You’re considering a journey into uncharted territory…

Either your large, established company needs to rebrand (and you recognize the weight of your next few decisions), or you’re launching a startup (and you’re overwhelmed with what you don’t know). Maybe you lead a non-profit that has lost its’ way (and you forget why you’re doing what you’re doing).  

When we launched Emery, we knew who we were, what made us unique and how we were going to help small businesses. But a few months down the road we found ourselves sitting in the corner rocking back and forth, hugging our knees. Our approachable, laid back personality that clients had come to know and love had morphed into multiple personalities. Demand from specific clients had a way of causing us to shift focus, and after a dozen iterations of that, we felt as if we had lost our way. It forced us to put everything back on the table, and to fight for clarity. And it was the best thing we ever did. After working with hundreds of leaders and teams, we gathered some insights that we repeatedly use to advise and even remind ourselves. From the largest corporation to the smallest startup, these guidelines universally apply. Some wisdom for the journey ahead:

Be brave.

Making significant changes to your business or brand takes courage. It will rock the boat. It will take explaining. It will take time and money. But it will also revitalize your organization in incredible and unforeseen ways. Nelson Mandela famously said, “Courage isn’t the absence of fear, but the triumph over it…” No one is expecting you to approach change flippantly, but with some perspective, you can channel your anxiety into excitement. It’s time for the birth (or rebirth) of your dream. Press in and enjoy it.

Work with people you trust.

In all partnerships, suspicion kills any chance of success. The decisions being made need to be trusted. When egos and squeaky wheels are at the table, creative and critical thinking is nearly impossible. Everyone on the team needs to have each other’s best interest (and the end goal) in mind. If you get any weird feelings about people you’re working with, trust your intuition. Ask the hard questions, or run.

Let the experts be the experts.

Just like when working with medical professionals, you need to be your own advocate—fight to be seen, to be heard and to get an accurate diagnosis—but when it comes time for surgery, trust the people that have dedicated their lives to this craft, trust that their experience can make the right call. Honest experts will be able to see the deeper issue at hand, whether that’s an internal injury or a leadership crisis. Find an agency that doesn’t say, “You get what you pay for.” It’s a reality that different companies will have drastically different budgets. Yes, it’s true that for smaller budgets, sometimes it’s best to find a cheaper online service for design work, but we believe that branding professionals should make themselves accessible to budgets of any size. Find an agency that will regard your project (and corresponding budget) with respect and perspective. e.g. If your budget is $10,000, find an agency that handles projects between $5,000 – $15,000. You don’t want to work with an agency that averages projects at $100,000 but is “willing” to work with your budget. You’ll get entry-level work done over the weekend. Find an agency that will make your project a priority.  

You know what you need to do—you just need the right people by your side. In light of these four axioms for successful partnerships—understanding that we might not be the right fit for you—we’d love to talk with you about some possible solutions to the problems you’re experiencing. Schedule a call with us, we’d love to talk more. If you fill out our Speed Dating form, we can get to know you, where you’re at, and how we could help. The most important thing is to get moving… We’re all navigating toward where we need to be. All of us, side-by-side. Today, wherever you’re at… Take heart!  

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