Covid has pushed us all to the brink of redefining how we work. With business closings, delays, cancellations and the inability to prospect normally, our brand and our marketing has become front and center to our business efforts. During this strange time many of you are asking “Which way do I go? Is it time to throw in the towel or pivot – readjust?”. Before you make any sudden changes, maybe now is the time to reflect on and evaluate your brand. It could be the perfect time to make adjustments that you have been wanting to implement for years.
Need to Rebrand? Here’s a Step-by-Step Approach
There are many reasons why you may consider rebranding your business. Most of them are due to a need to reposition yourself in the marketplace – LOOK and BE more relevant.
It could be as simple as redesigning your website, creating a new logo or as complex as a major shift in business strategy. But whatever the reason, you will eventually face the question of how to rebrand in a way that will give you the desired results.
So, what is the right strategy to rebrand your business and services?
1. Start With the Business Reason
Any rebranding strategy should start with a thorough understanding of the business reason you are rebranding. Is it to drive more business? Overcome new market hurdles? Become more relevant in the marketplace? Update your look? To attract more high-level clients?
Be clear about the business reason, otherwise you run the risk of wasting a tremendous amount of time and money.
Some of the other top reasons to rebrand your business would be:
- The market has changed
- You need to compete at a higher level or in a new market
- Your brand no longer reflects who you are
- Your firm is spun off from an existing brand
- You have a legal reason compelling you to change
- You need to simplify and focus your message
- You have a new marketing team
- You are launching a new service line
2. Research Your Firm and Your Target Clients
When you are clear on the business case for a rebranding, the next step is to do your research on your business and clients. If you are attempting to move into a new market, that research should include your new target clients as well. The goal is to have an objective understanding of your current brand perception and competencies.
Without this research, you will be operating from your perspective only – that’s not good enough. It’s easy to have blind spots and misunderstand how the marketplace views your company. After all, we are all human. You need objective research, otherwise you will build a brand on false assumptions.
Most importantly, you need to know how your target audience is acting. During COVID their habits have changed, are you still able to meet their needs?
3. Use Positioning and Messaging to Capture Your Brand Strategy
As you develop your market positioning and messaging architecture, you will uncover the essence of your brand strategy. Your market positioning is a description of where you fit into the current market space. What, and how, are you delivering services? How vital are your services to your target audience?
This positioning will drive many of your decisions. But you can’t just make something up. It must be a reflection of who you are personally and what you are providing to your clients. It needs to balance who you are as a company and who you want to become. You must be able to support your positioning or your brand will be hollow.
Your messaging architecture articulates your messages to each of your main audiences. These messages must be consistent with your overall brand and supportable. This is not marketing copy. It is the skeleton upon which marketing copy is built. It’s your true message.
4. Build Your Brand Identity
This is the part of the rebranding strategy where you develop the visual elements that will communicate your brand. Think firm name, logo, tagline, colors, business card design, stationary, and the like. These elements are often described in a brand style guidelines document, which provides a set of parameters to ensure your brand is implemented consistently across all of your marketing materials.
Many folks confuse these elements with your brand. Your brand is your reputation and your visibility, not your firm’s name or its logo. Your brand identity is a sort of visual shorthand for your brand.
5. Build Your Website and Online Presence
Your website is your single most important communication and business development tool. It is the place where you can tell a compelling story to each of your audiences. It is the first place a prospective client or employee will turn to learn more about your company and the services/products you provide.
It is no exaggeration to say that a website and your online presence are the heart of a modern business. All rebranding strategies eventually involve your website. In a very real way, a website is built on the framework of your messaging architecture. Together with your remaining online presence (think social media, for example), it is the full expression of your positioning.
6. Marketing Collateral
At this point in your rebranding strategy, you will develop all of the marketing materials that you need to communicate your brand and services messages. Think business cards, listing presentations and signage, menus and flyers, proposal templates, brochures, and trade show booths.
These are the tools that you will use to communicate your message. They should be firmly anchored in your brand strategy.
7. Brand Building Plan
The final element of your rebranding strategy is to develop a plan to promote and strengthen your new brand. How will you launch it? If you have employees, it is essential that they embrace AND ALIGN WITH the new brand. After all, they are also your product.
It’s also important that you build the brand in a way that communicates your firm’s reputation and expertise, as well as its name. It must communicate your market positioning. This is very important for professional services companies (think: Realtor, attorneys, bankers, dentists, etc.).
Some rebranding strategies fail because they try to shortcut the process. Others fail because they picked the wrong partners to work with. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
Start with a sound rebranding strategy. Find an experienced professional to partner with you through the process. Give rebranding your company and services the attention it deserves and the rewards will follow.
A well-positioned business that clearly communicates its brand is going to be a competitor, no doubt about it!
Want to learn more about rebranding your image and company? Contact Sandy Hibbard Creative to schedule a strategy session to brainstorm the opportunities and learn about your options.