You've put in countless hours of self-reflection and research to refine your personal brand. Weeks of back and forth over the psychology of colors and obsessing over the copy. You've kept the Stuart Smalley voices in your head at bay long enough to work through the designs and plot your launch. Then the day comes, and you push the publish button. Then what?
If you need the affirmation, maybe you're checking every hour to see how many clicks your website got. Hopefully, you had a plan in place for this day and you're busy building buzz, working through your list of contacts, polishing up your latest blog post and tweeting up a storm. You could also be hiding under your bed, or (like me) belatedly noticing everything that's wrong that you didn't see 30 days before and reaching for something crunchy to chew on to reduce the anxiety.
Since I'm still showing the scars of my rebrand launch 30-days ago, I thought it would be worthwhile to share a few of the lessons I've learned in case you or your company is going through the reimagining and repositioning process.
- Build In Extra Time--At its core, going through the rebranding process is an exercise in soul-searching. If you've answered the True, Meaningful and Distinctive questions within one day, you probably weren't digging deep enough.
- Set Deadlines--While soul-searching is fundamental, eventually, you need to answer the questions to the best of your ability and move on. The digital age is dynamic. It's not like you're carving your purpose in stone. Nothing is ever perfect; it just has to be ready.
- Work With People You Trust--Creating a brand story, composing the copy and compiling the visuals are 50% art, 50% science, and 100% intuitive. (Yogi Berra would have loved that equation.) Work with people who get your ethos because no amount of cleverness will cover up a hollow core.
- Create A Plan--One of the most misunderstood parts of branding/rebranding is that it happens at a specific moment in time like you are removing a giant sheet to announce the new digital you. People clap, cameras flash (once upon a time) and you start selling your wares. Done. Except it doesn't work like that. The unveiling is certainly a point along the branding timeline, but the work didn't begin there nor does it end there. Building brand buzz requires time, infrastructure and relationship building. It's a continual process and you need to have a plan in place, including pre and post promotion.
- Commit To Be Disciplined--Fortune 500 companies spend millions of dollars on a rebrand, but you don't have to in order to be successful. If you are, however, going to invest the money to sharpen your story and point of distinction, you need to be equally committed to letting your audience know why they should hire you. In my case, over the last 30 days, I've published more words, more consistently on topics related to my business than I have in my life. And now that I've proven to myself that I can find time in my schedule to write regularly, it's becoming easier with each post. The same goes for networking events. The more disciplined you are about promoting your brand, the more automatic it becomes.
- Your Audience Will Change--People find value in your brand for different reasons. If you've sharpened your brand or repositioned it, some in your audience may no longer find value in reading what you write or emails you send them. If you have a subscriber list, you will probably get more unsubscribers than you are used to--and that's as it should be. You will find a new audience who does find value in your new brand story, and you will make new connections based on those shared interests.