How to Rebrand Your Business When Your Neighborhood is Booming
Catering to the customer base around you isn't hard, but figuring out how to pivot may be intimidating
Say you own a coffee shop in a sleepy neighborhood in the city. You've been in business for years and your customer base is largely made up of regulars who pass through on their way to work. You have a routine, a prime spot on your block and you've previously relied on only limited marketing.
Suddenly, something changes. Your quiet neighborhood is now a trending hashtag on Instagram and all around you are matcha shops, craft breweries and loads of young people. You suddenly find that the brand you've created no longer fits the feel of your market.
This is a real-life struggle for business owners across the country. Consider Atlanta, Georgia – the city has experienced a boom in recent years thanks to a growing film and television industry, big business development and a new-found sense of trendiness. Recently, an area of the city shifted dramatically thanks to the opening of SunTrust Park, a massive baseball stadium for the Atlanta Braves. With the stadium came a new wave of customers – business in the area had to adapt.
If your business's zip code has undergone a transformation – like so many throughout Colorado in the last decade – it means that it's time to change your marketing strategy. Catering to the customer base around you isn't hard, but figuring out how to pivot may be intimidating.
KNOW THE DEMOGRAPHIC GROWING ON YOUR BLOCK
Whether you've found your block has shifted its vibe or the market you belong to is suddenly populated by a new group of consumers, it's important to take in your surroundings – both literally and figuratively. Essentially, your company has moved to a new location, and it's helpful to treat your marketing plan as such.
Taking time to figure out exactly who your customer base is and what they're looking for in a company is the best way to adapt. They have specific desires, whether it be a certain type of "look" or a business or a style of product that you may not currently carry. Learning the trends and expectations of your new customer base will help you keep up-to-date with the culture around you.
Check out your competition.
Learn what companies they're flocking to and why they love them. Consider tactics such as social media listening and even ask customers directly for feedback to get into the heads of your new customers (or potential customers). Dive in and learn quickly what they like and don't like and you'll be better off.
BE BOLD WITH YOUR REBRAND
In a Forbes article on rebranding, CEO Anurag Harsh suggests that small changes will not affect the way customers see your company. Instead, Harsh suggests being bold with your new identity.
Try to be intentional in the way you re-market your company. It's key to let your customers know who you are, how you'll help them and why they need you. Remember: You're basically marketing as though you opened a new location. Re-introducing your business may be intimidating, but with some patience and sense of what your market is looking for, your business will adapt.
START ONLINE WITH SOCIAL MEDIA
Though time is of the essence, it may take a bit to fulfill all the changes you want to implement. Luckily, your online persona can be updated in a matter of minutes. Changing your "brand voice" and appearance on social media is a good starting point. By knowing your customers, you'll know which social outlets to focus on. According to the Pew Research Center, 68 percent of adults in the U.S. are on Facebook and YouTube. Young people, specifically those between the ages of 18 and 24 are on almost every platform. That's a lot of customers you can reach at the click of a button.
It's important to note that, in today's market, customers value transparency and honesty. They enjoy being able to provide feedback – and speak to businesses directly. Make yourself as available as possible on all platforms. Allowing your new customers to engage with your businesses online – even if the feedback isn't stunning – will help you connect with your new market.
It's also a good idea to make sure that your business is on Yelp and Google My Business. Chances are, you've heard of Yelp – it's a website that allows customers to review local businesses, as well as a resource to find businesses in your area. If you're not already listed, it's important to set up a profile. Google My Business, an app that allows you to control your Google listing on the search engine, is a little less known. Here, you can update your hours, add more information about your business, reply to reviews, create a Q&A section and even build a website.
Chance are, good word-of-mouth isn't going to be enough to attract new customers – they'll most likely be searching for local businesses on the web.
FOCUS ON APPEARANCES
If you've been in business for awhile, regardless of your market, it's likely you've found a formula for success. If your product is already refined, it's important to remember that you only want to focus on marketing. Re-packaging your product doesn't mean changing the quality. Though there's always room for improvement, the soul of your business should remain the same.
CAPITALIZE ON BEING ESTABLISHED
You're an institution on your block. You've been in business for awhile, and your newer customers will respect that. Capitalize on being a taste of the original neighborhood by keeping the soul of your business alive. If you have regular customers who have frequented your business since before the neighborhood changed, be sure not to make them feel left out. Find middle ground between the old and new – whether that means keeping a part of your menu the same or ensuring your business is approachable for everyone, not just the newbies in town.
Change is inevitable and having to adapt is part of life for any healthy business. Paying attention to the market around you will help you stay on the top of it so that you can quickly adapt your marketing plan as your customers evolve.