Is it Time to Rebrand Your Small Business?
Five steps to make your rebrand successful
Brand identity is crucial to the success of any small business. A company’s brand identity is more than just a name and a logo, it is the entire collection of experiences your customers and prospects associate with the brand. Building an effective brand identity can set your business apart from competitors, attract your ideal customer segments, and establish brand loyalty within your customer base.
However, it doesn’t serve a small business to develop a brand identity and then blindly hold onto it for dear life. Small businesses must be able to evaluate their brand’s role in the market and the community, and pivot as necessary. In some cases, this means the company must rebrand.
When is it time to consider rebranding?
It is important for a business to recognize when a particular brand identity is no longer serving them. If your current brand is limiting your reach, complicating plans for growth, not attracting your target market or your target market has shifted, it’s time to rebrand. When starting a business, it can be difficult to predict new opportunities that will arise or pinpoint the exact direction your business will go. If your brand can’t be adapted to your growing and changing business, it is probably time to consider something new.
What steps should be taken to make your rebrand successful?
Step 1: Understand your rebranding objectives
To achieve your goals for rebranding, you need to start by having a clear understanding of what exactly you’re trying to achieve. There is a reason (or a few) you’re rebranding. Define your reasoning as thoroughly as possible. This way, you can ensure that the new brand identity you’re developing will benefit your business.
Step 2: Do the research
Gather information on your target markets and competitors. Make sure you know what your customers want and are attracted to. Also, find out as much as possible about the brand positioning of your competition so your brand can be properly differentiated. Once you’ve gathered some information, you’ll have an easier time making sure your new branding truly conveys your intended message.
This first step ends with the development of your new business name or identity. Keep in mind your audience and the business’ long-term goals. This is a great time to find out what employees, industry thought leaders and the community think about your intended direction. It will be helpful to gather a wide variety of initial impressions your new name or logo evoke, especially among you target demographic.
Step 3: Create consistency
This step is about ensuring your new brand is strong and defined. Rebranding can be as simple as an update of your current brand, or as substantial as an entirely different name, logo, and direction for the company. Either way, it should be clear how your rebranding is different and improved. Before it’s time to roll out the new brand, make sure you have considered how the new branding affects each aspect of your business.
Has your business’ mission statement or values changed? How will rebranding affect how you use social media and other marketing channels? These questions are important to answer before introducing your new brand to set yourself up for a successful transition and to ensure that your new branding will help your business achieve its objectives.
This step includes the development of brand colors, values, and characteristics. Define your brand as completely as possible, so you can pull those brand elements through in your digital presence, as well as the other ways you interact with customers.
Step 4: Roll out your rebrand intentionally
When it’s time to introduce your new brand, make sure you are doing so across all aspects of your business from the start. Get your employees excited about the new brand so they can act as brand ambassadors for your business. Create a marketing campaign for your roll out with newsletters to your client list, social media posts and other elements you’ve created for your new brand. This could include launching a new website or branded merchandise. Either way, make sure to have your company’s digital presence fully updated.
Another strategy to consider in the brand roll out phase is throwing a launch party to introduce your new brand into the community. Invite customers, community members and media to celebrate your rebranded company. This is your opportunity to get key customers and stakeholders on board with the new direction of your business.
Each brand rollout is going to be different. However you choose to roll out your new brand, make sure you’re hitting all of your critical marketing channels with buzz about the brand launch and rebranded content. Highlight the positive ways that the rebrand will change your customer’s experience with your company, because when it comes down to it, that’s what your customers care about.
Step 5: Defend the brand you’ve created
At this point you’ve done the research and put work into creating a new brand for your business. Stand firm in the decisions you’ve made. This isn’t the time to second guess yourself. If you’ve put time into researching and crafting a brand that represents the direction your company is going, it’s in your best interest to defend it, and create some consistency with your company.
What tools can help your company rebrand?
Take advantage of your local Small Business Development programs
When undergoing a complete rebranding of your company, it can feel like starting from scratch. Small business accelerator or development programs can give you the kick start you need when rebranding and force you to define your brand more clearly than ever before. The Small Business Administration website has resources to help you find a small business development program close to you.
Use design programs like Canva to create consistent branding
For small businesses that are taking a “DIY” approach to rebranding, design programs like Canva are a fabulous tool. Canva allows businesses to input elements of their brand identity, like brand colors, custom images, and logos. This can help you create consistency across digital and print marketing material. Alternatively, programs like Canva can help you create visual representations of your brand to pass along to professionals hired to create your website or social media content, so you can make sure you’re all on the same page with your brand.
Talk with small businesses in your industry that have rebranded
There are likely to be rebranding best practices or pitfalls that are specific to your industry. Ask for a meeting with a small business in your industry that you know has rebranded, just to learn more about their experience. This can help you avoid some common mistakes and can be as easy as a quick phone call or video conference.
All in all, when you find that your business could benefit from rebranding, it’s not something that should be put off. It’s important for small businesses to stay competitive and relevant in their industry. Rebranding can give a business the updates they need to increase their market share or set it on the right path towards growth.
Chloe Schmolesky is a recent graduate from Colorado State University, where she studied Tourism and Business Administration. Chloe works with small Colorado businesses to assist with rebranding and brand identity development.