The last three weeks have been amazing and terrifying all at once.
As you know from last week’s post, we’ve been getting closer and closer to launching the Your Hot Copy rebrand, including… a fancy new website, a whole new look and feel (#makeover), and fresh photography to match it all.
Last week I mentioned the FOUR things you need to survive a rebrand (or ANY creative project of that scale).
These four things also represent the MAJOR risks of re-branding, how it could (actually) kill you, cripple your business, and possibly make you go crazy and lose your sanity in the process…
Keep in mind, I’m NO stranger to creative leadership.
Case in point: this photo from the set of my movie Hannah Has A Ho-Phase on our final shoot day. See this crew?
That’s 40 women representing various production departments — all working to make our vision (that’s me and my creative partner Nadia Munla) a reality.
So I am TRULY embarrassed to admit where I’ve failed throughout my own rebrand process.
But, to make sure you don’t make the SAME mistakes, here they are….
TAKE OWNERSHIP OVER YOUR VISION.
You know what every creative project really needs? A fucking leader. Someone who’s the CAPTAIN of the damn ship, navigating the waters, deciding what’s a good decision and bad decision, keeping the overall VISION front of mind, and knowing what to eliminate and what to keep throughout the process.
The thing is… making ART isn’t about adding more shit to the composition, the schedule, or the track record. Making ART is more about restraint than anything. Knowing when to get rid of something, when to slow down, when to pause, and when to breathe — those are the moments and choices that determine whether you’re making the emotional impact and STATEMENT you want to be making. That goes for copy, branding, websites, sales pages, screenplays, visual art, music, LIFE, etc etc etc.
[Tweet “Giving away your power as the creator and visionary means your project will be as good as DEAD http://thejamiejensen.com/rebranding-part-2/”]
When I decided to embark on this rebrand, I was shortsighted in what it would require — not just in terms of HIRES, but in terms of ME. I thought “OH, I have a vision so I’ll just HIRE the best people I can to help me execute it.”
[insert evil laugh here]
Sure, you need to do that. But you also need to step into the role of DIRECTOR (#justlikemovies), take ownership, and do the fucking job. If you’re NOT a director, then please, for the love of GAWD, hire one. I didn’t hire a director because I am one. But, after I made my hires, I realized that I deeply wanted someone else to be the BOSS of the rebrand — because managing a rebrand AND a business is basically taking on TWO big jobs at once.
Once I realized that I had to step up as the rebrand boss, I chose to pause until I was clear on my vision and had the time and space to do that job properly. < Cause of delay #1.
Cause of delay # 2?
GET A PROJECT MANAGER.
In other words, hire a project manager or at least a project planner who’s familiar with rebrands. You’ll need someone who can tell you which order things need to go in so you can execute like a PRO. Someone who can manage a budget and timeline for you if YOU’RE not someone who can do that.
If you’re currently thinking about rebranding, you might be asking yourself things like …
“Do I hire a photographer first? Or a strategist? Or a stylist? Or a copywriter? Or a designer?”
“How much does a rebrand cost? What should I be spending?”
(If you’re not asking yourself those things, you need to be!)
The truth? That answer depends a little bit on what you’re trying to create, where you are in your business, who you’re working with, and what role you’re prepared to play in the process.
And once you know WHO you want to work with, you’ll then have to be mindful of their schedule and how they work too! A HUGE reason the YHC rebrand was delayed was due to discovering we wanted my home city of New York to be present in the new brand photography… but we didn’t discover this until mid-holiday season — right before 4 months of freezing cold weather in NYC. #dammit
So YES, project planning matters, but being flexible with the creative process is the other side of that coin. More on that later.
If you don’t have someone who can support your vision by being the “get shit done” person, it will be even HARDER to NOT have your rebrand KILL YOU.
KNOW YOUR TIMELINE & BUDGET.
Most things in life take longer and cost more money than we originally estimate. In the world of filmmaking, we’d add a 10% contingency to any budget to make sure we are covered in case of unexpected/unforeseen costs.
Not sure if I even need to say this out loud but… I didn’t do this. 😉
What I did: hired the branding and design team FIRST, knowing that was an achievable, tangible thing that I could afford. What I forgot about: Styling, photography, extra needs, etc etc.
You CAN save all the money you need for your rebrand in ADVANCE. Start doing that now.
My advice? Get $30,000-$40,000 set aside for ALL of it, minimum.
Hate me for saying this? That’s OK. You can do it all on a tight-ass budget but you’ll probably feel creatively crippled, you won’t have all the support you need to execute it properly, and you might resent the process of feeling like you’re not as available as YOU wanna be throughout it. And remember what I said about YOU taking ownership?
Yeah. Mic drop.
Which brings me to my last point…
ACCEPT THE CREATIVE PROCESS.
You will NOT have control over everything.
Your vision will evolve as you go.
You will not execute the exact plan, as planned.
You will do things like wait 7 months for great weather, and then STILL end up shooting on a cold, rainy day (what happened to me, LOLOLOLOLOL.)
This is THE PROCESS.
You will want to quit.
You will want to cry.
You will want to give up and cancel it ALL.
DON’T DO THAT.
Remember that it is JUST the process.
[Tweet “Hire MORE support to hold you through the creative process. Because if you crumble, the rebrand crumbles. http://thejamiejensen.com/rebranding-part-2/”]
If you instead lean INTO the creative process and accept it all (the good, bad, and ugly) you might find that what you end up with is A MILLION TIMES better than what you originally thought you were getting.
I’ll tell you LOADS more about the SCARY A F unknowns that crop up throughout the creative process too so YOU can be prepared. Come back next week for more on those/that.
For now, tell me… any AHAs, OH SHITs, or YESSSS, THANK YOUs from this?