With the start of a new year, your company may be looking at a new look, new logo or new messaging: Something to freshen things up a bit.
This sounds exciting and could drive some new revenue opportunities. Before you get too caught up in the glitz and glamour of a new logo, new colors and new marketing materials, stop and make sure a rebrand is the right strategy for you. Do you really have an argument for a rebrand.
If nothing has changed or is going to change and it is just a new look – don’t do it.
A rebrand is an update of your company’s goals, culture and message. Your customers and prospects will see right through a disingenuous campaign and it could backfire on you instead of help you. It can cause confusion and lead to disconnection. Consistency and clear messaging are what is going to make the rebrand successful.
Here are five steps to keep in mind when considering a rebrand:
1. Determine your current identity and decide what your new identity will be. This is where you ask yourself the hard questions about your business: What is working and what is not?
That is the best place to start when making changes. Don’t fix something that isn’t broken.
Take a look at your company culture and make sure your new brand will fit better. Be comfortable with your mission statement before you sit down and decide what outcome you want to achieve from rebranding.
One of the best ways to decide what kind of changes need to be made to your business is to talk to your customers and employees to see what concerns and opinions they may have.
2. Establish a clear action plan for the changes. Once a plan has been made to change a certain aspect of your business, you need to document the changes that need to be made. This will make it easier to communicate it internally to ensure consistency and buy-in from all employees.
Make sure it is clear why the changes are happening, what the goals are and don’t be afraid to tell them how you will measure the goals.
3. Research your consumers. Look into your customer base and decide if part of overhauling your business is targeting a new market. Appealing to a new demographic could open you up to a whole new world of customers and change the overall vibe of your business. Reaching out to a larger consumer base will help your bottom line a great deal.
4. Turn your employees into brand ambassadors. Get your employees excited about the change by keeping them in the loop. They are a huge part of your company culture and therefore your brand identity. Take this opportunity to get your new logo and brand out there by making t-shirts and sweatshirts that your employees and clients can wear to promote your brand.
5. Initiate changes and communicate your new identity. Before launching the rebrand, make sure all of your employees and managers are comfortable and up to speed on all the changes that are going to be made. Set an official launch date and announce the changes via your social media sites, email, in a press release, or using other marketing vehicles. This is the perfect opportunity for you to tell the story of why you changed your brand and the benefits to everyone for this change.
Sometimes a rebrand is essential, for example if there has been a merger, an acquisition or just an outdated look and messaging.
Small businesses tend to be more apt to make a paradigm shift in their product offerings, which would make them good candidates for a rebrand. It becomes a slippery slope when your company’s reputation has longevity, credibility and is well recognized. You need to tread lightly and make sure you don’t lose those attributes and cause confusion.
A great example of a rebrand done to communicate a paradigm shift with a company that has a great reputation and longevity is the Business Journal News Network, formerly the Central New York Business Journal.
This paper has been a consistent, credible staple in the CNY community for 30 years. There was risk in changing things up.
With extensive planning, goal setting and communication, the rebrand was a big success. The company didn’t want to be known as just the paper, it had so much more to offer than just print and the goal was to ensure everyone knows it.
With so many pieces – papers in CNY, Binghamton and the Mohawk Valley; BizEventz; digital platforms on the website as well as the daily news alerts – how would the Journal ensure that clients and readers all understood everything they have to offer and how to use them as a package to achieve marketing goals.
The message that they are “not just the paper” had to be clear. This is where the creation of the Business Journal News Network came along: An umbrella company encompassing all of the products/offerings under one identity, eliminating confusion on all the different parts and pieces. This became the ultimate goal of the rebrand.
Next, came the messaging. This was imperative to get right because of the great reputation The Business Journal already had in the business community. They had to be sure people knew they were the same great, credible company – just with more to offer.
They had input from employees to gain their buy-in. They talked to current clients and received feedback from them. A communication plan was put in place that would enable them to shout the new name, look and changes from the rooftop.
They needed to jump in with both feet, not just dabble in the water. Again, consistency is key.
All employees were comfortable and understood the rebrand so they could be ambassadors for the company. Everything from the automated message to the masthead of the paper were changed.
Today, the Business Journal News Network has a year under its belt with a new identity and it has been able to expand their offerings with their new mission.
This has allowed them to go after a new target market for the new offerings while satisfying and maintaining the current clients.
To be successful at changing your business’s brand, you must commit to the changes and always look forward while also making sure everyone in your business is involved and comfortable with the changes.
The way to guarantee success in rebranding your business is to take action – make it happen and stick to it!
About The Author
A journalist by trade, Shane tells stories that connect brands with target audiences and inspire them to act. He’s a writer, not a copy machine, and that approach brings exceptional content to every print or digital piece he pens.
Shane taps into his past as a reporter and editor to develop clear messages that resonate in every medium, be it blog or brochure, sponsored content or script.
Daily newspapers developed a habit for idea generation, attention to detail and knack for question-asking. His background as a magazine and Web editor keeps client communications grammatically sound and effective.
Shane’s word-based deliverables range from long-form features to concise digital copy to persuasive prose. He’s been on both sides of the PR pitch and puts some muscle behind ABC’s media relations.