that.

  • Without being specific on who you’re targeting, everything you provide will be too generic or general and will end up killing your business. Seriously.

As our wonderful mentor Marie Forleo put it, “If you’re talking to everybody, you’re talking to nobody”.

Attempting to talk to everyone can drown your business fast.

Once you narrow down who your ideal client is, then it should be easy to talk to them. Meaning, when you go to make copy for your website you know how to speak their language, or in your emails, or if you choose to do advertising or promotions. You will know exactly who you’re targeting, what their issues are, how to solve it and ultimately convert these people into buying customers.


These are just the basics and a great first stepping stone in creating a brand for your business. Lucky for you, we’ve created a couple of worksheets for you to really dig into it all. Click the button below to get to know your ideal client, who they are and how you can better serve them!