Earlier in 2020, I shared my thoughts on how to know if it might be time for a rebrand. Maybe your business has changed direction, or your current branding just isn’t serving your needs anymore.
With our whole world being turned upside down recently, I’ve spoken to so many business owners who have adapted to providing new services or are delivering their current offering in new ways.
Maybe you’re in the same boat, or maybe you’re planning to use a little downtime to refresh your existing branding. Either way, I know how overwhelming it can feel to think about overhauling your brand’s visual identity.
But I also know how excited my customers are when they see their new branding, and the difference a visual refresh can make to your sales and marketing efforts.
So today I’m going to guide you on exactly how to get started - with a DIY brand audit! This is your opportunity to reflect on your brand, determine if it might be time to hit refresh, and learn what you need to do next.
First, let me take you through the process so you know exactly what to expect and what to think about along the way. Then, grab my free Brand Visuals Audit Workbook to complete the process for yourself. I promise it’s actually really fun (and I’m only slightly biased here).
Step 1: Take stock of your business
The first step to nailing your DIY brand audit is simply knowing your business inside out.
But Kat, I work in my business everyday! I already know it inside and out.
I get it, no one knows your small business as well as you do as the owner. But over time our business can (and should) develop and evolve. That’s normal!
You know how your business runs day-to-day, but when was the last time you properly revisited your original business plan?
Chances are, since it was written, a few things have probably happened:
You’ve honed in on who your real target audience is
New competitors have emerged
Your positioning in the market has changed
You’ve started offering different products or services
And if your branding was created around the same time as that ancient business plan? It might not be doing your business justice anymore.
This is why it’s important to reconsider where your business stands, get it all down on paper and then ask yourself if the current brand is really serving you. This brings me to our next step!
Step 2: Compare your business and your brand
With all this in mind, is your current branding really hitting the mark?
Now it’s time to step back and carefully evaluate every element of your brand; I’m talking logos, colours, fonts and imagery. I’m a big believer in assessing everything individually. Why? Because without this step, you don’t know exactly which elements of your brand really need work, and which are still perfect for your needs.
Take these common examples, for instance:
You might find that your logo is actually still a great representation of your brand, but maybe the colour palette doesn't appeal to your new audience.
Maybe your brand colours and imagery are spot-on, but the fonts haven’t changed in ten years, and now they feel outdated.
This step is all about making these a-ha moments happen!
Once you have a feel for which elements of your brand are working (or not), it’s time to look at the next layer - your collateral.
Step 3: Put your branding into practice
Now beyond how your visual branding looks overall, let’s put this into context. Even if you still look at your logo or brand guidelines and love them, are they serving your needs when it comes to actually using these design elements?
Let’s think about how your branding works in the real world. I’m talking about your collateral - your website, business cards, email signature, social media templates, flyers - anything that uses your brand’s visual identity.
Are you facing any of these common problems?
Maybe you love your logo but it doesn’t stand out when used as a social media profile picture.
Maybe your fonts aren’t compatible with online mediums like email or websites.
Maybe your colours look great on screen but don’t work well when translated to print.
These are all scenarios where your branding might not be meeting your needs anymore. Not only is it incredibly annoying for you to deal with, but these problems can limit the effectiveness of your collateral if it isn’t user-friendly or appealing to your audience.
With this step ticked off your list, you now have a really strong grasp of where your brand is at, and what might need to change (or stay)! This means you’re ready for the really fun part; putting it all into action.
Step 4: Time to take action
Now you’ve laid all the groundwork, it’s time to bring that new brand to life!
By using my free Brand Visuals Audit Workbook, you’ll be armed with everything you need to action minor changes yourself, or connect with your favourite graphic designer to take care of it for you.
If you’re not sure which path to take, here’s a quick guide to what might be possible to DIY, and when it’s a good idea to get an expert involved.
What you may try to DIY:
Selecting a new colour palette. Just think about colour psychology (more on that in my Colour Psychology Cheat Sheet) and how these colours will translate when converted to print.
Selecting new fonts. Keep in mind readability, and whether your chosen fonts will be compatible with the online tools you use like your email marketing platform.
What to leave for the professionals:
Templates and collateral design
A complete brand overhaul
Anything that will go to print
Anything that you don’t enjoy, have no idea where to start, or is too time-consuming to do yourself.
Remember, if you get stuck at any point, I’m here to help! Just scroll on down to the bottom of the page right here and get in touch. I’d love to hear from you.
Until then, enjoy your brand audit (told you it was fun) and I hope it gives you some clarity to move forward.