Some of you out there may be slugging away with a business and brand that doesn’t seem to be getting you the results that you want. You also can’t seem to shake the identity with which it’s associated. You keep getting the same customers that don’t appreciate what you do and customers that don’t want to pay you according to the transformation that you’re providing them. Inside you’re feeling like there’s no way out. You’re in a prison and you now have a ball and chain attached to both your ankles. That dream of being free and independent escaping that 9 to 5 rat race job is far-fetched and is a now a distant memory. You no longer have that jerky boss, but instead, jerky clients. The jerky boss you once had was no longer breathing down your neck but he or she has now miraculously been transformed into a jerky client. You know there’s something better but seriously you feel helpless and don’t know what to do. You’re tired. You’re burned out from giving your all—plus more—to your clients and all they’re doing is take-take-taking, always grabbing more from you without you getting anything in return except a few lousy pays. AND they’re leading you nowhere towards the Ultimate Vision that you have for your business. In fact, they’re keeping you tied to the same old ball and chain brand that you’ve completely outgrown and that keeps attracting the same type of clients.
Give yourself permission to explore the new.
You may have heard from some that once you create a brand, that’s it. You’re tied to it forever. This is false. Especially if that brand is not aligning with who you are and your core values. Now does this mean that you should reinvent your brand when you’re bored? Absolutely not. What I’m saying is that you may have to reinvent your brand in order to achieve the freedom and positioning that you want. Yes, it may be scary, but give yourself permission to explore the new. Those new ideas for your brand may lead you to endless possibilities and in the direction of your Ultimate Vision.
Just a few weeks ago I was chatting with one of my entrepreneur friends. She was going through a rough patch in her entrepreneurial journey and decided to take a leap into the unknown. She repositioned her business completely. She was terrified but yet excited because she was now taking control over what she wanted for her business and life.
Out with the old, in with the new.
If need be, leave the old behind and reach for the new. When you commit to a business or brand that is a prison for you, you can get sucked into an abyss of doing work and working with people who you can’t stand. And guess where that leads. You know it. Burnout, depression, drudgery, and misery. Sometimes moving into the unknown territory of reinventing your brand or business can bring you some of the biggest and greatest accomplishments and will allow you to see what you’re capable of in both your personal and business lives.
I was tired and crabby. I found myself getting impatient with my clients and felt that some of them didn’t take me seriously as a strategic partner. I was fuming deep down as I continued working as a freelance graphic designer and illustrator. I was known for making stuff pretty even if there was no depth to that pretty design. Then one day something awakened inside me and I realized that I couldn’t take it anymore. I discovered that I could no longer stand by developing designs for businesses that weren’t open to change, that had a poor brand foundation, and or that didn’t want to listen to the suggestions that I was giving them. It was also then that I decided to reinvent a brand that would position me in the marketplace the way that I wanted my business to be positioned and what I wanted my brands to be known for because I didn’t want others in my industry (or competition) to position my business for me. When you don’t position your brand, your competition will do it for you by positioning their own brand shedding a bad light on yours.
Why keep doing things that have you stuck and limited as well as portrayed and positioned in the wrong light?
Here are three things that you need to ask yourself. It’s time for a change if:
- Your brand is not aligned and positioned the way that you want it positioned in the marketplace. What do I mean by “positioned”? To position a brand means to create an impression that is unique to your brand in the minds of people both inside and outside of your business. In order to do this effectively, you’ll need to know who your customers are and what they want; your brand’s capabilities, unfair advantage, and value proposition; and how brands in your industry are positioning themselves.
- You’re stuck with a brand that doesn’t allow for growth. For instance, I was known for my illustration and graphic design. I noticed a pattern with my clients. Those who had a strong understanding and foundation of their brand were much easier for me to develop marketing collateral. Those clients that struggled with their brand foundation were all over the place making it harder to create materials that would attract who they wanted. It was much harder to create for the outer if the inner foundation wasn’t right. It’s like sticking an adhesive bandage on an arm that is broken. I like to refer to this as trying to use something for the surface to cure or resolve something that was wrong underneath. So is the same with your brand. If the foundation isn’t right, you’ll need to tackle the foundation first before you start dealing with the outside. No “bandage” will cover up or ever fix a foundational problem.
- You’re doing something completely new and it doesn’t match what your current brand is or what it has to offer. This one is a toughie. So, I’m in the midst of working on another aspect of my brand. It’s an online store. What a lot of people don’t know is that I actually started off as both an online and offline store (at trade shows and events) selling original as well as reproductions of my artwork. Now, eight years later, I’m reviving my online store selling my both my design products and art. Because this venture is not new to me and I have systems that I’ve developed and in place from creating my store previously, it wouldn’t be that much of a challenge reviving it. Yes, it will take work, but I’ve already done the major legwork needed to get it up and running. Since I have a branding agency, it would seem pretty darn crazy to have a store featuring my artwork on my branding agency’s website! This scenario would be an example of when you would need to either recreate your brand or add another brand to your existing brand. But as I mentioned, this can be tricky because you’d need to know exactly how to structure this new brand/offering and how to position it (especially if you plan to keep your existing brand).
In 2015, I went through a huge identity crisis in my business, and I went into a frizzy of having to figure out what I wanted for my life and what I wanted to do for my business. Over a one-year period, I faced depression which caused me to stop exercising and really taking care of myself the way I used to. The business model that I once loved was something that I was beginning to resent. I went on my first international trip to Paris, France and that trip totally changed my life. Visiting Paris opened my eyes to new possibilities revealing to me, somehow, a knowingness of what I wanted. It was also then that I realized that the business model that I currently had was not it.
When I got back from Paris, I began to shift EVERYTHING. I began to focus on restructuring my brand architecture and changing my business model. I wrote down what I wanted (Yes, write it down. I’ve discovered that every time that I’ve written down what I wanted to accomplish, I noticed that I subconsciously worked towards it. Don’t ask me how, but writing down my goals and vision always operated like that for me.) From the span of 2015-16, I went from depression into clarity. When 2017 hit, I was completely focused and had such clarity that the internal aspects of my business, and even my self, started aligning and flowing beyond what I had ever imagined.
I had to know what I really wanted first to realize that what I was currently doing was not leading me down the path of my “Ultimate Vision.” So, I took down my original website and started working feverishly on it, determining my brand voice, and developing how to speak to my ideal customers. I did a whole 360-degree haul of repositioning my brand. I developed a new name. Remember, I was a freelance graphic designer and illustrator and shifting the positioning of my business from those two careers into a branding agency was a huge feat for me. It was a feat that had forever changed my life—for the better.
Earlier in this post, I stated: “Sometimes moving into the unknown territory of reinventing your brand or business can bring you some of the biggest and greatest accomplishments and will allow you to see what you’re really capable of in both your personal and business lives.” I came to the conclusion that in order to achieve what I wanted, I had to release the old and walk into the new. And this required change.
To wrap this up, yes, change is hard especially if you’re COMFORTABLE, but change is necessary if something is not working or if you need to restructure your brand and business model. But keep in mind that repositioning your brand can be challenging and will take time. For a successful repositioning, you’ll need to have or develop a strong understanding of who you are, what you have to offer, and who your customers are and what they need.
Until next time, be less than what others tell you to be and do. Discover and become more of who you are. Be the courageous and bold soul that you are and never allow yourself to be in bondage to a brand that no longer works.
We, at The Brand Naked Agency, don’t tell you who you are or who you should be. We help you re-shift your brand (if you need help with it), discover your brand voice, and help you communicate who you are effectively both within your business and in the marketplace. Click the big red button below to schedule an appointment with us. If you prefer to D.I.Y. it, check out The Busy Entrepreneur’s Guide To Developing a Brand In 60 Days Or Less: A Toolkit For Entrepreneurs and Solopreneurs.