A business starts off as a penny sale product based business at a local market and is now one of the biggest, most well known brands in the UK. Do you know which one I’m talking about? It’s Marks and Spencer of course. This is brand evolution.
Your brand 6 months or a year ago, may not necessarily be your brand now. So, with each evolution of your brand, you need to ensure your branding is in alignment.
Let’s use Marks and Spencer as an example. Marks and Spencer was established in 1984 and its ideal clients back then were local people who visited local markets, who had a certain budget. There will be much more to it than this, so bear with me. Things were a lot different back then and they would have had to position themselves a certain way in order to appeal to their ideal clients. If you look at the Marks and Spencer brand now, it’s completely different. Gone are the penny sale market stalls. Their ideal client will have evolved over time and the ideal client they once had in 1984, will be very different to WHO their ideal client is now. So with every evolution of their brand, their values will have evolved along with their ideal client, their visual branding and everything else in-between.
Let’s look at what could change over time to see if you can identify any of these changes within your brand’s journey to date.
This, to me, is the big one. I’ve seen this happen with my own brand. When I first started Hollie Ellis Design in 2015, I was initially working with North East (UK) based start-up business owners…
In the last 5 years this has changed. After a year or so, I realised the clients I was working with weren’t start-up’s anymore. Instead they had been in business for 2-3 years and were wanting a more professional looking brand for their business. So I changed my messaging to match this kind of ideal client and I was also able to raise my pricing too.
Another few years later and my ideal client had dramatically changed again. In 2018 I discovered I was working with much more established female entrepreneurs who had very successful 6-figure businesses and a lot of them were within the coaching and consulting industry. So I changed my branding again to suit and I did a full rebrand, which made such a massive difference.
Your brand needs to appeal to and attract your ideal clients, so as your ideal clients change, your brand needs to evolve too. This could be a change in messaging, in visual branding, or both. Using your intuition will help – noticing and keeping a look out for any signs that parts of your brand are evolving.
Ask yourself the following questions too:
- Is my message clear and does it resonate with my ideal client?
- Does my brand design (including colours and fonts) appeal to my ideal client?
- What other brands do my ideal clients follow? What are they doing well and how can I adopt similar qualities within my own brand?
I know I’ve mentioned messaging already, but the most successful brands have a very clear message, which they share on a regular basis. Your message can change over time and along with your ideal clients changing, your message needs to evolve as well. It could be the beliefs you have around what you do have changed, or your brand values have evolved so you need to bring your core message back into alignment. It has to feel right and you have to be passionate about the message you want to get out into the world.
It’s worth checking in with your core message every quarter because the content you put out into the online and offline space needs to be in alignment with your core message. The last thing you want to be doing is giving out mixed messages.
Also, remember that only a small percentage of your audience is seeing your social media marketing efforts, so don’t be afraid to repeat your core message on a regular basis and create sub-topic content around your core message too.
These can also change over time. As a personal brand, your beliefs and values can evolve as you grow and evolve as a person. The person you were yesterday is a different person to who you are today. Crazy, right? So every 6 months, I would recommend checking in with your brand values and ask yourself these questions:
- What’s important to you?
- What are your non-negotiable’s in regards to the service/products you provide?
Then compare what comes up with your previous brand values and see if anything needs to change.
It’s all about creating an aligned brand…
If something is out of alignment, then you will notice things will begin to feel hard, like it’s a struggle. When you have an aligned brand, everything is easy, everything flows and it all feels right. And as a business owner, it’s important everything feels in alignment to you as well.
If you think about the change in season from Summer to Autumn, the weather changes, the knitwear, boots and scarves comes out. The Summer clothes are packed away for a few months, we start to consume hot, comforting drinks and slow cooker stews, soups and proper wintery food… We want to stay warm and cosy… (this could just be me!). But either way, as humans we adjust to the season we are in and it’s the same for your brand as well. Your brand needs to adjust to the ‘season’ it is in as well, whether that’s just starting out, building upon the foundations already set, or elevating to the next level.
So which season is your brand within right now? Start, Build or Elevate and is there anything you need to change or tweak to create a brand evolution so everything falls back into alignment?