Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Design Your Brand for Instagram — and What to Do Instead

Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Design Your Brand for Instagram — and What to Do Instead

When it comes to building a brand, entrepreneurs need to focus on developing a solid foundation of trust with customers -- not just following the latest social media trends. Know your customer: Your customers are just as much why you exist as your product or service. This is how great brands are created: for customers and with customers. Design a brand identity Once you have a firm understanding of who you are -- your vision, mission and values -- along with assessing your customer and competition, you can begin to create a brand identity that stands out in the market and connects with your customer. The basic elements of a brand identity include logo, colors, fonts and photography. Make sure your brand colors are distinguishable from your competitors. Social media is an incredible tool for connecting with your customers and having them talk about you with their friends. Your brand and your marketing strategy help each other but will always be two separate things: your brand informs and guides your marketing, while your marketing then communicates everything out to the world. Stand the test of time Trends come and go, so take time to build a brand foundation. Take the time to know yourself, mission and values.

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Here are steps entrepreneurs need to take to build a strong brand that outlives the Instagram moment.

Here's Why You Shouldn't Design Your Brand for Instagram -- and What to Do Instead

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When it comes to building a brand, entrepreneurs need to focus on developing a solid foundation of trust with customers — not just following the latest social media trends.

Yet, as the creative director of design studio Weekday Studio I get emails from clients all the time stating, “I want to be the next big brand on Instagram.” And while the most recent stats show that there are more than 800 million monthly active users on the platform, Instagram should be used as a tool for marketing, not a foundation for your brand.

Why? Just like other social-media frenzies, Instagram won’t last forever. (Perfect example: the latest Facebook changes immensely hurt social-first brands.) Having a super Grammable package or Instawall is great, but I urge you to not design your whole brand to fit in the square. Placing too much emphasis on Instagram — or any social media platform — runs the risk of limiting your brand’s potential.

For founders looking to create a strong brand, here are steps you can take to build one that stands the test of time — and outlives the latest fad in social media.

Develop a strategy and position

A strategy is the long-term plan you will use to develop a successful brand and ensure you’re reaching your objectives. When developing your brand strategy, consider these three elements:

1. Know yourself: Your brand is the foundation that informs all aspects of your business. Having a clear vision, mission and values will help inform why you do what you do and help you when questionable decisions arise.

Your vision statement is about long term. Where do you want to go? What impact do you want to make on the world?

Your mission, simply put, is what and why your brand exists. It should define who your customer is and what service or product you offer. Once you’ve determined your vision and mission, finalize your values.

Many entrepreneurs see a market need and breeze past creating values. Don’t make that mistake. Values align everyone to the same page — from hiring to customer acquisitions, creating efficiencies in culture and building trust between employees and customers.

Keep all of these things in mind — vision, mission and values — when building your brand as they will be utilized as the foundation blocks to creating a clear, cohesive brand that will build trust and ultimately profits.

2. Know your customer: Your customers are just as much why you exist as your product or service. By truly getting to know and care about your customer, you can create a relationship that invites them into the journey and empowers them to share your brand story with the same conviction as you.

Related: The Psychology of Color in Marketing and Branding

If you look at brands like Outdoor Voices, Warby Parker, and Fenty Beauty, all have a highly engaged audience. Their customers are their word-of-mouth champions, R&D and defenders against copycat products from new comers and incumbents. This is how great brands are created: for customers and with customers.

You can get to know your customer through traditional methods like focus groups and interviews. Tools like SurveyMonkey and Google Analytics are the digital versions that can provide quick feedback from target demographics. You…

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