These days everyone is throwing around the buzz-word ... "brand".  You're a "brand".  I want to increase my "brand recognition".  What is it that I want my "brand" to say?  I'm the furthest thing from a marketing major, so I didn't really quite grasp the concept of the importance of branding your identity. Until now...

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To be honest, when I first started my blog, I didn't think about branding.  It's really funny because it's something that I stress for my clients.  But. when it came to my own creative endeavor, I was more concerned about getting my art out there, than I did about focusing on key concepts that are associated with this phenomena.  Frankly, I didn't give a shit.  I'm a writer at heart.  So publishing my thoughts on my own platform-- where I could share musings about personal style, the legal industry, and life as a millennial was all I wanted to do. However, I quickly discovered when you don't pay attention to key elements of branding, you are being shortsighted.  It's been over a year, since I've launched the blog and I have learned that my blog is, in fact, its own brand.  A brand that is unique and separate from its author!  So, I embraced what it meant to go through the process of re-branding, and I enlisted the help of a brand developer and coach.  

Over the last three months, I've created new, engaging and exciting content that represents all that raquiyagrace.com stands for in the blogosphere... because, of course, RAQUIYAGRACE [DOT] COM is its own entity.  Throughout the process, here are the top 3 lessons that I've learned about re-branding and re-launching this digital magazine:

1. Be flexible.  

Any businessperson who is just starting out knows the importance of remaining flexible and agile.  Since I've launched two business a little over a year ago, I've been on my toes making minor adjustments as I go along.  Do I wish I had my MBA before embarking on this journey? Of course, I do! But an extra degree isn't going to make or break a business.  When I first started my creative based company, Strictly Legal Fashionista, I was resistant to change because I wanted to hold onto my initial vision.  A year in, I've learned that as the brand evolves, your vision will evolve too.    The obvious change to the new site is not only its look but its name! "Strictly Legal Fashionista" is still very much an entity that is tied to this blog, in fact, it's the operating business for which this blog and my various other writing and creative endeavors fall under. However, my decision to change the name of the blog came easily. SLF was a name that I held very dear, but it wasn't reflective of what I wanted to achieve as a writer. I always saw SLF as a larger entity, that held my own identity and all of my other creative projects.  It was not necessarily reflective of a digital magazine--which is the vibe RAQUIYAGRACE.COM intends to provide to you.  I wanted to open up to my readers about this change and remind you about why flexibility is extremely important when it comes to branding.  Whether it's your personal or online brand, you must first identify 'who' or 'what' that brand is meant to represent.  But, forgive yourself if you don't get it just right the first time, be open to change, and everything will fall into place! 

2.  Stay true to yourself and what you want for your brand. 

If my brand were a person, it would be my best friend.  Even though the brand is my namesake, its identity is separate from my own.  It's funny, funky, bold, assertive, thinks critically, and challenges norms.  These are all qualities that I possess, but as a brand, the primary goal is to challenge readers to be the best versions of themselves.  To take risks. To be assertive.  And, to stand by their decisions to be bold in their lifestyles, careers and fashion choices.  When discovering a brand, I have to stay true to myself and the vision that I see for my brand.  I'm an honest person, so I'm always going to provide content that is reflective of my reality.  Little known fact, I HATE LATTES... they are tasteless and a waste of milk/whatever little coffee is in them.  I like my coffee black... no sugar... no cream (catch the Hip-hop reference), so my content is going to be reflective of my reality.  The level of honesty that I possess, my brand is going to reflect.   All too often, we're afraid to express ourselves through fashion, but my brand quashes those myths and encourages fearlessness at any stage in life.  It's important to create a long-term vision for the identity of your brand.  The best advice I received was from my brand adviser, she told me to think of my brand as a person and describe all of the qualities that I wanted my brand to possess.  Once, I started to think beyond the scope of my initial vision I was able to tap into all that the brand should be and is becoming. 

3. Be patient & remain positive. 

It's easy to get into a habit of comparison. Comparing yourself with your friends.  Comparing yourself and your brand to other bloggers or influencers.  NEWS FLASH... that shit isn't healthy!  Think about it, how well do you actually feel after you compare your follower count with another bloggers follower count? Not very good, I can imagine!  Don't compare the highlight reel of life on Instagram to your actual process and journey.  I was MIA and I stayed off of social media for a large part of the rebranding process because I had to learn to STAY. IN. MY. OWN. LANE!  I know that this is easier said than done, particularly when the market is saturated.  The best thing you can do to allow your brand to grow is to do so organically.  Through trial and error, your brand will find its niche and will manifest your perfect vision.  You hinder yourself and your goal when you start to compare yourself to others.  Some of my favorite and well-established brands such as Gucci & Fenty by Rihanna are successful because of their authenticity and credibility.  Part of creating an authentic brand is reminding yourself to be patient and remain positive, your breakthrough will come. 

I hope you all enjoy the new site, hit me up by sending me an email or commenting below to tell me what you think of our new look!