It might seem obvious to you that you need to consider rebranding your business. Maybe you haven’t done anything with your brand since you launched it. Maybe your competition just had a refresh and it got you thinking. Maybe you’re just sick of looking at the logo.
Failed rebranding exercises have cost some of the biggest companies millions of dollars (not to mention, a public relations disaster here and there).
There are lots of mistakes out there to learn from. So, whatever your reason for wanting a refresh, think about these things – BEFORE you brief a designer.
1. Consider what the rebrand is actually for.
Having a new logo and a slick new website is great… but what does this do for your business? Think carefully about your reasons for wanting to invest in rebranding. Do you want to reposition your brand in your customers’ mind? Do you want to attract a new target audience? Do you want your brand visual identity to better represent your values and personality? It’s probably not just about the aesthetics once you get down to it. And if you still think it is just about looks, quite frankly, you’re missing the point.
2. Conduct a full audit on your brand.
Rebranding gives you a huge opportunity to fill gaps, go after new opportunities, and grow your bottom line – if you think about every element that makes up your brand. It helps to start with a good old-fashioned SWOT analysis.
Once you have your SWOT, switch it up into audit mode. Consider what you need to KEEP, what you need to DITCH and what you need to CREATE as part of your rebrand.
Don’t do this in your own little bubble, either. Ask your current customers. Ask your employees and team members. Ask your suppliers and key stakeholders. Ask lapsed customers. All will give you valuable insights into what’s really happening with your brand – and help you understand point #1 above too ?
3. Determine your brand positioning.
Positioning is how your customers perceive you in relation to your competitors. Where do you sit now versus your competitors? Where do you want to be? Conducting a competitive analysis is a useful place to start and will help you identify what you need to do to differentiate (and stand out!). Be sure to go back and refer to your Keep-Ditch-Create with new insights here.
This info doesn’t get filed and forgotten either, by the way. To get the most value out of this process actually use this information in your brief. It will help to provide context to designers for them to then create a visual identity or user experience that helps you achieve that desired positioning.
4. Think about how you want your rebranding to roll out.
If you’re an online business, you probably haven’t got many offline assets to worry about. But if you’re a bricks and mortar business with a presence IRL, then you’ve got a few more things to think about. Signage, promotional materials like flyers, banners, business cards, uniforms, vehicle branding – there’s a much longer list. List out everywhere your logo currently appears then prioritise what will need to happen first. Your designer can probably help you out with this process.
But here’s the clincher: if you’re rebranding, you kind of have to rebrand everything eventually. There’s a principle called ‘brand consistency’. If you’ve got your old brand design on a few elements and shiny new design on others, that’s not a good look. It’s lazy and sends the wrong message to your customers. Big brands get this wrong too, by the way. As a smaller business, it might actually give you an advantage over those bigger, slower to move competitors if you catch every design element in a timely manner.
5. Think about who you will need to help manage this project.
Your normal day-to-day is going to continue while you go through this change, so unless you’re willing to take on a giant mountain of work, and don’t need to sleep or switch off ever, then you will need people to help you. If you’re investing in a rebranding project, invest in the right people. Reflect on your audits and analyses. What will you need to take your brand where you need it to go?
- Want to bring your new brand voice to life by revamping your copy? Get a decent copywriter to write for you.
- Want a new look that reflects your brand best? Pay a designer more than peanuts and get a quality result.
- Can’t really articulate your brand voice, personality and positioning by yourself? Get a brand strategist to help you (tee hee – that’s me!).
- Can’t even think about how you’ll manage to wrangle all these people in the first place? Get a project manager to do it for you.
If you’re going to the effort of doing a grown-up rebrand, get some grown up experts to help you execute it.
6. Set a budget for the whole rebranding exercise.
The costs for a full rebranding can quickly get out of hand, but in saying this, you don’t want to cheap out either or you’ll water down your result. If you’re hiring external freelancers, take some time to research who does what and how much their packages are. Ask around to see if peers have undertaken the same type of project, and what budget they allowed.
Go into the project knowing your maximum budget and ensure that it has a bit of wiggle room. Having a safety buffer is only a win-win: if something unexpected comes up, you’re more likely to be able to cover it. If nothing comes up, you come in under budget and get some change (champagne to celebrate the launch of your amazing new brand, anyone? ??).
If you pay peanuts for your rebranding project, you may get a monkey of a result 🙈
7. Determine how you will measure success for the project.
You want to make sure you’re getting a return for this investment just like any other investment you make, so be clear about what you’ll be measuring. What does your desired outcome look like and which metrics will you need to track to determine if you’re successful? And while you’re thinking about success, what about failure? What is your plan B if it doesn’t go to plan A? How will you pivot in order to achieve your objective?
These metrics are also something to include in the brief to your web developer/graphic designer/copywriter. Knowing what’s at stake will help them optimise to ensure they’re delivering the result that will get you there.
Best of luck with your rebranding project. It’s stressful and exciting, but thinking it through strategically will make it all totally worth it.