One of our favorite writers, Karen Gunton, just released a new course on how to Amplify Your Brand. To kick it off, she’s sharing some of her branding knowledge with you today and Thursday in a two-part guest post. So get ready to learn when and how to do a brand check.
We know that having a strong, clear, stand out brand is important for attracting your ideal clients, sending the right message about your biz, and competing in the marketplace. But branding is not a ‘do it once and forget about it’ business activity. Your business grows and evolves, and so should your brand. Just as you would reflect on, revise, and update your business plan each year, your brand should get the same treatment.
When is a good time to do a brand check?
Because your brand is so inextricable linked to all aspects of your business, choose a time when you are doing work ON your business anyways or when you can take a break from working IN your biz.
- The start of a new calendar year – if you are making business plans for the new year then this could be a good time to have a close look at your brand & consider any updates that would help you reach your yearly goals.
- Financial new year – if you are spending time going over your accounts, looking at what products sold well/which didn’t, looking at who your biggest spending customers were, looking at what marketing strategies brought you the best return on investment etc. then it is also a good time to have close look at your brand.
- A quiet period for your biz – if your business is seasonal, or has any periods where there is a natural lull in sales, or you know you will be taking a short break anyways from working IN your biz – this can be a great time to spend some time working ON your biz. (For instance if you have to cut back on marketing & sales because of summer holidays, or you know that the period after Christmas is your slowest time.)
- When you are doing intensive biz work – if you do business course each year, or you have an annual meeting with a business mentor, or you attend a big conference or retreat, this can be a great time to do a brand check. When you are in the ‘biz building zone’ it is a natural time to look at your brand & see if any changes are needed.
Basically, the key is to choose one or two times each year to make a date with your biz! Spend some quality time together, take a break from all of the regular every day work you do, and show your biz some love!
What should you be looking at?
This can be the hard part. We are often so closely tied to our products & our brand that it can be hard to look at things with clear eyes. One thing to try is to put yourself in the shoes of a NEW visitor to your biz, someone who fits the bill of an ideal customer, and look at your business from their perspective.
Another really valuable thing to do is to ask for a couple of people to help you with this – to give you that fresh set of eyes and unbiased perspective. Remember that criticism (though it can be hard to hear) is extremely helpful. Iif you can make updates to your biz that will make your biz more profitable, more successful, and more fun to work on, then it is worth putting yourself out there to get some honest feedback!
Ask a couple of women in biz to trade feedback (you can help each other) or bring it up in a networking or mastermind group that you are part of.
Here is a check list to help you as you go:
- message – What message are you sending right now with your brand? What words come to mind when people come in contact with your biz? (This can be a good thing to ask your customers on your facebook page – “When you think of insert biz name here – what is the one word that comes to mind?” the answers might surprise you!)
- consistency – Check all of the places people interact with your biz (everything from email to website to biz car to social media to in person interaction.) Do those same words come to mind every time? Are there any places where your branding seems inconsistent?
- repetition – Are your brand messages repeated over and over again? Do you use the same words repeatedly? The same colours or images? Do you have a signature style that is used everywhere?
- brand look – Are you always using the same colours, fonts, patterns, icons? Do the photos & images you use fit the style of the rest of your brand? Could someone tell that everything comes from the same place?
- brand voice – Does the message & style of your brand come through in the written content of your business. Do you share your brand personality in your facebook posts, tweets, emails, about me page, product descriptions, products names etc?
Stay tuned because on Thursday Karen will be sharing how to amplify your brand now that you’ve done a check in with your business.