There are few things more exciting than feeling ready: ready to build a new brand, or to give your existing one a much-needed facelift.
Your business has changed, you have changed, your audience has changed. Now, it’s time for a brand that finally reflects that. When you’re ready to take this leap, it’s also time to find the people you trust to bring your vision to life.
You need a brand designer — someone who can bring the visuals to match your vision. You may need a web developer to help make sure your website matches the new brand. And with a new brand often comes new copy, new offers, new tech, and so forth.
In short: You need a lot of help, and you want to work with the experts who are going to positively stick the landing. Those experts are amazing at what they do, but they still need things from you as the owner.
You need to fill out their questionnaires, follow their processes, and review their progress. You need to manage communication and time deliverables in a way that supports everyone doing their best work. In short, building a brand team is a lot of work for you.
How can you ensure that your brand project moves forward, and how do you guarantee that the experts you’ve invested in are producing work that’s 100% in line with your vision?
As a branding team that operates as a single unit to deliver branding, web design, and marketing services, we have a few tips. These are basic do’s and do not’s for managing your brand team — and they’ll help you prevent drama and delays in your brand launch.
You’ve recruited your designer, your developer, your copywriter, your project manager… all the people you need to make your brand a smash hit. But everyone has their own processes, kickoff calls, and forms to fill out. While their processes are their own and you should absolutely follow them (so you can get maximum results), we do ask you to do one thing: Have a kickstart call with everyone involved in the project.
Don’t have individual calls and don’t skip inviting a team member because you think their lift will be minimal. Everyone needs to know the stakes of the project and the goals. Everyone needs to know each other and who to reach out to for questions. This is also when you can introduce each contractor to let them know how they can collaborate and whose work comes first. This way, your contractors know exactly what to expect and when.
Ask every team member and contractor what they need to do their best work. You may be trying to lead and manage a project that you have no experience in, but your team members/contractors have done this repeatedly for years. (They’re experts, after all.)
Ask them what they need and let them help you design the project workflow. Also, please for the love of vermouth, respond to their requests promptly. Nobody enjoys being ignored.
Create a space for regular check-ins, whether it’s meetings, a Slack channel, an Asana conversation, etc. Have everyone on your branding team come, if they can, to share where progress is being made. This helps them see when they can anticipate their work is needed, and to also flag situations where there might be a hiccup.
Don’t let people work in the dark, assuming other parts of the project are done. During these calls, you might realize that some parts of the project need bigger conversations or certain contractor’s work needs to change/adapt based on new information. These are critical for forward momentum – and to ensure your vision isn’t lost in the rush.
We’ve seen it dozens of times: A business owner gathering a team of experts, only to realize that they don’t have the time, energy, or skills to manage it all. This is something we really want you to avoid because it can be incredibly stressful and discouraging. (Also see: expensive.)
To make sure things don’t get too far off track, make sure you’re attuned to situations like:
If tasks aren’t getting done by a contractor, you need to check in with them. If tasks are being held up by questions you don’t know the answer to, it might be time to schedule another call or request the expert’s help in solving it.
A day or two won’t derail anything, but weeks go by quickly and those can cause major delays. If a team member tells you (more than once) they don’t have the assets or info they need to complete a task, that’s a sign that everyone needs to touch base again.
While you are the owner and you are the one directing the brand vision, you hired experts. You should be able to trust them — and they should be able to communicate without needing your hand in everything.
If you find yourself saying, “Let me ask [insert team member/contractor’s name] about this for you,” or you’re constantly trying to get two people to communicate but it’s not working… you’re creating more work for yourself than necessary.
This is why having a kickstart call is so critical, so you can make sure all the members of your brand-building team play well together.
“That’s out of scope. It will cost $XX more to add that.”
“This is going to take longer than expected.”
“Actually, we may need to re-evaluate deliverables based on budget.”
All of those are a business owner’s worst nightmare when you’re in the depths of a branding project. You just want the brand you see in your head to be out into the world on time and on budget. Is that so much to ask?
We don’t think so, sweetheart. While some delays cannot always be avoided (humans are working with humans!), it helps to have clear contract terms and to know exactly what the deliverables are before you sign on the dotted line.
Refer back to the contract often to remind yourself of deliverables, budget, and timelines so that you can remind contractors of expectations. Finding that everything is breaking contract — or you realize you didn’t quite understand the contract and its deliverables? That’s the pits.
It’s time to have a meeting with that contractor/team member to ensure you’re on the same page moving forward. You may have to adjust your budget or delay the launch to reflect those necessary changes.
We’ve seen it so many times: Teams that have no idea what the true goal is — or how to reflect that in their work. Business owners who don’t know how to guide a large branding team to help them fulfill their ultimate vision.
And that’s exactly why we created Rendezvous Creative, specifically to address the branding team drama our clients were experiencing. As the contracted experts on numerous projects, we saw what it was like when CEOs played middleman (or woman, as it were) to a growing team of contractors during their branding project.
They weren’t sure where everything stood; everything felt like a fire, and they felt their vision slowly and surely being watered down. It’s not the contractors’ fault, it’s not the business owners’ fault.
It’s just the nature of a branding project where the central vision isn’t held by someone (or a team of someones) who can truly direct its creation.
And while there are some fantastic, truly stunning branding experts out there, sometimes what you need is a central place where all the pieces of your brand can be handled by someone other than you.
That’s what we do at Rendezvous. Rather than only designing your brand or website, creating your brand voice, revamping your offer suite, OR creating a stellar customer experience…
We help you do it all. And do it in a way that’s aligned with your vision for your business.
Rather than offering one piece of the brand pie, we offer you the entire pie — and we serve it up in delicious ways. We also operate as a united team, integrating each other’s skills and strengths to bring the best to your project. No more juggling multiple contractors or working with agencies that just outsource work to the cheapest option.
Want a full-service brand development, coaching, and execution team at your back? Let’s chat, Jack.
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