You’ve heard us say that branding is a living, breathing entity. Your brand expands, grows and matures along with the growth of your business. But what does this really mean? We’ll explore the transformation of our own brand through the 9 years we’ve been in business.
You won’t understand your brand first
It’s naive to think that you will “get” your branding right away. Yes, we marketers, sometimes confuse business owners with claims like “be unique” “be you” “be authentic”. When you start your business, you might think you “know yourself” but in reality, things are very different. In a way, that’s what the first years of business are for – to learn what you can offer to your customers and to really work on your positioning and differentiators. Don’t get me wrong, it’s great to do marketing research and strategy sessions, but most likely, you will need to work through a few versions of your logo and your brand assets and marketing materials to really understand how you want to show up in the world.
Do not overthink your branding in the first few years of being in business. It might sound counter-intuitive, but (and there are exceptions from this rule, of course) you might want to create your first business card by yourself or order some simple cards from Staples (that’s what we did!). You will be just fine without professional branding at this point – you will get there eventually. Your focus will be building a solid reputation with your work – that’s the branding that will work for you at this stage.
Your brand will look different over the years
It’s inevitable – your brand will change over the years. Take a look at some of our (interesting 😉 examples below.This was our first attempt to brand ourselves:
We (really) wanted to be different, as you can see, hence the bright pink. Since then we’ve toned down on pink and refined out green to be more emerald green versus the dark green you see above. And notice the rounded corners on the business card. Those were HOT! We were pretty happy with this look… back in 2010, but naturally, today, this would be a bit too much.
Also, notice the tagline – Internet Marketing Solutions. Simply, because this is what it was called – Internet Marketing. Now, it sounds redundant – it’s just marketing (or digital marketing, if Google asks), but back then “internet marketing” was a cool thing, and you wanted to make sure you tell everyone that this is what you did.
As our business grew we also started treating our services differently – you will not see us promoting “email marketing strategies” as a stand-alone service anymore. As a matter of fact – you won’t see us promoting SEO or PPC on their own either – just because we know now – it all has to work together.
It’s not only your business that grows, but also your industry evolves. Even (or especially) if you are running a “traditional/old school” type of business – your brand will have to keep up!
Don’t be afraid to tweak your brand
And let’s not forget the QR codes – a great idea, that never really took off (in North America anyhow). But we tried to stay with the time, to look cool and useful. Oh, and look – our tagline also changed – we are now Web Design + Marketing Greenhouse. 🙂
And this is when the whole idea of being “unique” hit us. Not so subtle, huh?
And finally the current iteration. We’ve refreshed the colours and the logo – simplifying everything. Now – this is FRESH, don’t you agree?
Know that there’s never a final version of your brand.
That being said. We are currently in the process of refreshing our logo again. It’s time to simplify again. We are revising our fonts and name treatment! Stay tuned to see what happens!
Do you have branding questions of your own? Give us a shout or stop by our marketing agency in Vancouver -we always have chocolate (and music).