Recently, I went through a business rebranding, paralleled with a personal rebranding. I used to promote myself as a “Marketing Consultant specialized in Social Media” and, as my clients’ needs were growing, I felt the need to grow also, in order to serve them better. So, with new services, a rebranding was necessary.
There are many other reasons a business, or a professional, might have to rebrand themselves. The more obvious ones seem to be when there’s a partnership or merger involved, or when a new line of product is included but, rebranding your business can come at any stage, for many other reasons, and it can be a competitive differentiator. Often times, you can keep your identity, and employ a tactical maneuver with a brand refresh, but others, a complete overall needs to be considered, and a rebranding is a better fit.
When we start a business, we refine our vision, write down our mission statement, and define our 5-year business plan, however, we really can’t know for sure how it’s all going to unfold. Not only the business might grow vertically, or/and expand horizontally, but adjustments in the business strategy might be needed, and only rebranding your business can express that clearly to your audience. When our goals and focus as business owners change with all that, so should our business brand.
As I went through this process, I learned 8 keys for rebranding a business that, if followed, will make the process much easier for you and your audience. Here they are:
1. Have a good reason: Be clear on why you absolutely need to rebrand. Besides the ones I cited, other reasons could be:
- Update the look and message to a new era of the market. Ex.: Apple.
- Recover from customer backlash. Ex.: Time Warner Cable, now Spectrum (they also merged).
- Target a new customer: Ex: TNT.
2. Have market data: Research your market, within your industry and outside it, to understand how it has changed, especially if it’s been more than 5 years since you started. Everything works at a much faster pace now.
3. Have a strategy: Build a plan of action considering all the changes your business needs to take and analyze how much and which kind of help will be required to achieve your goal. Some of the biggest changes you will probably need to make are the visual ones: maybe your logo will change, or your color scheme, your fonts, or style.
4. Have a budget: With a strategy and a plan written down, you will be able to assess how much you will have to invest for your rebranding, and which professionals you will be able to have onboard to help you. Typically, a fair marketing budget is 12 to 20% of your revenue, when you’re starting a new brand, and don’t have recognition in your industry yet.
5. Have a new message: If you’re going for a total rebranding, not only a brand refresh, you’ll probably need to change your mission and vision. In addition, your tagline, the voice, and tone on which you used to communicate might need to be revised. And most important, the company culture will need to be re-analyzed. These are crucial elements that need to be worked on up front because they’ll guide the whole rebranding process.
6. Have in-house communication: When you get clear about your need to start rebranding and you clarified your new message, it’s important to communicate that to your closest staff and employees, your internal stakeholders. Conveying the new approach to them, before launching to your audience, is critical to keep everybody on the loop and avoid confusions later.
7. Have a relaunch: After your rebranding takes place, and everybody in the company is made aware of the new brand guidelines, you need to tell the world about it. Make sure you communicate it in a way that does not alienate your existing clients but excites them to keep the relationship with you and your business. The rollout of the new brand is a crucial key to the whole process, it can make it or break it your company, it needs to be done carefully.
8. Have ROI metrics: To make sure your rebranding was positive, you need to measure your ROI after the relaunch of your new brand. Some of the numbers to track, and compare to before the rebrand are: customer and employee retention, brand mentions and engagement on social media, referrals and Google analytics metrics.Branding is an ongoing Marketing strategy, and in a world of influencers and relationship building, rebranding a business can be risky, but it can also bring benefits to an already established business. Like with most things in Marketing, and in life, it has to be done right, so following these key steps to rebranding is a great start!