Last updated on March 7th, 2016
It’s tough to decide when a business needs rebranding, but most businesses will require a rebranding at least once during the course of their lifetimes. Rebranding should be a natural occurrence and should be goal-oriented. Once complete, the rebrand should drive the desired results to your small business. The process can be long and complex, but with some forethought and a clear plan, you can make your small business rebrand a complete success.
Before you get started, it’s important to ask yourself a few questions. First and most importantly, what are the goals for the rebrand? Any business owner considering a rebrand should be able to clearly answer the question, “What will a rebrand accomplish for my business?” Ultimately, the results of a rebrand will be to increase sales, but without a path to those increased sales and a goal driven outcome, a rebrand will be ineffective, or even, as William Beachy asserts in his article for the Huffington Post, a mistake. A clear cut goal, such as a more modern logo redesign in order to better appeal to a specific customer base, is a clear goal that will achieve your business’ end results of increased sales.
Next, take a look at your existing brand. What sort of image are you currently projecting to your customers? Many small businesses tend to have a “homegrown” brand, usually due to either lack of money to invest in branding at the beginning, or occasionally due to the owners’ inexperience when just starting out. Homegrown brands can seem appealing, but an article on Business2Community tells us that while homegrown brands appeal to our sense of nostalgia, they are rarely good for sales. Designers often refer to clip art logos created by the owner or a family member as “nephew art,” as usually these logos result from business owners saying, “My nephew/niece/other family member is good at art, so he/she can create our logo!” Often, though, these sorts of logos, and therefore, these sorts of brands, include clipart as well, which means they cannot be trademarked. Here, you must understand that your brand is your most important asset.
Finally, ask yourself, “What is my current brand equity?” Your current brand equity is based on whether people have positive, negative, or neutral associations with your current business identity. If the answer isn’t “outstanding,” then it’s time for a rebrand. A strong, positive brand that is consistent and really speaks to your desired customer base is the goal. If you can’t say definitively that your current brand possesses all of these qualities, start drafting your plans for rebranding. Hunt down for everything, from custom logo design to business cards and website!
Make a Plan
Once you’ve made your decision, it’s time to make a definitive plan. According to Inc.com, many small businesses get stuck in the rebranding process because they lack a plan. Outline the goals for your rebranding clearly and directly, and then outline the actionable solutions to achieve your goals. Talk to everyone on your team about it, and encourage dialogue about how it can be achieved. Come up with a cost projection and make sure your financial officer is fully on board. Define the roles of each team member who will be working on the rebranding and come up with a timeframe during which each deliverable will be met. Many companies find it beneficial to designate or hire a project manager for this task. Ensure that each department and all team leaders are completely on board with the rebrand and understand what the company is aiming to achieve.
Once the action plan is developed, work can begin on the actual rebranding. There are numerous approaches to rebranding, whether the changes are mostly cosmetic or the rebrand involves a complete overhaul of core values, marketing, and target customer base. Because the new brand can take quite a long time to implement, adjustments will have to be made to the plan as you track changes and discover what works and doesn’t work. The overall goal is to increase the value of your product for your customers, so diligence over the long haul pays off in the end.
Communication is Key
It is important to communicate effectively before, during, and after rebranding your business. First, discussing the goals of your rebranding and finding solutions for the aspects of your business than need changing are absolutely necessary to bring managers and workers on board for the process. Secondly, an open dialogue during the rebranding process allows you and your team to adjust your action plan to better suit your needs. And finally, it will be necessary to tell the story of why you changed your brand to your internal employees, any shareholders, and, of course, your customers, in a way that truly reflects your brand.
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