It’s January again – a time for fresh starts, reflections, and goal-setting! If you’re a small business owner, have you taken the time to review what your business has accomplished and create a plan for this year? Your brand is one of the first things people see when they come across your business, so making sure that your brand is creating the perfect first impression should definitely be on your to-do list for the new year! We’ve already put a list together of 5 different areas of your brand that you can refine to make a positive impact on your target audience. Here’s what you can do…
- Redefine your target audience
- Perform market research
- Elevate your visual brand identity
- Create templates
- Refine your brand collateral
Why is it important to refresh your brand?
While it’s important to invest in a timeless brand that lasts you throughout different seasons in business, it’s ok to make subtle refinements as you gain experience in business and the picture of where you want to take your business gets clearer. The world is constantly changing around us, and as new methods, strategies, and mindsets arise, our brands need to adapt. For example, in 2020 and 2021 we saw a huge rise in the use of short-form videos and influencer marketing in their marketing strategy. Our brands need to adapt to the changes that happen around us! And we can’t always forecast what the next big thing is going to be, so building a brand allows you to become better attuned to your potential customers.
Step 1: Redefine your target audience
As you’ve worked with more clients and interacted with more customers this year, have you thought about who you want to welcome into your client family in the new year? Owning your own business is often about doing what you love, and when you can surround yourself with the right group of people, it becomes even more enjoyable. Here are some questions you can ask yourself to help create a clear picture for your ideal client avatar…
- What did I enjoy the most about the clients I worked with this year?
- What do I want to change so I get more joy out of my work next year?
- What problems are my audience facing that I can help solve?
Once you have the answers to these questions, think about the ways your brand can more accurately reflect the people you want to attract. To help you with this, we need to do some market research!
Step 2: Perform Market Research
Chances are that as your brand has changed in the past year, your ideal clients have as well! This calls for some market research! Market research allows you to ask questions to better understand what makes you stand out to your ideal clients, what their problems are, what they need help with right now, and what they love to see in the brands they invest in. Some of the best market research questions you can ask are…
- How did you hear about our brand? This helps you see what your main marketing platforms are and where you should focus your marketing strategy in 2022.
- What are some adjectives you’d use to describe our brand? See how your audience interprets your brand and what you’re best known for and fully embrace that with your refreshed branding!
- What is your biggest struggle that we can help you with? This can help you get an idea of what is on the minds of the people in your audience and see where you can do more to meet their needs.
Step 3: Elevate Your Visual Brand Identity
Now that you’ve completed the pre-work and know what you need to adjust in your branding for the coming year, it’s time to get to work! Elevating your brand’s visual identity can be as subtle as refining your color palette or elevating your font choices to look more elegant, or it could be larger changes such as simplifying your logo, rewording your tagline to better fit your mission for 2022, and similar changes. If you have any of the following goals for your brand, here’s what you can do:
- If you want your brand to look more luxurious, simplify your branding to be more powerful and memorable. Use a more neutral color palette with a few complimentary colors to keep your brand personal, along with only two or three fonts for a cohesive look across your website and marketing.
- If you want your brand to be more personable, use a warm color palette instead of cooler shades. Help your brand to look more approachable with hand-drawn elements, interactive elements such as animations on your website, and utilizing short-form videos in your marketing efforts.
- If you want your brand to be more professional, curate a color palette of 3-6 colors to use, a maximum of three fonts, avoid free templates from Canva and similar platforms for your logo and social media marketing. Think about hiring a professional designer to create the perfect brand!
Step 4: Create Templates
It’s not only your visual branding – your logo and all its different variations that need to be updated, but to keep your brand up to date in 2022, it’s important to create templates that save you time, are custom to your business, and help you to reach your goals. While it may be easy to use the premade templates already out there, custom templates are built specifically with your audience and goals in mind. Here’s how you can build your own templates to save time and increase conversions!
- Take a look at your existing content – look at your analytics to see what kind of content resonates best with your audience so you can get an idea of the kind of templates you should create more of.
- Start with your brand colors, logo variations, and fonts – half of the work is already done for you when you use the brand elements you already have! Pairing these three with brand patterns and other elements to make infographics, quotes, and how-to guides will help you have more on-brand content for your social media marketing strategy!
- Repurpose your content across platforms – it’s not just Instagram that you can create templates for, but your PDFs such as proposals, guides, and email marketing freebies. Resize your Instagram feed post templates to become Instagram Stories, Pinterest Pins, and even Reels and TikTok videos!
Step 5: Refine Your Brand Collateral
Your brand is far more than just your logo, colors, and fonts! It touches everything that your potential customer will interact with as they progress through your customer journey to start working with you or purchase your products. If you have a product-based business, think about things like apparel, packaging materials, thank you notes, stickers, and more! For service-based businesses, this can be custom gifs, a personalized welcome packet, a media kit, business cards, and anything else unique to your business! Some of our favorite brand collateral items that you may want to refine for your business are…
- Brand patterns: a brand pattern that can be used in the background of your website sections, tissue paper or other packaging, on your business cards, and even more creative ideas!
- Email signatures: one of the most underrated ways you can elevate your brand is by creating a custom brand signature with your headshot, logo, quick links, name, contact information, and anything else people should know when they’re emailing you.
- Email marketing templates: a great way to increase engagement and build a personal relationship with your potential clients is through email marketing. The emails you send can become a trademark of your brand if your emails consistently look the same, follow the same format, and are customized to your own brand.
Need help refreshing your brand?
Does your to-do list look a little intimidating with what you need to do to refresh your brand? Social Circle In. is ready to help you! Our Design Days are an affordable way to refresh your branding or design some collateral so you can be totally prepared to accomplish your goals this year. In just one day, you’ll be one step closer to completing your to-do list! Click here to learn more about our Design Day service.