Steps You Need to Take to Rebrand Your Business

This is a guest post from my friend, Eleanor Hecks.

Many businesses eventually get to the point where they need to rebrand. That’s not a quick process, but it can be a productive and successful one if you follow the right strategy. Here are some steps you don’t want to overlook, in no particular order.

1. Communicate the Reason for the Rebrand

A rebrand can be a jarring event if customers, employees, and other stakeholders believe it happened for no reason.

First, verify that there’s a valid reason for moving ahead with the rebrand. For example, a rebrand can improve an outdated identity or help a company differentiate itself from competitors. A rebrand could also help a business gain traction in an international market.

Whatever your reasons, speak confidently and excitedly about them to your audience. As you explain what will change, convey what will stay the same. For example, you might point out that the company will soon have a new name, but customers will still get the same fantastic service and excellent product selection after the change.

Aim to convince people that you did not reach a rebranding decision haphazardly. Instead, show them it was a thought-out process that will strengthen your business over the long term.

2. Choose New Visual Elements

Aspects such as your typography, color scheme, and logo all comprise the brand’s visual identity. Assess how you could use those elements so that they accurately showcase the new brand and show a departure from the old one.

Start with your website. It can become a powerful representation of your company that reflects how people perceive it. You may also add features, such as a countdown clock, to let visitors know how long it is until the rebrand happens. Review your physical materials, too. Items like brochures, business cards, and letterheads should have the new visual characteristics to help people get a cohesive impression.

Evaluate how you can keep some visual elements the same while updating others. For example, you might retain the old color scheme but pick a new typeface. Making such choices reminds the audience that the things they loved about your business are still present.

3. Update Your Interior

The inside of physical premises is an area people often forget about when moving ahead with a rebrand. For example, you may have nameplates that designate specific areas of your building or display your brand’s logo on the front of a counter that people see when they arrive.

A merger typically results in updated branding. That means you may need new nameplates after joining another company. Similarly, if your business now uses a different color scheme or logo, those are other relevant reasons to order new nameplates.

Consider whether features like the furniture or carpeting need updating, too. Undertaking such investments could prove worthwhile in cases where a new logo clashes with a room’s previous visual identity.

4. Think About Refreshing Your Messaging

Rebranding your business usually requires updating your messaging, too. When people think of the company, what comes to mind first? Perhaps it’s a memorable slogan or how your advertisements always have a bit of witty humor.

Excellent messaging conveys your company’s values while giving a voice to its visual elements. It’s not always necessary to do a complete business messaging overhaul when rebranding, but you should consider it.

Moreover, examine ways to use messaging to get people excited about the upcoming change. That may mean updating your website by adding a landing page about the rebranding or giving people a preview of what they can look forward to after the transition.

5. Understand the Benefits of the Rebranding

Similarly to how you must check that there is a genuinely good reason to rebrand before doing it, people at your company must take the time to learn about the expected advantages that come with rebranding. It’ll then be easier to get all employees on board with the change.

One company saw a 200% sales increase in a year after a rebranding effort. Current customers may also find that a rebranded business aligns more closely with their values and priorities than the old one did. If people frequently confused two brands that seemed similar, making a change could help the public tell them apart.

Sometimes, a cultural shift makes a brand become out of touch with societal priorities. That happened recently with Aunt Jemima’s, a brand of pancake syrup with a name rooted in the tradition of slavery. In that case, retiring the name and coming up with something new helps a company avoid the spotlight of controversy.

Knowing the possible outcomes of rebranding can make you more motivated to accomplish it.

6. Seek Feedback Throughout the Rebrand

Rebranding attempts can quickly become problematic if company representatives don’t get input from customers throughout those processes. For example, they might seek their opinions about a new logo design and find that people think it’s ugly or doesn’t seem right for the company’s industry.

In other cases, a new look could unintentionally cause people to make unrelated connections. When IHOP pulled a brief publicity stunt to draw attention to its burgers and changed its name to “IHOb,” eagle-eyed internet users pointed out that the last two letters looked almost identical to those in the OB tampons logo.

It’s understandable if you want to keep a rebrand under wraps for most people. Even so, there’s immense value in hearing what people think by holding small focus groups or getting feedback in other managed, purposeful ways.

Realize, too, that feedback after the rebrand happens may mean you need to make tweaks or change your plans. That’s okay, especially if you did things differently after listening to what your customers said.

Do Things Right Rather Than Rushed

A business rebrand could become one of the best things that has ever happened to your company. However, it could also prove disastrous if you try to change too quickly and without thinking of all the possible consequences first.

These six tips will help you begin thinking about a possible rebrand in strategic ways that will put you on the path to success. Conversely, you may consider the suggestions here and realize that now isn’t the best time to rebrand after all, or that your reasons for doing it may not bring the results you hope.

The main thing to keep in mind is the importance of considering the impact of all your actions before making them. A logo change may make your company seem up-to-date, but could it also disappoint people who feel sentimental about the old look? You can’t please everyone. But thinking about things with care positions you to delight as many people as possible.

Eleanor Hecks is editor-in-chief at Designerly Magazine. She was the creative director at a prominent digital marketing agency prior to becoming a full-time freelance designer. Eleanor lives in Philadelphia with her husband and pup, Bear.


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