As your business grows, evolves, and changes throughout the seasons, the people you work with, the audience you serve, the way you show up for your clients and customers, and even the nature of your offers may change as well. Enter: the rebrand.
I was a part of an accountability mastermind earlier this year that focused on strategic planning for your business, setting goals, creating repeatable processes, and focusing on workflows for social media, visibility, hiring, and more.
In this group (which was an AMAZING group of stellar businesswomen–who became my good friends), we talked through how planning for your business should be broken up into quarters, and while we as small business owners with moving pieces to our business and few contractors/employees who work for us can plan several quarters out, creating big goals for 12+ months in advance of where we are now is often not feasible because the moving pieces of our business end up moving SO much in the quarters leading up to that large chunk of goal planning time.
In the same way, the seasons of business cannot always be banked on to provide the same kind of vision, mission, ideal audience, signature offers, or ways of providing our offers because our seasons of life ebb and flow.
We can make ourselves crazy with the amount of business planning we do before we ‘launch’, we can put down on paper exactly who we want to work with and how we will help them get results, and we can look to the future to pan out how we planned it out in Trello or our pretty paper planners, but until we take action and work with people in the real world, we may not be able to predict exactly the direction our business will take us.
But how do you know if your business is ready (or past due) for a rebrand? How do you know when your visuals or messaging aren’t sufficient or relevant… if your brand needs an entire overhaul?
YOUR VISION FOR THE BUSINESS HAS NARROWED
If you’ve been in business for any number of years, your vision may have started out broad and full. You may have been uncertain about your focus and instead started out with an attitude of “we’ll see how this goes” and giving it your best shot. This was me (so if this was also you, you’re in good company) and I learned by taking action. I learned after each client project and experience what worked and what didn’t work. I confess I didn’t take action and refine as much in the early years as I should have, but I don’t look back with regret: I look back and recognize the season of myself as a business owner and also what served my family.
But if you are in a place of analyzing the processes in your business, how you work with clients, and ultimately the best way to get people results + the best people to work for those results, you’ll have the data to narrow your vision appropriately. A narrowed vision means a narrow target audience base OR a narrow offering — either way. So if this has happened to you, it might mean that your current visuals (you know, logo, colors, fonts, etc.) aren’t meeting the needs of your next step.
For example, you might need a more professional, timeless look instead of the DIY watercolor with calligraphy script you chose in the beginning–and there’s nothing wrong with the beginning; it is simply the place of origin and you evolve from there.
THE VALUE YOU OFFER IS NOT OBVIOUS
Your brand visuals and messaging play a HUGE role in how your business is perceived by the public. The above mentioned DIY watercolor with calligraphy brand looks handmade and overdone, when you view it in the vast sea of other DIY brands. It was trendy and popular but if your audience doesn’t resonate with that look, they may feel like your offer is not worth the value of the investment.
This is your business’s value proposition, how your audience perceives your worth. Your audience can perceive your brand a low-end or high-end, stock or custom, automated or high-touch. And each of these brand pieces (visuals, web presence, and copy) either adds to or takes away from what you actually WANT your audience to think. There is no neutral content.
Do you find yourself constantly explaining yourself to potential clients? Do you often have to try to convince them why you are the one to book and why you are worth the investment you charge? This could be because the value of your business is not built into the visuals and messaging of your brand. What you do, who you do it for, the problem you solve, and the solution you provide are not spelled out in a way that displays to your audience that your brand is different–and that they can find a valuable, helpful solution in what YOU offer.
YOU AVOID SHARING YOUR BUSINESS – THE EXCITEMENT IS GONE
Embarrassment. Silly shame. Avoidance.
These are all emotions that stem from feeling like your website, your branding, and your messaging are all less-than. Maybe you even avoid sending people to your site – or creating new content to market and get them there – because you’re no longer excited for what people will find. You aren’t excited or proud of what your brand is because the message it shares no longer fits the puzzle piece of what your vision has narrowed to. It no longer acts as a salesman for what you’re doing. It no longer acts as an invitation to the right thing.
A rebrand isn’t something anyone ever plans for. And not all will have to go through a total rebranding; some only needs tweaks to update visuals and new compelling copy. There are certainly levels to the topic of rebranding based on how your business has changed–or how your audience has changed.
But as a small business owner in the sea of the internet, you can be aware that the possibility could present itself at some point in your business future. And by knowing these signs and using them strategically as a rubric to measure the necessity (instead of it being an emotion-filled desire because you feel like change), you’ll be able to choose the right designer + writer for your business, go through the rebrand process smoothly and with heart, and make the changes that will move your brand forward in the eyes of your audience because it will simply be in the best interest of your brand, yourself, and the people you serve.