Check out these six reasons why it might be time to update your brand and hire a professional, or start digging deep and doing the work yourself.
You have this business that you’ve worked on tirelessly for months, years, maybe even decades.
Clients are coming on. You’re booking work that you love. Everything seems to be running smoothly and you’re in a pretty good rhythm.
Except, something feels a little ‘off’ that you can’t quite put your finger on.
It’s hard to know when the time is right to hire outside help. Or, even when to DIY and pivot a little.
When it comes to branding your business, I don’t think there’s ever a perfect time when the cloud part and the sun shines through and all signs point to updating your brand. However, I do think there are a few key markers that often show up when it’s time to either bring in a professional or start digging deep and doing the work yourself.
You’re adamant that you serve ‘everyone’
Here’s the short answer: you don’t. When you think that you want to serve everyone and you attempt to create a brand around serving everyone, you talk to no one.
What does it really mean to try and serve everyone? Let’s say you are an operations strategist who helps small businesses. Your website has the promise statement of: Helping You Operate Your Business Effectively. You create an opt-in that’s titled: Five Strategies for Operating Your Business at High Efficiency. You join Facebook groups and pitch your services to anyone who asks for help with the way they run their business – anything from productivity to strategy to systems.
Now, what if you honed in on a specific niche as an operations strategist? You determine that your ideal client is a female entrepreneur who needs help setting up systems in their digital business. Your website now has the promise statement of: Let’s Create Efficient Systems For Your Digital Course. Your opt-in is titled: Five Systems You Need to Skyrocket Your Course Sales. You join Facebook groups and instead of wasting time answering any and every #opportunity post, you only keep your eye out for ones around systems and courses.
Do you see the difference?
My friends, when you’re clear on who you serve and really hone in on that niche, you’re better able to serve your audience. You’re better able to position yourself as the expert. And, you’re better able to market your business in ways that actually move the needle.
You aren’t clear on your brand’s strategy so everything is an experiment
When you’re just getting started, you need to throw spaghetti on the wall. As your business grows, however, you start to realize what’s working and what’s not. When you’re clear on your brand strategy (aka your communication plan) you have a base or foundation to always come back to.
When you don’t have a clear plan and strategy for your brand, you spend months, or even years, throwing spaghetti at the wall, with no more clarity than when you first started.
For example, let’s say you know your brand strategy foundation and you’re clear on brand positioning, your ideal client, your brand values and the transformation you provide. You’ve got a solid base to start from. Now, it’s time to experiment with the various marketing channels – does Instagram drive results? Or, maybe you test the waters on YouTube and see how video works. Or, maybe podcasting is your next experiment. You can even try different opt-ins or freebies to build your email list.
You aren’t done experimenting or trying new things – after all, we’re entrepreneurs and it’s our job to experiment and get curious. But what you DO have is a home base to come back to. You have a foundation in place that will help guide your efforts, so that you aren’t shooting in the dark.
You don’t have a visual style guide, so your brand visuals are all over the place
We’re visual people and the quickest way to create a recognizable brand is to be consistent with your visuals. I know, I know. It can be so much fun trying out new colors and fonts and styles. But it’s not doing your brand any favors.
Every touch point someone has with your brand provides an experience. As a business owner, you want that experience to be consistent because consistency builds trust. The way you uplevel your consistency game? Create visuals that all tell a similar story by using the same colors, fonts, photography editing style and graphic elements.
A style guide is your brand’s roadmap for creating visuals that are consistent. At a minimum, your style guide should include your brand’s logo variations, colors, patterns and fonts. I would also recommend included the photography style that your brand uses. What’s great about a style guide is that you can hand it off to a virtual assistant or designer and they can reference it when creating something for your brand. Whether it’s a website, brochure, Instagram graphic or powerpoint presentation, all your brand assets will have a consistent and cohesive look because they’re following your style guide.
You’re selling your expertise as a service but are no where to be found in your brand
In today’s saturated market, one of the best ways to differentiate yourself and your business is by making you more prominent. After all, you’re the expert, so why aren’t you showcasing yourself and your expertise?
Because you’re selling yourself and your brand, website visitors or social media followers shouldn’t have to dig through pages and posts to find you. Your expertise is valuable and you should be proud of the work that you’re doing – isn’t that why you started a business in the first place? So that you could share your expertise with those who need it.
Humans crave connection and the best way to connect with others is to show up as yourself. Think about it from the visitors perspective – if they go to your website and have a hard time finding you, or the website copy isn’t showcasing your personality, how quickly do you think they’ll connect with what you have to offer? And here’s what’s important to remember: you can showcase yourself and your personality while still looking professional. Personality doesn’t equal incompetence or inexperience.
Personality creates connection and connection builds trust. And, people do business with those they know, like and trust.
Your business has grown over the years but your brand hasn’t
If you’ve been operating for more than six months, it’s pretty likely that your business looks different than when you started. And my friends, that’s a good thing! Your business will change and pivot and evolve because you’re constantly learning, tweaking and experimenting.
The problem is that we put so much focus on our business that we forget to update our brand. While our brand strategy has intuitively changed and evolved with our business, being intentional about the way you’re communicating your brand is important.
I get it, you’re busy. And going back through to update your website, graphics, logo, colors, fonts… It can all be pretty overwhelming. But, the problem with putting off the brand update is that you’re still showing up like an early-stage business owner. There’s nothing wrong with that, but you’ve refined your offerings and your services. You deliver better results for your clients than you did on day one. Your brand should reflect that – your brand should showcase the amazing work that you’re doing.
You’re not excited to share your business online
You’re working your ass off to build this business. You go above and beyond for your clients, making sure they get amazing results. You’re absolutely in love with the work you’re doing.
But each time you hand out a business card or connect on LinkedIn, you add a little disclaimer, such as, “Oh my website is still in progress,” and you’ve been saying it for years. Or, you light up like a lightbulb when you’re talking about what you do, but then shy away when it’s time to exchange information or tell people where to find you online.
My friends, you deserve to be equally excited about the brand that you’re showing up for, as you are about the work that you’re doing. You’re putting time, energy and effort into this thing, day in and day out – why not make sure you’re loving not only the work but also the way it’s represented?
The funny thing about having a brand that you’re proud to share is that you start showing up differently. As a business owner, not only are you able to get behind the great work that you do, but you’re also confident in the way it’s represented and you have no problem showing it off to anyone and everyone.
It’s not always easy to know when the time is right to invest in your business, especially in your brand. It’s this often intangible, ambiguous entity that can seem daunting to take on.
Now, I know I am a little biased when it comes to the whole branding your business thing. But, I truly believe that a strong brand will help you achieve your version of success faster, easier and with more fun.
And who doesn’t want that?
All my best,
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