Have you ever struggled to understand your client’s business before submitting a scope of work or quote template? You have a general idea of what they do, sure… but you can’t really wrap your head around what makes them unique, or how you are going to communicate that in an awesome brand identity.
As a creative freelancer, you know how to deliver a great product, but you’re no mind reader! They’re not necessarily a difficult client, but you’re just struggling to find clarity. It’s completely reasonable to want to know a little bit more about your client’s business, its motivations, its positioning and its underlying personality before tackling a branding project.
There’s good news: creating a branding questionnaire for your customers is going to make your job a whole lot easier because it takes the guesswork out of what your client expects.
At Bonsai, we’re dedicated to giving you all the information and tools you need to set yourself up for success - so let us show you why creating a branding questionnaire for clients is a great idea, and how you can come up with one that works.
As any designer or marketing freelancer knows, your brand is a lot more than your brand name. As Forbes explains, your brand is everything that differentiates you from your competitors, including all the feelings and benefits people associate with your services.
Your brand is also a lot more than your visual identity. It’s not just a logo, a color scheme or even a catchy tagline. A good brand identity also requires you to think about things like your communication strategy, tone of voice, values and other non-visual considerations.
Whether you’re helping your client come up with a logo, a website or a messaging strategy, you need to make sure all these elements of your client’s brand will work together in perfect harmony. But first, you need to know what those elements are -- and the best way to find that out is to ask questions about your client’s brand with a branding questionnaire.
A brand questionnaire is a series of questions that guide a branding project, whether it’s for a new business or a rebranding project. They are commonly used by graphic designers, web designers, and other freelancers in the branding or marketing industries to get a better sense of their clients’ wants and needs before diving in.
Branding questionnaires encourage your clients to really think about who they are as a business and how they want to communicate that through their brand. The longer they are, the better, as the more questions your client answers the better sense they - and you - can get of what they want out of the branding (or rebranding) project.
(PS: Have you ever wondered if you’re charging enough for your branding services? Bonsai’s database of freelance rates is here to guide you.)
You could just create a brand identity on a whim, choosing colors that you like and values that you think will appeal to your client and their audience, but that’s not a very strategic approach, and chances are the brand won’t work for your client down the road. Instead of going in blind, you need to research what’s actually going to work for your client, their business and their dream clients.
A branding questionnaire for customers is a great way to gather all that information (and this is key) from your client’s perspective. Sure, you could read up on the business and make your own decisions about whether it’s more masculine or feminine, more serious or laid back, or more edgy or classic -- but that’s not necessarily going to reflect what your client thinks of their own brand.
With Bonsai, you can easily integrate your branding questionnaire of choice into a proposal, and quickly send it to your client.
To start, just click on "send a proposal" from your dashboard.
Next up, choose your client and project (or create both), and click on "create proposal".
Once done, you'll be in the editing phase of your proposal, where you can set up customer and personal details, or add a background and custom logo to show your professionalism.
When done, scroll down and you'll reach the custom section of the proposal. Here, the magic happens. You can adjust the sections as needed, rename them, delete them, and add them back.
Feel free to integrate your branding questionnaire with the rest of the proposal, or just send the branding questionnaire.
Either way, as soon as you're done, click on "send proposal" and wait to hear back from your new client. Easy, right? Give it a try for yourself by signing up to a free trial of Bonsai.
A branding questionnaire will help you get inside your client’s head, understand your client’s needs, and ensure from the start that you’re making branding decisions - from color choices to iconography - that they’re going to love. You can even build that information into a creative brief to make sure you’re both on the same page.
Okay, you’re convinced. You know that a branding questionnaire is going to help you really get to the bottom of what your client wants, how they perceive their brand, and how you can communicate that in their new brand identity. But what questions should you ask?
We’re glad you asked.
These brand identity survey questions are a great starting point to uncovering the answers you need. Be sure to expand on them depending on your client, their industry and the nature of the branding project -- and encourage your client to add their own questions and answers if they’re feeling inspired!
Here are a few questions to get you started. Our full questionnaire for clients is ready to download right below!
Questions about their business in general
Questions about their motivations
Questions about their inspirations and competitors
Questions about their target customers or audiences
Absolutely! Brand identities aren’t just reserved for big corporations. Having a solid brand identity is one of the most important things you can do as a business owner, whether you’re a freelancer or the CEO of a multinational company. After all, your brand identity is what sets you apart. It’s what makes people actually want to work with you, not the guy down the road doing the exact same thing for half the price.
Coming up with your brand identity asks you to really dig deep into your motivations for starting your freelance business, your goals, and the value you provide. It can take time and some serious commitment, but it can also be a really fun process - and it’s necessary if you want to set your freelance business up for success.
So, even as a freelancer, it’s important to have a brand identity that communicates what makes you unique and worthy of someone’s time.
That’s part of the reason why Bonsai’s freelance proposal tool, freelance invoice tool, freelance contract tool, and more allow you to apply your brand identity to your proposals, invoices, contracts and more -- because we know how important it is for you to deliver a consistent and professional-looking front to your clients.
If you work alone, your business’ brand and your personal brand are probably one and the same. Your personal brand is your public image, or the way you present yourself to others. As this article explains, people would rather work with other people rather than a fancy corporate logo. That’s why it’s important that, even as a single freelancer, you identify what makes you you, and why people should work with you.
When it comes to creating your personal brand, it’s important to think about what drives you, what unique value you bring, and how you present yourself online and offline. Use these four simple questions (taken from this Entrepreneur.com article) as a starting point:
The brand questionnaire is a series of questions that you can also use to guide your own brand identity creation. You might need to use one if you’re branding your new business, or if you’re rebranding.
It's a great first step because it answers all those questions you have about what makes you valuable - and, once you know those things, it’s going to make it a lot easier for you to:
Knowing your brand identity is also going to make writing freelance proposals a lot easier, because you already know what makes you stand out and how to communicate that to other people. Knowing this is one of the key first steps to making a great business proposal.
That depends on the questions you ask, but generally there should be a good mix of people involved in helping you with your brand questionnaire. Ask yourself some questions - there are going to be some questions that only you (and possibly your team) can answer: questions that prompt you to think about the values that underlie your brand, or your goals and objectives.
If you do decide to complete your own brand strategy questionnaire to create a brand identity for your freelance business, try to start by asking yourself the questions in the above sample brand questionnaire. If you have a team or other freelancers who help you with your business, be sure to get their input as well.
To really make sure your brand identity is going to work for your business and attract the kind of people you want to work with, consider reaching out to your clients or customers and asking them some questions too.
For example, ask them about the feelings or values they associate with your business or why they chose to work with you instead of your competitors. You can also ask them whether they like the tools you use to send your freelance invoice, or whether they think you’re delivering good value for the price you’re charging.
You may not think that things like your freelancing rates fall under branding, but they do. If clients think you’re charging too much (or not charging enough) it probably has less to do with your skills and value and more to do with the way you present yourself.
(PS: If you’re wondering what tools you should be using, check out Bonsai’s stack of best freelance tools; or, if you’re wondering which rates you should be charging, we also have a database of freelance rates to guide designers, developers and marketers.)
No clients yet? No problem - if you’re just starting off and don’t have any customers yet, you can still make sure you involve your future clients in your branding questionnaire. Ask yourself questions about your ideal customers - things like “what pain points am I trying to solve for them”, or “why would they choose me instead of another freelancer”.
Ready to dig deep and figure out your own brand identity? Here are some brand identity survey questions that you can use as part of your branding questionnaire.
Questions to ask yourself (and your team):
Questions to ask your clients:
If you'd like to get your on hands on our full questionnaire to help with your branding, download it right below.
A good brand questionnaire should be personalized to you, your services and the people you serve. So, take your time and explore a variety of questions to make sure you cover everything you need.
Congrats! Now that you know the importance of sending a brand strategy questionnaire to your clients (and how to create one that really taps into the information you need), you’re one step closer to delivering an amazing experience and stellar brand identity to your client.
Make sure that client experience continues to be great by accurately tracking your time and expenses and invoicing your clients professionally. Don’t forget that your brand identity should be translated into everything that you do - from your business proposals down to your invoices. You should also consider your brand identity when you write a marketing contract.
Bonsai’s user-friendly tools can help you easily apply your branding to all your business documents. Sign up for a free trial today!
A verbal contract (formally called an oral contract) refers to an agreement between two parties that's made —you guessed it— verbally.
Formal contracts, like those between an employee and an employer, are typically written down. However, some professional transactions take place based on verbally agreed terms.
Freelancers are a good example of this. Often, freelancers will take on projects having agreed on the terms and payment via the phone, or an email. Unfortunately, sometimes clients don't pull through on their agreements, and hardworking freelancers can find themselves out of pocket and wondering whether a legal battle is worth all the hassle.
The main differences between written and oral contracts are that the former is signed and documented, whereas the latter is solely attributed to verbal communication.
Verbal contracts are a bit of a gray area for most people unfamiliar with contract law —which is most of us, right?— due to the fact that there's no physical evidence to support the claims made by the implemented parties.
For any contract (written or verbal) to be binding, there are four major elements which need to be in place. The crucial elements of a contract are as follows:
Therefore, an oral agreement has legal validity if all of these elements are present. However, verbal contracts can be difficult to enforce in a court of law. In the next section, we take a look at how oral agreements hold up in court.
Most business professionals are wary of entering into contracts orally because they can difficult to enforce in the face of the law.
If an oral contract is brought in front of a court of law, there is increased risk of one party (or both!) lying about the initial terms of the agreement. This is problematic for the court, as there's no unbiased way to conclude the case; often, this will result in the case being disregarded. Moreover, it can be difficult to outline contract defects if it's not in writing.
That being said, there are plenty of situations where enforceable contracts do not need to be written or spoken, they're simply implied. For instance, when you buy milk from a store, you give something in exchange for something else and enter into an implied contract, in this case - money is exchanged for goods.
There are some types of contracts which must be in writing.
The Statute of Frauds is a legal statute which states that certain kinds of contracts must be executed in writing and signed by the parties involved. The Statute of Frauds has been adopted in almost all U.S states, and requires a written contract for the following purposes:
Typically, a court of law won't enforce an oral agreement in any of these circumstances under the statute. Instead, a written document is required to make the contract enforceable.
Contract law is generally doesn't favor contracts agreed upon verbally. A verbal agreement is difficult to prove, and can be used by those intent on committing fraud. For that reason, it's always best to put any agreements in writing and ensure all parties have fully understood and consented to signing.
Verbal agreements can be proven with actions in the absence of physical documentation. Any oral promise to provide the sale of goods or perform a service that you agreed to counts as a valid contract. So, when facing a court of law, what evidence can you provide to enforce a verbal agreement?
Unfortunately, without solid proof, it may be difficult to convince a court of the legality of an oral contract. Without witnesses to testify to the oral agreement taking place or other forms of evidence, oral contracts won't stand up in court. Instead, it becomes a matter of "he-said-she-said" - which legal professionals definitely don't have time for!
If you were to enter into a verbal contract, it's recommended to follow up with an email or a letter confirming the offer, the terms of the agreement , and payment conditions. The more you can document the elements of a contract, the better your chances of legally enforcing a oral contract.
Another option is to make a recording of the conversation where the agreement is verbalized. This can be used to support your claims in the absence of a written agreement. However, it's always best to gain the permission of the other involved parties before hitting record.
Fundamentally, most verbal agreements are legally valid as long as they meet all the requirements for a contract. However, if you were to go to court over one party not fulfilling the terms of the contract, proving that the interaction took place can be extremely taxing.
So, ultimately, the question is: written or verbal agreements?
Any good lawyer, contract law firm, or legal professional would advise you to make sure you formalize any professional agreement with a written agreement. Written contracts provide a secure testament to the conditions that were agreed and signed by the two parties involved. If it comes to it, a physical contract is much easier to eviden in legal circumstances.
Freelancers, in particular, should be aware of the extra security that digital contracts may provide. Many people choose to stick to executing contracts verbally because they're not sure how to write a contract, or they think writing out the contract terms is too complicated or requires expensive legal advice. However, this is no longer the case.
Today, we have a world of resources available at our fingertips. The internet is a treasure trove of invaluable information, platforms, and software that simplifies our lives. Creating, signing, and sending contracts has never been easier. What's more, you don't have to rely on a hiring a lawyer to explain all that legal jargon anymore.
There are plenty of tools available online for freelancers to use for guidance when drafting digital contracts. Tools like Bonsai provide a range of customizable, vetted contract templates for all kinds of freelance professionals. No matter what industry you're operating in, Bonsai has a professional template to offer.
A written contract makes the agreement much easier to prove the terms of the agreement in case something were to go awry. The two parties involved can rest assured that they're legal rights are protected, and the terms of the contract are sufficiently documented. Plus, it provides both parties with peace of mind to focus on the tasks at hand.
Bonsai's product suite for freelancers allows users to make contracts from scratch, or using professional templates, and sign them using an online signature maker.
With Bonsai, you can streamline and automate all of the boring back-office tasks that come with being a freelancer. From creating proposals that clients can't say no to, to sealing the deal with a professional contract - Bonsai will revolutionize the way you do business as a freelancer.
Why not secure your business today and sign up for a free trial?