March 26, 2021
Take a minute and really think about when you first started your business: Were you in the same place then as you are now? We’re betting not. This is why your brand—the visual and experiential elements of your business—changes, too.
Most people decide to rebrand because their business has changed and they need a new brand to reflect that growth. Other times, they may be branding for the first time. A branding project helps businesses better reflect their professionalism, as well as their niche, skillset, and overall foothold in the market. That makes it a valuable investment, right?However, most businesses don’t realize that branding isn’t just a tool to reflect your business growth. It’s not just some “fresh fonts and colors” to make you stand out a bit more in your industry. A brand is an evolution.
Let’s go back that little walk down Memory Lane, thinking about back when you started your business. Odds are, you were kinda scrappy. You had to work hard, DIY a few things, and probably cut a few corners.
Now that you’ve grown, you have a bit more budget. A bit more room to say “Yes” to the right projects and “No” to the right ones. You may feel a bit more confident that it’s not going to all come crumbling down around you, and you’ve found the coolest people to support with your services or products.
That kind of growth can’t happen overnight. But you knew you wanted to get here, right? You had big goals and you worked towards them. And you made smart investments and hires that helped you get here.
That’s exactly how a brand evolves, too.
A brand—when done correctly—looks ahead, just like you did. It asks “Where are we going and what do we really want to happen?” Instead of just creating visual assets or standards that reflect where you are right now, a branding project should be looking ahead.
A brand should be designed with anticipated growth in mind. More specifically, a brand should really reflect what you want your business to become over the next 3-5 years, so that it—and your audience—can grow and expand with you.
When you do this, you might even be surprised to find that your new branding helps launch you into the new phase of your business, the one you’ve been struggling to break into. This is something we’ve seen time-and-time again with our clients. Whether it’s because your brand finally speaks to your ideal client, it finally creates a more memorable presence, or because you simply have the confidence to go out and get you some… we’ll never know.
What we do know is: brand evolution holds a ton of magic in it, if you’re willing to embrace it. However, we’ve seen business owners get stuck on how they used to do things, or hold onto older brand standards, and it prevents them from really embracing the next evolution in their business.
Our recommendation? Look forward, not back.
After reading all that, you might be looking at your business and your brand, thinking, “Which phase am I in? How are things evolving?” And, most importantly, “Where will the business be in 5 years??” We won’t lie: designing a brand that is rooted in where you want to go, rather than where you are or have been, can be a bit tricky.It’s like if your kid is in the middle of a growth spurt. You don’t buy him a jacket that fits him now, you buy him a size up because you know he’ll grow into it and it still works for the size he is now. And you rest easy, knowing the kid is actually going to grow. Your business will grow, friend. It’s just a matter of how and where.
If you’re feeling a little hyperventilate-y at the thought of your business’s evolution, we always recommend coming back to what matters:
If it helps, and if you have them, reflect on your old ideal client avatars, keywords, mission, and vision. This will show you how far you’ve come, and help you clarify where you want to really go.
Those changing foundations alone should show you: your business is changing, and it deserves a brand that helps it get there. That’s why you need to trust the process—and your designer.
When most business owners initiate a rebrand, or hire a designer to help with their first-ever brand, they come with a preconceived notion of what their brand can look like. It’s not a bad thing—in fact, it can support the design process.
However, these ideas often stem from where the business came from, or what was used in the past. Evolution doesn’t go backward (that’s called devolution). It goes forward. But this is often hard for business owners to embrace, and often leads to concerns that the new brand is too different.
It’s not necessarily a disconnect between you and your designer, but rather a disconnect between directions. You’re looking back, they’re looking forward. Here’s an example: Let’s say you run a supply chain coaching business that currently serves mostly females. You have a brand that reflects that, with more “traditionally” feminine colors and graphics. However, as you grow, you’re realizing you’re working with men, but they come to you from different channels. You essentially are attracting clients you didn’t intend to attract—and you’re enjoying the work.
As your male client base grows, you may realize this is the next evolution in your brand: Coaching both male and female business owners as they streamline their supply chain.
But when the time comes for a rebrand, let’s be honest: The design and overall branding for a blended audience will not be as feminine nor include the same colors. Those shifts will undoubtedly come as a shock.
See what we mean? If you have a rear-facing view of your business, you might get stuck thinking, “That’s not my business!” or “Nobody will recognize us!” But when you look forward, you might see, “This new brand speaks to the kind of people I’m ready to work with now,” or “I see exactly how this will help us get where we’re going.”
Branding requires you to understand the process of evolution, trust it, and to potentially let go of things that feel comfy. Like letting go of being the face of the company because you’re expanding. Or letting go of a color scheme you’ve had since the beginning, or a name you chose with sentimental value.
That’s not to say that some things shouldn’t stay the same. There’s room for things to stay, and a good brand should maintain the spirit of the brand so that even big changes feel familiar to the audience. But be open to things changing dramatically, too. You didn’t get where you are today by accepting the status quo, right?
We know that brand evolution can be scary, exciting, overwhelming. All the things. But you have grown a business that offers something unique, valuable, and impactful to your customers or clients. By not updating or creating a brand that encompasses all of that, will your business sustain its growth, or reach new heights?
Don’t let your fear of change hold you back!
This is why we also recommend creating a brand that reflects your growth goals and the audience you plan to serve for the next 3 to 5 years. We’re not trying to anticipate where you might be in 10 years—we’d lose touch at that point. We also know how hard it can be to leave your comfort zone behind, even to step 3 to 5 years into the future. 10 years is just too much for the brain.
Our final note: Branding isn’t meant to last forever. It’s not a stop-gap, either. It’s a transition, the next step in your evolution. Just like humans didn’t go from homo habilis to homo sapiens, your brand won’t get from A to Z in one rebrand.
Take a deep breath, take the next step forward, and see where it takes you.
The Balanced Brand Lab Kit is a do-it-yourself branding workshop where you’ll build a personalized and balanced brand formula to guide all your design decisions. Make your own style guide and find your brand’s trusty sidekicks: from the right colors, fonts, photography, and more!
See what’s inside the Balanced Brand Lab Kit, and create your brand’s next evolution in our Lab!