Does your business need a re-brand? While the answer depends on a lot of factors, the bottom line is, probably not. That's probably not the right answer, coming from a firm that specializes in helping companies develop their brand, but most of the time - it's true.
There are a lot of really bad reasons to “rebrand,” like wanting a new logo, or website. While those may be pieces of the outcome, they should never be what drives a brand makeover. Instead, start by taking a look at two things: 1) what is the brand experience I’m trying to create for my audience and 2) what is their actual experience with my brand. When there’s a disconnect (i.e.: a company finds that the brand no longer resonates with the ideal client), it could be time to look at re-crafting the message from the ground up.
Here are 5 questions to ask when considering a re-brand:
1. What will it cost me?
I'm not talking about money. Sure, hiring a professional to help you develop your brand will cost you money, but that's definitely not your first concern. Much more important is what will a rebrand cost you in terms of equity with your existing clients. Your brand is basically the way people feel about you and your company. Your brand identity are all of the pieces that help communicate, and reflect those feelings through your marketing. When you "re-brand," you change the identity - and often the feelings that are attached. That may be your goal, but remember - you will likely lose most of the positive value your brand has built.
2. What's my story?
Probably the most important consideration in creating a brand, is deciding who you are, and how you want to talk about who you are. Your ideal customers will be drawn to the story of your company or organization, and how you communicate that is really important. I suggest that you write out the things you want people to know (and feel) about your company, and then refine that into a story you can repeat over, and over, and over. Eventually it turns into a mantra, and you can start to piece together an identity.
3. Who is My Ideal Client?
Just as important as what you want to say, is who are you talking to? Clearly define the ideal target customer for your business or product. Often, the tendency is to create marketing that "casts a wide net," hoping to get as many fish as possible. That might be okay if you cater to the masses, but many small businesses (especially service-based businesses) find they get a much stronger return on their marketing when they focus on building a brand around a specific ideal client.
4. How can I best connect with my market?
Once you've clarified your ideal client, take a hard look at every aspect of the brand experience, from the overall marketing message, to the details like website, print materials, communication policies, and more – and evaluate how to craft each piece in a way that creates a connection with that client. Set aside your assumptions about marketing, and instead start with a blank sheet - crafting a plan that reinforces the brand experience you are trying to create.
5. Can I Support My Brand?
Bottom line, do you have the structure in place to support your branding efforts. Will your customers have the experience you promise, and can you sustain that over the long haul? Is your staff trained to deliver the experience? It makes no difference how pretty your website is, if every time someone enters your business, they encounter someone that couldn't care less about your customers. Be sure that you've created a system to "make your brand real," so that the experience matches the promise.
What about you? What are some of the things you recommend businesses consider when thinking about a "rebrand?"