Brand Like There Is No Finish Line
Brand like there is no finish line.
For any brand, and in my opinion particularly one that is new or young, it's easy to think that once the basic elements of the brand are conceived: you know, the brand positioning, moodboard, tagline, etc. the branding process is over and branding, in essence, is done. The truth is, nothing could be further from the truth.
Creating and starting a brand may kick off with basic building blocks such as taglines, positioning, and brand stories, but the growth of that brand is a never-ending story, and will need constant care and attention if the brand hopes to make it in the long haul. In other words, where your branding is concerned, there is no finish line.
Think about it. As the owner or founder or brand manager, when do you envision being 'done' with branding? Once you've picked a name or launched your first product? Probably not. After you've written your website? Published your first blog post? 'Grammed your first photo? No, no, and no. Sure, at each of these junctures you should be able to say, confidently and immediately, what your brand is (and is not), and that won't change...but how that information translates into your actual branding from year to year, that is an on-going process.
Like anything else that takes long-term commitment and dedication: relationships, physical fitness, lawn maintenance...brands with staying-power tend to their branding non-stop. And by tending your brand, I mean:
- Adapting as necessary. Undoubtedly, you and your team will have spent countless hours creating the absolute perfect vision for your brand, and that's fantastic. However, it's not realistic to expect the vision you had at the outset will be the reality of your brand one, five, or ten years down the road. The essence of that original vision should still be there, but successful brands are those that can (and will!) adapt to changes in their brand as it blossoms and grows. Change can be a good thing!
- Amending when needed. Perhaps there is an element of your brand that you just.can't.abandon. It's your favorite element...it resonates with you, it makes you want to sing and cry; it might even be one of the very reasons you even started your brand. Those elements? They are special...and, of course, they deserve preservation and to be remembered. But what if this thing, this special connection you have to the brand...just doesn't mean much to consumers? Or doesn't actually add any value to the brand as it stands today? Maybe it's an old tagline or outdated founder's story. Whatever it is...as Stephen King likes to say about writing: you must be ready to kill your darlings if that's where the story takes you. And if your brand is telling you elements need to be amended or tweaked...listen.
- Editing where required. Finally, let's talk about editing. As a writer, I can confidently say that editing is my least favorite part of the creative process. I don't like it when my writing gets cut or words get deleted...but almost to a fault, editing has always made good work better. And editing your brand will only help make an already strong brand even stronger. What products are or aren't resonating with consumers? What messages or claims? As your brand evolves and importantly--the marketplace your brand lives in matures and expands--it's important to let elements naturally evolve right along with it. Some will thrive and bloom, others will wither and die. It's all part of the process, and your brand will be that much stronger for the pruning.
- Bonus round! Don't forget about your visual elements. Is your logo still as fresh and relevant as when you started or could it stand to be spruced up? What about your website imagery, your colors and fonts, your product photography? Hire an amazing graphic designer and be open to adapting, amending, and editing these elements, as well.
You already know that when it comes to content, there is definitely no end in sight to the amount of copywriting your brand will need...well, forever. The same can be said for your branding. When there is no finish line for your brand's evolution and growth, there's no telling how far your brand can go, or how successful it can be.