8 lessons learnt from relaunching my brand
Last week I finally launched my rebranded website. It’s something I’ve been working on for months, since October to be precise, and I can’t tell you what a relief it is to finally have it finished.
I had two main goals for the whole project. First of all, I really wanted to create a cohesive brand. I’ve always felt very scattered online, and I wanted to find a way to integrate the different parts of my story, and who I am and what I do, in a way that felt organic and whole. Second, I wanted a website that I could actually be proud of. I’ve had a number of different blogs and websites over the years, but I’ve never felt truly excited to send people to them. I wanted to change that.
I’m pretty pleased with the results, although there are already changes I want to make and things I think I could do better. But I’ve learnt that nothing is ever perfect, and that my website can and will evolve as my brand, my business and I do. And that’s ok.
So if you’re thinking of rebranding yourself, here’s what else I learnt:
1. It is so, so much harder to brand yourself than other people.
I like to think I have a knack for putting into words what people are trying to say, but when that person is me? Impossible. I really struggled to see the whole project clearly, and frequently ended up second guessing myself to distraction. I just had to accept that it was going to take far longer than it normally would, and I learnt to reach out to ask for a second opinion or advice when I needed it.
2. Do the groundwork.
This was the first time that I’d ever really thought through what I wanted to say before I dived into building and writing a website. I drew up a proper business plan, worked my way through Caroline’s Better Branding Course to develop a full visual brand board, created my own brand map, wrote all my copy, and wire-framed the whole thing, before I even started tinkering with my actual website. I fully credit all this thought with giving me a brand that feels clear and cohesive (I hope!).
3. Inspiration can come from anywhere!
I was really struggling with how to express my brand visually while I was on a working break in Austria (I stayed at the most gorgeous spa hotel in the mountains for a week). I knew my tone words were simple, natural and original, and that I wanted a clean website with plenty of white space and natural imagery. But I couldn’t work out how to add an unexpected element to it. I was mulling this over while looking out at the snow-covered forest, and noticed how lovely the autumnal, mustard-yellow leaves looked among the dark green, grey and white. And that was it!
4. You can do the technical stuff, you just need patience.
Yes, there was plenty of swearing at the screen while I tried to work out how to do a thing that really shouldn’t have been that difficult, but I did manage to figure out how to do pretty much everything I wanted to. And I’m really pleased I did, because it means I had full control over what my website looked like, and I know exactly how to make changes going forward.
5. Do you.
I spent a lot of time looking at other copywriters’ websites before I started working my own, and it helped me figure out what I like and what I don’t. I found a lot of the websites I was looking at were either too feminine, too cool or too salesy; none of which are words I’d use to describe myself. Yet, as so many of them were super successful, there was a definite temptation to copy their approach. But I resisted, and I like to think I have a website that reflects who I actually am. I’m also a big believer that people like working with people they genuinely get on with, so putting more of yourself into your brand is never a bad thing.
6. Attract and repel.
This became my mantra for the project. I’m a natural people pleaser, and that’s often translated in me trying to be all things to all people online. I worried a lot throughout that I would be putting too many people off, but I also know that in order to really attract your dream clients you have to pitch to them directly, and that naturally means repelling others. I know there are lots of people that won’t get what I do, or how I do it, but as long as the people I want to work with do, that’s ok.
7. Don’t try and force it.
As I said at the top, I really wanted a cohesive brand so when I first started to think about it I played with lots of different ways of bringing it all together – all of which I’m very glad I didn’t pursue! A lot of them were very gimmicky, and felt like I was forcing myself into a mould, which I think I would have wanted to escape from eventually. While I’ll obviously want to evolve my brand, I don’t plan on doing a complete overhaul anytime soon, so I tried to make sure I gave myself enough room to grow within it.
8. Rebranding is an emotional process.
I don’t think this gets said enough. When your brand feels like an extension of you it’s very personal, and as I went through the process I sometimes felt like I was defining myself as much as my business. I had to keep reminding myself that I am not my business, and I can have an online presence that is authentically me, but not all of me.
While I hope I don’t have to rebrand for a little while yet, I hope that next time I do it won’t be quite so painful.
Have you ever rebranded? How did you find it? What did you struggle with?