6 ways to get small business customers excited about your rebrand

Rebranding can take various forms, from picking a new name to executing a different plan of action. While the process is ongoing, small businesses should reassure customers that change will not impact the company-customer relationship.

Here are a few tips to get your customers on board when you are ready for a rebrand.

1. Make existing clients a priority.

The goal of any rebrand should be to grow the company by better serving your customers. Sometimes, it may mean delaying the refresh effort and putting client services first. Rod Hughes, Vice President at Kimball says, “Competing priorities—especially client or customer-facing priorities—will always require your time and attention ahead of the rebrand.”

2. Know why you are doing it.

Invest in research before overhauling your company’s image. Look at the big picture and the bottom line. Also, think about the cost, time and energy that should go into it. Consider everything that will be impacted. See if the effort will ensure a return on investment.

Identify your target market and the aspects of your brand that customers connect with. If not, work with an external digital marketing agency to help you with branding, image planning, design, and a strong social media presence.

If rebranding is not essential, there may be easier ways to grow the business, says David Black, of Retire Ready Solutions, a retirement software company. His organization rebranded to spur growth and refocus service.

3. Have clear, strategic, customer-centered reasons.

Use the process to reset the mission and priorities. When you do, communicate these reasons to your customers. Be transparent about what you are doing and why you are doing it. Also, reassure them that they will continue to see a high level of service and commitment to their business.

AxosBank.com is rebranding itself to do business in the digital age. Gregory Garrabrants, President and CEO, explains, “In the nearly two decades since our founding, waves of digitally-driven changes have dramatically reshaped customer expectations in most industries. We acknowledge these high expectations created by the world’s greatest digital companies—and we are evolving to rise to the challenge.”

Hughes adds:

“Work to reflect that in your branded materials as well as in the minds of your customers.” Rebranding is “a significant undertaking and should be treated as such.”

4. Lay out a comprehensive strategy.

Rebranding is not just coming up with a refreshed look and better messaging. The process is likely to involve a new design for your website, new logos, content strategy, branded company products, product guides, solutions you offer, and even the clients you pursue.

Designate team members to be in charge of each area, from making design decisions to communicating with the public. If not, the complexities will show up in the details during the implementation. Black says businesses often “don’t realize all that goes into a rebrand until [they] get into it.”

5. Get buy-in from your team.

It is critical that everyone within the company is on the same page. So, before relaunching publicly, ensure that each team member is equipped with the messages, slogans, and taglines. Train them to talk confidently about the company’s new strategy.

Datica, a health solutions company, chose to spread the word about the rebrand right before their industry’s largest annual trade show. Employees embraced the refresh effort and were ambassadors for the new brand. Rebranding works if everyone from the top down understands the new strategic thrust. Then, the public is more likely to receive it well. Kris Gösser, CMO, agrees:

“We had an overwhelming positive reaction from our customers. They definitely liked our new name, new identity, new aesthetic and new vibe in the market.”

6. Keep your communication straightforward and honest.

Speak to your clients’ fears and concerns. Brian Moak, owner of HEART Certified Auto Care in Chicago, wanted to rebrand his family business to expand it into a national franchise. But, many existing customers worried that the name change and expansion meant the family-owned business had been bought out. Moak stayed ahead of customers’ fears by anticipating their questions and providing answers before they took their business elsewhere.

Moak advises, “Change is scary, and people … need clear explanations and reassurance to understand, support, and buy into your vision.”

Talk to your customers. If they don’t understand why changes are happening, you may lose their trust and their business.

After the rollout, establish a maintenance plan to ensure the long-term success of your brand. So, nurture it as a living, breathing entity. The more you do, the more it will thrive.

Management consultant and brand strategist for small teams. Fan of dark tea, thick books, peace, and unity.

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