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Taking a Hint: How to Know When to Rebrand

Your entrepreneurial mentor has probably told you over and over again that perseverance is the key to entrepreneurial success. Entrepreneurs need to work around setbacks and to problem-solve difficulties. So what happens when you have low client or customer traffic, your marketing strategy doesn’t seem to be hooking anybody, and you have a 1% open rate on your email marketing campaign?

It can be hard to admit to yourself that your grand ideas didn’t hold any water in the current marketplace, but in some cases, that is the next step on the road to success. Blind perseverance can lead you to a dead end. But if you step back and look at your company, chances are you’ll notice that a little rebranding could get you back in the game.

This is a common struggle in startups. When you look at a successful brand, no one wants you to see all the trial and error that went into design and development. All entrepreneurs begin with plans, strategies, and visions. They design logos and pick out colors. They decide on the tone of their copy and the material of their business cards. But what happens when those design decisions don’t cut it in the marketplace? They rebrand.

How do You Know When to Rebrand?

  1. Rebranding can help you tap into a new audience, market, or demographic. This can mean targeting a totally different group from your normal following, or updating your brand to modernize and appeal to a new generation. Most companies rebrand every 7-10 years to stay relevant with contemporary styles and trends.
  2. If you’re in a fast-paced or cutting-edge industry, you should never let your branding date itself. It is particularly important for some parts of the tech industry to rebrand frequently in order to look professional and knowledgeable in the face of emerging technologies. You could have the best programmers and developers in the business, but out-of-date branding could keep you from securing jobs.
  3. If your company has reached a plateau, is showing no growth, and you are unable to stand out from your competitors, you need to find out what’s broken about your image and fix it. Make sure that you’re being consistent, and do some research on your target demographic to keep your image appealing and interesting.
  4. If you are uncomfortable sending someone to your website or handing someone your business card, there are steps you need to take. Many startups don’t begin with the kind of funds that will allow them to hire top-notch web developers and designers. As your brand grows, it will become important to hire the right kind of talent to match the caliber of customer service and user experience that your brand needs.

But before you get excited about overhauling your entire image, consider whether rebranding is necessary for your company. If you don’t think that you need a full rebranding to draw interest, and you feel firm about how your company represents itself, then think about marketing techniques that work with your brand, such as a story campaign, local outreach, or influencer marketing.

What to Think about When Planning to Rebrand

If your original strategy isn’t working to set you above your competition and to draw loyalty from clients and customers, then it’s time to consider changing your approach. Your change should be strategic, based on research and a viable direction for your company, and you should launch it all at once. Even a minor font change can distract your customer base, and if your branding goes as far as a name change, you will need to plan a good story-rich way of explaining your change to your customers.

Plan ahead and ask yourself who you are trying to reach. What is your target demographic generally attracted to? And how can you give them what they want while standing out from the crowd? While you’re at it, consider employee feedback as well. Are there any grand ideas among the people who know your brand the best?

Reevaluate the values at the foundation of your business. Are you representing what you mean to represent? Do you need to change or rewrite your brand’s position or brand promise? Does this also mean a change for your Human Relations policy? Customer service? User experience? Products? And overall identity?

Plan to maintain a consistent identity over all channels. Your social media profiles should sound and look a little like your website. Your phone lines and emails should be answered with the same kind of language that you use in your web copy.

Rebranding is expensive! Everything that you change should be deliberate and targeted toward the demographic that you’re trying to reach. Develop a coherent story that will work across all channels before you begin rebranding. Set yourself on the right track and make sure that your choices provide real benefits. It’s also helpful to prepare verbiage and messages to your audience about your new positions and promises.

Rebranding Ideas and Suggestions

A lot of rebranding is subtle, such as changing the color or font in a logo. But research shows that each industry has certain colors that draw in more clicks than others. Certain fonts can make you feel up-to-date versus old-fashioned, or professional versus amateurish. So, don’t forget the small details. Everything that your audience sees must be deliberate to draw them in and engage them.

Restyling the Color Palette. Your primary color should be in your logo. In some industries, this will be a power color such as red. In other industries, it will be a nurturing color such as blue. Do some research into your market to find the best color to draw your audience’s attention.

Photographic Style. Whether you’re using stock photos or taking photos of your products in-house, a matching style is necessary across all your content. If you’re using filters on some photos, match the mood by using the same filter on all of them. The same goes for posting to social media and blogs.

Language and Copy. Wording, like graphic design, can go out of fashion or can turn people off your brand. The company message should serve and help its target demographic. The language should be short, easy to read, and should speak to them.

Website Organization. Disorganized websites are frustrating for users. Users want to know just what page to go to when looking at your homepage. This means sophisticated navigation and search options. If you need your search function to handle more than the copy that’s on the page, consider adding tags to your pages so your search function registers them.

Name / Domain. In rare cases, it will be necessary to change the name of your company. This should be intensely researched, and you should be prepared to lose some of your customer base if you change the name. An easier change, though one that needs to be publicized and undertaken with redirect planning, is a domain change, to make your website easier and more interesting to access.

Online Marketing Efforts. You don’t need to rebrand to utilize online marketing strategies, but in some cases the two will go hand in hand. Once you rebrand, you will need to get your new image out there, meaning that your marketing efforts and email campaigns should explain and augment the coherent brand story that you are creating.

Customer Service. Customer service efforts should match the branding in a sincere and positive way. You should provide your representatives with the proper verbiage to handle questions about the changes. This doesn’t mean that they will be reading from a script, but it does give them the company’s support to help ease their conversations and drive your new brand image into the future.

Keep in mind that planning your company’s rebrand is another kind of problem-solving that can open the door to greater growth and development.

Rebecca Moses on Twitter
Rebecca Moses
Staff Writer: Rebecca Moses is a creative writer who can't keep from meddling in the real world. While living in Colorado, she developed a particular interest in small business production. She loves a writing challenge, dabbles in illustration, and reads to figure out how all things work and grow. Find her at RebeccaMosesWriting.com

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Staff Writer: Rebecca Moses is a creative writer who can't keep from meddling in the real world. While living in Colorado, she developed a particular interest in small business production. She loves a writing challenge, dabbles in illustration, and reads to figure out how all things work and grow. Find her at RebeccaMosesWriting.com

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