Owning a business forces any entrepreneur to be aware of the fads and changing tides of the marketplace. It doesn’t matter if the business is large or small, riding the wave of the newest trend can sometimes be helpful. Even if there isn’t a current trend to ride, there are times when a business needs some sort of facelift. Oftentimes this comes in the form of rebranding. McDonald’s did it by offering more healthy options on its menu. Domino’s did so by rolling out a new taste to their pizzas. The option of rebranding can be a valuable one. If your business is heading in a different direction, you want to focus on other products, or maybe you split with your business partner. It could be any number of reasons. And the strategies on rebranding can be as numerous as the reasons why you’re rebranding in the first place.
Rescue a CEO and CEO Blog Nation asked entrepreneurs for their tips and advice rebranding your business.
Photo Credit: Jason Sew Hoy
Rebrand through design
When you think of the most successful businesses, chances are they excel at design. Design plays a major role in defining a brand because it evokes a positive connection between your business and its audience. It’s not unheard of for large corporations to spend millions of dollars on logos and other branding material, but your business needn’t break the bank if it wants to rebrand itself through beautiful design. Comparing the visual experience of your business with organisations you admire is a good starting point when looking at rebranding, and will help you visualise how you want people to view your business.
Thanks to Jason Sew Hoy, 99designs
Photo Credit: Martha Guidry
Have a crisp positioning for your business
The key to rebranding is making sure you have a crisp positioning for your business or product/service offering. In order to be on target and successful with a rebranding effort your must clearly understand 3 important aspects. 1) You must define and understand your target market to ensure you are relevant , 2) identify a compelling benefit and reason to believe that benefit (a “marketing concept”) so you can clearly communicate what you are offering and why it is compelling and 3) clearly understand what your current brand stands for to ensure you have the “right” and ability to go to a new place with your offering. In other words, your target audience needs to believe your product/company would fit with your core essence. It would be really difficult for Clorox to move into laundry for fine washable, but a nature fit with disinfecting product for the kitchen and bath.
Thanks to Martha Guidry, The Rite Concept
Photo Credit: Dianne M. Daniels
Advance notice is important
Rebranding a business can be tricky – if it’s a drastic change, visually (graphics, color), it will be helpful to include mention of that in advance PR and notifications about the change. You’re establishing an entirely new identity that might ‘throw off’ your current customers and business partners. Advance notice and an intentional campaign to introduce the new identity will be important in helping your audience to make the adjustment. Even if the rebranding is more subtle – a slight change to the company name, or a new tag line, plan to spend some time associating the old information with the new. When I rebranded my company from Image & Color Services to The DivaStyle Coach, I made sure to emphasize the change over a period of time – first starting to mention it in advance of the rollout, and then incorporating social media, articles, and scheduled updates to current customers so that they would be informed and feel comfortable with the change.
Thanks to Dianne M. Daniels, The DivaStyle Coach, Inc.
Photo Credit: Jody Ordioni
Send out a press release
At Brandemix, we break down a rebranding initiative into four steps: First, announce the change on every available channel, including your email signatures. Distribute a press release that explains the reasons behind the new brand. Next, change your brand on social media. Twitter, Google Plus, and Pinterest profiles are easy to modify, while Facebook and YouTube take a bit more effort. If your logo is different, make sure your profile pic features the new design. Third, inform bloggers or publications that have covered you of the change. Search for your brand on blogs and message boards and leave a comment that notifies readers of the change. Finally, do one last sweep. That means confirming that your partners, vendors, and distributors have the new branding on all their materials, that your Google AdWords and Facebook Ads accounts are updated, and that you’ve shut down or redirecting any legacy sites to your new URL.
Thanks to Jody Ordioni, Brandemix
Photo Credit: Mike DiFrisco
Rebrand from the inside out
Rebranding a business isn’t just a freshening up of your visual identity.It begins with fundamentally shifting the “reality” of your offerings, delivery, or the customer experience. And that means your staff–whether it’s a staff of two or hundreds–is on board with your “brand recipe.” Your staff is critical to building a strong brand that will cut through the clutter. Their buy-in can make or break your rebrand because they are on the front lines. They are your brand ambassadors. They are the voice and tone of your business. They are your best advocates and your most loyal evangelists. Your job–as visionary and leader–is to make sure your staff is engaged, bought-in, involved, and communicated to continuously in the rebranding process. In addition to getting buy-in, you’ll also need to infuse branding signals into everything your company does. Your new brand should drive behaviors, expectations, and performance. And if you do it right and consistently, you’ll be rewarded with improved employee satisfaction, less turnover, and more productivity. But the biggest dividends will be paid with a brand promise that resonates outside the walls of your business and shouts loudly and clearly to your customers and prospects.
Thanks to Mike DiFrisco, How to Branding
Photo Credit: Ellen Huxtable
Have a clear vision of your target customer
Before your rebrand, have a clear vision of your target customer, your specific product and your competitive advantage. You need to know and communicate why a customer should buy from you and not a competitor. If you don’t know this, you customers won’t know, either. Customers buy on emotion. Reflect your emotional appeal in your new brand. Anticipate any potential losses due to rebranding. Your new brand may have wider appeal or be more attractive to future markets, but may no longer be a comfortable fit for some of your existing customers. Rebrand carefully and with consideration. A company which is constantly changing its image can confuse and alienate customers. Markets evolve and businesses need to evolve with them. Rebranding can refresh your presence in the marketplace. Know your market, your objectives and your customers and rebrand when necessary to remain competitive.
Thanks to Ellen Huxtable, Advantage Business Concepts
Photo Credit: Kristin Warner
Think of your customers first
Remember that a brand is a relationship. It is the relationship between your company and your customers. How do you want that relationship to be defined? What is the experience you want your customers to have? How do you want your customers to think and feel about your product or service? This is the essence of your brand. You need to discover what part of customer¹s relationship with your product or service you can truly own and create a personality from that. Then all things (design, copy, campaigns, etc) flow from that personality.
Thanks to Kristin Warner, FirePath Communications
Photo Credit: Chris Lucas
All about ‘after’ the rebrand
If you choose to rebrand, there are some things that you can do to make it go smoothly: – Work with a trusted advisor/agency. I typically like to do things in-house, but for something as major as a rebrand you need an outside source – someone who can think of the pitfalls and opportunities that you will miss because you are so close to your current brand. – Understand technical considerations and make a plan: SEO/301 redirects, website migrations – this may all seem like techy mumbo-jumbo, but it’s important and will affect the success of your rebrand. Want to lose half of your search volume? It can happen if you don’t have a plan in place. A rebrand is more than new snappy, creative slogan and a new website. It’s understanding how it affects your web traffic, search traffic, and everything else. It’s all about *after* the rebrand: The rebrand is the first step. Get a PR/marketing plan in place that starts on day one. Contact your partners and customers. Send them new logos, t-shirts, etc. Get them to use the new brand elements from day one, and you can control the message
Thanks to Chris Lucas, Formstack
Photo Credit: Joshua Weiss
Entirely about willpower
Rebranding your business is entirely about will-power. Rebranding is about the decision to make an actual change by acknowledging and accepting what one has been doing and what has not been working. The rebranding effort involves actively making the necessary changes required to alter your course. Most problems that companies face today stem from an inability to adapt to changing times. Companies that were once successful now find themselves pushed out by the “new company on the block” and it’s usually younger. When a company decides to rebrand today, to become more appealing to the contemporary consumer, it does so by engaging social media sites for marketing and catering to a more tech-savvy audience. A company may also rebrand by openly acknowledging faults and illustrating it’s plan to change. One of the most graceful examples of this kind of rebranding was executed by Domino’s Pizza in 2010, championed by the slogan “Oh yes we did.” Domino’s openly admitted that their pizza had previously been sub-par and promised to do something about it by consulting with professional chefs in order to improve its product. In the words of John C. Maxwell, “A man must be big enough to admit his mistakes, smart enough to profit from them, and strong enough to correct them.”
Thanks to Joshua Weiss, TeliApp Corporation
Photo Credit: Steve Vandegrift
Evaluate your entire business operation
Determining when to franchise your business begins by first evaluating the entire business operation – its products and/or services; staffing and management; site and location requirements; equipment, fixtures and furnishings; employee training; trade dress; customer service and satisfaction; sources of supply; advertising and marketing programs, etc. – to determine whether each component has been fully developed and systemized to the extent that others can be trained to duplicate the entire operating system. This may be validated through the opening of additional company-owned locations that experience similar levels of success. The evaluation process should include analyzing key competitors in order to identify the company’s unique attributes/competitive advantages in addition to determining whether other geographic areas are conducive to the company’s products and/or services. Experiencing great success in a single market is no guarantee that the same level of success can or will be achieved elsewhere. A final step in the evaluation process includes determining whether the company’s current management team is qualified, willing and available to assist others in developing, opening and operating additional locations. It is crucial to the success of the franchise company and its franchisees that the company’s infrastructure be designed to support the high level of assistance, training and support typically required by franchisees.
Thanks to Steve Vandegrift, FranSource International, Inc.
Photo Credit: Martha Bartlett Piland
Start from within
When you’re rebranding – or just doing a brand refresh – you must start with the INSIDE. A lot of companies tend to think of their branding as something only focused outward. But a brand that’s well understood and executed internally by employees, board and all internal audiences is exponentially more effective. When you marry brand and purpose with internal culture, you attract and retain the best talent—and achieve a significantly better bottom line. You will always be head and shoulders above your competitors because everyone in the organization is living and breathing the brand. They become powerful ambassadors. They’re “drinking the Kool-Aid,” not just putting on a suit or a uniform and going to work.
Thanks to Martha Piland, MB Piland Advertising + Marketing LLC
Photo Credit: Jason Larsen
Write it all down
he best thing a business can do when considering a rebrand is to write down as much about your business as possible, and ask as many questions as possible. Write down as many adjectives you can think of that describe your business currently, then write down words that you would like to be true about your business in the future. If you can’t afford to hire a branding company, then consider at least having a trusted 3rd party come in to ask questions about your business – or even ask questions about how they perceive your business. Outsiders are a key part of the rebranding process! Consider having a group of 5-8 individuals responsible for the rebranding process, and no more. Graphic representation of a business is very subjective, and it’s hard to move forward with a large group of people giving their subjective opinions. Once the rebrand is narrowed down to a single identity (graphic representation, logo, etc.), have a trusted person pitch that brand to the rest of the company – selling them on why it represents your company better than anything else, and how it will continue to represent the company in the years to come.
Thanks to Jason Larsen, Qoala Group