The costs, time and logistics involved in a rebrand can be considerable, so it is not something that most businesses will do on the fly every few years or so.
However, as tastes change and technology progresses failing to revitalize your brand could make your firm look outdated and behind the times.
Branding is a very personal process and can polarise opinions between partners, directors, clients and staff so it is worth taking time to consider the purpose and objectives of a rebrand before beginning the task.
To help you we have put together some thoughts to help you prepare for a future rebrand.
Step 1 – What is the purpose of a rebrand
Before starting on a rebrand it is important to consider why exactly you are choosing to rebrand at this point.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- Is your current branding outdated?
- Do you risk falling behind competitors?
- Does your current branding not represent your company’s values?
- Would a new brand benefit your reputation?
- Is a rebrand commercially viable?
If you answer yes to more than a couple of these then it is almost certainly time to consider a rebrand.
However, before completely scrapping what you already have now would be a good time to reach out to your closest contacts and clients to ask them what your current brand means and whether it reflects your ethos.
Constructive criticism and small focus groups can play a vital role in a rebrand, so it is important to take on board comments – even if they do not fit in with your overall vision.
Amazon Founder Jeff Bezos once said, “Your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room.” So, you need to consider this from the get go.
Step 2 – Who is your intended audience
Businesses changes, as do their audiences and client base. If your firm has suddenly started to work more with tech companies then your branding may need to reflect this with a fresh modern look.
Alternatively, you may find that most of your work is coming from the agricultural sector where tastes are more traditional and less focused on innovation.
Branding can have a significant effect on whether a client chooses you or a competitor. There are numerous examples of this out there, where brands have tried to tailor their brand guidelines to reflect their audience and the values of their business.
Having said that, don’t be afraid to be bold, even where your main audience is more traditional. The use of bright colours and bold iconography draws the eye and may get your recognised from a competitor.
As with most things, branding is about striking a balance, between old and new, eye-catching and garish or traditional vs innovative.
Sometimes throwing everything away is not appropriate and instead of a full rebrand, it may be more suitable to just refresh your existing branding with new colours and elements. This is especially true of recognisable brands.
At the end of the day, someone like Coca Cola has gone through several rebrands, but certain elements will always remain.
You can’t have everything, do not forget this or your brand will lack cohesion and look messy.
Step 3 – The best-laid plans…
Failing to plan, is planning to fail. A lot goes into a rebrand. Even before pen is put to paper and new logos are drawn out you should consider the cost and logistics of implementing a new brand and agree to these or else it will be a wasted process.
Be clear in your brief if you are working with an outside agency. Provide them with your values, show them examples of what you do and do not like, BUT do not constrict their creativity.
You are paying creative people to be creative. If they do something you do not like, do not dismiss it and move on. Feedback your thoughts, what elements you do and do not like. It is only by taking these steps that you can decide on a final brand.
However, this is just the start of the process. Once a brand is decided it is then time to consider how the brand will be rolled out and promoted. A timeline should be created and adhered to as best as can be, but don’t be afraid to delay a launch if conditions aren’t right.
Step 4 – Get the team onside
Many firms think that clients will give them the greatest headaches when it comes to a rebrand, but few consider the impact on employees – particularly where something more radical is being suggested.
If you have long-serving members of staff, who have not previously experienced a rebrand the experience can be quite jarring.
By keeping your team out of the picture until the last minute, especially more senior members of the team, can have a significant impact on morale.
Employees can feel confused or alienated about a rebrand, but you want your employees to be excited about the brand and its launch so that they can promote it widely to their contacts.
Step 5 – Scope and implementation
A lot goes into a rebrand and you need to thinks about what elements of your business will changes once the new brand is launched.
This could include:
- Web design
- Printed literature
- Social media accounts
- Press releases
- Award submissions
- Adverts and editorials
- Email signatures
- Business Cards
- Office signage
- Online directories
The list goes on and on. In some instances, use of the new brand will have to be implemented from day one, such as office signage, emails signatures and web design.
However, this can be costly, so to spread the cost it is usually ok to continue to use flyers and brochures up until the point that you would naturally replace them.
This can help to limit the costs of a rebrand and most clients will usually be fairly understanding of this in most cases.
To ensure each of these points is covered it is strongly recommended that you do a full audit of your website and marketing materials.
Step 6 – Launch control
Having spent so much time preparing new branding you want to make sure that it makes an impact.
It is worth having an internal launch initially among the staff so that they are aware of the changes ahead followed by a wider launch to clients and contacts.
This second launch can be a soft launch, whereby you slowly introduce your new branding into more and more resources or, for a much greater impact, it can be a hard launch.
If going for the latter then it doesn’t hurt to make an event of this by supporting it with PR, social media posts and even a special one-off party to mark the changeover.
If thinking about rebranding is giving you a headache or if you are unsure of the benefits it can offer it is probably best to seek expert advice and support.
At JE Consulting we have helped a wide range of businesses with their branding exercise – from concept through to their brand launch. Calling upon the expertise of all of our experienced team members, we can make sure that every base is covered. To find out how we can help, please contact us.