Every New Year comes with the opportunity to make fresh business goals.
Now that we’re a few weeks into January, it might be the right time to make subtle changes in your brand to support your new strategies and habits. Three years ago, I created the Brand Scratch Pad - a free 16-page workbook to help clarify your brand’s message. I started updating the exercises this month based on what I’ve learned over the years, and still feel it is one of the best ways to realign with your brand’s vision without investing in a full rebrand.
Your brand is a fluid, living entity that is constantly being impacted by the way you communicate, treat customers, and showcase your work or products. Because of this, your brand can easily change and evolve faster than you anticipate. However, there are a lot of small ways you can tweak your brand’s appearance online without going through the full branding process.
Here are a few ways to refresh your brand this year:
1. Update your color palette.
A great way to refresh the look and feel of your brand is to change up your brand’s color palette. Whether you’re adding new secondary colors, changing the way you edit photography, or even replacing a primary color or two, it’s a low-cost and immediate way to refresh and change your brand’s look and feel.
Not sure which color is right for you? Check out our color series!
2. Consider a campaign.
You most likely know that you can refresh your whole business, but have you ever considered doing a mini brand around one of your signature products or services? Giving your highlighted offerings their own look and feel can improve your overall brand, and also drive sales.
While you’re considering ways to make your signature offerings stand out, why not create a campaign for social media and email marketing? By establishing a distinct color palette and taking (or sourcing) cohesive photography, you’ll be able to highlight your products in a fresh and interesting way. Just remember that your product’s style needs to compliment your overall brand’s look and feel.
3. Use illustration to show options, process, or offerings.
Has your business changed in the last few years, or do you frequently get asked questions about your process? Does your website feel more copy-heavy than visually interesting? It might be time to add some branded icons or illustrations to give your digital experience some style. I only suggest that you keep these icons or illustrations to 3-5 strong, core concepts that add simplicity, instead of confusion, to your brand copy.
4. Get new photography.
A fantastic way to upgrade your brand is to invest in new photography. Take some time to research photographers in your area (or in an area you’ll be traveling in!) and reach out to inquire about their rates. You’ll be surprised how affordable it is to work with an actual photographer to create original content to use for weeks and months on social media. I’d also suggest forming a long-term relationship with a photographer to purchase stock photography over time - outtakes from other photo shoots and simple still life setups that match your brand’s look and feel and support another small business owner.
This is exactly what I’ve done with Drop Cap, working with my good friend Becca of BeckleyCo!
5. Redesign your documents.
If your brand is feeling dull (especially once you start working with clients and customers) it might be time to refresh your documents. Invoices, contracts, informational PDFs, and pricing guides can all become painfully neglected and overlooked. Why not make every aspect of your brand an opportunity to show your style? Even formal documents like a contract can take on a new life when you use your brand fonts.
Don’t know where to get started? Check out our digital shop!
6. Update your copy.
If you love your brand’s visual look but still feel like something is missing, consider updating your copy. You can either work with a copywriter you admire to refresh your product names, blog titles, and headlines, or stretch your own creative muscles to rethink the way you communicate online.
I strongly consider Marie Forleo’s Copy Cure class or Ashlyn Carter’s Copywriting for Creatives course for furthering your writing skills and finding your brand’s tone of voice. (not an affiliate, just a happy student!)
7. Evaluate your social media platforms.
Time to take a look at all of your social media platforms. Are you using the same profile picture? Have you used all of the available resources to convert viewers into email subscribers or customers? Are you consistently posting and responding to comments? Refreshing forgotten platforms, updating bios, and making sure profiles are consistent is a great way to refresh your brand for the new year and encourage new followers to stick around.
8. Consider email templates.
Less glamorous than a visual makeover, creating email templates is a great way to add consistency to your brand and make sure each customer and client gets the same experience. Go back through your recent email transactions and see if there’s any room to create templates for common emails you send out. Not only will this save you time throughout the week, but also make sure that you are replying with thoughtful information instead of sending a quick reply when you’re already running late and forget key details.
9. Invest in collateral.
It may be time to refresh your business cards, add some stationery, and get that fancy wax seal you’ve been eyeing for months. When considering collateral for your business, treat it like an investment - purchase only the items you know you’ll use and will enhance your process without adding clutter or unnecessary complication. I always like to start with high-quality business cards and thank you notes, but don’t necessarily stop there!
10. Gather feedback and testimonials.
And finally, if you’re feeling lackluster about your brand going into the new year, consider reaching out to past clients and customers for feedback and testimonials. Not only will it help you identify areas that need improvement, but will also encourage you in the things you’re doing right and the impact you’ve had up to this point.
Remember, there’s always room to grow, but don’t forget to take some time to give yourself a pat on the back for getting this far. You already have everything you need :) If you’re looking for a good tool for client surveys, we love Typeform.
Don’t know where to start?
Download our free 16-page Brand Scratch Pad workbook!