“We need a fresh look” is often the rallying cry that leads the charge.
When it comes to rebranding, though, a shiny new look is but one part of the process. Over the years, we’ve helped many clients define their brand, review branding efforts for consistency, and completely rebrand, start to finish. Through it all, we’ve learned a few key lessons that can help when you start thinking about rebranding.
- Think Beyond the Logo – A rebrand can elevate a brand, introduce it to a new audience, and most importantly, define what sets the brand apart and why customers should choose you. It’s critical to think beyond the logo to every touch point—every single customer interaction, marketing piece, and employee action. From signage to apparel, to elevator speeches, business cards, websites, and even email signatures, your brand needs to reflect who your company is and how you want the world to see you.
- Know Who You Are – You may think you know who you are, but really, it’s your customers who know best. (New Coke®, anyone?) From surveys, to focus groups, it’s important to start with research to gather current brand perceptions. Add that knowledge to your goals of where you want your company to go, and you’ve got the start of your rebrand. Doing your homework, asking the tough questions, and focusing on clearly defined goals will guide your path to success.
- All Brains on Deck – Everyone who works on your brand day in and day out – all of your marketing, advertising, branding, and public relations partners – should be involved from the start. Even if only one partner is working on the rebrand, everyone needs to know about it, to avoid that fateful day when someone gets the “We have a new logo!” phone call. Once complete, everything from company letterhead to your website will be updated, and employees will need education around brand standards and messaging too. All too often, a new brand is developed without the reasoning and messaging to back it up.
- Don’t Rush to Publish – Your Brand Book, including your brand story, brand values, brand standards, colors, fonts, and examples of your brand voice, looks, and positioning statements, needs to be complete before you print, tweet, embroider, or announce anything to anyone, even your employees. (Except those gathered around the table, hopefully filled with pizza, candy, and other “brain food,” working on your new brand.) It’s natural to be excited, but sharing a piece of the new brand before the rebrand is finished will dilute your brand integrity.
- Get Graphic – Use an experienced, professional graphic design team to ensure a logo that will translate across media and appeal visually to your target audience. Color choices should accurately represent your brand, and a graphic designer expert in color theory can help. A beautiful logo that is expensive to print or embroider or that looks busy online will be too costly to maintain and detract from your message. Choose a partner willing to play nicely in the sandbox with your own creative team, too, if you have designers on staff. Which brings us to Point 6.
- Expect Strong Opinions – Your brand is the most personal aspect of your company. It’s the heart of who you are and you need to be prepared for strong opinions from both inside and outside of your company. This is good news. It demonstrates the passion of your team and your brand partners. Your employees should absolutely feel a deep connection with your brand, and all should take ownership of it. If your branding efforts are successful, this constructive conversation will contribute to positive brand awareness.
- Be Different to Be Better – It’s of course important to conduct a SWOT analysis of your company and to also know your competition inside and out. However, it’s common to fall into the trap of “wanting to be like them.” Following the pack won’t distinguish you from brands in the same industry, and you’ll be back to square one. All of your rebranding choices should reflect why your business should be chosen over everyone else. You need to shout what makes you different from the rooftops.
Remember, brand is everything, and everything is brand. Every conversation with a customer. Your company attire. The way you work. The values that guide you. And of course, your marketing and the image you share with the world.
Questions for us? We’re always here to help—we’ll even bring the pizza.