Sometimes it seems like companies change logos and names as often as their CEO’s change shirts— and sometimes the change is disorienting for the customer or poorly handled.
What is the deciding factor behind rebranding a company or change a company’s image? Rebranding can be an important and powerful tool when used correctly. In these days of social media and the internet, the rebranding process is more involved than ever. This blog post will examine when it’s time to rebrand and what to consider when rebranding a company.
Why should you rebrand a company?
Why do companies rebrand themselves? While it may seem rebranding happens without rhyme or reason, rebranding is often the result of a new consultant, agency, or marketing director. In these cases, the rebranding process is done as a way to justify that change. Needless to say, changing your brand can disorient your customers and should only be undertaken for strong, definite reasons. So, when should a company rebrand?
Rebrand to cut ties: You should rebrand only when it’s necessary to prevent confusion or to signal a cutting of ties with an old company. For example, franchise owners who want to be independent should rebrand their business. The rebranding process makes it clear to outsiders that your business is new and not part of the old franchise.
Rebranding for a fresh start: Another reason to rebrand a company is to signal a clear start and drop an unwanted association with the previous brand. If a company was known for bad customer service under the previous owner or one of the former owners committed a crime, rebranding is a good idea.
Rebranding to clear up confusion: The rebranding process is essential if there is confusion, either in your business messaging or confusion with a similar business. If your business image and messaging confuses customers—like a bakery of non-dog friendly cookies called Bow Wow Bakery, rebranding is a good idea. Going through the rebranding process may be required if you were on the losing end of an intellectual property dispute—like for your new computer store called Apple’s Computers.
If you’re thinking of rebranding because you’re bored or want a shiny new logo or think you’ll attract new customers, think again. The rebranding process can be long and expensive and is a radical step that should only be undertaken when necessary.
How to rebrand a company
Research your customers before starting the rebranding process
It’s counterintuitive, but branding isn’t about your company—it’s about your customers. It doesn’t matter if you and your staff love your new logo if your customers hate it or it doesn’t resonate with them. Your logo and name must make sense and be appealing to your customer base. If your customers don’t understand your message, it’s not serving a purpose.
So how do you know what works for your logo? What do you want to convey? And to whom? Do your research.
Build customer personas to help you understand and market yourself to your customers and kinds of clients. Once you know what your clients like, you can pick a logo and brand to fit that—after all, you’re marketing to them, not to yourself. If your customers don’t love it, it’s a lot of wasted effort. But, if your new look speaks to them, your new brand can be a home run.
The Skinny Girl brand was so successful because its Founder knew what her customers wanted—tasty guilt-free cocktails. Skinny Girl brand hit a home run with women who wanted the taste of a cocktail without the calories and sugar. The brand was fun and chic – appealing to women ages 21 to 100!
Build a rebranding strategy
What do we mean when we talk about a ‘brand’ or ‘branding’? Let’s break them down to their component parts. A brand consists of all the familiar visual elements—the logo, the name, the colors and font of your website and marketing material. But rebranding also encompasses an entire strategy.
Rebranding is a process. You can’t just change your logo and colors and call it a day—create guidelines for how your company will speak to customers. This may involve working with another company or branding agency. Your branding strategy should include everything from the tone of your press releases and blog posts to which social networks you use. Make sure these are all in harmony and accounted for in your strategy document before you consider your company fully rebranded.
You’ve decided to rebrand and confirmed that you’re doing it for all the right reasons. Good. You’ve done your research and picked a brand that will be great for your existing customers and let you appeal to a new audience. Good.
Promote your new brand identity
Now the real work starts. Before you launch your rebranded company, you need to get the word out about your new brand. Get everyone in your company on board—from your staff, your referral partners, to your existing customers. Explain why you’re rebranding and how you think the new brand will benefit everyone.
Get your employees excited by phrasing your rebranding as a fresh start! The rebranding process is a chance to innovate, re-invent, and move forward. Throw a launch party or line up the rebranding with a momentous occasion like a company anniversary.
Let your current customers know the new brand is coming, so that the transition will be confusion-free. Engage customers with any questions they have about your brand or thoughts on it on social media, through email newsletters, and traditional media. Introduce everyone to the new brand and get them as excited as you are!
Think you’re done? Make sure your brand is consistent across all channels and in every way. In today’s multimedia and digital environment, it’s easy for something to slip by.
Use this as a checklist. Is your new brand dominant in:
- Your directory listings?
- Your website copy?
- All of your social media profiles (even inactive ones)?
- All print marketing material?
- All your voicemails and directory recordings?
- All business cards and letterhead?
- All wrapped or marked vehicles?
- All signs and buildings?
Rebranding process and SEO
Rebranding a company can be disruptive to your search engine rankings. Your new business will take some time to get on the first page of Google, so rebranding is a great opportunity to shake things up and get some movement on the search engines.
Use this Local SEO checklist (or let the company in charge of your SEO know you rebranded) to make sure you’re up to snuff on SEO:
- Does all of your metadata (title tags, alt tags, meta descriptions, directory links, etc) include the new brand?
- Does your website design fit the new brand? A rebranding is the perfect opportunity to freshen up your site’s look.
- Does your old website URL have a 301 Redirect to the new address?
Improve your organic SEO by posting on social media, increasing social media engagement, getting online reviews, and blogging. Consider making a splash with visual marketing, posting new rebranded pictures or company swag, and doing an Instagram giveaway to create a buzz about your new brand.
Do you need an AdWords boost?
Your organic search engine rankings may endure a setback while your new brand settles in and is indexed on Google. To help ease the transition, give your site traffic and SEO a temporary boost by setting up an AdWords campaign or some Facebook Advertising. A short paid campaign can help keep things moving while the search engines catch up.
Your old name will still be out there somewhere to help old customers recognize you, but make sure to have your new name listed as well, to avoid confusion or ambiguity. Be thorough during the rebranding process and you should be able to rebrand without losing customers.
You’ve dotted your I’s and crossed your T’s—now it’s time to get out there and make your new vision a reality! The rebranding process is very involved and can be stressful and disorienting. But when done right, rebranding can turn a business around. Have you rebranded? Let us know what worked for you in the comments below.