So I Have a Brand, Now What?
We made a client cry last week. It wasn’t the first time.
Something happens when a business owner or leader sees their vision perfectly articulated for the first time. It’s an emotional experience. Which is why our clients sometime tear up when we present their brand story back to them after one of our branding workshops.
For many business leaders it’s powerful to see the thing you’ve poured your heart into for years, finally packaged up in a way you can easily share with the world. Suddenly you have the language to express you vision, values and what makes your business truly unique.
It’s a feeling of recognition and relief, but often in the very next moment, clients ask, “Okay, now what?” They feel seen and known, but now they want to know how to share this new language with the world. It can feel like an awkward transition, especially if yours is an established business that’s been around for years.
Imagine we are the midwives for your brand: we coax it out into the world. Now you need to raise it well and give it as many resources as possible so it can grow and thrive. Here are five steps to making sure it gets a healthy start.
How to Roll Out Your Brand in 5 Steps
Commit to it
As the project sponsor or business owner, you need to do more than just believe in your brand—you need to champion it. For the brand to come to life across your company it’s your job to internalize it, preach it, and live it. If you aren’t convinced that your brand promise embodies the “why” behind your business, then no one else will be either. It needs to ring true—and when it does, you need to take full ownership of that.
Get internal buy in
If you have employees or partners in your business, then this involves them too. Many employees are probably already living out this brand every day—after all your brand is often a reflection of what the company already is at the core. But if you’ve never articulated that vision or “why” until now, you may find that some people suddenly realize they aren’t aligned with where you’re heading. A new brand rollout can.
A few simple ways to get buy-in:
Include influential voices in the brand discovery process so they feel heard from the start.
Present the new brand direction to the entire team and have each department imagine, and share, how your brand promise will shape the work they do or open up exciting opportunities for them.
Put your brand story into a simple, compelling onboarding deck that you send to new hires so even before their first day, they know exactly what you stand for and what you are collectively working towards.
Make it visual
Not every brand refresh requires a full visual overhaul. Often, however, you may find that refining your brand story reveals that your current visual identity (logo, wordmark or colours) are suddenly irrelevant or missing the mark. Your visual identity should align with your brand story. Take a close look and decide if it’s time to wear your heart on your sleeve.
Even if your visual direction remains the same, there are dozens of places your brand story can and should live: your website (particularly your Home and About pages), your social profiles—short and longer descriptions on Instagram, Facebook, Linkedin etc—your proposals, pitch decks, media kit, and any third party sites that carry your product or promote your service. The shift might be dramatic: suddenly you’re not talking about what you do, but about why you do it. Or it might be subtle: a change in tone of voice or the things you talk about on your blog.
More often than not, it’s a covert rollout. You won’t create a press release to tell the world “Yo! We finally figured out who we are!” Instead, let it slowly start to infect the way you talk on all of your external channels and in person, and eventually it will become even more deeply ingrained in your process and your culture.
Talk the talk
We have a favourite Jewish proverb: Words create worlds. Until you give language to something, it’s intangible. In order for them to be real and to take shape, you need to articulate them. The same goes for your brand. Start talking about it, blogging about it, and solidifying the language you use to capture it. When everyone starts speaking the same language, your brand will truly take on a life of its own.
If you need help along the way, we can take some of the load off your plate. Just get in touch.
And if you’re not sure just what a brand is or why you need one, go back and read our brand primer.