October 1, 2015
In the life of a business owner, we all get to the point where we need to ask the question…
Should I rebrand my business?
Perhaps your business has gone through some changes lately, or you feel that your brand is no longer appealing to your audience, or you just think a general refresh could generate some fresh interest in your marketing. Either way, most businesses will find that they need to do some level of rebranding work every couple of years to ensure that they stay modern, in line with their current goals, and responding to their audiences’ changing needs.
Before you start updating your logo, website, and a whole lot of other (potentially) expensive and time consuming tasks, it’s a good idea to plan ahead for how the rebrand might affect all the different areas of your business.
I’ve put together a plan for you to follow with some of the steps you might take when planning and executing your rebrand. Of course, every business is different, so your rebrand might not follow this exact path. However, if you follow the steps below for the most part, you will find that your rebrand is more likely to go down successfully, with a smoother transition for all areas of your business into the new branding.
Steps to Rebrand Your Business
1. Research and Plan Ahead
Before you make a move, it is important that you back up any of your rebrand with some research. For a detailed look at different types of research, check out this article from Inc.com. Talk to your customers and audience and listen to their suggestions. You could run a survey to find out exactly what their preferences are in terms of colors, style, fonts, and specific areas of your business operation.
It’s also a good idea to brush up on your competitor research while you’re at it. Take a look at what your closest competitors are doing to ensure that your rebrand fits the industry standards. It is good to be different – but your branding should still tell a clear story of what you do.
If there is a particular big brand that you believe has a similar style and values to your business, you could also use them as inspiration for your rebrand. For example, looking to Apple, Google, Nike, Microsoft, McDonalds, Nandos, or whichever big brands you admire as inspiration will help to guide your changes in the right direction as they spend millions of dollars to get their branding just right (and it doesn’t hurt to think big).
2. Know Your Brand Promise
Your brand promise is what it means to work with your business or buy from you. Knowing and defining this accurately before you do your rebrand will ensure that your changes make sense to your audience and are consistent with the very essence of your business. Some examples of brand promises could be the following statements:
- To inspire moments of optimism and uplift. (Coca-Cola)
- To bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world. (Nike)
- Think different. (Apple)
Talking to your customers and finding out what they love about your business or what they really want more than anything from your business will help you come up with the right brand promise. Write your brief statement, then keep it in front of you as you plan the rest of your rebrand.
3. Identify Core Values and Drivers
Knowing your own personal mission in the business, and the overall goals of the business are extremely important to ensuring your branding is the right fit. What gets you out of bed in the morning? What makes you really excited to do business? Make a list of the core values of your business. Some examples of these could be:
4. Review Your Business Model
If you haven’t recently thought deeply about your business model (that is – the core systems, plans, and processes behind your business), now is the time to do it. Your business model affects the kinds of products or services you are selling, the specific audiences you are targeting, and therefore, the type of branding that is going to fit your business. It will be much simpler to make changes to your business model now, before you execute your rebrand, than after.
It is important that you make a note of anything in the way that you conduct business which might affect your rebrand. Things that really set you apart from the competition can be great to draw attention to with your branding.
5. Create a Branding Guide
In most businesses, multiple staff and contractors will play a role in a rebrand. It is up to you to ensure that the information they receive is consistent so that the content they produce is exactly in-line with what you want. Creating a branding guide that states your research and desires from the previous steps and distributing this to your branding team will help them work together and create a consistent look and feel (also saving you time and money!). The following elements are handy to include in your guide:
- Information on your business model (target audience, key products/services)
- Your core values
- Your brand promise
- Your research on preferred colours, fonts, styles
- A list of your competitors
- One or two large business whose branding you like
6. Note Branding Touch Points
Ideally, when your rebrand is officially launched, you should try to ensure that all of the changes are made consistently across all areas of your business. Make a note of the areas that apply to you so that you don’t miss anything (it isn’t a good look when you have different logos, colors, and styles scattered throughout your branding). Different branding touch points could include:
- Reception and phone answering (may require staff retraining)
- Business Cards
- Employment ads
- Email signatures
- Online directories
- Print ads
- Office fit outs
Flying Solo has also put together a great list of marketing collateral and branding touch points in their article here.
7. Create Your Branding Package
Branding packages will vary depending on the kind of help you have engaged to design the visual and written elements of your rebrand. At this point, they should be ready to provide you with your new branding to use in your business. The elements you might expect to receive include:
- Color swatches
- Logos in varying sizes and specifications (make sure you receive the source files, vectorized versions of your logo, and web-ready versions, as these are all different file formats that you will need)
- Copy for your updated brand promise
- Copy for different pieces of branding and marketing
8. Order and Print Your Physical Branding Items
Once you have your new branding package, you can start ordering all of the physical products that are a part of your rebrand. This includes any print marketing (brochures, business cards, etc.), signage for your offices and vehicles, and uniforms if you require them. Getting things printed and produced can often take some time, so allow at least a month or so to get this organized before your official relaunch.
9. Update Your Digital Platforms
Just before your relaunch, you will need to get your digital platforms ready with the new branding. Create new profile pictures for social media in the right sizes and dimensions, and draft some changes for your website. Do not make these live until you are ready to do your launch. Instead, keep the files ready to go so that you can make all of the changes within a few hours of your official rebrand.
10. Communicate with Stakeholders
Now is the time to organize a meeting with your employees, shareholders, and any other key stakeholders who are involved with your business behind the scenes. Let them know about the plans for the rebrand, why it is happening, and how it will affect them. According to this article from Rebrand, local teams, internal departments, and external stakeholders are all essential parts of this process. It is important to brief them so that they feel comfortable with the changes that are coming up and can answer any questions they might get from customers and clients.
11. Relaunch Campaign
Congratulations! All the prep-work is done, and it is now time to set a date for your official relaunch campaign. From this day onward, you need to have all of your old branding replaced with your brand new look. New uniforms, signage, website updates, and online profiles should all kick off at the same time (or as close to the same time as possible).
Communicate with your customers and clients through an email newsletter, blog article, press releases, social media posts, and other platforms to ensure that they are aware of your new brand. Don’t be surprised if you see renewed interest in your business over the next few weeks – expect to be busy! Listen and respond to any feedback on your rebrand (people tend to have an opinion on these things), and keep coming back to your brand promise. Your audience will want to do business with you if they see that you are consistent, trustworthy, and open.
Over to you now…
Have you ever rebranded your business, or are you planning to in the future? What are you keen to do differently from the first time around?
Simon Dell is a former agency owner and managing director, and is now a freelance consultant under his own brand SimonDell.com. His goal is to help develop and implement strategic digital and creative marketing plans for clients delivering measurable results and fantastic ROI. He also writes for Fairfax Media, MYOB's business portal and frequently speaks at events and conferences around Australia.