When is it time to rebrand?

Your logo is tired. Your website is over five years old. And your social media is hardly… social.

So it’s time.

If sales have slumped. If reviews are lackluster or non-existent. If your visuals and messaging just feel neglected, uninspired, disorganized…

It’s time.

Consider this message from Angela Fernandez, VP, Creative & Strategic Planner at Ketchum:

With so many messages bombarding us on daily—we are always asking ourselves, “How can we break through?” Attention is the new currency. Boredom is a brand’s nemesis—particularly for Millennials and even more so for Gen Z. It will be a fascinating ride to watch how brands redefine and reinvent ways to capture (and measure) consumer attention.

What’s in a brand?

Brand Strategy

Things may have changed since you paid that guy your brother knew to design your logo or since you launched that $1000 website. Turns out the web design company went out of business two years ago? Not a surprise.

That’s the old way of building a brand, and for years, small businesses and non-profits bootstrapped their way through the process.

It’s still around today. Wix and Squarespace—pouring thousands of dollars into branding and marketing for their own brands, by the way—do a booming business on this model.

Logo mills like Fiverr and Design Crowd spit out dozens of generic options at ridiculously low prices, a practice which hardly feeds the crowdsource designer’s family—located somewhere in the Middle East or Asia—and drives talented U.S. designers out of work.

If that sounds like sour grapes—it’s not. I happily turn prospects away who expect our agency to deliver on that model. There is a market for it—go find it.

(And you can stop reading this post now.)

But if you’re serious about building something meaningful, if you have a message you can’t wait to share or a product that you believe in, read on. 

Call in the experts

The visual identity itself is only one piece of a rebrand. How and when to launch a new logo, website, and visual identity; how to roll out on social media and other marketing channels; what PR steps to take and how to notify existing clients… strategically timing these things requires finesse and experience.

Be wise—enjoy every opportunity that a brand relaunch creates.

And know that not all brand agencies are created equal. Most specialize in the clients they serve—for instance, small businesses vs. corporations, non-profits vs. for-profits, product companies vs. service companies. So be sure to do your homework.

But how do you narrow down your options? Infusionsoft offers this series of questions:

Working with a brand agency isn’t a one-and-done relationship. It’s a partnership that will last for months and, if they have a marketing arm, may mean they’ll be in your life for years. You need that collaboration to be both meaningful and motivated.

How to prepare for rebranding

Rebranding allows you to tap back into the enthusiasm you felt when you got started. It gives you an opportunity to take a step back and listen to your heart. You get a chance to emotionally connect with your customers in a way they’ve come to expect from even the most stoic business types.

IT Services Branding

A brand brief like this one can help keep you and your staff aligned with your purpose, define your value proposition and competitors, and realign you with your goals.

Consider the difference between staying at an old motel off I-95 versus the Waldorf-Astoria. The quality of service you expect, the staff’s commitment to comfort and convenience, the loyal customers that serve as brand ambassadors on social media—that’s a brand.

But you don’t have to be a luxury hotel to create this same experience for your customers.

Think about how your customers shop for and use your products and services. When they find you, do they pause, click, interact—or do they bail?

Be brave: You have a reputation. You have values. You may even rub people the wrong way from time to time. That’s cool. That’s what you embody as a team and the experience you create for your customers.

Branding is about becoming who you are.

Begin by asking yourself these questions:

  • Where do we want to be in 1, 5, and 10 years?
  • Where do we shine? What differentiates us from our competitors?
  • Who are our competitors? (They may not be who they were 5 years ago.)
  • Are we still solving our customers’ problems?
  • What are our challenges in finding new customers?
  • Are we the go-to authority in our industry?

Once you are (unapologetically) aligned with your organization’s voice and have defined your absolute target customer, it will be difficult to build a brand that doesn’t work. It trains you to tune out your misconceptions, ignore your failures and celebrate your successes, listen to your genuine voice and your customers’ needs, always with the mindset that you’re trying to connect in a real way.

Not just sell people something. Connect. 

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

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