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Tanya Grant’s Visionary Approach to Business Branding
Written by: Howard Tillerman
Howard Tillerman is the Chief Marketing Officer for Step By Step Business and an award-winning marketing professional.
Published on November 23, 2023
Updated on November 30, 2023
In today’s rapidly evolving business landscape, standing out is not just an option; it’s a necessity. This is the mantra that Tanya Grant, a visionary brand specialist and the founder of TNG Designs, lives by. With a keen eye for what makes a brand tick and a heart for empowering businesses in the coaching space, Tanya has carved a unique niche in the world of branding. In our exclusive interview, we delve into the journey of TNG Designs, a company that has become synonymous with innovation, connection, and success in the realm of business branding.
As we navigate through the insights and experiences of Tanya Grant, we uncover the layers of passion, perseverance, and strategic thinking that define her approach to business branding. From the initial spark that ignited TNG Designs to the diverse challenges that shaped its path, Tanya shares her valuable perspectives on creating impactful brand identities. This interview is not just a story of a business’s growth; it’s a roadmap for aspiring entrepreneurs and a testament to the power of effective branding in building a successful enterprise.
Join us as we explore the world of TNG Designs, where creativity meets strategy and every brand’s potential is unlocked.
Inspiration Behind TNG Designs
SBS – What inspired you to start TNG Designs Group Limited, and how did you identify the niche you wanted to focus on?
Tanya – I’ve had the opportunity to work with some of London’s leading marketing agencies as a freelance graphic designer. However, at the beginning of my career, I often felt like a talented wallflower who got overlooked or even “looked through,” especially when sharing ideas that I knew were strong and should be taken seriously. Now don’t get me wrong, I’ve worked for some amazing brands, where yes, I’ve experienced some career-driven highs, but, sadly, it’s those demoralising lows where I’d find myself working in environments where their values didn’t resonate or align with my own, that really got me down.
For me, those moments, in particular, were frustrating and were the times where I struggled the most, but on the flip side, it was also those moments that made me realise something had to change and make what I did work better for myself. Cue me officially registering my business as it’s known today, The TNG Designs Group Limited.
Now whilst my whole business is a multi-disciplined entity, branding is my main focus that ties all of what I do together, and it’s equally how I help service-based entrepreneurs and business owners in the coaching space to stand out from their competition, make better connections, and build better brand reputations, so that they can get noticed more and ultimately win new business.
And I’ve chosen that group in particular because I was them, and they were me. I often come across so many coaches and service-based entrepreneurs who pour their energy into others but forget themselves. That’s something that I understand and empathise with, and it’s why I believe that it’s my mission to be able to help as many people as possible realise that they are more than what they see. And “Why?” you ask 🙂 Well, the minute I started realising it for myself was the minute I started to see real results.
SBS – As a new entrepreneur, what were the biggest challenges you faced in the early stages of your business, and how did you overcome them?
Tanya – So, fun fact, as much as I’d been working as a freelancing graphic designer for over 20 years, I didn’t actually recognise myself as having a proper business until 2019. And the difference for me up until that point was that I didn’t have a clear structure or understanding of what my brand was. That for me was challenging, and it wasn’t until I officially registered my business in that same year that I realised I had to go back to the drawing board and start again. And how did I overcome this? Again I’m glad you asked 😉 Well, I had to recognise some home truths.
One, in particular, was that the idea of “hitting and hoping” could no longer be my go-to strategy. Then I had to ask myself questions like, “If I’m not getting the results that I’m looking for, what needs to change in order for it to happen?” Not only that, but be ready to actually receive the answer too. Now this is a question that I still ask myself today, so I urge you to do the same. At that time, my answer came in the guise of asking for help from the right people for me, listening to the advice given, taking action when prompted, and, more importantly, showing up for myself too.
SBS – Could you describe the core services of TNG Designs Group Limited and how they cater to the needs of your clients?
Tanya – Aside from establishing where my client is in their branded phase journey and what guiding assets such as logos, printed promotional marketing materials or online strategies are needed, the core of what I do is all based around helping them discover their brand’s core message and build on the awareness of who they are. It’s what will help them to stand out as a sought-after expert in their industry and what they’ll need to build on a more reputable reputation for themselves too.
SBS – How did you identify and reach your target audience when you first started your business?
Tanya – First and foremost, I want to share this point with you, that yes, whilst we can work with everyone, you don’t have to and actually shouldn’t. Simply, your service is designed for a specific niche, so focus on that group. That’s something that I had to learn the hard way. I felt when I started out in business, even at the point of officially registering my business, I was supposed to help anyone and everyone, but the trap I fell into was that some, within that broad spectrum, were those who typically wanted the world for next to nothing. And the sad part is that coming from a place of service, I’d typically agree to work with them.
I quickly began learning that, that was actually working against me and taking me back to that place of frustration. So I stopped. I tapped into my brand’s core message and what I typically call my brand power of three as well as paid particular attention to my values. Because I did that, I didn’t just rely on word-of-mouth resources, I networked and showed up specifically in spaces that were congruent to me and my brand.
Business Growth Strategies
SBS – What strategies have you found most effective for growing your business and expanding your client base?
Tanya – You wouldn’t think so, but nurturing relationships is key for me and should be at the top of everyone’s growth strategy list, in my opinion. Whether digitally or in person, it’s paramount, and I believe there to be five areas in particular that should always be looked after.
The first four focus on the edges of business. They are a community (meaning your team and suppliers), clients, connections (meaning your peers or fellow professionals), and your competition. These all have the potential to be future collaborations or strategic partners that can help with your business growth. Whether you’re building or maintaining relationships here, look after these four groups so that the business growth you’re looking for can happen productively, efficiently and, of course, effectively.
As for the fifth type of relationship, this one sits at the centre of your business, and if it’s not nurtured, your business growth will quite simply be deficient and strained. Funnily enough, albeit quite obvious to see, this one that often gets missed out on the most. The fifth type is you. It’s your business, you are at the centre of it, and if you’re not looking after yourself, those focussed sides won’t be working well at all. Ask me how I know this 😉
Tools and Resources
SBS – What are some essential tools or resources that have been crucial in managing and scaling your business?
Tanya – In today’s day and age, there are so many tools or resources to help you on your way. You’ve got everything from using game-changing AI platforms to listening to a good audio business book like Start With Why by Simon Sinek to give you added inspiration for your productivity. Here are a few other essentials I’d recommend to help too:
- A heavy dose of resilience, tenacity, persistence, and patience in your back pocket
- Know your brand power of three
- Share your brand’s core message
- Use funnels for capturing details to help maintain your relationships
- Use booking and effective CRM systems to help automate your day for better productivity
Advice for Aspiring Entrepreneurs
SBS – Based on your experience, what advice would you give to someone looking to start a business in the branding or design industry?
Tanya – Firstly, I’d say — go for it. Secondly, I’d say go for it but have that healthy dose of what I shared as number one in my essentials list above, too, because the bottom line in business is it’s not all rainbows and roses, so you’re going to need those items mentioned any time your business tries to really “test you.”
For example, I know that you’re going to start your business with your best intentions in mind and will perhaps have an ABC list of ideas as to how it’s all going to work for you, but know that that’s not always going to be the case and won’t be so straightforward.
When you have resilience, tenacity, persistence, and patience in your back pocket, you’ll be more open to accepting constructive feedback when things either go wrong or don’t work out the way you want them to. You’ll also be OK to not only let those moments go sooner but be able to learn from them and move onto a strategy that is better for you too.
Adapting to Market Changes
SBS – How do you stay adaptable and responsive to changes in market trends and client needs?
Tanya – For me, it’s all about:
- LISTENING to the topical issues happening of the time because, more often than not, it’ll show up in the design world. For example, climate change and particularly racial injustices have had a huge influence on the idea of sustainability and or inclusivity, as well as how those subjects then get represented in marketing collateral as well as other supported branded messaging
- LEARNING from those in the industry, including my peers and other similar businesses whom I’m connected with online is another way I stay ahead of the game. It’s useful to see what others are up to and to find out about what’s trending to stay updated with what’s equally going on in the market
- LEVERAGING from other brands who align with my values. This is something that actually ties back into the LISTENING point, too. The key here, though, is to always keep this relevant and purposeful and only use this to resonate with topics that again align with your values
SBS – How do you measure success in your business, and what have been your most significant achievements?
Tanya – Success for me covers many things, and, yes, money is on my list, but it’s actually not high on my list at all. For me, it actually comes down to measuring how well I’ve looked after those five types of relationships I previously mentioned first.
That being said, number one for me is my well-being and how much I have actually looked after me, which also includes being able to have uninterrupted quality time with loved ones, too. Coming back to the business relationships, next comes my community and clients, and on a scale of 1–10, how happy are they? This is followed by my connections as well as competition and how well I’ve kept up to date with them too. Tasks completed, projects launched successfully, and how many purposeful conversations I’ve had are also tracked.
These, for me, take priority on my success metric simply because if these numbers aren’t high, then it’ll have a knock-on effect on productivity and, eventually, sales, too. They all work hand in hand.
SBS – What are your future plans for TNG Designs? Are there new services or expansions you are aiming for?
Tanya – Aside from helping others to realise that they are more than what they see, I’m a huge advocate for why representation matters because it annoys the hell out of me to see that even in today’s advanced world, particularly in the UK, seeing a black female entrepreneurial leader like me, is still viewed as being an anomaly and not the norm. And that’s just my sector. I’ve worked with so many others whose representation matters too, but they’re just not being seen enough to help change the narrative.
Not only do I see TNG Branding going on with my mission, I see myself on talk shows, and interview panels that will help for this cause to not only remain in the conversation but for positive action and progress to be had too.
Also, stand by for two books too!
Essence of Effective Branding
SBS – In your opinion, what are the key elements that constitute effective branding for a new business?
Tanya – For effective branding to happen, the brand power of three, which is also known as the brand’s vision, purpose, and values, must be established first to ensure a core message is shared that is congruent with the brand’s belief to help build the awareness of the business in the right way.
Common Branding Mistakes
SBS – What are some common branding mistakes you see new businesses make, and how can they be avoided?
- Being seen to be cutting corners when it comes to addressing what a brand is is where new businesses typically fall short. So, branding 101 — know that your brand is not just your logo, or your marketing material, or your website. It’s way more than that, and your clients should know that too
- Branding is not a quick-fix kind of thing — it’s for the long haul, so investing in the time is really important for the growth of your business
- Social media is not your only resource for building on the awareness of who you are. You have so many offline strategies at your disposal, too, so utilise them, niche, and build on your relationships to help build on your awareness too
Branding on a Budget
SBS – For startups with limited budgets, what are your top tips for effective branding without breaking the bank?
Tanya – Whether it be time or money, when you start a business of any kind, an investment will need to be made.
Working on your brand power of three is something that everyone can get started with and not feel like they have to break the bank to do so. I have a few YouTube videos that can help you get started with this. Simply search for The TNG Designs Group Limited, and away you go. Other useful resources for you are platforms like Canva and Inshot. They’re both easy to get to grips with and will help get you up and running until you’re ready to level up even further.
Evolving Brand Strategies
SBS – How important is it for a brand to evolve over time, and what are some strategies for ensuring a brand remains relevant and engaging?
Tanya – I believe it to be highly important. When you not only evolve over time but equally evolve with the times, it helps your audience to see that you’re remaining current and understand the challenges of the current climate. It helps them to know that you get them, and with that, it’ll be something they pay attention to, and they’ll be intrigued to want to find out more about you.
Earlier, I mentioned the three specific Ls (listen, learn, and leverage). Go back and read what I said about them, as these are also contributing factors that will help a brand to evolve, stay relevant, and engaging, too.
Tanya Grant’s Visionary Approach to Business Branding
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