New Year, New You!
New Year's always brings about the mindset of "New Year, new you!"
If you're a business owner, a lot of times this also gets applied to your business.
There's lots of New Year's goals you can have for your business, but if you're following a 'New Year, new you!' mentality you might be looking at revamping your business for the new year. In other words: rebranding.
As your business ages, it's very possible (or rather, likely) that you'll outgrow your old brand and want to take your business in a new direction.
That's totally cool!
A business that's able to evolve and change over the years is a good thing. But it presents some of it's own problems as well.
Such as: "Where the hell do I even start with an entire business rebranding?"
We asked some of our small business owner and photography colleagues about what makes a brand, and what makes a good brand (because if you're going to rebrand, ya better do it right!).
Here's what they had to say on the topic of branding:
My favorite is to remember that your branding extends far beyond the design elements you use (logo, colors, font, etc.). Your branding is how your business makes people FEEL! So, think about what your core values are, and what overall impression you want people to feel when they interact with your brand! Wow them at every turn, and you will turn a client into a loyal referral machine!
Branding encompasses personal authenticity. You’ve probably heard of the term personal branding, which is when an individual markets themselves and their career as a brand. Regardless of if you want your brand to personally reflect who you are, you still need to generate a personal identity within the brand. People connect with a person before they will connect with your business. Maintaining and encouraging personal characteristics within your branding establishes reliability and trust between your brand and the public.
If you are working on improving your branding, it’s important to know that consistency is key. Understanding this allows you to create a memorable presence to your audience that speaks to your creative style. The easiest way to establish that oh-so-important consistency, is to create a template for your graphics. Not every project has to look exactly the same, but you are essentially curating a gallery for your business.
We would absolutely have to agree with Kimberly, Allyn, and Jennah on these.
Good branding is recognizable, and easily and quickly associated with you and your business. It's personable, memorable, and makes your customer feel a certain way.
Everything from your website to your graphics and social media should be well-branded with your colors, fonts, vibes, etc.
So if branding or rebranding was one of your goals this upcoming New Year's, now's the perfect time to start!
Now, since we're not working with you and your business personally on a one-on-one basis, we can't help you decide what your brand should be.
(Plus, we want this to be as helpful for as many people as possible, and to do that, we need to keep this more generic.)
But what we can do is help you come up with a plan for what to do once you've established your brand.
What Makes a Brand?There's lots of elements to creating the appearance of a brand. Things such as:
- Color Palette
There's more to it than just that, but for simplicity's sake we're going to stick with these few.
Ok. So now you have your brand, you know what elements you want to use to create it (like which colors, fonts, etc.), where do you start in the process of rebranding or defining your brand?
Let's go back to our most recent post about what it takes to make sure your New Year's resolution succeeds.
We're assuming you've already done #1, so we're going to move on to #2, which is breaking up your goal into smaller tasks.
Because saying you want to 'rebrand' or something is great; but that's very vague on actually how you're going to do it. So let's start with where you display your brand.
1. Your Website.
This is a big one.
Oftentimes in today's digital world, this is the first place your potential customers come into contact with you. Right away upon entering, you want them to feel a certain way and get an impression of what it's like to work with you.
So it's important that your website is well-branded. And like Jennah says, it needs to be consistent. Here's how we'd start to tackle that beast.
Task 1: Make a list of what's different and what's the same between your new brand and your old brand. If the fonts you're using, for example, are the same, great! One less thing you have to adjust. If the color palette is completely different though, that'll be something that needs updating.
Are your images all displayed the same way on posts? Does the tone and voice you use on all of your pages and blog posts give off the right impression and feeling you want your potential clients to experience like what Kimberly and Allyn talk about)? Plan: Set aside about an hour for this.
Task 2: Update 1 page on your website with your new branding specifics. Just pick one page to start with (preferably the home page of your website). Change over your fonts, colors, tone/text, logo, images, etc.
Continue on to another high-traffic page on your site (maybe your About page or Contact page) the next day.
Plan: You'll probably need about 1-2 hours per page depending on how much overhauling you're going to do.
2. Your Blog.
Task 3: Update 1 blog post with your new branding. Same idea as your website pages. Do one blog post per day. Start with your more recent stuff (because that'll show up at the top of your blog page), and work towards the older stuff. If you come across some of your older work that you don't like or don't feel expresses your brand properly, get rid of it!
If you only want to attract clients that like the type of work that fits your new branding, you don't want people who like your old work better to try and book you. Similarly, if you're transitioning to shooting a particular type of photography (like seniors, for example), take down the types of photography you don't want to shoot anymore.
You'll be more likely to attract the kind of clients you want if you only show what you want to shoot.
Plan: Probably about 15-30 minutes per post, but maybe less if your posts are shorter or if you don't need to re-logo your images.
3. Your Social Media.
Task 4: Update your social media/create social media templates. It's probably not worth your time to go back and re-do your old social media posts (but if you have time it might be worth deleting any images or albums on your Facebook business page that contain styles of photography you don't want to shoot anymore).
Same with other social media platforms. More important is just making sure all of your branding and posting moving forward is consistent.
A great way we've found of doing this is by using Canva. We've been singing Canva's praises for months now, because it's freaking great. It allows you to create image templates (like Jennah mentioned) that you can use again in the future by just swapping out the image and the text.
There are templates you can choose from, or you can make your own. It's how we make most of the images for our blog posts, including the image at the top of this post. But the huge benefit is that it allows you to consistently display your images the same way every time.
(Just look back over some of our more recent blog posts and you'll see what I mean.)
We post the same style image to Facebook, Pinterest, and of course, on our blog, so we're always using the same fonts, same color palette, same voice, etc. Seriously. Get. Canva. If you take nothing else away from this post, this one is a huge time-saver.
Plan: Maybe an hour or so to go back and remove some types of photography you don't want to shoot anymore (or anything that really doesn't fit your brand anymore), but going forward, probably about an hour a week to make Canvas for blog posts and social media for the upcoming week. Possibly another 30-60 minutes to set up your Canva templates.
The Timeline: aka, how to Make It Happen
Now that we've talked through some of the smaller tasks that make up your larger re-branding task (which is #2 from our list of how to make your New Year's resolution succeeds), we need to do #3, which is creating a timeline and setting deadlines.
We've already talked about how long each of these tasks will take you, but now it's time to actually put it together on a timeline.
(This is usually better done in something like a planner so you can lay it out an get a visual on what it looks like, but since we can't do that here we'll just list hypothetical dates and times.)
- Monday, January 18th: 8am-9am - Task 1.
- Tuesday, January 19th: 8am-9am - Task 2a - update home page of website.
- Wednesday, January 20th: 8am-9am - Task 2b - update About page of website.
- Thursday, January 21th: 8am-9:30am - Task 2c - update Portfolio/Gallery pages of website. (Don't forget to take down any work that you don't want to shoot anymore! If you decide to do a complete portfolio overhaul, this also may take longer)
- Friday, January 22nd: 8am-9am - Task 2d - update Contact Me page of website. ** Again, this list and timeline is mainly to be used as an example; you may have more pages on your site that need updating and thus, need to spend more days on it.
- Monday, January 25th: 8am-8:30am - Task 3a - update Blog Post #1.
- Tuesday, January 26th: 8am-8:30am - Task 3b - update Blog Post #2.
- Wednesday, January 27th: 8am-8:30am - Task 3c - update Blog Post #3.
- Thursday, January 28th: 8am-8:30am - Task 3d - update Blog Post #4.
- Friday, January 29th: 8am-8:30am - Task 3e - update Blog Post #5. ** Same as updating the pages on your website: this list and timeline is mainly to be used as an example because you may have more blog posts on your site that need updating and thus, need to spend more days on it. Just don't forget to also curate and delete blog posts showing work you no longer want to shoot anymore!
- Monday, February 1st: 8am-9am - Task 4a - Create Canva templates for social media.
- Tuesday, February 2nd: 8am-8:30am - Task 4b - Skim over social media, take down the older stuff that no longer expresses your brand or style (if needed)
- Wednesday, February 3rd: 8am-9am - Task 4c - Create and schedule social media for the upcoming week using Canva templates
See, you can do it!
It's already mentioned in the notes, but you don't have to follow this exact schedule. In fact, we'd be reeeaaalllly surprised if you did.
These are just examples on how to break down a larger goal (rebranding) into smaller, finite pieces. Going back to our list of how to make sure your New Year's resolution succeeds, we've covered #1-3, which has helped take care of #4 and #5.
We didn't go goal crazy (#4), because we stuck to one goal at a time - in this example, it was rebranding. We also made it quantifiable (#5), in the sense that we knew that we wanted our website, blog, and social media all switched over to the new branding style.
There are other parts of your branding that you may also need to work on such as business cards and customized client order products like flash drives, product packaging, etc.
But again, this was not an all-inclusive list or schedule, just something to use to give you an idea of how to really make your New Year's resolution work.
It All Comes Down To Planning.
When we started this post, the idea of rebranding your entire visible presence seemed pretty daunting didn't it.
But with proper planning (and sticking to the plan!), even the biggest, most insurmountable goals, are very attainable. (If you're ready to get started, remember we do have a limited quantity of the Photographer's Planner in hand!)