One of the most common reasons people contact me about developing and designing their new websites is because they are rebranding. Their business has changed, enough that they want their logo, their website, and all of their other marketing collateral to reflect those changes.
Are you thinking of rebranding? Whatever you do, don’t rush this process!
Take a breath. Don’t call that logo designer or website developer or buy that expensive, 10-week intensive online marketing course yet. Rebranding is a big deal. And it can be quite costly, too.
When I work with clients who are about to embark on this journey, I ask them to take a few moments and first answer some important questions about their current state of affairs:
- Has the principal philosophy, or core message of your business changed?
- Have your offerings changed?
- Have your customers changed?
- Is your identity – specifically your logo and your website – so outdated that it looks like it should be in a museum?
- Have you faced occasional or maybe even regular negative feedback?
If the answer is “Yes” to any or all of the above questions, then I would say, yes, you might consider rebranding.
You can’t enjoy a beautiful identity if you’re not feeling beautiful from the inside out
Have you ever looked at a logo, or a storefront, or the home page of a website and gasped with delight? As if you were falling in love at first site? Or, if not falling in love right there on the spot, did you feel like you just had to take a closer look and check out what’s inside?
It’s no mistake when that happens. No matter what the business or product is, when the business identity works – and you know it when you feel it – it’s usually because the people behind the business have put a tremendous amount of time, consideration, research and love into creating something that encapsulates who they are and their purpose.
You’ve made up your mind: you need to rebrand
So, let’s say you’ve decided that rebranding is what you need. Then the next logical step is to look at your business – what you do, why you do it, and what you want to do with it.
Start with you: the what and the why
Revisit and review your core philosophy. Your core message. Your mission statement. Your purpose and your passion. Remember why you got into business for yourself in the first place. What excites you about it. Why you created the products and services you offer. And why you want to keep doing this for, forever. It’s likely this hasn’t changed much since you started out. But until you’ve really honed in on this and you’re completely confident in your answers, don’t start selecting the colors, the textures, fonts and graphics you’re going to use. Make sure you’re absolutely certain and confident of this before moving forward.
Ask yourself: what’s working? what’s not? And why?
Once you’ve nailed your purpose and your passion, then look at everything that has your business’s identity and ask yourself some important questions: what’s working? what’s not? And then, why are things working? why aren’t they? Take your time with this. You’ll find that many of the things you’re offering are still working, still fit with your original mission and are still making money. And the things that aren’t working – things that aren’t selling, things that customers might have complained about – need to be dropped.
Do you have the resources to rebrand?
Rebranding can be expensive. A new logo means changing what’s on your business card, your website, any print marketing materials you have, even your products. Do you really want to go that far? Can you?
Seek out the opinions of people you trust and respect.
Whether you’re hiring a designer or doing things yourself, show your ideas or various designs to people whose opinions you value. And who will take the time to give you an honest assessment. I think it’s better to get feedback on your project several times before you finish. While you might like a certain look or design, others might not. The last thing you want to do is unveil your new identity only to face a torrential backlash. Remember what happened to the Gap when they rebranded? The backlash was so awful they reverted to their previous logo in days.
Keep your ideal customers in mind.
Rebranding will be a big deal for you. But it will also be a big deal for your customers. If you’re serious about creating a very new and different identity, you might consider telling your customers that you’re in the process of making some important changes. Give them something to look forward to. If you don’t, suddenly popping your new look on them might elicit a reaction akin to someone who has disappeared for a few months, lost over 100 pounds and reappears rail-thin with new hair, teeth and a new wardrobe. It will shock, jolt and freak your people out. So keep your customers in the loop, ease them into your new you, and you’ll very likely keep them for a nice long, time, too.
In summary: rebranding is not for the meek.
Obviously there are a lot of important issues and topics to consider when rebranding. And obviously, it just isn’t as simple as getting a new logo, site and stationery. Anyone can do that.
In the end, it’s really about who you are, what you stand for, and who you want to serve. If you’ve given that serious thought, and you’ve put everything you are into your new identity, people will get it.