Over the years the definition of branding has changed. It’s no longer what it used to be. When there wasn’t so much online exposure for brands – your logo, graphics, and website were all you needed to get noticed. Now, people want more from a brand than just the surface-level visuals that make it look good. They want something deeper.
Building a brand now means creating a connection with people behind the face of your brand. How we connect with brands has changed over the years which means how we create our brands has to change too. Let’s talk about how branding has changed and how to keep your brand up to the new standards.
How branding has changed
When I first got into the world of online entrepreneurship, building a brand looked different. It wasn’t so much about creating the whole brand as it was about creating the brand design. Business owners (myself included because I just didn’t know any better) focused on creating a beautiful visual brand and that worked to attract people to their brand. That’s all they needed.
That was typically paired with a mission statement and brand values, but it didn’t go very deep. When people talked about creating a brand they were pretty much just referring to the visual side of things.
Fast forward a few years and branding started to change. As the online world changed, branding had to adapt with it. People were growing tired of the surface-level brand and seeing the same things over and over. They wanted more. They wanted deeper. They wanted a connection with the brand that was more than just their pretty logo.
And that’s when I shifted my own process to a more strategic branding approach. Instead of just designing the visual side of the brand and website, I flipped it around and focused on digging deep with my clients to really define their ideal client, mission, message, offerings, etc on a whole new level. And it made a HUGE difference in the outcome of the brand.
Instead of building a brand design, we were truly building an entire brand from the ground up and it showed in the results. My clients had much more confidence in their brand, clarity in what they were doing, and a plan for moving forward in the right direction. They were able to easily find and connect with their ideal clients. Their brand was visually communicating the right thing to the right person who was then drawn to the brand because they connected with it.
And that’s why I am such a big fan of the strategic branding approach. Because a pretty logo just doesn’t cut it anymore. It might have worked at one time, but these days people are craving more and your brand is what can do that for your business.
Why your brand should evolve over time
Just like branding as a whole has evolved over time, your specific brand needs to evolve over time too. When I first started my business I didn’t have a deeply rooted brand. I had a pretty logo (or what I thought was pretty at the time!). But over the years of growing my business, I have evolved my own brand into what it is today.
You won’t start your business on day one with the perfect brand. It is impossible. You need to take action, gain clarity, and do the work before you can have a full understanding of your own brand on that deep level. Your brand starts out small just like everything else and it grows into the well-established brand you dream of over time.
You, your business, and the industry will all change over time and your brand needs to adapt with it. While it is true that you don’t want to change your business drastically from one year to the next, you will naturally evolve over time. Your business will evolve as you do personally. As you grow and change over time, it will be reflected in your business.
How to make sure your brand is evolving
When it comes to your brand, you don’t have to get it perfect from the start. Your brand WILL evolve over time. Mine has most definitely evolved over the years. Here’s how you can adapt and evolve your brand so that it stays aligned with your business and with best practices for branding an online business.
Making small changes over time
Small changes will happen naturally to your business over time. It’s not even something you have to put much thought into. They are little things that change as you grow and adapt your business. As you learn more about your ideal client or customer, hone in on your skills and passions, and figure out what you can offer to the world, your products and services will change. Your business will reflect the person behind it. Your brand will evolve to represent these things and your messaging will speak to those things. Most of the time these small changes happen without even realizing it.
Avoid drastic changes often
Although your brand will naturally evolve, you have to be careful to avoid drastic changes often. There’s a fine line between evolving your business and rebranding every year (find out when to invest in branding or rebranding here). You shouldn’t be redoing your business so often that people don’t even recognize it anymore. You don’t need to completely restructure your mission, message, and brand often. Once you define the core of your brand and business it should be your anchor. You can evolve your brand over time without making drastic changes to the core of your business.
Think long-term and big-picture
The key to remember when evolving your business is to think long-term and big picture. Think about your business as a whole over time. Even if you just make small changes and updates to your business over time, it still might look completely different 5 years from now. My business looks nothing like it did when I first started, but it wasn’t a huge overnight change.
Over the last few years, I’ve made smaller adjustments to my business as I’ve grown and changed over time. My business today is a better reflection of who I am, where I’m at in life, and how I can best support you now. And I’m still evolving my products and services as I hone in more and more on my own skills and knowledge and how I can use that to best serve you.
But in the grand scheme of things, the core of my business and brand is still the same. It hasn’t drastically changed from one thing to a completely different thing. It has been a natural, slow, progressive change that is easy for my community to follow along with over time.
The way we look at branding has changed, especially when it comes to online businesses. And your brand has to evolve with that. Your brand is a living piece of your business that needs regular attention to make sure it is aligned with your own business growth as well as best practices for building a brand.
You can’t create your brand once and forget about it. Both branding as a whole and your brand for your business will grow and change over time and if you don’t pay attention to that, your brand could be easily lost in the shuffle.
Take a look at your brand today. Is it aligned with your business? Is it aligned with the way a brand needs to be set up today? Does it need some attention? Set yourself up for success by regularly updating your brand.
- When to invest in custom branding or rebranding
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