My husband and I just finished renovating an old 1930’s bungalow in our small South Carolina town.
I remember the first time I laid eyes on it. It was dirty and dingy with dark paint, busted windows, and a caved-in kitchen floor. I hardly wanted to set foot in it, let alone live in it.
But beyond the grime, there were remnants of what the house looked like in its glory days. Large trim, built-in bookshelves, original hardwood floors, french doors. I knew that with a little creativity and a lot of elbow grease, we could restore the house to its former beauty.
We put an offer on the house early last year (the same day we brought our son home from the hospital) and excitedly started dreaming up plans for the renovation.
But before we were able to dive into the demo, we had to take an inventory of all the work that needed to be done.
The same is true when you “renovate” and revamp the design of your brand.
Before you can dive into the obvious details like fonts and colors, you have to evaluate what is and isn’t working with your current brand.
This post is part of Elle & Company’s 4-week Brand Challenge. Click here to see more details, sign up, and access the free workbook.
DAY 1 ACTION STEP
Conduct a current brand evaluation
For those of you who have an existing business, it’s important to take some time and evaluate your brand to pinpoint what you’ve been doing right with your current brand and what needs to be improved.
And for those of you who are starting your brand from scratch, I encourage you to work through this evaluation, too. You might not be able to answer every question at the moment, but the questions below will provide some helpful things to consider as you build your brand throughout the next few weeks.
Take some time to answer these questions to the best of your ability:
What kind of clients/customers have you been attracting? Are they your ideal clients/customers? If not, what type of clients/customers do you want to attract?
What are your brand’s core values and beliefs? On a scale of 1-10, how well do you think these beliefs are being communicated to your audience?
What problem does your business solve? On a scale of 1-10, how well do you think you’re communicating this to your audience?
What promises do you make to your clients/customers? On a scale of 1-10, how well do you think you’re communicating these promises to your audience?
Why do your current clients/customers choose your business over other businesses in your industry?
Why do certain prospects choose other businesses in your industry over yours?
What do your clients/customers say when they recommend your brand to others? What do you want them to say when your business is recommended to potential clients/customers?
On a scale of 1-10, how loyal are your current and past clients/customers?
How is your business different from your competitors? On a scale of 1-10, how well do you think you’re highlighting these differences in your brand?
You can find all of these questions on pages 3 and 4 of your workbook.
It’s important to take the time to identify the message you’re trying to communicate to your audience and evaluate the effectiveness of your current brand.
But it can be hard to take an objective look at how your brand is performing.
You may think your brand is communicating the right things about your business, but you could be missing the mark.
"A brand is no longer what we tell the consumer it is - it is what consumers tell each other it is." - Scott Cook
"Branding is the art of aligning what you want people to think about your company with what people actually do think about your company. And vice versa." - Jay Bauer
"Your brand is whatever your customer says it is." - Anonymous
It’s important to figure out what people actually think about your brand and business.
So once you’ve answered the questions above, I want you to ask three people who are familiar with your business and your industry to answer the following questions:
What are this brand’s core values and beliefs?
What problem does this business solve?
Based on their brand, website, and marketing efforts, what promises does this business seem to be making to potential clients/customers?
Why would clients/customers choose this business over other businesses in its industry?
What words would you use to describe this business to others?
How is this brand different from others in the industry?
You can find all of these questions on page 4 in your workbook, and I encourage you to jot down the responses from all three interviewees.
Remember, the goal of this evaluation is to reveal areas that need to be improved. Don’t take any of the feedback personally! Instead, look at it as a learning opportunity and let any weak spots drive you to make improvements throughout these next few weeks.
Once you’ve completed this action step, hop on over to the Elle & Company Facebook group or leave me a comment on this post and tell me your biggest branding struggle at the moment and what you hope to achieve at the end of this Brand Challenge.
Best wishes with Day 1 and I can’t wait to hear how it goes!
P.S. You can follow along on my Instagram account to see some “after” photos of the reno. It’s still a work in progress, but it’s come a long way!