Running a Brand Audit in Three Steps

Is your startup on brand or off the mark?

March 19, 2020

Before we jump into details, we gotta get one thing straight:

A brand is the gut-feeling has toward a business. By definition, being "on brand" would mean that the feeling you want people to have is being felt by your target consumer. Being off brand would mean they feel the opposite or something unrelated. For example, if I want people to feel "rebellious," then similar feelings like edgy, badass, and cool are right up my alley. What I'm looking to avoid is the opposite; safe, quaint, pretty, timid, etc. With me so far? Cool, here are the three steps:

Define your brand
This is done through a brand discovery workshop, it's borderline therapy for business owners. Founders sit in a room with an objective third-party and tell everything they can about their business. Their customers, their dreams and goals, the culture they desire, all of it is put on the table. In doing so, nuggets of information can be pulled that show what someone should feel about the business. The goal is to create a definition of the brand that can be used as a yardstick.

Review all marketing collateral
Social posts, brochures, swag, websites, the name, logo, identity systems, business cards, email templates, everything that comes into contact with a customer is put up for review. It goes without saying that if you're jumping into a rebrand, you are probably not happy with all of these assets anyway, but you need to clarify why that's the case. If you don't you open the door to repeat the same mistakes in recreating them.

Make a game plan
Using the items in the review, make a plan of action prioritizing the elements that would have the greatest impact on the brand. Then, get to work updating them and getting them on brand.

More you say?

Alliance

Why surrounding yourself with fellow rebels is the only way to move ahead

12.6.2019

I take criticism very seriously. It's not that I get offended or that I curl up into a ball and cry, but I always think about it deeply. Mostly, because improving on myself and expanding my capabilities is of the utmost importance to me.

Yesterday, my punch talked about a digital marketer who had expressed concerns regarding my website building capabilities around an SEO focused, digital strategy. From my standpoint, it sounded like he inferring I had no idea what SEO was and that it was impossible for me to learn more about it. This is the kinda shit I think deeply about. SEO is important to the web design process, so when someone tells me I'm not good at it, I think about it. Probably more than I should.

I was thinking about it all day. Am I really that lost on SEO? I thought I had a decent understanding of how it worked and how sites should be structured accordingly.

Last night, when I was at a UX event, I told some trusted colleagues what was concerning me (many of whom are in the digital marketing space). By putting these thoughts out there for other people to address, their gravitas was minimized. They didn't seem that bad anymore. Certainly not something to dwell on any longer.

Point being: find a tribe of good people who've got your back. Rebels are nothing without an alliance.

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Resurrection

If you're going to make a better brand, you must say goodbye to a piece of yourself.

1.27.2020

When training for an athletic event, we subject ourselves to pain in hopes of getting better. We strain our muscles to the point that cells begin to breakdown. Another way of thinking about this, is that a they die. However a new, stronger cell or group of cells takes its place.

Without the initial expiration of the first cell, the new ones can't exist.

The same goes for your brand. If you are going to change the way people feel about you, or at the very least continue to build and improve upon it, you must say goodbye to the parts that have grown weary.

Some examples of what this would look like:

Cutting services or offerings that don't align with your positioning.

Changing your name to better reflect your brand's character.

Refining the culture of your company to foster the brand.

Creating a unique identity that is totally different from the previous one.

Letting go of toxic people who don't align with your values.

Having the courage to throw it all away in the hopes of creating something greater.

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