It seems like everyone I know, me included, is undergoing a time of transition. Products, methods and directions are changing. Whole businesses have evolved into something completely different. Some businesses have closed completely as their owners find new passions and new directions.
Maybe you can relate.
In the middle of any such personal and professional chaos, an entrepreneur’s business identity naturally gets up-ended.
Recently, I've had many transitioning entrepreneurs come to me saying, “I’m in a transition, and I think I am ready to update my brand. How will I know for sure if I’m going to get it right this time?”
My first response is always, “Your brand was never wrong to begin with. It’s changed, just like you.”
Someone has said that change is the only constant—and in business, that couldn’t be more true. Our minds like to trick us into believing that if we just find “that magic niche” or build “that perfect product” we’ll be good to go for the rest of our careers.
The reality is, brands are as organic as the people they emblemize.
Though we like to think of them as fixed, any good brand will go through as much evolution as the mind(s) behind it.
While this might feel nerve wracking if it’s happening to you, it’s actually a sign you and your brand are super healthy. And human.
The trick, then, is not to fight the change, but to move into it, even if you don’t fully know where it will take you.
I’m reminded of the quote by Pema Chödrön, the disarmingly honest American Buddhist nun, who once said:
“Seeking security or perfection, rejoicing in feeling confirmed and whole, self contained and comfortable, is some kind of death. It doesn’t have any fresh air. There’s no room for something to come in and interrupt all that. We are killing the moment by controlling our experience.”
More great brands are killed by the attempt to control them, rather than let them evolve in a messy, fresh-air reality.
By “killing the moment” when our brands want to change, we keep ourselves playing small. We justify hanging back from the scary big-ness that awaits us when we creep ever closer to our true message and mission, because we claim we are not yet “sure.”
Because the reality is: you will never be sure.
The only way you can find your best brand—and let it fully live in the world—is to keep changing it whenever you feel a sense of disconnect.
By making the change, you create a new “set point” for yourself: a hypothesis you can take out into the world and test. And tweak. And refine.
Every brand iteration is a new hypothesis about yourself and your value, one that will help you get closer to your essential message and value, if you open yourself to learn.
I know this opposite of what you hear a lot about branding. (Heck, when was the last time you read a business-related article with quotes from a Buddhist nun?)
But branding has that spiritual quality. As entrepreneurs we cannot honestly engage fully with our brand if we are not engaging with ourselves at our deepest level. Hopes, fears, mindsets and beliefs all affect what our brand becomes, and how others perceive it.
Of course, there’s a fundamental uncertainty attached to this approach. It’s the secret that great brands have always known.
Fully engaging with oneself, and being willing to realign one’s public message often—without fully knowing the outcome—is the way every brand you now admire grew into its greatness.
There is simply no other path, but experimentation.
You cannot think your way to a brilliant brand; you can only get there through trial and error, experience, tears and joy. Sure—you can make your best guess.
[Tweet "Branding is always, in part, a guess. An arrow shot toward a moving target."]
Given this, why not abandon your artificial mental criteria by which you’ll know you are “ready” to rebrand? Having something to say, and the nagging sense that you’re not yet fully saying it, is the only real criteria.
The only real way to know you're ready for a rebrand is to ask yourself, “Do I know 'Version 2.0' of what I want to say to the world?” Or “Has what I’ve been saying in the world evolved in any way?”
If the answer to either of those questions is yes—even if doing it scares the heck out of you—it’s time to refresh your brand.
This doesn’t mean you’ll solve your brand once and for all, with a look and feel that will never change again.
But it does mean you’ll have evolved to the next leg of your journey. Your brand will be better, smarter, sexier, sassier, or whatever it is you seek.
After all, when it comes to brand evolution, final solutions are not the goal. Your next steps is.
So if you think it’s time to refresh your brand, and you know what you want to say … then do it. Right now. Yesterday. Before you chicken out on yourself. You’ll get clearer on your own trajectory in the process. And in the end, if you get close, but don’t feel you've quite hit on it . . .
Release your new message go into the world anyway. Let it fly. Watch it do so much more work for you than you even imagined possible.
And then, when you feel the urge, change it again.
The reality is: you’re always ready.
Until next time, speak freely.
Have you been thinking about rebranding your business or project? What questions do you have? Share them below.
Ready to expand your brand and your audience by crafting a more powerful message? Schedule your FREE 1:1 consultation here.