Entrepreneurs and small business owners are constantly inundated with advice. From news articles and features to books and presentations by consultants and successful business leaders, it seems like there is a never-ending stream of new suggestions and strategies related to improving almost all facets and aspects of your small business, hopefully resulting in greater success, growth, and profitability. Of course, not all advice is good advice, and some changes and improvements to a small business are more easily and successfully applied to one industry over another.
Constant Changes Are Not Good
Unfortunately, some entrepreneurs and small business owners regularly make changes to their small business based on a shiny new plan or strategy, and if those changes do not produce immediate or significant results, another plan or strategy is immediately adopted, resulting in a constant state of transition and upheaval. When it comes to your branding and marketing, it is important to understand when changes are helpful or necessary and when they can be wasteful or ineffective. Keep in mind that your brand is your connection to the marketplace and your customers, so changing or even replacing your existing branding is a major undertaking that can have significant consequences for your small business.
Change Everything If Nothing Is Working
It’s important to note that deciding whether or not to change your branding or marketing depends entirely on how satisfied you are with the status quo. If your small business is doing spectacularly well, changing any aspect of your branding or marketing could damage your brand and your current success. If your business is failing, there is no point in hanging on to any aspect of your existing brand and marketing unless you are absolutely convinced that a drastic change in another area of your business will fix the problem. There are exceptions to this, of course – if you are doing well, but believe a significant change or shift in your industry or community will necessitate a future change in your branding or marketing, then it is better to prepare and implement your changes in advance.
Are There Fundamental Problems With Your Existing Brand?
The next step to deciding whether or not to change your existing branding and marketing is to determine both the effectiveness and soundness of your current brand and how closely your current marketing and advertising is adhering to your brand guidelines. Were your branding elements created by a marketing professional, or did you create them yourself when you founded your business? Are you happy with your brand, or do you feel uncomfortable or even ashamed of it? It’s possible that your branding elements could be mismatched, over-complicated, too generic, or vague. There are a variety of ways your branding could be weak or even fundamentally broken, and it may be necessary for a branding and marketing professional to determine exactly what’s wrong or what’s not working with your branding.
Are You Failing To Follow Your Own Branding Guidelines?
Sometimes a small business can have a perfectly adequate and capable set of branding elements and guidelines, yet the branding itself is an ineffective mess. Before you decide to scrap your existing branding and marketing, consider the fact that the problem may not be with your brand, but with you. How closely are you adhering to your existing brand elements and guidelines? The solution may not be to alter or scrap your existing branding, but to implement a new strategy to more closely adhere to your existing brand. Small deviations in your branding aren’t the end of the world, but if you consider your brand guidelines to be more suggestion than actual guideline, replacing your branding will be an expensive and radical undertaking that ultimately won’t solve your problem.