Rebranding is simply part of business evolution. If you’ve been following the same road since you first launched, it’s likely that business has grown stagnant. If you aren’t growing, you’re losing potential profits- it’s that simple. To get you started, we’ve outlined 5 steps to rebrand your business.

Make Sure It’s What Your Business Really Needs

Before you start, there are several things you need to consider. First and foremost, make sure rebranding is really what your business needs. Take an audit on your products and services; if your products are outdated or your target market identification is all wrong, you may have a different problem on your hands.

If rebranding is indeed the right direction for your business, ask yourself these questions as a starting point: Why exactly are we rebranding? Is our brand associated with something that no longer represents us? Is our brand out of step with our customers’ current needs?

Take stock of your company’s strengths and weaknesses. You need to be able to see your business from a 360 view, and be honest. If there’s an area for improvement, define it- now is the time. It’s what rebranding is all about!

Do Your Research

Screen Shot 2015-01-20 at 2.18.05 PMTalk to people.

Speak with your customers, employees and outsiders about their opinions of your business, your products and services. You may be surprised with what you hear.  Make sure you know how your customer’s feel about doing business with you. How could you improve?

Ask your employees what they like about your business culture and hold a discussion to determine what you can be doing better. If people are cautious about voicing their opinions, hold the discussion in a neutral, relaxed environment.

At Trademark, we hold ‘Free Flow Friday’s’ every three weeks. Location? Our coffee bar in the middle of our office. We pull up chairs and crack open refreshments for a discussion that lasts anywhere from 2-2.5 hours. We utilize a little corn kernel and toss it around the group, like playing “popcorn!” in order to have a turn to speak. It’s a productive time where people can give suggestions in a productive and fun manner.

Research your Competition.

This one should be a no-brainer. You should understand exactly who your competition is, the services they offer, how they’re keeping up with market trends and their general workplace culture. By knowing your competition, you can determine how your company can become more relevant, stay ahead of the curve, define a clear brand identity that’s unique and define how to become more accessible to your target market.

Define Your Destination

You’ll need to define and agree upon exactly where you want to go with your brand. Getting everyone on board is important- if there’s employee disconnect on what you stand for (or are trying to work toward) your rebrand will be unsuccessful. Take the time for open communication and invest in (re)training to help ensure the longevity of your rebrand.

Before you begin, create a streamlined process and commit to being as organized as possible. Assign a committee to manage various projects or, if you’re a smaller business, define exactly who (or two/three people) will be the lead inspiration.

Your business and its culture must embody your brand and it should also be your “mission project.” Keep your brand in mind when you’re writing blog posts, creating business cards, website design, templates and client presentations (the list could go on). Get rid of old branded materials. Inconsistency will cheapen all of your rebranding efforts and make your new brand hold less of an impact. When you’re ready to begin, outline a clear path with your destination in mind, create a timeline, determine due dates and stick to your plan.

You should also define if your rebrand is going to be a simple stepping stone or a large milestone in your business that will act as a revolutionary change. Is your rebrand a subtle update or a total shift?

Be Bold & Represent Your Business Well

After you’ve decided your path and your destination, you can move on to the next step. Always remember that it’s important to be true to yourself; customers can easily see if you’re not genuine. Authenticity sells and clients appreciate the factors that make your business truly unique. It’s just the same as when you’re creating Original Content. Be uniquely you. Your logo is more than just a pretty picture, it must tell your company’s story.

Your logo is your brand’s key ambassador. It’s what new and existing customers see first- and we all know how important first impressions are. A logo should be strong, meaningful and memorable. Incentivize people to take notice of your business, product and message and to care about it- with great design. Take a stand- don’t be afraid to create something that’s not the norm in your industry. You’ve already defined exactly who you are and how you’re going to be there- now is your chance to make a powerful difference. See some great logo designs here.

Caution: don’t create an overly designed logo. We’re believers that simple and powerful is better- less is more. Design well and design for the long term. Don’t be afraid to spend a little money for a standout product.

Commit Long Term

If your rebrand is a huge change, the turnaround time won’t be a quick one. Reset your thinking and get ready for a long, exciting road. The planning phase alone may last two months or more and implementation can be even longer. Schedule times to revisit how your new brand is making an impact and assess if it’s having the effect you’ve worked so hard for.

Sustaining your new brand: moving forward in business, the “mission project” should be kept at the top of your business thought. Seek out employees that embody your business’s core values, that fit with your business culture and you know will uphold your brand. Keep advertising campaigns fresh, make frequent website design and content updates and keep evolving.

We always hear about how change is scary. It’s really not. Change is exciting- brand evolution is exciting. Always remember, if you’re not moving forward you’re becoming stagnant and losing business.

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