Whether you’re diving into a rebrand or a pool of icy water, it’s a similar process. You make a plan. Gather your courage. Second-guess yourself at the last moment, and, finally, launch into a dive. There’s a shock at first, but then you emerge, alive and empowered.
During a rebrand you completely redefine the image and message your brand sends to the world. Rebranding is a vital part of keeping your brand current and relevant.
Are you ready to take the plunge? Here’s how to prepare for your dive like a true brand Olympian.
Make time for a warm-up.
It can be tempting to dive right in, but you have to do your homework first. To begin, poll your targeted client base for insights. You may think you know what your customers want, but it’s best to get concrete information from the customers themselves. Tools like online surveys are great for honest feedback. In addition, be sure to consider your competition. If they’re more successful than you, ask yourself, “What do they have that I don’t?”
Collect things from your surroundings that you feel “speak” your future brand. These might be colors, quotes, mission statements, or images — anything that you feel embodies what you want your brand to be. Lay out your inspirations in a collage-like setting, and begin to see your new brand take shape. Once you know which direction you’re headed in, work with your team to develop a plan — including a timeline — for your rebrand rollout.
Dip your toe in the water.
Unless you are completely changing your business and its target, I recommend you change one element at a time (as opposed to a complete overhaul of the logo, colors, and messaging). Start with new messaging, and see how that sticks. Then, you can move on to tag lines and marketing approaches if you still aren’t seeing a positive response.
Adopt the stance.
Stay true to your form, and get the company on board with the rebrand. Find ways to put a positive spin on any changes, and ask for feedback to make your employees feel involved. But don’t just reach out with an email. Hold live focus groups, info sessions, internal contests, or other engaging activities. It’s important that everyone feels included — this will prevent resentment in the team dynamic later.
Follow the timeline you’ve created with your team. Roll out the business’s new corporate identity through updated business cards, revised brochures, or a refreshed website. Get people excited, and make sure everything is updated. Train staff with the new message — and make sure everyone, from reception to the CEO, is educated on the new brand and is singing its praises.
Make a splash.
The dive can be intimidating, but it’s also an invigorating process. Here’s a look at a few of the most successful rebrands I’ve seen:
- What they did: Competing with Wal-Mart had set the company on a fast path to destruction. So, it stopped competing by changing its target audience. Although Target is still considered a discount chain, it competes for a more style-conscious consumer with its brand-named fashion designers and edgy advertising.
- What you can learn: A rebrand doesn’t have to mean a radical shift to your core business model. You can simply change how your brand is perceived.
- What they did: They revived an old brand with just the right mix of humor, attitude, and Isaiah Mustafa.
- What you can learn: Understanding your audience is key. Old Spice understood its customers’ preferences and sense of humor, which allowed the company to become relatable in a novel way.
- What they did: After almost going belly up, Steve Jobs stepped in with sleek, sexy, and artistic designs.
- What you can learn: You can’t remain static or rest on your laurels. You have to constantly be forward-thinking when it comes to the design or message of your branding.
Now you know how to dive in to a rebrand — but peeking over the edge can be intimidating. Ultimately, it’s up to you whether your brand sinks or swims.
Are you ready to take the rebrand plunge?
Danny DeMichele is the founder and CEO of Incubate, a digital marketing agency specializing in SEO, PPC, web development, and design. Danny has been building and managing online businesses for the past 14 years and is a thought leader in the digital agency world. Danny welcomes anyone to reach out to him on Twitter@Danny_DeMichele or onGoogle+.
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