december 2015

Three Signs You Should Rebrand & One Reason You Shouldn't

New Year, New You! Right? Well, maybe. With 2016 right around the corner, I totally feel you on the urge to rebrand your business.

The thing with rebranding is sometimes you think you need one because you just feel like re-doing it. Maybe you saw another website that you loved the look of and wanted to emulate, or maybe you get bored easily, or maybe you never approached branding correctly in the first place. I’ve got three reasons you definitely need to consider rebranding, but one very important reason NOT to rebrand.

If you are thinking you need to rebrand because you like keeping yourself “busy” but are too scared/nervous/scatter-brained/whatever to start the important projects that will find you success – then STOP. Step back. Do not confuse being busy with being productive, okay? If it’s your fifth rebrand in two months, I have a feeling that maybe you are avoiding starting the next phase of your business. I get that fear, totally. But, at this rate, you will be rebranding until the end of time and never launch your business. Do yourself a favor and approach branding correct this one last time and make it work, make it right, and make a plan for success – then DO it. To learn more about that, check out my new e-book Branding 101: Building Your Base.

But if you still are unsure, here are three reasons to consider that rebrand.


YOU’VE NARROWED DOWN YOUR VISION

If you launched your business and developed your branding with too broad of a vision, that’s okay. Narrowing down your brand vision is a fantastic and necessary move – one that might require the rest of your branding to become more focused, too. Defining a vision statement means that you are looking to the future with your business, that you know where you are heading and have an overall “vision” or grasp on what your business will be doing years from now. This is something that requires you finally taking your business seriously and definitely deserves a round of applause.

After you are done giving yourself that pat on the back though, consider that the rest of your branding might not fulfill what your new vision is. You might’ve created just a simple brand identity when you launched, and never took the time to understand the relationship between your vision, your identity, your target audience, your voice, etc. Now would be a great time to revisit all of these moving parts that fall under that ‘branding’ umbrella and make sure they are cohesively fulfilling that overall vision.

Confused on what all these terms mean? Check out this vocab post to clear up any questions.


YOU HAVE TO BEG TO BE VALUED

Have you heard of positioning? It’s a marketing term about how you set your brand/service/product apart in the consumer’s eyes – how you make them understand the value and need for what you offer.

Quick tangent lesson: In each specific marketing campaign a ‘big business’ does, they’ll position themselves uniquely (or try to). But there’s an also an overall positioning for your entire brand, that is covered in developing your branding. Think of Chipotle and how they managed to position their overall company as the healthy fast food. They are the organic, health conscious, but still quick alternative for people. That’s fantastic! They saw an opening and positioned themselves as the answer. BUT, with recent e-coli scares, they will have to develop new marketing campaigns that are targeted at promoting the safety of their food, the process of cleaning and sterilizing stores, the care and time and dedication employees put into food safety, etc. So their overall positioning through their branding is long lasting, overarching, and ‘big picture.’ But they use smaller campaigns to sell/promote/save face that might have more specific or focused positioning.

Why does that matter? Well – if people aren’t seeing you as you want to be seen, then chances are you aren’t positioning yourself correctly. You aren’t promoting yourself as worth the value you are asking for and you aren’t targeting the right people (or anyone at all). If you are a high-end photographer, your base wedding package starts at $6200, and you average $12-15k a wedding, then you better be positioning yourself as THE BEST of the best and a worthwhile investment. You better not be positioning yourself as the 'every bride's photographer' and targeting DIY brides on DIY blogs. Do you see the disconnect? If I am DIYing my wedding am I budgeting $12,000 for a photographer? Heck. No. I’m. Not.

So – if you are begging for clients to see your value, consider a rebrand that focuses on better understanding and utilizing positioning. If every time you ask for a sale people scoff – you aren’t reaching your target audience. You aren’t positioning yourself correctly or to the correct people. You need to re-approach your branding. Want some more help with that? Check out my new e-book Branding 101: Building Your Base.


YOU ARE NOT EXCITED EVERYDAY

While I told you not to keep rebranding endlessly, I don’t want you to be unhappy either. You should be confident and enthusiastic about everything you are doing. If you are ashamed to show someone something to do with your branding – then it’s okay to re-approach.

The thing is, I am not just talking about your identity, or your website, or anything visual. Yes, you should love that too, but branding is so much more than that. If you aren’t excited everyday about putting out content that reaches your target audience, or aren’t excited about who you're targeting, or aren't excited about the social media platforms you can find them on, or anything at all in your business – then let’s start fresh.

All you need to start a business is an idea: a product, a service, a way to help someone out, etc. There is probably a million articles or posts about what to do next, but for me, it’s always been branding. Why? Because figuring out your branding, the right way, figures out all your next steps. It forces you to figure out why you want this business, what your mission is, what your vision is, who your target is, and so on. So – if you are not excited abut what you are doing, then back to the drawing board! Back to square one. Have your idea and sit down and let’s start the branding process over again and plan out squares two through one million.

There are countless reasons why you might not be excited about what you are doing – maybe you didn’t originally approach branding from YOUR perspective, but instead wanted to emulate some existing company or brand (I see this, OFTEN). That’s okay, you’ve spent some time seeing what didn’t work for you, which will make your rebrand even easier, because we know what to avoid.


If 2016 is the year of the last legit, official, serious rebrand and serious launch of your business, then check out Building Your Base, my new e-book that is currently in pre-sale. If you think my blog posts are packed with information, then wait until you see this e-book!

Being as this is the last official post on 2016 – let me also take a moment and say THANK YOU. Thank you for this year – it has been amazing and overwhelming and scary and exciting all at the same time. I can’t believe the change in my life, via this blog and business, in 2015. I am so honored that you take the time to read these posts and be a part of my life. 2016 is already shaping up to be one for the books, y’all. I can’t wait to see you on the other side!



Rebrand my online business

I’m Kaitlyn, your design assistant! I work with successful creative entrepreneurs to create cohesive, clean, and compelling visuals for their businesses. You can keep being the #girlboss you are (but with more time to focus on growing your empire)! Let's set up a time to chat!


6 Questions to Define Your Target Audience & Build Better Branding

You need to define your target audience so that you can build better branding, period. Nearly every pal I’ve made online in the past few months has something in common – we all started as vague “lifestyle” blogs with no niche and no focus. In time, trying to figure out this online blog/business landscape, you begin to realize that being the expert “in everything” is WAY too hard, and it makes much more sense to niche down and focus on one thing. One thing that you are good at, that you enjoy doing, and that you can build a business off of.

The hardest battle I have, with myself, with clients, and with friends, is the idea of narrowing down your target audience. I’ll use myself as an example – I WANT everyone to like my blog, to like me, to want to hang out with me, to want me to help design their branding, etc. But, it’s not possible to appeal to EVERYONE. Think of how hard that actually is. To. Appeal. To. Everyone. You truly, truly, truly can’t. Even Chipotle, the best thing in the world, still doesn’t appeal to EVERYONE. So, here I am, ruining your day by telling you: YOU CAN’T EITHER. You can’t appeal to everyone. Some people will not like what you are talking about, will never buy from you, and will only serve to increase your “bounce rate” in your analytics.

But, here’s the good news: that’s GREAT! That’s fantastic. You don’t want to appeal to everyone. If you are trying to run a business and make money, which I assume you are, you want to appeal to a very specific and detailed group of people that will support you.

When you break down a target audience there’s really three people you have to consider: the person that actually buys your good/service, the person that influences someone to buy your good/service, and your supporters. Now, the most important person to understand is the person that buys, and that’s who we are talking about in detail today, but keep in mind that there is a necessity to also appeal to people that will tell other people about you – so you can grow. Your reach can only go so far, you need word of mouth from trusted sources to help you along, even if they simply retweet you sometimes. But, more on that in another post. Today we are reviewing six questions to define your target audience & build better branding. 


WHAT ARE THE BASICS?

If I ask you who your target audience is you might answer “everyone” or “young women” or “middle aged men.” Which, okay, that’s an excellent step, but we are about to take a lot more steps. First, we need all the basic information, think of that as demographics. You will want to narrow down things like gender, age, education level, income level, etc. 

But why does all this matter? Well, think about what appeals to a 18-25 year old girl, upper-middle-class, attending college, still supported by her parents, versus a 30-45 year old male who has worked labor jobs since he was 14, barely graduated high school, no college degree. Two very different ages, income levels, economic backgrounds, lifestyles, and so on – and will be “sold” to in very different ways. You need to know who you are selling to, so that you can build out your branding for your business, as well as more specific marketing campaigns, accordingly.

Not convinced? Chances are you are someone who runs or is starting a small business, a woman, aged 24-38, and enjoy spending time on Pinterest. You are probably more creative-minded, even if you are business savvy (those things are not mutually exclusive y’all). Why can I write a blog post, that will be up for a long time after today, and say that with a lot of certainty? Because I know who my target audience is. That’s who I want to come read my blog – that’s who I am working hard to get to come to my blog, because that’s who will most benefit from what I offer.

That’s not to say that men, aged 50+ don’t read my blog. Trust me, they do. My dad is probably reading this right now. But the significant majority of who I appeal to, I want to appeal to. If you aren’t sure who you are already appealing to, Google Analytics can help! Check out their demographics and interest tabs.


WHAT ARE THE DETAILS

After we get some of those more surface level attributes narrowed down, we really need to start digging deeper. You can do that by analyzing and establishing the “psychographics” of your target audience. These include things like personality traits, or values, or hobbies. Things that start to flesh them out as real, living, breathing people that are going to buy your good or service.

So, these types of questions matter for the same reasons. But also start to help us figure out where we can find your audience. So if I know their interests are crafting and DIY-projects, chances are they are active on Pinterest. Or If I know that they lead holistic or more natural lifestyles, maybe I can find them on a Facebook group about that.

Now, yes, you can have a business without knowing these things about your target client – but can you have a self-sustaining business where clients find you easier and come to you? Can you spend less time developing marketing campaigns and spending money on Facebook ads hoping that something sticks? That’s the real goal here. Efficient businesses that leave time for you to do what you love and the ability to grow.


HOW DO THEY BUILD TRUST?

This is a super valuable one, because people don’t give money away to companies they don’t trust. So, you need to get to the bottom of what trust means to your target audience and how you can build it.

I’ll give you a tip: no matter who your audience is, having a consistent brand experience will always help build trust. Cohesive branding builds loyalty. 

But, there’s other ways to build trust that are specific to your target. Is it just through word of mouth? What about a Facebook page with lots of likes? What about countless blog posts on related topics? What about listing your awards and accolades, or testimonials? There are ways to establish yourself a resource and a reliable form of information. It might be something simple, or it might be a more complex way - like that free e-course I just mentioned. It took a good amount of work on my part, but it puts an email from me, filled with useful information and actionable steps every day for 7 days. You begin to know me, and get used to me, and see me as someone that is a resource through that course. Do your potential clients need something like that to affirm that you are "the real deal"?


WHAT DO THEY VALUE?

This is vital – trying to sell someone something they don’t care about is nearly impossible. I say nearly because there are some really good sales-people out there, but I’m not one of them. What does your target audience value? Are they someone who prefers to watch a video tutorial, read a manual, or get a finished product handed to them? Do they want to understand your offering (product or service) and be taught, or just have the end result?

I’ll use myself for example – my clients value someone that basically becomes a part of their team during our working relationship. I’m not the type of designer that emails once a week and sends over 8 options and says, “choose.” I’m the person that we chat about our favorite episode of House Hunters, then we talk about business over virtual coffee, and then I offer some advice and things I’ve learned that aren’t necessarily branding related, and then I offer them a few options with some explanations and open the lines of communication for feedback. That is NOT every client’s cup of tea. In fact you might be reading that and as a potential client think “oh, no way!” but another person, someone that is more of my ideal client, read that and thought, “that sounds perfect!”


WHERE DO YOU FIT IN?

You have figured out a lot about your target audience, but what about what you actually want/offer/care about? You obviously matter too! In analyzing your target audience, consider what you want out of the relationship.

In my previous example – if you find that you hate the idea of being that involved with your client, then don’t build a target audience and branding that attracts that type of client. If you find that you hate working with women over the age of 45 because they always have stylistic choices you absolutely cannot stand – then don’t build branding that will attract them.

Sometimes it gets overwhelming for people, when they start to figure out this target client. They assume that if they start narrowing down things, they have to go with the “stereotypical” choices – that older men clients will hate using the internet, or something like that. You can build your target audience however you like – maybe it’s a smaller niche, but there is a segment of older men who love the Internet and use it actively – and that can be your audience. It’s about figuring out what you want for your business and about who benefits from your business.


IS THIS A MARKETABLE AUDIENCE?

Coming off that last point though – you can build them however you want – as long as it is actually a marketable audience. The best way to know if there’s a market for your audience is to check out your competitors and see who they serve. Competitors aren’t scary – they are proof that there’s an audience interested in your product/service.

I don't mean to come across as condescending or anything, but a little common sense will help with making sure you have a marketable audience. You can’t build up this ideal person and have it be contradicting, i.e. a vegan male who loves hunting for sport – kind of contradictory, right? Probably an incredibly small, if not nonexistent, niche. So when you are answering these questions about your target audience, take a moment and step back and make sure that you aren’t making up a person that probably doesn’t exist and then check out your competitors and see how your target audiences differ and align.


But otherwise, let me know what questions you have about developing your target audience. In the branding process this is right in those first steps, because it’s so essential that you know who the heck you want your branding to appeal to. If you haven’t figured this out yet, it’s not too late! Use the workbook to get started and please reach out if you get stuck.



kaitlyn.jpeg

I’m Kaitlyn, your design assistant! I work with successful creative entrepreneurs to create cohesive, clean, and compelling visuals for their businesses. You can keep being the #girlboss you are (but with more time to focus on growing your empire)! Let's set up a time to chat!