Hard truth: Not everyone is going to like your branding.
Does that make you uncomfortable? Is your goal to appeal to the masses with your branding? Are you casting a wide, safe, non-controversial net so that you don't turn off any potential clients?
If so, I'm here to tell you that you're doing it wrong.
The reality is: targeting your brand to "everyone" is ineffective. If you're trying to appeal to the masses with your visual brand, you'll end up with branding that's so vanilla, vague, and basic that it won't truly resonate or connect with anyone.
It's like the G-rated version of a really juicy story. It's fine (yawn)...but what you're REALLY interested in is the full-fledged, unadulterated, unrated version. That's the story that's going to capture attention, ignite opinions, and win over passionate fans. That’s the story people are going to want to hear.
Remember that "everyone" is NOT a target market. (By definition it’s the polar opposite.) The only way to develop a brand with a strong personality and point of view is to zero in on exactly who you're talking to. When you speak your ideal customers’ language, you can feel confident that your followers will "get" you—enabling you to be much more creative with your collateral and way less concerned about turning people off.
Niching down and proactively targeting a specific subset of people is the key to connecting with your dream clientele!
Let's take Absolute JEM for example. I am fully aware that not everyone is going to swoon when they see my girly pink, teal, and lime green color palette. I understand that my sassy humor may make some people roll their eyes. I get that what's trending in the design world is the more serious, minimalist, neutral, and sophisticated brand style...
But you know what? That's flat out not me—nor is it my ideal client avatar. I'm looking for people who aren't afraid to inject some bold personality into their branding! Since I'm hoping to attract clients that are fearless when it comes to bold branding, I need to embrace that style and message myself. And I need to be okay with turning off people who don’t vibe with me.
When going against the grain, it's easy to play the comparison game in our businesses. It's natural to feel doubt creep in about your own brand identity from time to time...but you can't let it deter you.
Actually, I think brand "doubt" is a good sign! It means you're different.️ You're not following the cookie-cutter template of what everyone else in your industry is doing. And that's a FANTASTIC thing.
Most markets are so saturated that differentiating your branding is essential. The fact that you're putting your own unique, fresh spin on things can often lead to a sense of uncertainty—but ultimately, it's going to be the very thing that sets you apart.
Your incomparable presence is what will attract and win over your ideal clients. Following the "trends", trying to fit in, or trying to appeal to everyone isn't going to do you any favors!
So embrace what makes you YOU. Be confident in your brand identity and voice, and speak directly to your one-of-a-kind ideal clients. THIS is what will ultimately attract your tribe.
(And isn't the permission to not have to appeal to everyone refreshing?)