There comes a time in every entrepreneur’s life when you need to rebrand. But how do you know when the time is right for you?
Until recently I wasn’t too bothered about branding. I’m more of a word nerd than a visual person and in the early days of my business, website design and branding just felt like one huge, crazy rabbit hole. Or several rabbit holes. With deep dark cavernous bunkers and interlocking tunnels. I had no idea where to start.
The biggest problem back then, was that my whole business idea was rather sketchy. All I knew was that I wanted to use my gift in writing to help entrepreneurs, escape the corporate space and have more fun in my work. I had only a rough idea of my ideal customer. I had no clue what functionality I needed, what looked good on a site or how my business would grow in the future.
My initial branding was thus informed more by what I didn’t want, than by what I loved. I didn’t want it to be overtly feminine. I wanted something that would appeal to entrepreneurs but would not alienate corporate customers (you can guess how that worked out).
Most of all, I did not want my mugshot splashed across the masthead. No Sirree. It was bad enough having my name in the domain. (I only reconciled myself to that after a good six months’ procrastination and the discovery that basically every possible English language combination of “two words + dot com” is taken. But I digress.) As soon as I found a stock photo that remotely worked with my tag line, I threw it at my designer with an instruction to choose bright colours. Then I looked at her second or third mock up and pretty much said “that’ll do”. I was over it. Just gimme a website!
So the website was ticked off, but before long, I was having a hard time using my brand colours. When I tried to create an image on Canva, they just seemed garish. I had some graphics made, but the geometric patterns really didn’t feel like me. That yellow, how the heck did that get in there? Yep, I’d approved it.
At this point you may be thinking of one word for my design style: chaos.
Meanwhile my business was evolving….
I was doing less copywriting-for-hire, and more messaging coaching, as it became clear I had a natural gift for drawing out what my clients know inside to be true, but struggle to express. My work was becoming softer, more intuitive – or at least, I was finally accepting and opening myself up to the intuitve side of my work.
As nine months turned into a year, it really became clear that my bright brand and faceless website no longer fit. It was time for a new brand, one that reflected who I am and the people I serve. And this time the process – and my level of self-awareness – was completely different.
I contacted Lori Satterthwaite, of Lola Media. Lori is not only a photographer, she’s a web designer who handles both the back and front end, with incredible tech knowledge and project management skills, as I would soon discover.
Lori took me through a deep discovery process, similar in many respects to the work I do with my one-on-one copywriting clients. She dug deep to get to the core of my work, to get to know the people I serve and the legacy I am building. As I created mood boards on Pinterest, she quizzed me on why I was drawn to certain images, explained colour psychology and spotted patterns in my choices I might never have noticed.
Finally, she presented my brand board. It was breathtaking. I loved the colours, the elegance, the softness, the quiet power, all things that I wanted my brand to represent. It was perfect and I still love looking at it. Okay gazing. Obsessively.
The next step was the web design. Leap frogging from one of my mood board choices, Lori proposed a website template similar to a site I had shown her (though of course, I had never thought to look at it from a web design point of view). It was perfect. This is where the guidance of a skilled web designer is so important if you, like me, have little interest in the tech side.
By now I was getting pretty impatient to get the new site up, so even before the site launched I started using the new branding in my graphics. But I must admit that the biggest bottleneck in the whole process was actually me, writing my own copy. You’ve heard the story about the builder’s house? It never gets finished. There was always some client work that was more important to do, and eventually I just had to push through.
Then we started to get into the really nitty gritty technical detail. What was my new opt in going to be? What would my packages be? How would I help people navigate through the site? What auto-responder sequence was I setting up? I soon began to see how many layers were behind this project and how many things Lori had to bring together to make it work. I marvelled at her ability to keep all the pieces in mind and ensure a seamless flow.
As we transferred the content, I was shocked to discover how many lead magnets and content upgrades I had created over the past year, that were impossible for anyone to find. So much neglected goodness! At Lori’s suggestion, we created the Write from the Heart Collection, a treasure trove of free writing and messaging resources to help you bring who you are into what you do. You don’t need to sign up to each one and I don’t need to manage multiple lists – just enter your email here and I’ll send you the password to the whole swag. Nice!
Finally it was time to bring it all together. This stage took longer than either of us anticipated. It seemed like every time we’d be almost there, I’d realize how many moving parts there were and how many pieces I still had to connect together.
Here’s an example: For the new lead magnet I needed a new auto-responder series, which needed a new sales offer at the end of it, which needed a new sales page, which needed a new PayPal button, which needed a new auto-responder series… and on it went.
Finally in mid-August, we did it. There were several late nights and several early mornings for each of us, and I’m sure I drove Lori mental at times, but I couldn’t be more pleased with the result.
So how do you know if you need a re-brand?
Branding is more than just colours or a logo – it’s about representing who you are and creating a brand that will grow with you. As you may have gathered from this epic post, rebranding takes a lot of energy and work even with someone as incredible and skilled as Lori to hold your hand. In the process, you will have to answer many questions about your business – and that takes deep reflection and thought.
Here’s how to know if the time is right for you:
- It’s important to understand whether it’s truly time for a rebrand – or whether you’ve got shiny object syndrome. There’s always a new development in web design, there’s always a new way of rewriting your copy and there’ll always be a new colour palette to fall in love with. You’ve got to keep your eyes on the prize and be sure that a rebrand is the right thing for you to be investing your time and money into at this point.
- Have your offerings significantly shifted from the time you launched the website? Are you serving a different audience or offering a different service? For me, I’d gone from being a straight out copywriter-for-hire trying to keep both corporate clients and entrepreneurs happy, to an intuitive messaging coach working one-on-one with wholehearted entrepreneurs to bring more of who you are into what you do. That was a very different focus from my not-overtly-feminine, bright brash blue and yellow, keep-my-face-out-of-it initial approach.
- Has your core message changed? If the message that underpins your work has shifted significantly, so that your branding no longer reflects your vision or values, you may need a rebrand so that you can attract the clients you want to attract.
- Is your website simply out of date? If your website no longer provides the functionality you need, or just feels old, tired and stale, it could be time for something new.
Business is a constant state of evolution and no matter when you think it’s finished, there’s always going to be something new you want to add. That’s why it’s worth investing time, energy and yes money into the rebrand process – so that you can create something that will grow with you and you won’t have to do it all again for a few years.
I couldn’t say enough about Lori’s calm soothing manner, incredible knowledge, beautiful work and tendency to go well beyond the call of duty. Her approach resonated so much with mine, that we’re now working together offering complete branding, web design and copywriting packages, tailored to your needs.
We’ve got two spots opening up for September – if you’re ready for a complete brand and website overhaul, click here to get in touch and book your free consult.
Are you considering a rebrand? What’s the biggest thing holding you back?