5 Things To Do Before Rebranding Your Business
A rebrand is a big undertaking – but can position your business for some big-time growth.
If your brand isn’t in line with the goals and direction of your company or isn’t accurately representing what you have to offer (looking at you, outdated website), then a branding project is a smart and profitable move.
But rebranding is about much more than a new logo and updated website. In fact, working on the visual brand elements without first working on the strategy portion of your brand is a big waste of time (in my opinion and experience, anyway).
Putting in a little time up front prepping for your branding project will help you come out the other side with better results (and better return on investment). Plus, doing some prep work will help you feel confident going into the project, help you identify exactly what you want to get out of the project, and save you time and headache during the project.
Here are 5 steps you should work through before starting your branding project to set yourself up for success.
1 – Identify WHY you’re rebranding
This one seems obvious, which is probably why most people skip it. You probably have some idea of why you’re rebranding: you don’t like the “look” of your brand. It feels outdated. You never officially branded your business in the first place, so it feels scattered. Etcetera.
I recommend you take it a step further and identify the specific goals you hope to achieve through your rebranding project. Write these down, so you can easily review them or share them with anyone who works on the project with you.
Do you want your brand to better align with the direction your company is headed in?
Are you shifting the types of services you offer or your business model, and need a brand infrastructure that supports these changes?
Do you want your brand to feel more high-end, so you can attract clients that are willing to pay a higher rate instead of appealing to bargain hunters?
Has your company had a growth spurt – working with more clients, bringing in more revenue, growing a team, etc. – and you want the quality of your brand to reflect what’s happening internally?
Do you want to feel clear and confident in the strategy, direction, and visual representation of your business – because right now it feels scattered and inconsistent?
Brainstorm your motivations and goals for the project and write ‘em down.
2 – Take inventory of your current brand
Now that you know why you want to rebrand and what you hope to get out of it, do a review of your current brand.
What parts of your brand are you really unhappy with?
- Does your brand have a lack of strategy – no clear outline of what makes your company different, who your ideal clients are, etc?
- Do you hate the way your logo looks?
- Is your website outdated or inefficient at generating leads for your business?
- Do you lack a marketing plan or clear direction on how to represent your brand through social media, content marketing, or other promotional channels?
- And so on…
And what parts of your brand do you love and want to bring with you into your new brand (if any)?
- Have customers always commented on how much they love your tagline?
- Do your brand colors work really well?
- Are you great at writing blog posts for your business website and love the “brand voice” you’ve developed?
- Do you have a super clear definition of the type of client you want to work more with?
Maybe your entire brand needs to be reworked. Or maybe there are a few key pieces that are serving your business really well that should be incorporated into your new brand. Taking inventory of your current brand before diving into your rebranding project will help you communicate more clearly about what you want and save you (and your team) a lot of time.
3 – Clearly identify your Ideal Client/Target Audience
Creating a brand is pointless if you don’t know who you’re creating it for.
Developing your brand isn’t just about looking good or appealing to your own tastes and preferences (although those things can definitely be a part of it).
Most importantly, developing your brand is about carefully crafting a brand strategy and brand presence that will be attractive to a very specific set of people: your ideal clients.
A brand that is attractive to your ideal clients may not be the same thing that appeals to your friends, your business mentors, or even yourself (unless they/you fall into the category of your ideal client).
If you go into a branding project without a clear idea of who your ideal clients are, you’ll end up with something that may look great, but won’t do much to move your business forward (which means not much ROI on a big investment).
Make sure you can clearly describe the type of person you want to reach with your brand. If you’re having trouble doing so, seek out support in this area before moving into any other phase of a branding project (like design or marketing).
4 – Review your schedule + budget
A branding project is a big investment of both time and money. When done right, it definitely provides a great return on that investment, but it’s important to be honest with yourself upfront if you currently have the resources to do the project justice.
The specific budget and schedule you’ll be working with depends on the team you hire to complete the project, so this is a good time to start looking for who you might want to work with and getting proposals to consider.
If you don’t have the budget or the available time to participate in the project right now – postpone. Choosing a team because they were the cheapest or diving into the project even though you know you’ll be MIA most of the time means you won’t get quality results.
5 – Find your team
Finally – it’s time to find your team and schedule your project!
As a small business without an in-house marketing department, you’ll likely be hiring an outside service provider or agency to complete your rebrand.
When searching for someone to team up with, keep these things in mind:
- Look for a company that has experience working with small businesses. Agencies that typically work with large corporations probably won’t be structured to fit what you, as a small business owner, need.
- Find someone who will be very transparent about their process. What’s the timeline? What phases will the project work through? What aspects do they handle, and what things will you need to handle yourself or hire an additional freelancer or company to take care of? What results can you expect at the conclusion of your project?
- Can they support you in the multiple facets of a successful rebranding project (strategy, brand identity design, website development, brand content, and maybe even a marketing plan) or do they just handle one specific piece of the puzzle? Do they offer ongoing support after your initial rebrand? Keep in mind that an agency will more likely be a complete resources for your project, while working with freelancers could mean hiring and coordinating multiple team members for the project.
- Do they demonstrate their approach to branding and their work process (+ results) through a portfolio or case studies? Can you get a feel for past projects they’ve worked on, how they worked through it, and the results they got at the end?
If you don’t have any leads on agencies or freelancers you’d like to work with, here are some ideas to kick-start your search:
1 – You can discover companies to work with through educational content like the post you’re reading now (here’s an overview of our own brand development services, if you think we’d get along).
2 – Ask your network for referrals.
3 – Search your local Chamber of Commerce business directory.
4 – Put the word out on social media and ask for recommendations.
5 – Do a search on Google and review agency/freelancer websites using the criteria in the bullet list above.
After you’ve found some leads, schedule a consultation (either in person or over the phone) and request a proposal for your project. After you’ve had a live conversation and reviewed a detailed proposal form an agency or freelancer, you can make a well-informed decision about the team you’ll hire for your rebranding project.
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