Need a Brand Overhaul? Is it time scrap-it and start-over?

by Stephany

Sitting here in the middle of  home reno’s reflecting on how my home should have been built and wondering why I have electrical circuits and fixtures that go no where, then it hits me…  It’s the same in business isn’t it?

At some point you’re faced with the crushing reality that your brand or web presence isn’t working for you and needs an overhaul.  Yes, you can spruce it up, ad new features or pretend it works, but sometimes it feels so overwhelming that it seems easier to throw up your hands, scrap it and start over.

I recently had a client who asked for a Second Opinion on her web presence and message. After a one hour consultation she realized her web presence was not focused, not attracting who she wanted and not getting the results she needed.  She was grateful for all the new ideas and direction we discussed and super excited about the new vision to take her business to the next level. Then reality bit… hard! When we reached the point of the conversation where we discuss the step by step plan, naturally, she felt completely overwhelmed.

Of course  it’s tough to look at the sum total of your heart, sweat and tears over the last few months or years and realize it’s not working for you. When it happens, there are usually one of two reactions: a) Denial and resistance to changing anything, OR  b) Desire to abandon and start over.  The most natural reaction for most entrepreneurs is to say “Ok, back to the drawing board. Over the next few months I’ll take some time to figure out a new plan.” 

Now in some cases taking a few months to create a comprehensive and integrated brand, marketing and re-launch strategy is very wise because your “do-over” can be more cohesive and your execution strategy flows better.  Most big corporations plan carefully and take a up to a year to roll-out.  However,  most entrepreneurs and online businesses can’t afford investment of time,  money or focused attention to make the big shift while keeping their business running and clients happy.  Despite good intentions, weeks often turn into months and they’re still off track.  

Listen up! It is rarely ever necessary to completely scrap it and start over. ~ Online businesses and solo-preneurs need impactful steps that make a difference to the bottom line immediately. The problem is that the entrepreneurial spirit want to jump in, act now and get it done.   An idea starts sparking a burning desire to “call my web design guy and get a redesign started.” 

Whoooaaa! Start with the strategic architecture. ~ Think about it. When you build a house you don’t run to the interior designer, first you get a qualified architect then hire a contractor to coordinate all the pieces to execute.  Then you hire the designer to provide input and makes it show worthy.  Otherwise you face structural problems, crooked foundation, plumbing that doesn’t flow and electrical short circuits. 

Don’t run to your web designer and expect them to do it for you.  Sure, all web designers claim they offer the complete branding and marketing package… but their specialty is code not content, pretty not powerful,  attractive not attracting, tools not right targeting

Here are 5 keys steps to get you started:

1. Set a target date for completion. ~ Instead of delaying by months, set a goal to create a new brand vision, design and integrated plan within 2-3 weeks.

2. Work with a strategic branding and marketing professional.~  Get advice from an architect who can help you create an integrated marketing plan, image and message. If you start at the beginning with foundation of the  the 4 P’s of Marketing and 5 Brand Essentials  the “how to get there” naturally falls into place. 

It may feel elemetary, but the reason you feel overwhelmed or off track is probably because you’ve lost sight of your strategic plan in the first place.   Take a moment to redefine; Who are you? What do you want to be known for? Who’s your ideal customer? What problem can you solve for them? What product will you sell them? How will you get attention?  Have a story and a message in your strategy that people will recognize and sets you apart from the crowd.

3. Focus on integrating your a new brand image with a marketing strategy ~ One of the biggest mistakes entrepreneurs make is that all their marketing and materials look different.  Remember: If you want to be recognized, then everything you do has to reflect you.  First focus on creating complete and cohesive marketing efforts and advertising/publicity strategy.   Then, when the time comes and you need to act fast, respond, launch a new product, get media attention etc., all the elements are there to make it easy and look professional.

4. Plan a roll-out timeline, do the quick things first. ~ Lay out a step by step strategic plan to get to where you want to be.  For instance; you may not need a new website, just start with quick changes to colour, sales copy and eliminating clutter, then look at changing logo’s and design elements when you are ready to launch your new marketing materials. (Note for solo-preneurs: A WordPress theme like Thesis makes do-it-yourself changes a snap without a web-designer.)  

5. Roll-out your money makers first. If you have a top selling product, then start by re-launching and re-branding it to fit the new you and let everything else follow or become obsolete overtime.  Don’t try to re-vamp everything at once. It takes too long and you’ll lose momentum. 

Okay, right about now you’re thinking ” Isn’t it better to roll-out a big launch all at once and generate more publicity buzz with a bigger bang?”.  It certainly feels sexier, but hey, you’re probably not a big corporation with a marketing department to coordinate the details.  Besides, unless you’re Paris Hilton, you don’t usually get publicity for changing your clothes, you earn it for changing your product or business.  You’ll get more bang for your buck if you roll-out in stages and use social media to get a lot of little flashes of attention rather than costly fireworks that end after your 15 minutes of fame.

Bottom Line: Is it time to scrap it and start over?  Probably not.  Don’t think of it as starting over, think of it as an evolution, taking your business to the next level.

Want to re-publish one of our articles on your e-zine or blog?  Feel free to do so as long as you link to this site, let us know where and when and be sure to include the following blurb.  Stephany Crowley, is a Strategic Marketing Communications Specialist, Media Coach and the founder of GetMorePublicity.comFor nearly 20 years she’s worked with entrepreners, small medium sized businesses, and prominent politicians to refine their public image and lazer-focus their marketing message to attract the right target audience.  Her professional experience has included launching products, businesses, public policy initiatives, and various communications and public relations campaigns.

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