More than half of my clients come to me because they need to rebrand their business. Why is this such a common request? Because we rarely anticipate change in the beginning. The truth is, your business will naturally evolve. Whether you begin to expand your services or decide to refocus your business to a single flagship product—how your business evolves will have a direct impact on how you brand your business. Here’s what you can do today to avoid a rebrand in the future.
WHAT DOES THE EVOLUTION OF A BUSINESS LOOK LIKE?
While it is impossible to know what your business will look like in five to ten years, one thing you can do is plan for change. Spending time to consider the trajectory of your business in the early stages of development can save you some serious time, money and confusion among your customers.
You may think you know from day one what your business will look like. You have it all planned out in your head. But things will naturally evolve without proper planning and foresight.
How it Started
Let’s say you decide to start selling handmade greeting cards. It becomes a big success and manages to bring in a fair amount of revenue for you. So you decide to brand your greeting card business and create an online shop: Greetings by Jocelyn.
How it’s Going
Flash-forward four years and the business is booming! Your greeting cards are selling in several retailers across the country and you are ready to launch new products—custom notebooks, art prints, t-shirts and even pillows—but your existing brand no longer reflects the different products you’re bringing to market. In order to keep up with your growing business, you have to rebrand.
HOW TO ANTICIPATE CHANGE TO AVOID A REBRAND
A standard part of my brand discovery process with clients is goal setting. First, I have them outline their short-term goals: things they want to achieve within 90 days and within 12 months.
But those goals are probably already on their radar and are fairly easy to account for. Then I ask them to consider their long-term goals and how their business may change:
What are you hoping to achieve in 5 years?
What about 10 years?
These can be challenging because they can often seem like dream scenarios or unrealistic to tell, say, a brand designer. But when you sit with this idea of how your business might evolve in that timeframe, you might be surprised with what you come up with. So start to consider these questions:
If you’re a service based business:
What other services might you offer?
What services might you cease to offer?
Will the way you deliver these services change?
Will the size of your team grow?
Will your service territory expand?
Insider Tip: If there’s a particular area of your business that doesn’t fully bring you joy, expect that you will eventually phase it out.
If you’re a product-based business:
What different product lines might you expand to?
Will your product lines become their own sub-brands?
What products might you stop offering?
How might your production methods change?
These are just some of the questions you want to consider when imagining the trajectory of your business. By factoring in these potential avenues for change early on, you’ll feel confident knowing you’re creating a brand that is designed to accommodate exponential growth and change.
HOW DOES THIS IMPACT BRAND DEVELOPMENT?
A great example to show how this impacts your brand development is the brand I worked on for Niagara HELPS (Homelessness Emergency Liaison and Peer Support). The program helps those experiencing homelessness by offering peer support from those who have overcome homelessness. One of their long-term goals is to expand the program into other cities across Canada.
Anticipating this evolution from the early phase of brand development meant we needed a design that could easily adapt to each city it would exist in.
FedEx is another great example. They have a logo that easily adapts to each of their different service fleets. It seems easy to do because it works so seamlessly with their logo—but I’ll bet that’s because they knew their branding would need to accommodate the range of services.
When it comes to your business and brand, will your business benefit from an adaptive brand system like these?
ANTICIPATING CHANGE FOR PERSONAL BRANDS
Another area worth covering is personal brands. By this I mean you are the name of the brand. Personal brands are common among realtors, designers, and coaches. Even as a personal brand it’s important to envision how your business will exist in five to ten years.
If you’re a realtor, maybe in five years you become a broker of record and want to build a team.
If you’re a designer, maybe your products expand to specialty clothing lines that need to be factored into your brand strategy.
If you’re a business coach, maybe you develop a series of signature courses that are better served under a different naming convention.
When it comes to your business and brand development, ensure you’re creating a brand that isn’t just serving your business temporarily. Anticipate the avenues for change so you can create a brand that serves your business long-term.
Ready to talk about your future brand? Let’s chat about how a brand strategy can impact your business!