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Why I Became Strategic Brand Designer

Often when small business owners start a business, they DIY their logo. They don’t realize the value or necessity of a brand strategy and full brand identity system.

It’s tempting to think hiring out a high school student to “just design a logo” is enough to carry us through. But it lacks foresight, visionary planning and a solid foundation. All of which are needed for a sustainable and scalable business. Nobody starts their business with a plan to fail.

Sharai Viapiana sitting down - brand strategist, brand designer, website designer for small businesses
I’ve been a professional graphic designer, developer and marketer for over 10 years.

My story

At 12 years old, I accidentally fell in love with graphic and web design. I taught myself the ropes and climbed my way to a degree and corporate position. I’ve been fortunate in that it’s always been my passion. But I didn’t discover the power of a strategic brand design until a few years ago.

I loved the work that I did. (Isn’t that every entrepreneur who starts out?) But the process, the type of clients and the client-driven results did not align with my values or vision.

My experience with clients led me to stress and frustration. Time and time again I over delivered, I was underpaid and undervalued. When I finally decided something needed to change, I realized it was time to give up my side hustle or get intentional in my own brand.

Strategic design attracts the right audience

I took time to approach my brand through a lens of strategy. I clarified who I want to serve, my brand values and what I want my brand to convey. It meant strategizing my brand heart, brand voice and brand style.

In other words—my brand’s personality, messaging and aesthetic.

When I stopped working in my business to work on my business, things started to change. After launching this new strategic approach, I landed a new client without any pushy sales tactics. Without follow up. I simply showed up as me and asked questions.

And I properly priced the value and transformation I knew I could deliver.

Strategic design inspires confidences

I’ve seen first hand how strategic design transforms and inspires confidences.

My first client for brand strategy was blown away. She walked away transformed personally and in her business. All because I took the time to dig deep. We uncovered her goals and more importantly her heart. I translated that into a brand strategy and a comprehensive brand identity that reflected the core of who she is and where she wanted her business to be.

She didn’t just walk away with a logo, font collection, colour palette and patterns. She walked away with a new-found confidence. Clarity. A clear direction so she knows exactly what is worth saying “Yes!” to and what she should push aside. It gave her permission to be wholly herself and the insight in knowing who her people are.

Strategic design accelerates your business growth

I’ve seen my clients’ success explode because their branding aligns with their vision, values and target audience.

This isn’t an experience that is unique. Because strategy is the foundation, business goals are at the heart of the design process.

Questions like: What are you trying to achieve? Do you want to raise your prices? Have your branding reflect your premium services? Do you want to differentiate yourself? Grow your audience?

Your dreams and your goals are unique and that is why a strategic design process is essential to translating your unique value and essence into a brand that connects, compels and converts.

Strategy-first design empower us to show up as ourselves

The best part of my own journey applying strategy to my brand? I have been completely myself.

Our greatest weapon is our story. We don’t have to play the part. Show up as your genuine, authentic self and your people are drawn to you. You have a unique combination of experiences and expertise that no one else can replicate. Tell your story and people will be captivated by you, which translates to trust in your business.

Brand strategy also helps uncover your brand personality. Your brand personality often interconnects with your own personality. As an entrepreneur, whether you take advantage of the influence or not, you are the face and voice of the brand. Own it. Leverage it.

When you are clear on who you are, who you serve and how you live it out then your brand will feel like an extension of yourself.

When you feel comfortable in your own skin and in your brand, you show up authentically. Authenticity is refreshing and attractive to your audience in the online world of curated feeds. And better yet, it’s natural and effortless so you avoid serious burn out.

Strategy-led design means you attract clients.

The market is saturated. New businesses and ventures are started every day. When strategy is at the core of any brand identity or rebrand, your brand is positioned at the perfect intersection to stand out.

Your business is placed strategically in a market gap to attract the right audience with the right offer with the right messaging. It’s an intentional positioning that is needed. Because a Walmart in SOHO or a GUCCI in Disney World just falls flat. Not because the offer isn’t right or the brand isn’t strong but because the positioning is way off.

Is your brand working against you?

With any level of success, your brand can start to hold you back.

Apply to work together and together we can take your brand to the next level.

Picture of Sharai Viapiana

Sharai Viapiana

As founder of Sozo Media, Sharai helps entrepreneurs strategize their brand heart + voice + style so that they can develop a money-making brand.
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