Brand Makeovers: Liz Mosley On The 5 Things You Should Do To Upgrade and Re-Energize Your Brand and Image
An Interview With Fotis Georgiadis
Go back to basics — Go back to your brand strategy. Are your brand values still the same or have they changed over time? What is your brand promise? Does it still inspire you and is it aligned with what you’re trying to do? Check-in with what you know about your target audience. Is it still an accurate picture of who is buying from you or working with you? When you are clear on those elements it can really help to remind you who your company is trying to help and what problem you are solving. Getting clarity on this can often be the boost you need to get even clearer on communicating what you are all about and also refresh the enthusiasm and passion for what you’re trying to do.
As part of our series about “Brand Makeovers” I had the pleasure to interview Liz Mosley.
Liz Mosley is a self-employed graphic designer who specializes in branding and animated GIFS for small businesses. She has taught over 400 people how to make their own GIF stickers for use on Instagram and her own GIFS have had over two billion views. She loves to bring fun and playful hand drawn elements into her designs, and is a cheerleader and supporter of all the small businesses she works with. To find out more about her work visit lizmosley.net
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit more. Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
I was always creative as a kid and spent my days drawing and making. I would carry a little sketchbook with me everywhere — I always knew that I wanted to do a creative job and with supportive parents I never really doubted that’s what I would do. At school I really got into photography and spent hours in a dark room (basically a cupboard) developing photos. I was convinced I would be a photographer, but then I did a foundation art course — which is a year of trying lots of different creative disciplines before choosing to specialize at university. It was there that I was first properly introduced to Graphic Design and I fell in love with it . I think the thing I loved the most was it included lots of the creative disciplines I enjoyed — so even if I wasn’t doing them myself in design, I would still get to enjoy photography and printing, making and illustration. I’ve been doing Graphic Design ever since and I still love it as much as I did when I first discovered it 18 years ago.
Can you share a story about the funniest marketing or branding mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
One thing that has happened and is still a constant fear of mine is when something gets sent to print with a spelling mistake that makes a perfectly innocent word rude and isn’t what was intended. I used to work for a university and we were always quadruple checking all uses of the word annual in our annual reports to make sure one letter in particular wasn’t accidentally missing.
Are you able to identify a “tipping point” in your career when you started to see success? Did you start doing anything different? Is there a takeaway or lesson that others can learn from that?
I think there have been two tipping points. For a while I was coasting in my career working for other people, but when I went freelance and started building my own business and brand it fueled an ambition that I hadn’t had before. Starting my own business actually coincided with me having children which was amazing because I could build a business that was flexible around my kids.
The second tipping point for me was after finishing my second maternity leave. I actually had two parts to my business, selling physical stationery products that I’d designed and design services. I realized that if I really wanted to make my business work, I needed to pick one and go for it 100%. I decided to pursue the design services side of my business and it was totally the right decision for me. I’m really enjoying the challenge of growing my business and helping other people with their branding.
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?
I’m currently running the first round of a 12 week course called Design Your Own Branding. The goal is to help small business owners who aren’t currently able to invest in paying a professional to do their branding or who have lots of ideas and want to do it themselves. I’ve broken my creative process down into 12 manageable chunks to help the whole process of branding your own business feel less overwhelming. I’m enjoying teaching in this way so much and have had really great feedback from the students so far. I’m also currently working on Season 2 of my podcast Building your Brand. I’ve recorded some great interviews with small business owners and marketing experts that I think will really encourage and support other business owners in their branding and marketing journeys.
What advice would you give to other marketers to thrive and avoid burnout?
My advice would be to be realistic about what you can achieve. There are so many different tools and platforms that we could be using to promote our businesses — but unless you have a huge team it can be hard to do them all anyway. Think about which areas will have the most impact, and that you enjoy the most, and focus your energy there instead of trying to do it all.
Also, build rest into your schedule. Literally schedule it in. It’s as important as any other task you do for your business but often it gets neglected because it feels like you’re not being productive. Having come close to burn out a few times recently — getting to that point means you aren’t going to be able to work on your business effectively anyway.
Ok, let’s now jump to the core part of our interview. In a nutshell, how would you define the difference between brand marketing (branding) and product marketing (advertising)? Can you explain?
Branding is how you make your business stand out from the crowd. It’s often considered as the visual elements of your business like your logo, colours, fonts and website — and while those are really important it’s deeper than that. It’s also your brand values, your brand promise, your tone of voice, even who your target audience is. Branding defines who you are as a business and is the aspect that will keep your customers loyal and coming back for more. Product marketing or advertising is where you’re telling people what you sell and how it can help them and make their lives better.
So simply put — marketing is how you get your customers or clients attention — and then branding is the tool to keep their attention and build brand trust and loyalty.
Can you explain to our readers why it is important to invest resources and energy into building a brand, in addition to the general marketing and advertising efforts?
Branding is so important because we live in such a visual culture. We were all told as kids not to judge a book by its cover but that’s what we’re doing all day long. With most of us spending so much time online we’re constantly encountering businesses selling us things. We have to make really quick decisions about whether each business we come across is of interest to us or right for us — or whether to move on and look for something else. These sorts of decisions are being made in milliseconds. So Branding is your tool to stand out from the crowd — and how your business looks and feels is your chance to draw people in — it helps communicate information about your business on a subconscious level.
Let’s now talk about rebranding. What are a few reasons why a company would consider rebranding?
There are lots of reasons to consider a rebrand but probably the main two are if your branding is not communicating accurately or effectively what your company is about anymore or if your branding isn’t appealing to your target audience anymore. This could happen for a whole host of reasons, companies are always growing and changing over time — they’re not static. Maybe the direction of the business has changed over time or maybe the values and what’s important to the business has changed. When that happens I think a rebrand can be a great opportunity to get back on track and to start attracting the right clients and customers to your business. Rebranding can also be a brilliant opportunity for building hype and buzz around the business. It can be treated like a launch. You can tease your audience with behind the scenes snippets and mentally prepare them for the change that’s coming so they’re not confused or surprised. It’s also a chance to get across your brand story and explain again why it is you do what you do.
Are there downsides of rebranding? Are there companies that you would advise against doing a “Brand Makeover”? Why?
Every time you rebrand you lose some of the brand familiarity and trust that you’ve built up. Your customers and clients need to get to know you again. They’re not necessarily having to start from scratch but they will be a little bit wary as they get to know the new look of your business. Sometimes a brand refresh — where you’re updating some of the elements rather than changing everything can be a good option. I think companies need to think carefully before they decide to rebrand to make sure that the reasons they are doing it are good ones. If it’s just that you’ve decided your bored of how it looks I would advise against it. If it is that it’s no longer accurately representing what your business is about or what’s important to you, or maybe you’re attracting the wrong clients then go for it. One thing I would say though is that you don’t want to be rebranding regularly. Every time you do it you will inevitably lose some of the trust and loyalty that you’ve built up with your customers or clients. If you’re changing the branding of your business every 6 months your company is going to come across as flaky, inconsistent or at worst untrustworthy — none of those are words you want to be associated with your brand.
Ok, here is the main question of our discussion. Can you share 5 strategies that a company can do to upgrade and re-energize their brand and image”? Please tell us a story or an example for each.
- Go back to basics — Go back to your brand strategy. Are your brand values still the same or have they changed over time? What is your brand promise? Does it still inspire you and is it aligned with what you’re trying to do? Check-in with what you know about your target audience. Is it still an accurate picture of who is buying from you or working with you? When you are clear on those elements it can really help to remind you who your company is trying to help and what problem you are solving. Getting clarity on this can often be the boost you need to get even clearer on communicating what you are all about and also refresh the enthusiasm and passion for what you’re trying to do.
- Involve your customers/clients — Customers love to feel involved and part of a community when it comes to business. How can you involve them and make them feel part of the team? Someone who does this brilliantly is Gemma from the business Mutha Hood. She does such a great job of sharing the behind the scenes of her business, the highs and lows. She uses Instagram stories to get her customers feedback and input as she designs new products and as a result her customers’ brand loyalty is really high. People buy from her business repeatedly. You can also see the impact that has by the number of customers who share her products on their own stories and create a lot of social proof for the business.
- Inject some fun and humour — How can you get across your brand’s personality? This is another opportunity to stand out from the crowd and help customers to choose you over another business. One of my favourite ways to do this is using animated GIF stickers on social media. Branded GIFS are brilliant for reinforcing your visual branding so that it’s familiar and recognizable but also to show the fun side of your business. What is brilliant about GIFS is that not only can you use them on Instagram and TikTok but your customers and clients can too. Are there any topics that you talk about regularly on social media? Or phrases that you use regularly that people associate with you and your business. Get a GIF made and use it as an opportunity to elevate your brand and make it more memorable.
- Try something new — Ever heard the phrase ‘a change is as good as a holiday’? Sometimes we get stuck doing the things we’ve always done and become boring and samey. Maybe it’s time to shake things up and try marketing your business in a new way? Maybe you start a podcast? Or make videos for TikTok — maybe sharing helpful tutorials or styling advice on YouTube could be the way to go. There’s something invigorating and inspiring about learning a new skill. All of these marketing tools are great ways to reinforce your brand and share your brand’s personality and potentially reach a whole new audience. They all have a design element to them, so you have a new means of getting your visual branding out there and making it even more recognizable. If audio or video isn’t your cup of tea maybe you could do an inspiring 5-day challenge for your email list, or a 30-day challenge with prompts on Instagram. There’s no one size fits all when it comes to branding and marketing, so choose to invest your time in areas that you enjoy and that will have a big impact.
- Make a small tweak — Sometimes you don’t need a whole rebrand to make your branding feel refreshed. It could be a case of just tweaking something. There are a few ways that you could do this. It could be introducing a new accent colour to your colour palette, or maybe a new font. It could be getting some new brand photography done — or maybe commissioning an illustrator to create some beautiful illustrations that sit well with your branding and can be used on your website or social media. Another absolute favourite of mine is Alice from lovedaysocial.com who makes incredible stop frame animations for Independent Brands. These are so fun and creative and can be brilliant for promoting particular products that you sell.
In your opinion, what is an example of a company that has done a fantastic job doing a “Brand Makeover”. What specifically impresses you? What can one do to replicate that?
One of my favourite type designers of all time is Jessica Hische and she is often commissioned by big brands to give their logo a refresh and update. I love how she shares the process and to see the before and after. One that I really loved was the update she made to the Mailchimp logo. The style of the logo wasn’t changed at all and it still had the same feel, but you can see in the before and after stages how she made lots of improvements to how the letters were drawn out. I love how it revitalized the logo without changing it completely. I think this is a good example of how you don’t need to throw everything out and start from scratch with a total re-brand. You can actually take what you have and all the great elements of your branding and make it better. The great thing about an update is things won’t have changed so radically that it will confuse or throw off your existing customers.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
This probably wouldn’t be feasible and it is definitely not accessible to everyone, but I honestly think if people were encouraged to have therapy at some point in their life it would make a big impact. I know not all therapists are perfect but we all have things we struggle with in life and actually having someone help us to untangle past hurts and unhealthy beliefs so that we can heal and move forward is huge. I personally have benefited from therapy and running my own business. I have also realized how much it can help when you understand yourself better and how your brain works. I have recently really gotten into learning about enneagram too and finding out my number and all of the joys and challenges that go with that has helped me in so many areas of my life.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
It’s very well circulated and all over pinterest now but I really find the following quote helpful “Don’t compare your beginning to someone else’s middle” by Tim Hiller. I think with social media it’s easy to compare your business journey to everyone else’s out there — but I’m constantly having to remind myself that it’s not the full picture. I don’t know what they’ve gone through to get to where they are — but also they are on a different journey to me. There’s no point comparing where I am with where they are. It really is a hard one to remember but I try to keep that quote in mind when I’m scrolling Instagram or interacting with other businesses online.
How can our readers follow you online?
They can find me at my website lizmosley.net and sign up to my newsletter full of branding and small business tips — and find me on Instagram and Twitter @lizmmosley
Thank you so much for these excellent insights! We wish you continued success in your work.
Brand Makeovers: Liz Mosley On The 5 Things You Should Do To Upgrade and Re-Energize Your Brand and… was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.