Change. No matter how you feel about the word, we all do it. Whether it’s moving to a new home, starting a family, trying out a new side hustle or a new workout regimen, humans are made to evolve.
And in today’s episode, I want to share with you how your business SHOULD evolve and how you can do it thoughtfully and successfully as you, the brand, or the mission changes.
If you’ve been listening to the show for awhile – you might remember my “mac and cheese” intro – so I definitely know a thing or two about evolving.
I believe every business needs to have a brand. A brand is more than just a logo and pretty colors… It’s the personality behind your offers, the way you make your clients and customers feel. In fact, in a conversation I had on the Goal Digger Podcast with my friend Rory Vaden, he defined a brand as “the digitization of your reputation!”
As we grow, change, evolve, and enter new life seasons, or pivot our mission, it is crucial for your brand to pivot with you so your audience stays along for the ride for the next iteration of your business (and life). They are sticking around for YOU, after all!
My brand has changed massively over the years and I have managed to maintain AND grow my audience even though a decade plus of shifts.
From shooting photos to selling courses, hosting a mastermind, selling watercolor prints, being a wedding blogger, starting this show, writing a book… You name it, I’ve probably done it—and my brand has evolved with each new layer of my business!
So come along this ride with me as we break down how to successfully evolve your brand as you and your business change!
1. Rewrite your mission statement and get honest with it
A mission statement is key in guiding your business through its evolution. It is a solidified vision of what the business does, who it serves, and how it does it.
Start with the why, as it can anchor and tether the brand during the process. Then ask yourself:
- What is my core purpose?
- Who is it that I am going to serve?
- What are my guiding values?
My mission has changed and pivoted a ton over the years from being a wedding photographer to teaching other photographers to serving small business owners to helping women wake up to their lives. It keeps pivoting and evolving – still staying aligned with my values, but just pointing in a different direction.
I recently had an experience where I just really got quiet with myself and came to this conclusion that what I ultimately want others to experience is PEACE in their life.
For me, entrepreneurship has unlocked that feeling of peace and contentedness that so many people are searching for. Instead of trying to “sell” this idea of peace, I really want to embody it and thus I want my brand to also embody it.
So friend, what’s your mission statement? Once you’ve answered that question, move on to the next question.
2. Do a full audit of your public facing content and see if it’s still relevant
Create a comprehensive list of all brand assets, including logos, taglines, color schemes, typography, marketing materials, and digital assets.
Think: your website, blog, social, any other platforms you create on: podcast, youtube etc. I always start at my website first since that is the main hub of all of the things!
I generally do a refresh of my website every 12-18 months to update things like copy, photos, offers etc. Most of the time it’s not an entire overhaul but more just a freshening up the vibe and design.
One thing that I love is that my website is based on a template, so it’s super easy for me to add pages and update quickly because we are usually working off of a template. If you want to check out the website template I use, check out Tonic!
3. Evaluate your content pillars and identify if they need to shift
Content pillars are the different topics or themes that you focus on in your content. By diversifying your content pillars, you can attract a wider audience and give people a reason to follow you even if they may not be interested in your specific product or service at the moment.
One strategy for evaluating and refining your content pillars is the JK Five strategy. This strategy involves having five different content pillars, with only one of them being directly related to what you sell. By sharing content on a variety of topics, you can build a true brand that goes beyond just selling a product or service.
To determine your content pillars, you can look at what naturally interests you and what you are already taking photos of or talking about. This can help you identify themes or topics that can be incorporated into your content strategy.
Additionally, you can imagine if you had a magazine and think about the different categories and topics you would cover. This can help you diversify your content and create a more engaging and interesting experience for your audience.
4. Adjust your Content Strategy
Take a close look at where you are publishing your content and consider if there is room for improvement or a need for a shift in strategy. This could involve trying out new platforms or experimenting with different types of content, such as podcasts or Instagram lives.
It’s important to evaluate what content excites you and what you love creating, as this will help you create more intentionally and authentically. Additionally, consider how you can repurpose and use your existing content in different places to reach a wider audience.
When evaluating your content strategy, it’s crucial not to abandon what’s already working. Instead, leverage what is successful and slowly evolve your strategy. For example, if you want to go in a new direction, you can remove one pillar that isn’t resonating as well and replace it with a new pillar that aligns with your evolving goals. This way, you can still share what your audience enjoys and knows you for, while changing the conversation thoughtfully.
Another important aspect of evaluating your content strategy is tying every piece of content to a measurable result. It’s not enough for content to perform well in terms of likes and comments; it should also have a real impact on your business goals.
By setting clear goals for each piece of content and measuring its success, you can make more informed decisions about what to continue, optimize, or scrap.
5. Sit down with your numbers and start to evaluate the offers you have and where you want them to go – if they are going to change
Here are some questions to ask yourself to get your wheels turning:
- What lights you up? What type of work excites you?
- What makes you groan or what work makes you not look forward to the day?
- What offers make you the most revenue?
- What offers might be underperforming?
- Are there any offers you want to create?
- Are there any offers you want to stop selling?
One of the big focuses we had this year was to get really intentional with our tracking and how we’re using data and measurement to guide our strategy and decisions, I asked our measurement team to give us an outline of what they are seeing based on the numbers to see where we we should be focusing as we move ahead.
There are a few offers that I want to kind of let go of or stop offering, and I want to overall focus on going DEEPER with what is working instead of wider and trying to get more things to work.
I also asked our accountants something similar – to review our quickbooks and send over insights, trends, what they are seeing to make sure that as we move the brand forward and strategically plan, so we’re not missing opportunities or focusing our time and attention on the wrong things.
6. Book a brand shoot and create a vision board of the vibe, energy, and style you want:
I recently did a shoot like this! It was honestly amazing. It was the first time where I did a full blown brand session. I’ve done a lot of content shoots in the past but they were geared for one purpose like for my book launch and so this one was really just to get content and new images to match the new vibe!
I knew exactly who I wanted to hire, it was my friend Jordan Quinn. We actually met years ago and she had just done brand photos for my web designers and they were soooo good.
In preparing for my recent shoot with Jordan, I made a Pinterest board of inspiration really trying to nail what I was most drawn to: textures, colors, backdrops, etc. I shared it with Jordan and then I also worked out my outfits.
I rented a bunch of items from Nuuly (my FAVE clothing rental service). I do it almost every month where you get 6 pieces a month and then either keep them or send them back so I used that for some of the items for my shoot and I chose a lot of things I already had.
Jordan actually flew in for the shoot so she spent the night at my house which was awesome because we were able to nail down our favorite outfits out of everything I had pulled and she even set out what jewelry went with which outfit so we had a game plan and strategy.
The day of the shoot, it was SOOOO dark and rainy, I kind of panicked because being a former photographer, I know what that sort of lighting can be like working in but Jordan stayed super calm.
7. Create a brand standards guide
A brand standards guide that includes guidelines for your new brand identity, such as logo usage, color codes, typography, and tone of voice. This guide will help maintain consistency during and after the rebrand.
The purpose of a brand standards guide is to maintain consistency throughout the rebranding process and beyond.
This is something I’ve had forever but we’ve definitely made it more robust over the years. It’s SO helpful to have something like this so that if your team expands or you high contractors, you can send it off to them so that they can quickly and easily see what the visual standards of your brand are but also things like: what emojis do you use, what words do you say, what do you avoid, etc.
8. Invite people into the evolution, let them see and watch you change.
Instead of making a sudden and drastic change, it is recommended to involve the audience in the process. This can be done by sharing the journey, expressing the desire for change, and inspiring others through the transformation. By doing so, your audience feels connected and invested in the brand’s growth.
Think of 3 different ways you can show the shift whether it’s through images, words, content – or all of the above.
Don’t be afraid to say, “This is who I was, this is where I’m going!” Clearly communicating the shift and inviting people to be a part of it is a GREAT way to maintain trust throughout the process.
Remember: a brand evolution is not just about changing your logo or color scheme; it’s about aligning every aspect of your business with your new vision and ensuring that it is clear and intentional as you pivot and shift.
And if you’re interested in learning more about building a brand that will evolve WITH you, DM me the word BRAND on Instagram @jennakutcher to book a free brand call with Rory’s team! Again, that’s BRAND on Instagram and I’ll send you the link!
Between the tips I just shared and Rory’s insights, I hope you feel equipped to successfully evolve your brand as you and your business change.
You are always growing and you are not meant to stay in the same place forever, so let this episode remind you that it’s okay to bring your audience along your journey!