Before rebranding, there’s one or two things you need to consider –
There are a ZILLION reasons why you might think about rebranding your business – but not all of them are good, or useful.
Before you jump in the deep end and spend a substantial amount of money, here’s a list of questions to ask yourself. This will help you decide whether now is the right time – or not – as well as give you some idea of major pitfalls to avoid!
1. Am I just bored, or is my current branding REALLY dragging me down?
I am absolutely, totally, 100% on board with the idea that if you don’t like your current branding, then it can seriously work against your business – if you don’t like it then you don’t share as much, and you hesitate to send people to your site (hello website shame). When you talk about your business, your energy is flatter (and people can see and feel that!) – all of which adds up to MUCH less business for you.
However, you also have to keep in mind that your audience hasn’t seen your branding nearly as much as you – they’re not familiar with it as you are – and where you think it just looks boring and stale, your audience still loves it, and your branding is still absolutely perfect for you!
If this is the case, then some small tweaks such as getting your fave designer to create new templates for your social media posts, can make a world of difference. It’s like you’ve simply rearranged the furniture in your house and given the place a good dust off and vacuum. It’s still home – but it feels SO much nicer!
2. Does it radiate who I am?
To assess this, you need to do two things. Firstly, you need to sit down with a thesaurus and start writing down mood and personality words of what you want your brand to feel like. eg, do you want it to feel bold, or nurturing? Like the girl-next-door, or high-luxe glam? Mystical, or practical? And so on.
Once you’ve got a good list of words, then go back to your original Brand Style Guide (your moodboard, your colours, fonts, image style, keywords, etc). Ignore how those elements have been implemented for now, and just look at those elements in isolation. How do they make you feel? And how closely does that feeling fit with the list of words you’ve made? If those two things are still fairly close, then you don’t need a rebrand – again, you just need a freshen up of your existing branding. A couple of new templates, or a new banner for your Facebook page, or a freshly designed front page for your existing website may be all you need.
3. Who is my current audience, and am I intending to change that?
You know your own target market better than anyone else (or if you don’t, you absolutely SHOULD). Altering your target market is an excellent reason to rebrand – because your new audience is looking for different things to your old target market. And you need to analyse exactly what that is, in order to create your new branding.
For instance, they may be looking for similar things, they may have the same end goal – but your new target market is further along in their journey than your old target market. Or, you may have started your business offering one service or product, but along the way, you’ve discovered there’s another service or product you would prefer to offer – and that means you need to get super-clear on the people who will be buying your new thing.
Do some solid market research and find out what makes them tick – because it’s not just about satisfying their immediate desire right now, it’s also understanding what their long-term goals and dreams are, so you can point them in the right direction for when they leave you. They’ll love you for it and sing your praises.
4. Does it relate to my audience and what they want?
Refer above. When you understand your target market (and keep in mind you’re appealing to your whole AUDIENCE – all the people who will read your newsletter, your blogposts, your social media posts, etc and not just your CUSTOMERS – they’re usually only a small section of your audience, the ones who actually BUY) – you can create a brand that appeals to what’s in their heads. I’ll say it again – do some solid market research and find out what makes your people tick – because it’s not just about satisfying their immediate desire right now, it’s also understanding what their long-term goals and dreams are, so you can point them in the right direction when they leave you.
5. What will my audience gain from my rebrand (and refocus)?
Let me shout this from the rooftops – you wouldn’t have a business if it weren’t for your customers, and these people are part of your audience. So what’s in the rebrand for them? How does it help THEM?
Will your brand message be clearer? Can the new visuals more closely project what it is they want in their lives? Will the rebrand help you more clearly communicate that you understand them and articulate how you help them?
6. What are my competitors doing?
This could be a dubious reason – after all, you should be staying in your own lane because keeping up with the Joneses and their highlight reel is the road to ruin (ok, I’ll stop with the idioms now… ;D )
But is it? I prefer to keep one eye open to the competition – and other inspiration – at all times. The world is an amazing place, full of amazing things. And while yes, YOU are really the only thing you should be comparing yourself to – comparisonitis is to be avoided at all costs – hiding yourself away in a blankie fort is not doing you any favours either.
Check out your competitors – occasionally – to see how your field is changing, what ideas are progressing, and what questions are being asked. Don’t ever copy exactly, but learn from what they’re doing and the ideas they’re talking about, and use that information to grow.
7. What problem will this rebrand solve?
Here, you can list down alllll the things that are bugging you about your current branding. Do an enormous braindump, on pen and paper.
There’s lots of ways to go about digging into this – you could try a simple pros and cons list, you could try post-it notes (they’re fab because you can move things around and organise your ideas better after the braindump), or you could even do an old-fashioned SWOT analysis.
Whatever way you choose, you need to come up with some VERY clear benefits to your rebrand – financial and otherwise – because an ill-thought-through rebrand could be an enormous waste of your time and efforts, and probably a sizeable chunk of money too.
Hope that’s given you some food for thought! In my next blog post, I’ll be going through the practicalities of actually rebranding – it’s a whole lot more than simply getting some new colours, fonts, and a logo.
For instance – what are the advantages and disadvantages of changing your business name? What’s your digital footprint? And how do you keep your current audience happy?
So. Much. Food. For. Thought.