Episode 286: Is it time for a brand assessment?

April 17, 2024

Do you need a brand assessment for your creative, service-based business? Tune in to find out!

Today on the Brand Strategy Podcast, I’m chatting about brand assessments and how to figure out when it’s time to tap into that kind of support. You might be searching for clarity with your current brand as you attempt to figure out if your messaging, visuals, and website are still doing the heavy lifting for you. Or you might be curious about thoughtful updates and strategic changes that could take your current brand from minimally effective to wildly successful. A brand assessment can help you find that clarity!

And in today’s episode, I’m sharing just what goes into a brand assessment, how to identify it’s time for one, and steps you can take to enlist that support from an industry friend, a biz bestie, or a professional.

Tune into the full episode above to learn more!

Discover Brand Clarity through a Custom Brand Assessment

As a brand strategist and designer with over a decade of experience, I’ve been honored to support hundreds of clients throughout the years through my signature brand strategy process. And I’m thrilled to bring back my 1:1 Brand Clarity Sessions to help service-based entrepreneurs like you tap into tailored clarity on your current brand, website, and/or graphics in a way that cut through cycles of indecision, overthinking, or overwhelm.

If you’re feeling lost about what the next best step to take in order to elevate your brand or website looks like, you’re in the right place. With my decade of experience as a brand designer, strategist, and creative director, I’m here to help you elevate your current brand to align with your big picture goals. 


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Please note this transcript has been auto generated and may contain typos.

Bonnie (00:07):
Hi, friend, and welcome to the Brand Strategy Podcast, a show created to equip you with the inspiration, encouragement, and clarity you need to build a brand of your dreams. I’m your host, Bonnie Bakhtiari, brand designer, strategist, and founder of the Illume Retreat. From sustainable Strategy to heartfelt Encouragement. Each episode is designed to equip you with the tools you need to chase after your dreams because you deserve a brand that empowers you to do what you love, connects with your dream clients, and offers a deep sense of fulfillment along the way. So grab a cup of coffee and join me on this journey, won’t you?

Bonnie (00:47):
Hey, friend, and welcome back to the Brand Strategy Podcast, where today we’re talking about brand audits assessments, and when is it time to get some outside feedback and another pair of eyeballs on your visual brand identity. Over the last 12 years that I have been in this industry, I’ve definitely, um, actually, if I’m being totally honest, I probably lost count of how many brand audits or assessments that I have done for creatives and service based entrepreneurs. Um, it’s absolutely a value packed experience, and from my perspective as the one actually conducting that assessment, there are some signs that I’ve identified that might help you in figuring out if this kind of, um, assessment could be useful for you. So my intention behind sharing this is so that you can , essentially have a pre-assessment, do the assessment. You can figure out is this something that actually serves me well?

Bonnie (01:52):
Is this something that I need? Is this something that actually upon hearing more, I’m not really thinking this is the right fit for me at this time? And that can just be information that you use to inform the decisions that you’re making. Now, as we get into this, I want to clarify that not every brand needs to work with someone to do a brand audit or assessment. And actually before we go any further, I’m just gonna say that audit, that word kind of gives me like IRS vibes. So I’m going to utilize the word assessment instead. And what I mean by that is a, um, a practice, a process where your visual brand assets, your logo, your, your complete branding suite, your website, your social media presence, your print materials, any marketing materials, digital or tangible, all of those things are assessed. And either you’re the one doing that or you have hired a professional to do that for you.

Bonnie (03:00):
And in that process of assessment, you are looking for ways to identify if there’s an opportunity for additional growth. So this can be incredibly helpful for those of us who feel like we get too in the weeds of our own brands, where we get too connected to how it currently looks and how it’s currently working, that we can’t really be as objective as we need to be. Um, I can speak from personal experience here. Sometimes we’re just too close to it and we might start to feel like something isn’t quite working for us, but we don’t really know what that is. Whereas if you get a friend or a professional or you know someone else to come and look at those assets with you, they can quickly identify, Hey, this isn’t actually doing that heavy lifting for you anymore. Or, you know, this website, it could use some tweaking in these specific po you know, spots to make it more user friendly and, and for it to align better with your goals.

Bonnie (04:04):
So I’m a really big advocate of, you know, not trying to grow your brand and a vacuum, um, that outside feedback from people, even feedback from your ideal clients or your current clients, right? Because those are the kinds of people you wanna reach. That can be so incredibly helpful. Uh, so with all of that being said, a couple of questions or a couple of kind of things you might wanna look out for if you’re wondering if it’s time to give your brand that sort of internal external assessment is thinking about, um, how, how does it feel to do business right now? Like with that current brand, is it an asset or is it not? What does it feel like from a standpoint of time and energy? Like, are, do you feel like you’re having to do a lot more than you used to in order to generate the same kinds of results?

Bonnie (05:04):
Or are things kind of operating like a well oiled machine? You know, those are things to think about. In, in this case, a lot of times when I am doing a brand assessment for someone, it’s because they’re feeling doubt. They’re feeling that uncertainty of, I have this goal to reach this specific kind of ideal client, or, I have this goal to be perceived in this very specific way in my industry, but I’m not quite sure if what I have in place is actually telling that story, and I’m not sure if it’s actually communicating that kind of message. So if you’re listening to that and you’re nodding along and you’re thinking, yeah, actually, you know what, I’m, I’m kind of wondering the same thing myself about my own brand, that could be a sign that getting that kind of outside feedback could potentially be beneficial for you.

Bonnie (06:00):
Some other things to think about. Uh, ha are you, are you noticing a change in the number of inquiries? So the volume of inquiries you’re receiving, or are you noticing a change in the quality of inquiries that you are receiving? And this could be, you know, like this could be you’re getting fewer, more high quality leads. You are getting less how you perceive, you know, low quality leads. There are a lot of different ways that this could actually play out. You know, the scenarios kind of change based on your unique situation, but if you’re noticing that your inquiries are starting to taper off or you’re noticing some changes, to me that indicates that your, your visual identity could be a part of that. Of course, you know, it’s not always just down to your visual identity and your branding. It could be your messaging, it could be your marketing, it could be just, you know, uh, it could be that Mercury is in, um, you know, retrograde again, like , there’s a lot of different things that could be going on.

Bonnie (07:03):
But in all seriousness, looking at that data, I think allows you to make data based decisions for your business. So kind of piggybacking off of that, do you think that your current branding is actually costing you clients? Like, do you think that your current branding is turning people off or it’s not captivating the attention of the incredible kinds of people that you want to work with? That can be something that we can identify based on a change in the number of inquiries you’re receiving or the projects that you’re booking. It can also be, um, you know, feedback. It can be people initially booking with you and then deciding to go in a different direction and you know that that’s something to consider as well. Um, are you missing out on opportunities because your brand isn’t positioning you in the ideal way? So an example of this, um, I was actually talking with someone, gosh, it was a couple weeks ago, I guess, and she was saying that she wants to pivot to reach higher end clients, but she’s not quite sure if the, the brand that she has now, if her logo and her website and that visual identity is going to actually pivot with her to reach those higher end clients.

Bonnie (08:24):
You know, when we’re thinking about inviting people into an elevated experience, we want for all of the touch points that they are encountering from that very first point of contact when they land on your website or when they come across you on social media, to when they fill out your contact form and they book with you and they maybe sit down over a consult with you. We want for all of those touch points to tell the same story. And we want them to feel, we want them to feel exactly the way that you want. And what I mean by that is it’s important to be thinking experientially about the kinds of touch points that you’re inviting your clients and your potential clients into. So when we’re making a pivot, especially from, uh, you know, one type of client to maybe a higher end client, I do find that it’s very helpful to take an honest and objective look at your current visuals and assess is that working for me?

Bonnie (09:33):
Uh, it’s, it’s also more than just the visuals, right? It’s, it’s the positioning is, is the messaging around your services in alignment with the kind of outcome that you wanna experience. So, you know, are you saying the kinds of things that your potential high-end clients are gonna resonate with? So thinking about it in that way, you know, we can start to kind of identify ways that your brand may or may not be working for you. Um, and sometimes, you know, I, I work with people and it’s very clear cut that through this assessment process that there are opportunities for, you know, dramatic change and what that can look like. That can look like going through a rebrand. So sometimes it’s helpful to go through that brand assessment process because you’re then able to understand, do I need to rebrand? And I find that this is so helpful before you pull the trigger and make that decision to invest a lot of your time and a lot of your money in a full rebrand, talk to someone and get their honest professional opinion as to is that the right move for you?

Bonnie (10:49):
Because sometimes you don’t need a full rebrand, sometimes you just need some thoughtful strategic tweaking and a brand refresh would be a better fit for you. And you know, also there’s that kind of added benefit of sometimes a brand refresh does not have the initial investment of time and financial resources that a full rebrand might. So I, I want to encourage you to think about this as a tool that you can use to figure out what the best next step for your business might be. So if you’re feeling kind of lost about what that looks like, if you’re finding yourself kind of stuck in this cycle of overthinking and indecision and then kind of the overwhelm that comes with all of that, then I encourage you to either work with a professional or, you know, grab your business bestie and sit down together over coffee in person via zoom, kind of whatever, maybe even just, you know, back and forth through Voxer and get some outside counsel on your visuals.

Bonnie (12:02):
So if you’ve been tuning in today and you’ve been thinking, actually, you know what, Bonnie, I really do think that this kind of assessment, that kind of experience would feel supportive in this season. Especially if you are in a season of, of growth where you are pivoting to reach a new to you market, where you are refining your services and your client experience, kind of taking it to that next level, then, uh, I would actually be honored to support you in that process. So like I mentioned, over the years, I have been so incredibly honored to not only offer this as a service to my existing branding clients, but also to people outside of my current client base. So creatives, service, service-based entrepreneurs, people just like you, and through these private brand assessments. Really the goal here is clarity. And we are working together to identify the best next step in order to elevate your brand or website to take it to that next level.

Bonnie (13:07):
And as a designer, a strategist, a creative director, you basically during this experience, have me in your back pocket to help you identify those areas for growth. I can solidify what’s working from my professional opinion, and together we can really figure out what it will look like to create the brand or to fine tune your existing brand that aligns with your big picture goals. So through these private brand clarity assessments, we are getting super crystal clear on your current visual identity and your brand positioning. So I’m not just gonna look at your visuals, I wanna understand the messaging and the storytelling and the positioning behind it. You’re also going to walk away with actionable advice on what next steps will help you actually reach your goals along with a full breakdown, kind of a punch list, so to speak, of edits that I would recommend to your website or your graphics or your visual branding to increase conversions and to really ensure that you’re reaching those goals in the first place.

Bonnie (14:18):
And you’re also gonna get a just honest assessment from an industry pro like me, who is gonna help you figure out is a rebrand in your future? Are you currently a candidate for that? Is that something that is going to be a good use of your time and your energy? Uh, and so from there, uh, you’re gonna walk away feeling like you know exactly what you need to do in order to see the kind of growth that you are dreaming about. So friend, if you would like to learn more about working together in that way, and if this is a kind of experience that feels supportive for you in this season, then I would love to connect with you and I would love to potentially walk alongside you through this assessment process. If you wanna learn more about this and how to book and take those next steps, then you can head to www.bisforbonniedesign.com/clarity, and you can book your one-on-one assessment session right there.

Bonnie (15:24):
Um, as always, I want for you to feel the confidence to make decisions for your business in a way that aligns with how you are defining success. So if I can be supportive for you and to you through that process, I would absolutely love that. But also I want to encourage you if working together or working with a professional doesn’t feel like a good fit for you right now, please feel the freedom to go through this process on your own to kind of, like I said earlier, connect with a friend, connect with, uh, someone else who can be that sounding board for you and go through that assessment process on your own. Um, this is something that I think we all can benefit from, from time to time. This is actually something that I do for my own business where I I love to get that feedback from people and I love to explore ways that I can be doing things differently or that I can be refining things.

Bonnie (16:30):
So this is something that I think, uh, all business owners and all creatives especially can benefit from. So, like I said, don’t feel the, the pressure to try to grow your brand in a vacuum. I I don’t think that that is long term, uh, a way for you to actually have the kind of impact that you’re dreaming about. And, and so with all of that being said, however you choose to move forward, whether we end up working together or you are going through this process on your own, you know that I’m gonna be cheering you on for Waco. So with that being said, until next time friend,

Bonnie (17:10):
Thank you so much for joining me today. Friend, before you go, I would be so grateful to receive your feedback on the brand strategy podcast. If you enjoyed this episode or the podcast in general has helped you grow your brand, I’d really appreciate it if you left us a review in iTunes. Your positive reviews enable the brand strategy podcast to continue to grow and reach like-minded creatives just like you. Thank you for all your support and encouragement as together we pursue building brands with purpose and intention. Until next time, I’m cheering you on from Waco.

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My name is Bonnie – I’m a brand designer, strategist, and writer which all adds up to one eclectic conglomeration of qualities that enables me to serve you well! Past clients have dubbed me "the Joanna Gaines of brand design," and I've had more than a few call me a dream maker, a game changer, and a design wizard (my Harry Potter-loving heart didn't hate that one, let me tell you!). At the end of the day, I'm a big-hearted creative who will get teary-eyed as you share the heart behind your business; who will lose sleep over the perfect font pairings and color selections to bring your brand to life visually; and who will work tirelessly to empower, encourage, and equip you to share your work with the world intentionally. 

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