When you’re running a business, every day can feel like you’re walking a tightrope. Make one small misstep, and it is curtains for you and your beloved company. There are lots of ways to go wrong – and one of them is in changing the branding of your company or key products.
It might be the right thing to do in order to continue making sales or seeing growth, but like every step you make in business, there’s definitely a right and a wrong way to do it. For one, the rebranding process is not a fast one. The steps involved are all crucial, and rushing the job can mean making major missteps. In other words, go too fast and you just might fail.
On the other hand, failing to act in the most timely manner possible could mean that you’ll continue to lose business to your competitors or to otherwise lose customer loyalty.
With that in mind, here are the steps to follow to ensure you don’t fall off the tightrope when you rebrand your business or product.
1. Why Do It?
The first step is to take a hard look at whether you really need to rebrand at all. You might think you need a change, but is there anything in your customer base that indicates that as well? If the target audience of your brand is evolving, then yes, you may be ready for a rebrand. But if that target audience is one that values tradition and things staying the same, then rebranding may be a useless move.
The other factor is your competition. If they’re taking a bigger and bigger market share all the time, it may be due to their branding. In that case, it’s also worth taking a look at what they’re doing to find out how you can make yourself over to stay up to speed. But if you’re the market leader and sales are not slumping, you may not need that rebranding as much as you think. Get very clear on the problem you’re trying to solve – and evaluate whether it really needs solving – before you move on to the next steps.
2. Get Input
Now that you’re aware of the problem and you’ve clearly defined it, it’s time to ask around and find out what your customers think. Create a survey and offer your customers an incentive to fill it out. Use social media to poll your followers about what they like and don’t like. If you’re more of a B2B business, talk to your clients and pick their brains about how you can improve. Ask specific questions about pricing and products, specific processes within the company, and what the customers think about them, but also ask open-ended questions that allow them to share their opinions and their creativity. You never know when a brilliant loyal customer is going to give you that million-dollar idea. (And if someone does, you should maybe think about hiring them).
3. Reevaluate the Competition
Meanwhile, you also need to spend more time evaluating what your competitors are doing. Sure, you probably did some of that when you made the call to rebrand, but it’s important to get more in-depth with that process now. Take a good look at the images your competition is using and the feelings those images evoke. How is that working for that company? Likewise, take a look at your market. Are you selling your product in the right places, and how is that going to change when you rebrand?
4. Are You Missing Any Demographics?
You’ve been going for a specific customer base, but rebranding could also be the perfect time to consider other demographics as well. If you have an established brand that needs a new look, the rollout of a new, more modern logo could be the perfect time to start targeting a more youthful audience. With that in mind, it can also be helpful to get input from people who aren’t traditionally part of your customer base to start to uncover ways to market to them as well.
5. Study the Results
Once you’ve gathered information from your customers – and possible new demographics – consider their suggestions carefully. Chances are there will be a few overarching themes; take a good look at them and find out which ones you might actually be able to implement in your business. Consider all the suggested options, including changing your logo, opening up to new markets, and so on.
6. Develop an Action Plan
Now it’s time to come up with a plan that you can follow throughout the rebranding process. Start by laying out the "why" so that your entire team understands why you’re making the changes. Name each problem and then come up with a specific way you plan to fix it. The plan also needs to lay out the dates by which certain things will be implemented. If you’re rolling out a new logo because your customer base reported not liking the current one, for example, you’ll need to set dates by which you’ll have mockups of a new logo, and then dates by which you’ll implement the new logo in the various parts of your business.
Start taking a look at all the places that logo appears so that you don’t forget anything. Naturally, it’s used on your website and social media channels, but what about your employees’ business cards, and your company letterhead? This is also a perfect time to get your employees newly excited about the company and to become newly energized brand ambassadors. Within your company, make the launch date a really big deal – throw a party or have some other type of memorable event.
7. Tell the World
With a clear action plan in place and a date by which you’ll roll out your new effort, it’s time to tell the world. It’s not enough just to start using the new logo or marketing to the new demographic. This is the perfect time to tell your customer base that you care about their input and that you’ve listened. Send out a press release that tells the story, but also create a video or get out on the streets and introduce your product to people in person. Use your social media feeds. You can even put an ad in newspapers and magazines telling people why you’ve made the change.
8. Get More Feedback
Once your new brand is out there in the world, don’t stop listening. Pay close attention to people’s reactions on social media, and take a good look at your sales figures to find out how the process is going. Sometimes, even the most well-laid out plan does indeed fail, so you should be prepared to change course if you find out that your rebranding effort is not going as well as you’d hoped.
As with everything in life, it’s always good to have a plan B – just in case your first plans don’t bear the fruit you’d hoped.
Rebranding your company or its products may very well change the course of the business, for better or for worse. But by taking the time to listen to your customer base and develop a solid plan of action, you’ll be in the best position possible to see success.
Do you have any other tips for business rebranding? Let us know in the comments section below!