The New Year is a fresh start in many regards. Not only do you get a new set of months to tick off your calendar, you’re getting the opportunity to put your best foot forward when it comes to bettering or improving yourself. And, if you’re a small business owner, the New Year can be a prime opportunity to step back, take a closer look at your brand and reinvest your efforts into making it the best it can be.
Maybe your logo is looking a little outdated? Perhaps your marketing materials are no longer accurate? Could it be that you’re missing important branding elements on your website or social media channels? All of these things and more are critical to developing a sound brand image, and the New Year is a prime time to start addressing them if your brand could use some uplifting.
Taking care of the essentials
Refreshing your brand in the New Year is made easy by first examining what your most critical needs are: looking at where you know your brand is falling short. Realizing your brand’s shortcomings means directly addressing the things that might be holding you back. Some of the most common items for small business owners include:
- Do you have up to date and accurate business cards? Many small business owners go through a variety of business cards in their early stages of incorporation and over time, the information changes or updates, leaving old business cards antiquated and useless. Rather than crossing out and scribbling information on your old business cards, why not have some new ones printed up? You’ll use them often enough in the coming year!
- When it comes to information about your service offerings, what materials do you have to distribute to potential customers and clients? Service brochures and one-pagers are critical in being able to accentuate your business’ value to prospects: having some professional materials on hand makes a great first impression.
- Does your business have a branding guide? What is a branding guide, you ask? It’s a simple guideline that establishes the rules for your brand and its image! You can give a branding guide to any graphic designer or content specialist to have materials created for your brand, with the knowledge that everything will be produced uniformly thanks to the branding guide. This document is truly an asset for budding businesses.
Refreshing your brand and its materials is by no means limited to the examples above—if you know a way to improve your brand and its image that you’ve been putting off for any reason, take the opportunity of the New Year to know over that first domino, to start a chain reaction that will improve your brand’s appeal.
Step back and examine your brand
One of the smartest things you can do when it comes to refreshing your brand is to take a step back and look at it from a new angle. Often, we can get so close to our brand that we develop tunnel vision: we see only what we think is important or we focus on only what we know. This will ultimately hurt your brand.
Stepping back to look at your brand means thinking outside of the box, taking new approaches and sometimes, asking others for help in deciphering what your next move should be. If a brand refresh or update is on your mind, all of these avenues are worth exploring and some good jumping points include:
- Consider your brand from a perspective outside of your current demographic. If you sell men’s sweaters, for example, think about how women might look at these sweaters, rather than your target audience of men. Getting a new perspective opens many doors.
- Put a new twist on an old concept if a different approach is interesting to you. If you send emails to your customers, for example, try sending them a direct mail postcard—it’s the same direct communication concept, just done in a different medium.
- Consult with someone like an AlphaGraphics professional when it comes to assessing the “freshness” of your brand. Getting an outsider’s perspective—and an expert one at that—will lead you to focus on areas that might not have otherwise made themselves apparent to you.
Taking an encompassing and introspective look at your small business’ brand might seem like a challenging undertaking—and it is—but it’s made simpler by taking everything in stride. Being able to leverage the New Year as a starting point will help you to plan accordingly for the upcoming 12 months and by critically assessing your brand one step at a time, with an overall goal in mind, you’ll be able to exalt it to the high level of recognition and opinion you know its capable of.