You've taken the leap. You've decided to invest in your business and give your established business a branding facelift (or start things off on the right foot with a full visual brand for your new biz!). You have taken the time to find a designer who's the perfect fit you and your vision, and you've officially booked with them. And now that you've signed that agreement and paid your downpayment, things are starting to get real.
This is an exciting time! Jump up and down and clap and smile and squeal! I'm serious! If you're working with the right designer for you and you have a good vibe, you should be that excited. Developing a brand for your business is a big deal and a big investment of time and money.
CONGRATS to you on making it all happen. Your business deserves it. You deserve it.
Friends, the branding process is so much fun and I want you to get the most out of the experience! And to do that, it will take some preparation, research and planning. But don't feel overwhelmed! Today, I have some tips to help you effectively prepare for your rebrand and the collaboration with your brand stylist.
1. Take the pre-project homework / discovery and inspiration process seriously.
Many professional designers start the branding process with some sort of brand discovery and inspiration gathering phase. This will look different from designer to designer of course, but regardless of the ins-and-outs of what it involves, I encourage you to truly engage in it and take it seriously.
I believe it to be the most important part of the branding process, as it sets up the project for success. It helps your designer get to know you and your business better AND it helps you hone in on your mission, your goals, how you stand apart in your industry, your style, etc. It helps both you and your designer prepare for your time working together.
So fill out that workbook, collect visual inspiration on Pinterest (it's fun, I promise!), do whatever your designer is asking you to do. I promise you, there is a rhyme and reason for it and not only will the final product will be better, but the whole branding journey will be more enjoyable and focused if you dive into these pre-project activities. And give it 100%.
HINT: For those of you who aren't AllieMarie Design clients already and are looking for an extra exercise designed to give you brand clarity... download my free branding workbook!
2. Review your project schedule and set aside time on your calendar for your project in advance. Your designer will thank you.
Before you begin the branding process, review the project schedule your designer put together and mark your calendar with appropriate deadlines. Just as you are excited and expect to receive logo concepts and other special deliveries from your designer on certain days, your designer is excited and expects to receive your feedback and thoughts on time too.
They most likely set aside time in advance to work on your branding, so when projects get really off schedule, it can be tricky to get back on track. I know I value my clients' time an incredible amount and I do whatever I can to ensure my projects launch on time. Knowing my clients are committed to this as well is so helpful -- it's amazing how following the project schedule and keeping your momentum alone can make the project go so smoothly!
So... get out your calendar, make notes of all those deadlines now and work your schedule around them. Your designer will thank you and you will be so happy you planned ahead for this important investment you've made in your business.
3. Make a list of all marketing platforms and design pieces your rebrand will affect. And plan ahead.
Sometimes, we forget how many places our logo actually appears or all the places we would like our logo to appear. Then, when it comes time to rebrand, we start realizing... oh my goodness, I have to make new business cards, order new signage, update my Facebook business page, create new electronic PDFs for my website (not to mention a redesign of your website itself).
Don't let it all creep up on you! Here are some quick to-dos to help you get organized.
First, make a list of all communication pieces, signage, social platforms, etc. that will need to be updated with your new logo and brand. Then, next to each piece, note:
- What is the purpose of each piece is and in what context is it seen?
- When do you need each piece completed by (i.e. if you have an upcoming event you need your business cards for or an event you're sponsoring when you'll need a new banner)?
- What specific content needs to be written and/or assembled by you before it is designed (i.e. text for that electronic PDF or updated photos for that brochure)?
- Would you like your designer to design it or do you plan on DIYing it?
For the pieces you'd like your designer's help with -- especially the time-sensitive ones -- you may want to reach out to them about those projects right away. Your designer will most likely want to know details about what you have in mind, then provide a custom quote to you (if the design pieces aren't a part of your branding package or original quote). They can also book the project in their calendar in advance to ensure they meet your deadline and leave enough time for printing and/or production.
Making this list will also help you during the branding process, keeping top of mind HOW your logos, watermarks, patterns, textures, icons, etc. will be used and where they will appear. It helps give you context!
HINT: Thinking of DIYing your print materials? Check out my beginner's guide to working with a professional printer
4. Get to know your ideal client. Like, really get to know them.
This may be part of your designer's pre-project / brand discovery process and at the very least, it will most likely be a topic of conversation before the design process begins. Regardless, it's up to you to communicate to your designer the audience you're trying to reach and how they interact with your business and brand.
While you're waiting for your branding project to begin, do research. Find out where they're hanging out, the social media platforms they're on, their likes and dislikes, where they shop, and what problem you're solving for them.
If you really want to get inside their head, do one-on-one interviews with a few people in your life who you consider to be an ideal client / customer. In addition to the above, you could also find out anecdotally what they might look for in a business like yours. How can you best help them? What would attract them to you? Where would they go to find information about you?
Alternatively, you could do this kind of research online by posting a survey or general inquiry in a Facebook group. Just make sure you're getting information from your *ideal client or customer*. That is who you'll be targeting when you start the design process, so it's important that you're specific with who you're gathering these details from.
What do you do with what you learn? Write it down! Add it to your branding workbook or, at the very least, communicate it to your designer. These things matter and all of these details will help you two make decisions as you develop a visual brand styling that catches the eye of the people you want to attract.
5. Review what's included in your package and know your responsibilities.
Copywriting, photography, email marketing. These are just some of the things that may not be a part of your branding package and your designer will not be completing for you.
Be sure to fully understand what will be covered during the branding process and what the final deliverables will be. Then make a list of all the areas you're responsible for that you will for sure need. And, similar to #3 above, note which of these you will be outsourcing and which you will DIY.
If you're considering hiring someone to help you in these areas, start researching and booking the creatives that will be the best fit. Your designer may be able to point you in a good direction, so consider asking them before! Who doesn't like a great referral?
HINT: If you're working with me, (or even if you're not!) I am happy to refer you to some uber talented creatives that will work along side us as we develop your brand. As a team, we'll ensure your brand experience is consistent, cohesive and authentically you from every angle!
6. Find your support person for during the branding process
Your designer will be sending you design concepts, logo revisions, different options, final designs to approve... all-of-the-things during the branding process. This is your brand and your business, so although your designer is there to guide you and give you professional advice, it's up to you to make the final decisions.
At times, some people find it to be a little overwhelming, especially if you're having a hard time deciding between concepts or you just want an extra set of eyes to check for any inaccuracies or errors.
That's why I encourage you to find your "person." ONE person. Your go-to during the branding process who knows you and your business well, and can give you constructive feedback during the process. Before you begin the design process, sit down with this person and explain your goals, why you are rebranding, and what kind of feedback will be helpful to you.
There's a fine line between receiving feedback and receiving too much feedback. I've worked with a few clients who have received way too much feedback from a huge mastermind group or every single member of their family. It caused a ton of stress and uncertainty for my clients and caused them to constantly question themselves unnecessarily, not to mention it stunted our process and set us back in our project schedule.
At the end of the day, you do need to trust yourself, trust your gut and remember only YOU know your business the way you do. But it does help to have someone on your team who can support you, reflect back to you your values and mission when you feel yourself stray, and encourage you so that you feel confident with the direction of your brand.
7. Get pumped up!
I'll say it again... this is such an exciting time! You have every reason to get pumped up and have lil' butterflies in your stomach when you think about the strategic, beautiful, and authentic brand that will soon be all yours. Investing in a full visual brand has so many benefits -- if you're feeling fully prepared to dive in and you're working with the right designer who gets you, you won't look back.