Whether you're a solopreneur trading on your personal reputation or the head of a conventional business, your branding has a huge impact on your professional success. It informs how you're perceived: if you're sending a message that doesn't resonate, or simply failing to do anything memorable, then you're likely to be considered mediocre or overlooked entirely. Instead of just trying to make the best of your underperforming brand, though, you can start moving in a positive direction by committing to a rebrand. Without changing the fundamental nature of your operation, you can overhaul countless elements of your brand, driving prospects to view you in a new light. If you've decided to go for it, you need to be prepared. In this post, we're going to set out four questions that you need to answer before defining your refreshed brand. Let's get to them:
What should my aesthetic be? Every brand should have an aesthetic that applies throughout the content and documents it creates. This encompasses everything from color schemes to photography styles. Different colors, for instance, can convey different qualities — so you need to choose carefully for your logo, your backgrounds, your templates, and your web designs (more on this next). You can even think about the shapes you use. Jagged edges work well for companies that want to seem punk and anti-establishment, while uneven curves match businesses that focus on the natural world and want to get away from any perceived artificiality. In the end, all the parts of your brand must work together.
What materials do I need? Branding isn't just about coming up with ideas: it's also about practically applying those ideas to bring them to life, something that takes different skills and tools to achieve. You need to decide what materials you want to invest in — and this will depend on what suits your business, what resources you have, and what skills you're ready to work on. Take something like product photography, for instance. If it fits your niche, there can be a lot of value in learning some DIY photo editing so you can make each image reflect your brand. If images don't matter so much in your field, though, there's little point in working on something like that. It would essentially be for nothing more than vanity.
What tone suits me? Running a brand requires a lot of communication. Pitching to potential investors or prospective clients, addressing existing customers, creating marketing materials and PR outreach: if you can't articulate your thoughts and strengths well, you'll struggle massively to convince anyone that you're worthy of their time. Key to this is tone. Making sense is one thing, but do you want to come across as formal and calculated? Relaxed and approachable? Idiosyncratic and entertaining unpredictable? People want brands with personality these days, but you can't have a tone that radically fluctuates: you need to decide which tone suits you and make every effort to stick to it.
How can I stand out? You may have heard it said that there's no such thing as bad publicity. That isn't true, of course (particularly not in the social media age), but there is some truth to it in the sense that it's vitally important to be memorable — and if you want to be memorable, you need to be different. That means looking at what your competitors are doing and taking a distinct path. That doesn't mean that you can't just go with the elements you want in most cases. Being contrarian across the board isn't a viable tactic. Instead, it means you should offer a unique combination of elements: gather up the ideas you like and assemble them into a cohesive whole that works for you and stands out from the pack. Rebranding is an exciting opportunity to reinvigorate your professional engagement and change how your brand is perceived, but it isn't something to be rushed or taken lightly. Answer these questions before you begin, and you should have a solid foundation upon which to build the brand that will ideally take your business to the next level.