When you think of “Rebranding,” you think of logos, mood boards, color palettes and a carefully curated selection of fonts. That is 100% a critical part of branding, but I want to make sure you don’t neglect the most important element of your rebrand. It’s actually the foundation of your new brand: it’s your messaging.

I’ve worked on a lot of major brands in my day from eBay and StubHub to Sam’s Club and AdventHealth. Almost every brand has a huge brand guide that clearly explains how to use their logo submarks, their name, colors, fonts, etc. Rarely do I see a brand that has the same exact type of guide for their messaging.

What is brand messaging?

It’s the words you communicate, feelings you evoke, words you use to communicate what you do, what you stand for, what you serve and what desires or problems you help solve.

Today I want to walk you through a different kind of Rebranding Checklist I’ve created, and you can grab this at www.erikaholmes.com/rebrand. I created it because it covers many things we don’t think about when we start to rebrand.

The majority of business owners tend to focus on the fun stuff: Pinterest, logos, colors, the don’ts, brand photoshoot. That is the paint on the walls and furniture you choose, but first, you have to make sure you have a good foundation, right?

I’m going to share the branding essentials most people skip over — but these are the elements that give your brand true dimension, wow factor and staying power. Armed with this checklist, you’ll know exactly what you need to tackle to create an irresistible brand that people pay premium prices for.

You can grab the full checklist at www.erikaholmes.com/rebrand. In this post, I’m going to give you the basics.



  1. Mission + Values
    It is important to know where you stand, what you’re in this for, and for your potential customers to know that too.
  2. Define your niche
    When you put a stake in the ground and decide to declare your niche, it frees you up to become an expert in that niche. Spoiler alert: you can always change your mind.
  3. Define your ideal customer(s)
    I don’t believe in the choose a person and select their eye color hair color, etc. That doesn’t matter. You will likely have a different ideal customer for your different services. An example of my ideal client:
    My ICA for my one-on-one website and email services is a solopreneur/personal brand who is ready to take her brand to the next level and be unapologetically herself. She understands the value of copy and actually, she’s a pretty solid writer, she just doesn’t have time to do it herself and doesn’t’ necessarily have the formal training in copywriting to really do it the right wya. She doesn’t want anything cookie cutter and enjoys the finer things in life. She’s willing to pay for convenience and for a better experience (aka, she gets VIP tickets to the music festival so she can use the fancy portapotties). More often than not, she’s a mom. She loves interior design and fashion, and pop culture. She isn’t afraid to take some risks with her brand. She LOVES what she does and wants it to feel joyful. Also, she wants to make a shitload of money and she’s not ashamed to admit it. Basically my ICA is me and that is super common.
  4. Brand story aka your origin story
  5. Create a word bank
    What are the words and phrases you say over and over or words that are specific to your brand? Word Bank Example:
    My mentor Racheal Cook uses the words “CEO Date”, “Model Calendar”, “sustainability”, and she addresses her audience as “CEO”. She also uses her own terminology. This is a Word Bank. It will evolve and grow over time. Conversely, you want to capture things you would NEVER say.
  6. Nail down your elevator pitch (aka marketing message)
    When people ask “so, what do you do?”, have a solid answer ready. Mine is super simple, “I write website and email copy that makes people say, “Damn, I need to hire her.”
  7. Curate client testimonials
    Anytime I write website copy for a client, customer interviews are a part of it. We interview 3 past clients and I’m able to get 2-3 testimonial quotes sprinkled throughout the site.
  8. Descriptions of your offer and signature service(s).
    Before you invest in some big expensive website, you need to know what you are selling. You don’t need to have all the details of all your packages nailed down, but I highly recommend knowing what services you are offering. You should be able to answer the question, what will my client have when we are done working together.
  9. Create your key messaging and differentiating statements
    What makes you different and what are the main themes you want to be consistently “pushing” in your marketing and messaging? The goal is to copy and paste from this as needed across everything proposals to emails, social media posts and more.
  10. Define your signature process
    I have a few frameworks. I have my Secret Sauce framework, my welcome sequence framework and then I have a signature process for writing website copy. I put this in all of my proposals and having this in place builds trust, establishes you as an authority and tells your future client that you know what you’re doing.
  11. Bio
    This is typically 100-150 words that is written in third person. It’s something you might use when you’re a podcast guest, a guest speaker, or if you write a guest post.


  1. Logo + submarks
  2. Colors + patterns
  3. Fonts
  4. Brand photography + stock photo guidelines (don’t skimp on this. Pretty please.)

Hot Tip:
-Create a Pinterest board and go nuts
-Look outside your industry
-Don’t limit yourself to branding and business pins, or even a certain industry. Look at art, home decor, outfits, magazine covers, travel imagery and more to get inspired.

OK, that was a lot! And there’s still more to know! So download the complete checklist at www.erikaholmes.com/rebrand.

Did you learn anything new or was this all stuff you already had on your list? Take a screenshot, tag me on instagram and share your top takeaways or questions.

If you are planning a rebrand and you’d like a little help, learn all about my website copy services at www.erikaholmes.com/website.