Have you ever disliked your branding? Or perhaps, you loved it at first, but now it’s really not what you want? Maybe you even felt a bit of shame to show your website to people, catching yourself giving out excuses like “we’re working on a new website?” Have you ever felt like your branding wasn’t up to par with the level of your service or products?
It’s quite common to feel this way about your branding. A few possible reasons for it:
- Your website looked cool 5 years ago, not today;
- You are very creative and you always want that new shiny thing you saw on some other website;
- You DIY-ed your branding and you know it, never getting around to it again;
- You couldn’t afford investing into quality design;
- Your company, its target audience, or propositions have changed and your positioning did not.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I am not saying we all can, and should, shell out a few thousands dollars for a new professional branding package.
However, if you feel like you grew out or grew tired of your old branding, it may be time to change it. Because, chances are, if you’re not loving it, people are not loving it either. In this case, your business is successful in spite of, not because of, your branding.
So, what is rebranding, why do businesses rebrand – and who in the world would want to deal with that? And, most importantly, if you decided to rebrand, how to rebrand a business effectively and efficiently.
Why businesses rebrand
Rebranding is a process of creating a new brand identity for an existing business. There are many reasons for this decision. The most common ones include changes in company’s offerings, positioning, and/or target market.
When overall marketing undergoes major changes, it might be a time for rebranding. For example, your business decided to change its product line by expanding, cutting, or changing it altogether. Or, maybe, you decided you want to position your brand differently, by creating a new unique proposition or target a new market.
Important thing to understand here, a true rebranding involves almost all or all brand aspects. A single logo change would not call for a complete brand makeover.
However, if you’re changing your target market, your offer, your positioning, your story, or your visual identity, this would be considered a rebranding.
How to rebrand a business the right way
First things first, you need to keep in mind the primary reason for rebranding. Go through the process of brand creation from the very start, as though, you are creating a new business. This exercise will help you figure out details and take a look at your company with a fresh perspective.
What made you rethink your whole marketing approach? If it is a unique proposition, your rebranding should focus on telling a story of a new offering. If you, perhaps, decided to target a new market, your branding should appeal to that market.
Brainstorm what branding details would tell your newly-created story in the most appealing and ample way possible.
Do you want a branding guide workbook and template?
This is where we bring the “new you” look to life. Work with graphic designers to create a new logo (if needed) and to figure out what colors and fonts would work best with your new branding. Should you go pastel for a soft, sophisticated look? Bright and funky to create cool vibes? Perhaps, modern and minimalist design would work best?
Most likely, the visual rebranding, the most widespread type of rebranding creative businesses undergo, will be dictated by underlying, core messages and target audience.
What images should appear on your rebranded website? It’s probably best to display images relevant to your target audience. Also, pay attention to the mood you’re creating with the new graphics. If you focus on mom demographic, include lots of images of happy children. If you target teens and young adults, include images of things and activities they will find engaging and aspirational.
Visual rebranding will be dictated by underlying, core messages and target audience.
To achieve the best results possible, think where you will source your new images. Will you hire a professional photographer? Will you use stock images, and if so, how popular specific images are? It doesn’t serve you any good is the same image is being used all over the Internet in all kinds of industries.
Think through these details before making changes. This will give you the confidence to switch things up (a lot of people find taking this leap a bit challenging) and making the transition more efficient.
- List all the key pages that need to be aligned with your new branding first,
- Any social media graphics, like logos and header images that should go live as soon as your new website is live,
- Other marketing communications, like business cards, brochures, etc.
It is usually possible to visualize the end product in sketches before making any changes to a website, social media channels, and any other marketing communication.
It might be the case that you will need to work your way through existing content and either replace or tweak it. Your new hip branding will fall flat if you use complicated words and show that you have no clue of the modern lingo.
If your rebranding was prompted by new positioning, this step is especially crucial. You will have to carefully craft a new line of brand storytelling.
It might be best to hire a copywriter if your company doesn’t employ one. The words you say are as important (if not more important) as your looks. If you truly want to rebrand your business effectively, you have to speak the language of your customer.
If your rebranding was prompted by new positioning, you will have to carefully craft a new line of brand storytelling.
Your company has most likely become known as one thing, and after rebranding, you might want to be known for something else, or a different specialty.
If you do get involved in content rebranding (and you probably will), you need to make sure you’re not hurting your SEO rankings at the very minimum.
Where possible, rework existing pages or redirect them to new URLs. Develop a simple 301 redirect procedure to get rid of all pages you no longer need, and figure out new relevant pages where old links will redirect, so you don’t piss people off with broken links. If you end up deleting pages, make sure they do not appear in the navigation of your website.
It is also might be a good idea to take a look at your 404 “broken link” page; this is the page where people who follow a broken link land on. Because it’s kind of “out of sight, out mind,” it is often forgotten or given little thought to.
Since you might have missed a few broken links, 404 page becomes important on those initial stages. Make sure people have a good experience even if they land on this page. At the very minimum, it has to have a simple search box to help people find what they were looking for.
Better yet, use 404 page to create a memorable experience. This could be done with a clever, funny 404 page or an offer, like a free eBook or a free sample. People won’t stay mad at you for sending them along a broken link, if you give them something in exchange.
This is an important one. There are a few things to keep in mind here.
First of all, make sure that you have all moving pieces figured out, so you’re not stumbling over yourself when you’re in the middle of the process. This includes not only knowing what your new branding will be like, but also everything it affects subsequently. Do you have to create new social media accounts? Delete old posts that no longer serve your branding? What types of content will you now produce?
Secondly, create a rebranding plan with completion deadlines. This will help organize all the people involved in the project as well as keep them accountable.
Also, try to start rebranding during slower business times. You probably know when your company has less sales (especially if your product is seasonal). It’s not a great idea to start rebranding efforts in the middle of a busy season or right before it. By the time your busiest, most profitable time of the year is around, you have to be completely ready in your new shiny armor.
What do you do if your business doesn’t have a slow season? Try to do as much as possible in the background. In this case, through planning comes especially handy. Edit any pages that are not as popular as the others. Create a dummy website where you can preview your new website and iron out any details before it goes live for the world to see. Have a collection of images you plan to use ready to go, so you’re not searching the Internet for that image or scheduling a photographer while your website is being made live.
Make sure your whole team is aware and ready to go. This is another reason why holiday season is probably not the best time to start rebranding efforts. You need all hands on deck and not half of the company being on vacations.
Make sure that departments that can work on different aspects of rebranding simultaneously (say, visual and content), work on it together. This will cut down wait times and probably allow you to rebrand a business in as little time as possible.
Finally, oftentimes, rebranding does take more time than originally estimated. If you plan to be done in a month, allow two additional weeks before committing to other projects, and keep those moveable estimates in mind when new details of rebranding emerge. This is not to say that you have to be super lenient on your deadlines, but sometimes people may need more time to complete their project better if they face unexpected complications.
Do you want a branding guide workbook and template?
Generally, rebranding a business is not as daunting as it appears.
It’s important to first discuss why your company needs rebranding and how to go about creating a new wholesome image. Think of your target audience and your end goal; also, consider all the necessary details.
It’s also great to talk through your branding with your team, because they as no one else know the company and where it’s headed.
Plan as much of it as you can, work out the details, such as social channels, printed materials, and the feel you want your new brand to achieve. Create and examine drafts before actually implementing anything.
It also helps to create a specific timing plan that will help you keep a pulse on the progress and make all parties accountable for completing it in the most efficient way possible. If anything takes longer than expected, you’ll know it before if it’s too late and you find yourself in the middle of rebranding chaos.
Finally, make sure you absolutely love and adore your new branding, because this is not something that should be changed often. So, invest all the time and efforts in the branding process now, so you won’t find yourself in it again 6 months from now.
Have you had experience with rebranding a business? What tips and tricks have helped you? Share in the comment section below or head over to Instagram @lesyaliu to continue the conversation.