Six things you need to know
Rebranding is a big decision for any size of business. To be done well, rebranding requires a great deal of thought and even some testing.
Here are the six things you most need to know about the process:
Your brand is more than a logo
What is a logo? The business name in a funky font? The image of a regal lion on a field of blue? A cartoon sketch that depicts what you do? The answer is yes, and no.
The reality is that a logo is just a visual representation of your brand. Ideally it embodies everything that your business or organization stands for. Sometimes that is hard to achieve, and you and your creatives do their best to capture that essence as much as possible.
Font, image, and activities, are elements of your brand. But a great logo will be, and by extension the brand is, more than those elements.
Your brand is your business identity. It should demonstrate the following:
- your professionalism
- the feelings your name or logo generate in the public
- what your customer experience is like
- your community involvement
- the pride and vision your employees share
Another element of your brand is your business voice, in social media, and other marketing efforts. To be truly effective, your voice should be identifiable without a logo, tagline, or your company name.
You can test this yourself. Watch some television or online commercials and try to guess the marketer before the reveal. Don’t cheat, test the ones you haven’t seen before.
A good brand can show itself in the theme, images, music, and words it uses, long before the reveal. That kind of brand recognition should be your goal.
Ask yourself why
Why are you in this business? Think about what drives you, what your mission is, and what your business values are. Why this industry? Why this niche?
It’s a lot to figure out, but it is important to understand this context. Why this context matters is because it helps you answer the deep-level, genuine answers to the next questions.
Why do you need to rebrand? Why isn’t the existing brand working? Why now?
If you can’t answer the first set of questions, it will be difficult to adequately answer the second set.
If your only answer is that sales are down, then you haven’t thought deeply enough. Go back, try again.
Through this process, you may even find that you don’t need to rebrand. You may find that what you really need to do is refocus, update, or re-energize your marketing of the existing brand.
What needs to change?
Is it the organization’s name? Or is it just the logo? The tagline? Is it everything? The answer is largely dependent on all the other considerations discussed so far.
Taglines are easier to change. Logos are easy to refresh or update. Amending your business name however, usually requires changes to the logo and tagline.
Changing your entire brand is a hefty undertaking. It requires the most preparation, the most planning, and is the hardest to implement effectively.
Before making a change to any element of your brand, it would be helpful to do some in-depth research. Study your customer feedback. Interview a sample of customers – past & present. Compare your market position to others. Ask your staff for input.
Don’t rush in to the first idea. Analyze your data. Let the ideas simmer for a while. After some honest consideration, you’ll know when to make the decision.
Nobody knows you better than you
You built the business, you work in the business, you interact with customers, you hear the cheers and grumbling of your employees, you may even incur the occasional wrath of the board of directors and the shareholders, or the scrutiny of mass media.
No marketing expert will know these things better than you. Not unless they’ve worked with you for a very long time, or have done some deep research and assessment of those same people and their experiences with your business.
You know what your organization is, and you know what you want it to be. Experts, advisors, and staff can help you, offer insights, and execute the plan, but the decision has to be yours.
Don’t be swayed by shiny objects, be true to you. Every organization is a reflection of its leader.
Be sure to plan
Changing your brand is rarely just flipping a switch. An extensive plan to rollout the rebranding is required, even if there is a single change day. The requisite messaging will take time to prepare, and time to disseminate.
Some of the best strategies will tease information out over a period of time to create curiosity and generate discussion in the marketplace. Others work well when rolled out rapidly.
Depending on your industry, history, or profile, it might be worthwhile to use a press release. You may need an advertising blitz. You may need multi-channel messaging. Some might begin a round of community sponsorships before anyone even knows who the new brand is. You should use every contact tool you have to announce and reinforce the rebranding.
Develop a calendar of events for your plan. This will keep you and your marketing team on track, and prevent distractions. The calendar should identify what the significant event dates are. It will also identify proper lead time for each segment of the campaign.
I believe a good rebranding process includes testing.
Once you’ve short-listed your choices, use focus groups to assess them and help select your final choice. Sometimes feedback will be underwhelming, and a new short-list may be required.
When the selection is made, you can also test the rollout messaging. This will ensure your efforts are most effective.
In whatever manner you roll out the rebranding, one point is key. The message must be clear and should be as concise as possible. Any good marketing will never leave a prospect confused.
Once the new brand is revealed, you then need to make every effort to build and promote the new identity, establish its voice, affect its customer experience, and achieve its mission.
By all accounts, this is a big job. I hope my comments help you on your journey.
Hopefully you found this article useful. Please feel free to share it on social media. If you have questions or comments about this article or about rebranding, feel free to contact the writer directly.