02 Apr 3 Steps To Ease The Pain Of SME Brand Evolution
Much like the butterfly or the frog, a SME brand goes through a few different stages in its life cycle. Often you start out as a one man band tadpole, thrashing about just trying to survive in a great big pond and before you know it, you’re a mean green jumping machine with staff, multiple services and serious overheads to worry about.
But there are awkward interim stages too (where you have frog legs AND a tadpole tail!) and somehow amid all the chaos you need to find a way to keep your brand identity coherent, relevant and working for you. Your brand needs to evolve with you. And it needs to do so smoothly, seamlessly. After all we don’t have the luxury of holing up in a cocoon for a few weeks or months before we unfurl our beautiful new wings.
It’s not easy. Oh, do we ever know that! And we know what we’re doing. We even get paid to do this for other people, so God only knows how hard it is for everyone else. Finding the time and coordinating the resources is always going to be a challenge, so I thought I’d put a few ideas down that might help. Who knows, we might even try them in-house! 😉
1) Figure out where you’re headed before you start changing things.
If you only ever evolve your brand identity to take in the current status quo, you’re automatically on the back foot. By the time you’ve made the shift in your identity, your business reality has changed again, you’re out of date and you have to start over.
Figure out where you’re likely to be in a year or two and work to that as a positioning piece. Not only will it have some longevity, you’re more likely to achieve it if you start walking the walk right away.
2) Keep a map of your SME brand footprint
This is a massive struggle for all small businesses (us included), but it’s worth at least attempting to keep track of your entire digital and offline footprint. This means that whatever changes in brand positioning you decide on, they can be implemented consistently across all your collateral both online and offline.
3) Done is better than perfect
Again we’re dreadful at this. If we don’t have the optimal blend of time, talent and resources to execute a task, chances are it’s still stuck at the bottom of someone’s internal “to-do” list 6 months later. The reality being much worse than the result had we just done our best with what we had at the time (this site is a case in point).
We’ve worked with some seriously large companies who are guilty of the same so this isn’t just a small business thing. A division I set up for a client a year ago still isn’t even on their website, because their website redesign has taken 3 years and is still in progress as we speak. It’s hard to let go of perfection, particularly when you’re so proud of the work you do each day. But done and functional is much better than being theoretically perfect but your customer facing assets have no bearing on your current commercial reality.
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