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Welcome to our blog! We are a husband & wife photography team based in Madison, Wisconsin who document weddings & anniversaries for joyful couples who believe in marriage. This blog is a journal about real love stories, marriage & our own adventures along the way! We are so glad you're here — please stay awhile!

MAISON      CALEB

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Rebranding Your Creative Small Business: Part I | The Hard Work.

March 6, 2017

Rebranding your business is a HUGE undertaking. There are new logo designs, a new website, new copy to be written, new vision … the list goes on. And while all of these things are the parts that make up the actual rebrand itself, we believe that the best and most important work in a business rebrand comes before the actual rebranding begins.

Backstory

For us personally, the time to fully “rebrand” came four years into our business. We had seen lots of growth in our photography business and simultaneously had lots of dreams for the future of our business. Up until that four year mark, however, everything that represented our business — our website, marketing materials, etc. — we had created ourselves. We had gotten to a point where, let’s be honest, neither one of us had any legitimate graphic design experience and we felt as though our brand and the message we were trying to communicate with potential clients and followers wasn’t as clear, or as polished, as we knew it could be.

We felt confident in the work we had put into our business and confident in the direction the business was going, so it was time to really invest back into ourselves and into our brand.

The Hard Work

In our experience, we found that the hard work wasn’t in choosing colors or fonts or layouts for our new site. The designer we hired helped us make all of those decisions as we moved about the process with him (I will be sharing more about what that looked like in another post).

The hardest work came as we really began digging into our WHY.

We actually took part of a weekend to get out of our house, get out of our hometown (we went to a little Bed & Breakfast in a nearby town), get away from distractions, and get focused about what we were doing. We knew that we would be investing a LOT of time and money into our rebrand and we wanted to go into the process with a solid foundation and a clear understanding of why we were doing it in the first place.

We did this work before we ever even contacted a designer. And it was the hardest part of the entire process.

What It Looked Like

We started with asking ourselves some really tough questions and we HAD to be honest as we were working through these:

  • WHY — really, actually, in all sincerity — do we want to do this rebrand?
  • WHAT is the goal of the rebrand?
  • WHO are we trying to reach?
  • WHAT exactly are we trying to communicate?
  • What do we want potential clients to FEEL when they are experiencing our brand?
  • What DREAMS to we have for this rebrand?
  • What FEARS do we have for this rebrand?
  • What do we VALUE?

We asked ourselves these questions and we wrote down the answers. By the end of the weekend, we felt like we had such a clear picture of our WHY and we came home feeling excited to make our WHY come to life through beautiful imagery, text, and design.

Without first defining our why, however, (like REALLY defining it), we wouldn’t have been able to communicate with our designer what, in fact, we wanted him to create. These first steps are SO important.

(The local public library where our B&B was located — this is where we did all that hard work!)

Proof

When we started working with our designer, before we even discussed the pretty, aesthetic aspect of the rebrand, he had us answer a series of very detailed questions for him. Because we had already answered most of these questions in our pre-rebrand business summit (that’s what I’m officially calling that little weekend away), we were able to answer his questions clearly and with confidence. This only made the process run smoother and made decisions easier.

Just in case you want a couple of more questions to think about as you begin your own planning process, here are a few different questions that our designer asked us:

  • Who or what is your business?
  • What makes it great?
  • What parts of your personalities are reflected in your work?
  • In what ways is your personality different from your brand?
  • Why do your customers choose you?

We hope this post is helpful for you as you think about a rebrand for your own business! As always, please feel free to leave any questions in the comments below and we will be happy to answer them as soon as possible!

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