You’ve done some soul-searching. You’ve dug deep and analyzed every facet of your business, and you’ve come to the hard realization that something about your brand doesn’t work.
It may be hard to accept the fact that your brand is outdated or that it just doesn’t connect with your audience the way you had originally envisioned. But your brand is key to your business’ success, so it may be time for a rebrand.
Below are some steps to help the process unfold as smoothly as possible.
1. Determine That a Rebrand Is Absolutely Necessary
Has your industry changed? Has your customer base changed? Has your product or service become dated or irrelevant?
If the answer to these questions is “yes,” then rebranding your business may be the only chance you have to turn things around. But if you’re thinking of rebranding for the sake of being edgy or exciting, consider the old adage before making any rash decisions: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
2. Think Bigger Than Just Your Logo
Your logo is undoubtedly a big part of your brand, but you need to go much deeper than simply changing a font or color schemes.
Rebranding involves evaluating all the elements of your business that are tied to your brand, such as your pricing structure, location, equipment, office furnishings, marketing strategies, as well as the products or services you offer.
Everything from the furniture in your waiting room to the copy in your advertising present a single brand identity. Because of this, you may have to change many dysfunctional elements of your business in order to resuscitate your brand.
3. Create a Detailed Plan
Draft a list of what you need to change, and then create an action plan for executing each task. Rebrands are not cheap, so you should also establish a budget, keeping in mind that you could lose some customers for a short time or even for good as a consequence of your rebrand.
Getting a new brand out there will likely require an aggressive PR plan and marketing campaign, so make sure that you can cover those expenses, even if you fail to generate the same amount of revenue as you did in the past.
4. Re-Establish Your Mission
As your business evolves, which of your customers’ needs must you meet in order to remain competitive? If your products or services have changed, how do these changes give you a competitive advantage?
For example, a book publisher may attempt to pivot into a digital media company, providing a range of webinars, educational videos and digital newsletters to remain relevant and appeal to a new customer base.In this case, the mission behind the publisher may not have changed, but the novel tools make the company shiny and new.
5. Gain Employee Buy-In
To have a successful rebrand, you must get your staff onboard. They are going to be a huge part of selling these changes to customers.
Before you move forward, meet with your employees to discuss your new mission and goals. Include them by regularly and consistently requesting their feedback on decisions. The more they have a say in the changes, the more likely they are to support them.
6. Get the Timing Right
Launching your new image during your busiest time of year is probably not in your best interest. Customers may be confused or put off by your changes, and it may take them a while to warm up to your new brand. You don’t want to risk losing the revenue your busy season brings in.
For example, a tax-preparation firm wouldn’t want to announce a change during tax season. It’s better to begin that process after April and give customers several months to get to know the new brand before the next tax season begins.
7. Create a Committee to Manage the Process
This can be tricky if you have a small staff. However, you need two to three people with varying perspectives to be responsible for overseeing the process.
For example, you could assign a marketer, a creative and a customer service representative to the committee to get a wide range of ideas about the rebrand. Hiring an agency may be your best bet if you are short-staffed, or you can hire freelancers if an agency is beyond your budget.
8. Announce the Rebrand to Your Most Important Customers
Let your loyal customers hear from you first that you are rebranding your business. Send a sincere letter to them explaining the changes and the reason for the changes before you share your new brand with the rest of the world.
9. Gather Feedback From Your Brand Advocates
Share your logo and website designs with your advocates, and ask for their feedback. Release a minimum viable product to a select group of customers, and ask them for suggestions on improving it.
10. Don’t Skimp on PR
Once customers are aware that your company is evolving, you need to let the rest of the world know about your new-and-improved business. Hiring a PR firm can be a great investment because the agency will handle all of the work, ensuring maximum exposure for your new brand and its image.
If you can’t afford an agency, plan your own PR campaign. Announce your changes on social media. Run an article in local papers, and make the announcement in industry trade publications, blogs and the like. Additionally, send out a press release. Services like PRNewswire.com make it relatively inexpensive and easy to reach out to the media.
11. Take Baby Steps
While you must have a total overhaul planned before you begin your rebrand, you don’t need to change everything all at once. You can gradually roll out your changes to make them less jarring and easier to accept for customers. And be sure to set a reasonable timeframe to allow the complete transition to stay on track.