Your Brand Will Change & Evolve
I’ve been wanting to tackle this topic for a while, because I believe it’s something that’s often rooted in the fear around investing in a graphic designer or brand specialist. And that’s completely understandable, so let me explain.
What I want to address here is really about giving ourselves permission to let our brands evolve as we do. We are always learning, changing how we do business and experiencing different things. And this totally translates into our brands, particularly for us solopreneurs.
If you’re a few years into your business, think about who you were when you began. Think about the things you focused on in your business, what you did day-to-day and how you worked with others. Has that changed over the years? I would hope so!
We should be regularly checking in with our brands to figure out what’s working, what’s not working, what we love doing and what we don’t love doing.
When I began Function I was focused on doing ALL OF THE THINGS.
Email lists? YES!
Sales funnels? I GUESS SO!
One-off tasks that I knew I was totally undercharging for? OF COURSE!
I was certainly a YES person (still something I actively work on) and what I learned over the course of letting my business evolve is that I’m actually a better designer and more of service to my clients when I stop saying yes to every single thing. It gives me the breathing room to do the things I value most in life like being creative and nurturing self-care. And that my friends ultimately makes me feel like a better human and a better business owner.
After a year of diving into full-time entrepreneurship, I took some time to really dig deep and brainstorm what my brand was all about.
I took a peek into my SOUL and thought about what’s important not only for my clients, but what’s most important in my LIFE. Sounds intense right? It was! And it was also by far the best reflection I’ve done so far for my business.
So let’s talk about how you can check in with your own brand and let it evolve naturally:
WHAT ABOUT YOUR BUSINESS LIGHTS YOU UP?
First, figure out what you love diving into.
What can you lose track of time doing when it comes to your business?
Discover the things that are currently working very well for you. Make a list of your business passions and strengths and check in with your “why?” - why did you create a business in the first place? Are you still aligning yourself to those reasons?
Take this task now over to your services, packages or products. What do you sell that you absolutely LOVE providing?
Really simple here, friends - just create a list or write freely the answers and feelings that come to you during that brainstorm.
WHAT DO YOU TOTALLY DREAD DOING?
You know when you procrastinate something and you’re not really sure why? Maybe it’s because you actually really don’t enjoy that task. At least that’s usually the case over here.
As a business owner, it’s totally ok to say “Wow... I hate doing my bookkeeping,” or “I simply cannot stand to write another blog post.”
Once you’ve identified those constricting tasks, it’s a matter of sorting out what you do about about them (because chances are, they’re still things you need to get done).
This might be a good time to make a list of dreaded tasks in your business and assess whether these tasks can be outsourced.
Are you in a position to now consider bringing someone on as an assistant (part time or virtually)? Can you find a professional for some tasks, like an accountant to take care of the numbers?
If you aren’t in a position to outsource right now, then figure out a process or best practice to make these things more manageable for you. For example, right now I set aside 30 minutes every Friday to sit down and get my accounting donezo. I don’t love it, but it’s necessary and I try to streamline that as best as I can to relieve the mental energy I put towards it!
Now move onto your services, packages or products. Which ones drain your energy? Are you charging enough to make that part more bearable?
SWITCH UP YOUR PACKAGES OR SERVICES
Once you have a good idea about what you love doing and what you don’t love doing, take some time to figure out whether it’s a good idea to switch up your packages, prices, timelines or work processes.
If you’ve realized that you really don’t enjoy some of the ways you work with people, do you have to offer those things? Probably not since you’re the boss!
Take the driver’s seat and assess what packages or products are your most popular. Which provide the best value? Which do you love offering most? Then streamline, streamline, streamline.
Not only does this streamlining process clear up energy and time, but it also helps clarify your specialities to your audience. Sometimes less really is more.
CHECK IN WITH THE VISUALS
As our brands evolve, we may change directions, focuses or even entire audiences. Make time to check in with the visuals of your brand to ensure everything is still cohesive and representing your business in the best and clearest way possible.
(RE)DETERMINE YOUR BRAND VALUES
Once your brand has had time to grow and change, it’s a good idea to check in with brand values. These are different from brand tones.
I speak often about brand tones, which are the vibes in your business and the approach you take in communicating with your community. For example, your brand tones might be: feminine, friendly and vibrant. Or perhaps your brand tones are: professional, trustworthy and reliable.
Brand values, on the other hand, are the things that are most important to you in your business.
Do you value transparency, client long-term relationships and flexibility in your schedule? Maybe your values are more rooted in being impactful, serving others and living with intention.
My own business values for Function: creativity, ease, self-care and flexibility. I want my business to allow me the ability to create things (whether that’s art, crafts or designs), while focusing on communicating the importance of self-care and flexibility in my business and in my life.
The reason I wanted to address this idea of letting your brand evolve is because when potential clients come to me needing a brand designed, they are typically in one of two situations:
1) They’re JUST starting their business and they need the pieces to make it look professional and legitimate, OR
2) They’ve been at it for a little while, DIY-ed (or have cheaply done) their brand designing at the beginning and are now ready to level-up and work through a solid branding process.
No matter what point you’re at in your business, it’s important to remember that your brand is not something that is set-it-and-forget-it.
Nothing is ever set in stone.
Things in your business will change. It’s inevitable, because YOU will continue to change. (click to Tweet!)
Understanding that brands evolve is a big part of my own creative process with clients. I always want to consider the way a brand will change and grow as I design the visual identity for any business - particularly if you’re just getting started.
My process with anyone who is a new business owner is to get super clear on what their brand is about right now and to try to understand how it might grow in the future.
As you continue on the road of entrepreneurship/being a kickass business owner, do regular temperature checks of your brand. I like to do a review and brainstorm at least once per year (usually more like once every 6 months) to become familiar with how my business is changing and in what ways my brand is evolving.
This process doesn’t mean you need to change everything or completely rebrand your company (unless you feel that's what's necessary to be more consistent or clear).
Changes can be as simple as making small tweaks to your website copy, or even just becoming more familiar with your overall brand purpose. And the clearer you can get with your brand, the better you’ll be able to communicate with your audience.
The best place to start when you're trying to assess your brand is to narrow down exactly what you're business stands for, what you want to do with it, who you're trying to reach and how you're going to reach them.
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