Is Your Brand in Need of a Makeover?
By: Katy Dwyer, president of Katy Dwyer Design
I’d like to take you back a few years to a time when press releases were just boring press releases, and the local news cycle didn’t know what it was missing. It was a dark time—a time before a spunky PR professional made her mark on the Hudson Valley. Her name was Filomena, and she had an idea—a vision. Filomena knew she wanted to build a PR company, but at the time, her brand was just a twinkle in her eye. So, in all her professional wisdom, she reached out to a branding professional to help her develop her vision, hone her brand, create a logo, design a website and marketing materials, and enforce a visual guideline that would help solidify her message and attract her target market. Impact PR & Communications was born.
Branding isn’t all fairy stories and rainbows
That’s the dream—the ideal, really—to build a unique and memorable brand from day one of your business. But the truth is, that’s not everyone’s reality. Not every entrepreneur starts a business under the ideal circumstances. I’m willing to bet that most don’t. Some start a business highly strapped for cash, DIY’ing their way through the start-up phase. Others start a business with one goal in mind, but the business naturally morphs into something unexpected. While neither scenario is the wrong way to do it, they certainly wouldn’t be called ideal. And after time, maybe months, maybe years, maybe even decades after the start of a business, these same business owners might find their brand isn’t cutting it.
Take a ride in my time machine
Let’s say you find yourself in the following predicament. For whatever reason, your brand is not succeeding. Something about your business isn’t clicking with your target audience. Maybe you’re surviving, but you’re not profiting. Or, worse, you’re foundering. The perception of your brand—the reputation of your business—is not a positive one. You’re probably wishing at this point that you could go back, back to the beginning to build your brand the right way, and market your business in an effective manner that would turn all your problems around.
Spoiler Alert: Time travel has not been invented yet. But a powerful time machine does exist. This one doesn’t travel through time. It looks back through time. It has the power of experience—your experience, your business’ experience, and all the knowledge that can come out of that time to help build a better brand. While it’s ideal to build a successful brand from the start of a business, if you do find yourself in this position, know that everything you learned along the way—the knowledge of what didn’t work—is going to help you in making over that brand.
Ready for your close up?
Your brand is reflected in everything you do, say, distribute, and produce in your business. It’s:
- The impact of your logo
- The quality of your business card
- The ease of use of your website
- Your customer service
- The readability of your signage
- The design of your product
- The appearance of your employees
- Your most recent Facebook post
- The cleanliness of your shop
- And much, much more
Addressing these potential problem areas, and the many aspects of your business that your brand touches, may sound like an enormous undertaking. Not every brand has to take part in a complete makeover. Maybe it’s just a logo redesign. It could mean refining your brand voice. Or perhaps it’s changing the way your employees treat customers. Of course, there is the occasion where a complete overhaul is necessary.
Start by asking yourself this:
- What about your marketing is working?
- What about your brand is connecting with customers?
- How does the marketplace feel when they first interact with your brand? Is it a positive experience? Does it make them want to come back for more?
- Are you standing out among your competitors?
And, since this is a PR blog, after all:
- Is your website representing you in the best possible way? If an editor goes there for information, will they find the site easy to navigate, well-designed, and up-to-date?
- Is your headshot professional and a reflection of your business? If it was printed alongside an article about you, would you be proud or mortified?
- When you network, are you handing out polished business cards?
Don’t fear the brand makeover
It’s understood that your business is very personal. Most entrepreneurs take great pride in their brand, and grow attached to their logo or website. But remember that your perception may not be the consensus. The mistake you don’t want to make (and the mistake that is often made!) is to simply ignore the problem. The belief that a bad logo never caused anyone to not call you, or a poor website never lost you any business, or that Facebook post didn’t offend anyone has no actual data to back it up. Those people never called, never worked with you, and never told you how much you offended them.
Returning to our fairy tale…
So what happened to the brand that Filomena built? It’s still ticking… still going strong. But she didn’t just let it rest. Filomena knows that even when a brand is built under the ideal circumstances, that doesn’t mean the marketing job is done. She makes sure everything she puts out there is a consistent reflection of her brand. She considers new marketing approaches with her brand (like this blog!) from time to time. And she continues to make her brand work for her, happily ever after.
Even if your brand didn’t have the ideal beginning—if it never caught on or it’s lost its way—know that you, too, can have your happily ever after with a brand makeover.
About the Author
Katy Dwyer is President of Katy Dwyer Design. KDD works helps businesses connect with their customers emotionally, visually, and digitally through brand strategy, graphic design, and digital creative. She’s worked as a graphic designer, creative director, and marketer since 1999.