New Year, New Website, Brand Refresh
Just because I’m a brand strategist and stylist doesn’t mean that I also don’t face the same struggles as other business owners. I also have to work ON my business while working IN my business and this is a constant balancing act (which I’m sure you’ll recognize too).
That means after four wonderful years of business ownership, it’s time to invest in my own business and brand for the future. Over the next month, I’ll be sharing information on my own process, along with tips, struggles, and issues I face along the way as I go through my very own brand refresh and a whole new website build.
During the month of December, I’m also connecting this whole project with an exciting CONTEST! The winner will get a free Brand Snapshot 1:1 strategy session with yours truly. This is a 397 euro value and available worldwide!
To kick off the month-long festivities, I wanted to start off with a Q&A from myself with background on this revitalization. So here we go!
Q: How did you know it was time for a website redesign?
This has been a long time coming actually, probably a whole year. A few things triggered me and made me notice it was THE TIME.
#1. I kept noticing more and more things that I wanted to redo on my website, core things like entire content pages. I had been so busy with client work and building other brands, that even simple little things (outside of our blogs) were just left untouched, and so the cycle began, I recognized the need, but it kept slipping to the bottom of my list.
#2. Because it became a back burner project (website) – I maintained it less and less and it became slow and less optimized.
#3. It was bigger than the website. Some things I didn’t change because my brand itself was evolving behind the scenes, as all brands do, it was really cool to witness myself internally instead of seeing it from an outsider view like I normally do with brand builds. But I knew that called for a brand refresh.
Slowly I noticed that bits and pieces didn’t resonate as well with me or the type of clients I work with today, my vision of my business future had changed but this wasn’t reflected anywhere.
I also held back on the website change because I knew I had to start with my brand strategy first. See, I do this myself too! And this is a bigger deeper goal than just the activation on the website.
This time it was also different because my team is here and it’s not just me starting out.
You know what? This is actually the perfect time for a rebrand:
- I’ve been going for 3-5 years
- I’ve gone from a one-woman show to a one-woman spearheading a small international team
- I’ve worked with dozens of clients in this time, in more than 16 industries and from more than 10 countries.
- My client-base has evolved as well as their needs.
- I’ve become well known for far more (e.g. my signature offering) that wasn’t reflected externally.
It was time to better reflect me and my future of iGina. It was actually overdue.
Q: Had you listened to feedback and comments from your clients?
Absolutely. I looked at a combination of feedback and hard facts.
From statistics, I could see my call to actions were not driving many clicks. The workflows and automation were just not scalable. And the positioning of my services was more confusing than clear and I found myself having to explain things over and over on discovery calls that from my “insider’ view were present on the website.
This is where stepping out and even me, brand-obsessed marketing magician, needs outside perspectives and a process to pull all the nuts and bolts together.
I always had pretty great comments on the design of my brand and website, but I didn’t really feel it fit where my brand was naturally evolving. It fit less and less design-wise to who I am as a person and brand.
But the thing is, it’s a package deal. Changing the design of the website without the brand refresh and brand psychology would just break it / fragment it, instead of helping it forward – this I knew.
So we started working behind the scenes from the ground up.
Q: How did you come up with the new concept?
I started first with the brand and I went through my same process I take clients on. This time was a little different in that I had already a solid brand and strategy to start with, a brand dossier, and a signature look.
So I first made a trusty mind map on where my brand, the current brand, was falling short and where it was disconnected.
That helped me to see where to focus on with the redesign of the brand and content, not only the website.
I then did an updated 20-year roadmap to see where I wanted to take my business in the future. That helped me see where I want to go, then I could backtrack that to see where I am now.
From that I started to conceptualize work for design: image curation, mood board, color research, archetype work, and finally, after all of that was redefined, I looked at how to shift the website design concept itself to fit.
We started working on the DNA of the iGina brand (the brains behind it who what why how) and the archetype of personality.
Next, our team worked on both the content and design of the website concurrently.
And you know what? It’s still not done and ready for launch!!! But I’m already so excited to share the process with you 🙂
Q: What will the new website allow you to achieve?
A better reflection of my brand, who iGina is, how we help, who we work with, and what impact we aim to make in the world. It’s important the new brand is filled with the same energy that I and my team have and energize our visitors with that buzz.
My signature services are finally all laid out in a coherent way. After spending 4 years doing this work, but calling it by several names, I found a way to simplify it and I’m really excited about the unveiling.
It also allows us to scale better and more mindfully.
Q: How did you plan the stages of your website build?
I already mentioned a bit about the brand process we are journeying through – but the website is a bit different. It looks something like this:
- Audit current website for design and content we like and hate
- Review stats for proof of issues or things working well
- Get a clear picture of load times (eek!)
Next, we started 2 things concurrently:
- I created a development server and pulled in my current content and began rebuilding a WordPress theme to my liking to fit the updated style of the brand we defined in the updated brand concepting.
- At the same time, the page content was dropped into a (big) Google Doc so my team and I could tweak till our heart’s content and rewrite (and sometimes rewrite again and again).
Q: What took the longest / was the most challenging?
The longest thing was to redo the content, this part is still ongoing as we fiddle with last text changes even today.
And second, deciding on how to style our brand photoshoot and get it done. Between all the other work and client projects (which took priority), it was really hard to plan in, find a suitable location, etc.
The entrepreneur struggle with time balance is real my friends!
Q: What part did you need help with?
Without a doubt, for me, the most challenging thing was rewriting my content. I am just too close being that I work IN the company. So my team really helped out there to sync up what I wanted to say with how the brand personality and newly refined brand archetypes were fit.
Oh and pro tip I always tell clients, but man let me tell you it’s so true… take the time you think it will take to complete your website content and easily double or triple that. Then it’s realistic. It takes way longer than you think and you really do need to test it out with people along the way.
Also getting the service page right was hard.
Thanks to so many colleagues and clients for helping on this part. Again, too hard to see from the inside.
Q: What else changed with your brand for the redesign?
A little bit of everything changed. We are keeping the colors but making the use of them bolder (like me!), keeping the logo but tweaking it, the voice has changed a bit – it’s become more refined now with our archetype combination.
We have a whole new brand DNA, mission, vision, values, and manifesto and can’t wait to share it with you.
What else… new typography, photography and styling, and finally it’s all wrapped up in a printed Brand Dossier 🙂 I love this printed book! I totally feel like a client now and cherish this little brand bible.
Q: What advice would you give someone about to embark on a website redesign?
- Do it right.
- Sometimes DIY is awesome, but the amount of unbillable work hours you’ll spend doing it isn’t.
- Pick the parts that energize you and get helphelp the other bits and pieces.
- Get help to keep you focused on the right things and help you see outside your own business bubble.
- Don’t do a website without a look at your own brand, otherwise, you just do double work and waste precious time.
- What I also learned, actually very much got validation on, that investing in your brand to grow your business is absolutely priceless.
- It’s hard and a lot of work so having a team or people to help is really the key. It allows you to keep going on your business at the same time.
This was fun, it’s not over yet. And between now and January I’ll share more and more little tips on what we’re learning. We are literally in the home stretch now and gearing up for testing (more on that in another blog), launch, and promotion.
To celebrate the upcoming launch, I’m having a contest giveaway! Winner will get a FREE Brand Snapshot 1:1 strategy session with yours truly. This is a 397 euro +btw value and is available worldwide.
Gina Dunn is a brand strategist and her mission is to help business owners all over the world to break through their business barriers and realize their brand potential, sometimes for the very first time.
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