There are a number of reasons why a business might consider rebranding. Most of them are firmly rooted in a need to reposition the brand in the marketplace. Whatever the reason, the challenge that must eventually be faced is how to rebrand in a way that yields the desired results. So, what is the right strategy to rebrand your business? Let’s take a look.
Start with the Why
Your rebranding strategy should begin with a thorough understanding of the business reason behind the rebranding. It is important to determine whether the desire to rebrand is driven by a need to accelerate growth, compete with larger, more established competitors, etc. You may decide that you need to simply and focus your message or there may be a legal reason compelling you to change. In some cases, your brand may have simply outgrown your image and your brand no longer reflects who you are. Establishing the why behind the rebrand helps you avoid wasting a tremendous amount of resources.
Once you have established the business reason for a rebranding, your next move is to conduct independent research on both your business and your target audience. The purpose of the research is to provide an objective understanding of your current brand perception and competencies. If one of your goals is to move into a new market, that research should include your new target clients as well. Operating from an internal perspective only limits your potential. Objective research will avoid building your rebrand on false assumptions and will help you clearly understand how the marketplace sees you.
Whether you are looking to expand your current audience or create one entirely from scratch, it is worthwhile to involve your current customers in the rebranding process. Survey your customers to learn what they like about your brand to avoid losing any of those elements as you change. Gain an understanding of why they initially started using your service and why they continue to give you their business.
Ask for feedback on potential logos, color changes, and anything else that might interest your customers. You aren’t obligated to share the results of their feedback or to go along with their preferences. The simple act of requesting customer feedback on your social channels like Twitter and Facebook will help build community and loyalty. Consider using a segmented email to your VIP customers.
In whatever way you decide to involve your customers, be sure to highlight the importance your brand assigns the task of keeping current customers happy and satisfied. Your clients will appreciate having their thoughts and feelings considered and be more likely to stay on board when the rebrand is launched.
Use positioning and messaging to capture your brand strategy. Your market positioning is a brief description of where you fit into the market space and will drive many of your ensuing decisions. Your positioning should balance who you are as a firm and who you want to become.
Your messaging architecture conveys your messages to each segment of your audience. Consistency with your overall brand is important as is the idea that your messaging is supportable. As you develop your brand’s market positioning and messaging architecture, you will uncover the essence of your brand strategy.
The part of the rebranding strategy in which you build your brand identity is where you develop the visual elements that will communicate your brand. A company’s brand identity is a visual shorthand for your brand. This would include things like your brand name, logo, tagline, colors, and so on. These elements are to be collected in a brand style guidelines document which will provide all stakeholders a common set of parameters. This helps to ensure that your brand is implemented consistently across all of your marketing materials.
All rebranding strategies eventually involve your website. Your website is the first place a prospective client will go to in order to learn more about your brand. It is the single most important communication and business development tool you have. Your website is an excellent place to tell the story of your brand and how you deliver value-added services or products to your clients. Together with the other components of your online presence, your website is the full expression of your positioning.
Brand Building Plan
With the rest of your rebranding strategy under control, you can turn to the final task which is to develop a plan that will allow you to strengthen and promote the new version of your brand. Determine how it will be launched internally and externally. Build your plan in a way that communicates not only your brand’s name but also its reputation and expertise.
Take Your Time
Don’t change too much too fast unless you are looking to generate an entirely new and different audience. Smaller, more discrete adjustments to your branding help to maintain your current audience’s connection to your brand. An enormous challenge occurs when you are faced with a name change. The best course of action is to try and keep an element of your original brand name to provide you with more options down the line.
SEO is another reason to not change too much at one time. A new website, new company name, new tone of voice, and new copy, will impact your site’s search rankings with search engines like Google and Yelp and it will take some time to rebound.
Your Digital Presence – The Big Picture
Remember to change your digital presence to make sure your listings and all of your digital information is consistent. Here, change is the keyword – don’t create new listings. Update your brand’s Google My Business listing with new information so you don’t have multiple profiles. The exception to this is if you are pivoting to an entirely new arena in which older reviews, etc. would not be relevant. In this case, you would need to open a new listing and close the old one.
Parts of your listing to check for accuracy include your business name, categories, your physical address and phone number, logo, photos, and videos. Remove anything irrelevant and ensure consistency across digital platforms. One area you may not think to check is if you have a question and answer section on your website. Consider the accuracy and relevancy of the information there and remove anything that no longer applies to the new and improved version of your brand.
Beyond Google, you will want to update all of your brand citations. You can update and clean up your citations by using an automated tool or manually. Updating by hand versus using a tool service is a bit more tedious but it allows you to keep complete control of your listings. If you stop paying for your automated citation management service, you risk seeing your listings go back to the way they were.
Businesses rebrand for a number of reasons. Whatever the catalyst for your brand, invest the time and financial resources necessary to fully handle the changes needed to rejuvenate your business. A sure way to fail is to shortcut the process of rebranding. Much more than a logo tweak, a name change, or a new tagline, rebranding is something that almost every organization will face at some time in its history. The process can be a catalyst for rejuvenation and offers a fabulous opportunity to bolster the company’s image and grow its presence.
The team at Strategy Driven Marketing would love to help you establish a strong and unique brand that will help you be well-known in your field and consistently land the work you want to do. Let us use our experience and expertise to guide you through the exciting process of re-branding and build something that showcases the best you have to offer. Contact us today to get started!