Brighter Messaging
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8 things to consider when rebranding your business

Who doesn’t love a good brand transformation? Perusing before and after images of a rebrand rarely reveals how much thought and work went into the change. If you’re considering rebranding your business, check out these lessons we’ve learned from helping our clients through the process.

Why should you rebrand your business?

There are a variety of reasons why business owners choose to rebrand. Sometimes there’s a compliance requirement, such as the retirement of a partner whose name is part of the business name. Other times, it has to do with a change in market conditions, a service pivot, or a desire to leave behind something that no longer serves the business. Whatever your reason for rebranding your business, it’s not a decision to take lightly. Whether you’re changing the business name or only changing the logo, you’ll have a lot to do even after coming up with the new brand identity.

Where do you begin a successful rebranding project?

Once you’ve identified the need to rebrand, it’s tempting to dive right into the creative process of coming up with a new name, logo, colors, etc. Before all of that, we recommend taking a step back—assess your vision, mission, target audience, and value proposition. Having these foundational components firmly in place will inform your new brand identity in a big way. Many businesses believe they know who they’re marketing to and why they’re better at it than their competitors, but they don’t often take the time to codify those thoughts into consistent messaging—that goes for the internal team, too!

Your reasons for rebranding will dictate your assessment here. Are you changing the visuals for your business because your legacy brand needs a more modern look? In that case, you’ll want to hone in on your target audience. What do they look for in a business like yours? Where do they go for information? If the rebrand is coming out of a service pivot, you’ll need to reassess your value proposition.

Digital Marketing Strategy Questions

Digital marketing efforts not yielding the results you want? 

Use our Digital Marketing Strategy Questions to help you develop a strategic plan to reach and engage your audience online.

Check out our strategy questions—a free download to help you think through the foundational aspects of your marketing. Once you have solid answers to these questions, move on to the (fun!) stuff you thought you’d be doing.

Lessons learned from rebranding projects we’ve done for our clients

Our team has helped clients through a name change—a complete rebrand—as well as less dramatic brand makeovers. Brainstorming a new name, creating a new logo, and putting together a visual identity for a brand are all wonderfully creative tasks we love. That said, we believe that the success of any rebrand lies in the implementation. Here are 8 lessons we’ve learned about launching a new brand.

1. Ensure you have a complete brand guide.

A logo alone is not a brand. Even small businesses require a complete guide that includes a brand overview, logo guidelines, color palette, typography, imagery, iconography, voice, and usage guidelines. Not only will your brand guide be essential in creating a new website, but it’s also vital to a cohesive brand representation across all platforms and channels. Click here to learn more about the elements of a solid brand guide.

Perhaps you’ve gotten by with only a logo in the past. Rebranding your business is the perfect time to clean up your brand with a complete brand identity.

2. Consider the costs of changing your brand identity everywhere.

You’ve probably gotten quotes from graphic designers or branding agencies. Creating the new brand is only one piece of rebranding your business. Look at every instance where you use your logo—signs outside and inside your building, wrapping on company vehicles, employee uniforms, brand swag, brochures and other sales materials, business cards, stationary, etc. All of these physical logos will need to be replaced, and the costs can quickly multiply.

Digital logos are easier to swap, but you’ll still need the time to go through everything. Consider all of your social media accounts, YouTube videos, directory listings, and anywhere else your logo appears. All of these will need to be updated.

3. Plan the timing of the new brand roll-out.

Ideally, the new branding would magically replace all of the old logos all at once. Practically speaking, this isn’t always feasible, but try to accomplish as much as possible in a condensed time period. If you’re using both brands simultaneously, customers will quickly become confused (more on this in a bit). Choose a day to launch the new brand, and change over as much as possible on that day. Announce the new brand, and be prepared to continue doing so. Make a splash!

We strongly recommend eliminating all references to the old brand as expediently as possible. The process becomes painful when it drags on.

4. Consider the compliance issues inherent in rebranding your business.

Compliance issues will vary by industry—be informed about them up front, before you start the rebrand process. If your new name or logo has to be approved by a bureaucratic governing body, allow ample time for that process to be completed before launch day. If you are changing the business name, or changing elements of the brand that will affect existing trademarks, we strongly recommend consulting with a business attorney who can guide you through the legal process.

5. Make sure your entire team is informed.

Ideally, you’ll involve key leaders in the rebrand process. But even if rebranding your business is your secret project, make sure your employees know what’s going on. They’ll need to get used to using the new brand identity, and you don’t want them caught flat footed in front of customers on launch day. Have an internal communication plan, and get everyone excited about the new look!

6. Inform your clients, and be ready for a lot of confusion.

You can have the most clearly worded client communication in the world, but not everyone is going to understand your rebrand—particularly if you’re changing the company name. Expect lots of questions, and be prepared to explain what happened even months after launch day. Keep track of questions, and double down on answering them in your marketing messages.

One of our clients went through a name change several years ago, and they still occasionally interact with people who think they were bought out by a large national brand. Nope. They just changed their name. In response, we’ve increased their messaging around the fact that they’re locally owned, have deep roots in their city, and are still managed by the same core team.

Above all, don’t take it personally when people are confused by your rebrand. No one is going to read every word you send out. The best you can do is be consistent and persistent with your messaging.

7. If you change your URL, be prepared for a drop in organic traffic and rankings.

A URL change is most likely to apply only if you’re changing the company name. There’s really no way around it—you can’t keep using the URL of the old business name (although you should maintain ownership of it and redirect it to the new URL).

When you purchase a new URL, it doesn’t come with the history and authority score of your old website—yes, even if you port over all of the content from your old site. You’re going to lose organic traffic and keyword rankings, at least for a while. Here are a few of the things we’ve done to help clients through the URL migration process:

  • Ensure the new website is completely optimized for SEO—all metadata in place, back-end optimizations complete, and rich with custom content written for a targeted human audience. Download our SEO ebook for more about the low-hanging fruit in SEO.
  • Set a budget for paid ads to help drive traffic to the new site—some of these can promote the launch of the new brand, but also sponsor some of your best content pieces (particularly those that had achieved high organic rankings on the old site). Shoot for two to three months’ worth of paid ads, maybe longer if you rely heavily on organic traffic for inbound leads.
  • Update as many backlinks as possible—yes, your old URL will be redirected. However, you’ll help the search engines out significantly if you can update backlinks to the new URL and change any online brand mentions to your new name.

With all of these efforts, expect it to take about four to six months for organic traffic to pick back up.

8. Leave time for social media account name changes to take effect.

Perhaps one of the most surprising tasks in a name transition is renaming all of your social media accounts, including your Google Business Profile. Each platform has its own requirements for changing the name of a business page or profile; research them and allow ample time to complete these changes. Many have verification requirements, and a handful don’t allow you to change your name at all. That said, change the name (rather than setting up new pages) wherever possible. It’ll help you bring your followers with you to the new brand.

If you’re not changing your name, you’re in luck—logo and branding changes are generally as simple as swapping images. Make sure you have all of the images you need at the right sizes, so you can quickly update profile graphics and banner images on launch day.

Call in reinforcements to help with rebranding your business

Rebrands are exciting, but they’re also a lot more work than most business owners realize when they start the journey. Our team has extensive experience guiding small, service-based businesses through rebranding, from establishing the value proposition to creating the visual identity to nailing down every last detail of the launch. Before you get started, schedule your free consultation with our team. We’re here to help.

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