It’s something that we’ve been through a number of times. As branding agency we’re trusted to develop the customer-facing identity of new businesses. We do this based on a mix of careful investigation into the client’s business (their service, their customers, their business model) and our own past experience. We go ahead and develop concepts – color palettes, imagery, typography – to appeal to and then convert the target audience only to have the main decision maker tell us: *I* don’t like it.

Branding agency color swatch palette

Personal Tastes vs Brand Needs

While this is more common in small and medium businesses where there’s a singular person with a controlling, dominating vision, it can sometimes happen with a committee too. Through self-reflection we will assign some of the blame to ourselves as a agency for not communicating well enough what we’re trying to achieve (and I’m going to explain in a moment), but sometimes a client isn’t as involved as we’d like them to be or isn’t able to wrap their heads around this particular concept. Your business’s branding is not a representation of your own personal tastes. Instead it’s a carefully crafted marketing tool designed to convince your ideal customer that you’re the one. It means, in all cases but the most extreme cases of a “personal brand”, we’re catering to them, not catering to you.

The way your business is presented to the world has to represent your business’s values, your offering, and your way of interacting with customers. The visual elements (the colors, the typography, the imagery) and the interactional elements (how you speak/write, the impression you give off) has to appeal to your customer’s tastes, not your own. Keep that in mind at every stage of the review process!



Stuart S.

Stuart is Technical Director and Managing Director at Waqa Studios.