It is good to refresh sometimes… and here are some tips for YOU to consider when rebranding…

People are often scared by change, especially in business, but it is important to refresh and move with trends and technology. Re-branding your business may come out of expansion or necessity, perhaps you’ve moved location or maybe you’ve qualified in something new and your current branding doesn’t fit with the range of services you now offer, or maybe you have decided to join the whirlwind offered by the World Wide Web; joining FaceBook, Twitter, getting a website or a blog, and need your online and offline branding to match.

If you feel pushed into a re-brand because what worked years ago, no longer does, it is important not to get caught up in the past. Think ‘fresh’, think ‘now’, and look forward. It is often easy to attribute business problems to the ‘brand’, but before going headfirst into re-branding, ensure this is exactly where your business problem lies – check aspects such as employees, integrity, quality and overall service, and if all appears fine in these areas, then start to plan your re-brand.

All re-brands do not necessarily mean a name change, but if you do feel this is needed ensure it is a clear choice; a name that is suited to your services, and that is likeable by you, but more importantly by your clients. It is fine to ask some of your regulars their thoughts on your new name options; perhaps you could give them a market research form and as a thank you for taking part award them with a discount or an offer. When it comes to choosing a name, less is often more effective. Use convenient spellings and straightforward words or phrases, as when it comes to online searches or typing in web address, it is more likely you will be found. Also, think about how the name may sound over the telephone too, you can always test this by mocking a call with a colleague or friend.

It certainly is worthwhile putting yourself in your customers’ shoes; you can do this by arranging a secret client/customer/shopper/caller, and see how their experiences are with your employees. If you do not have any staff then a feedback box is a great way to know how your clients feel, and provides them with an anonymous way of highlighting problem areas.

Take the time to research other similar successful businesses – how do they brand their company? What can you learn from their strategies? Obviously, this is just for inspiration, there is no benefit in trying to copy or emulate another brand, especially if they are deemed as competition.

Planning your rebrand isn’t just about aesthetics, such as logo, colours, décor and promotional material; it is also about execution. How do you plan to re-brand? What strategy do you have in place for telling your existing clients and potential clients about your re-brand?

If you do decide to take the plunge and re-brand, don’t do it by halves – recycle old business cards, do not give them out if they do not carry the same new message as your re-branding – it looks unprofessional, slack and confuses your customers. Talking of customers, ensure they are aware that you are rebranding, but are still the same business/company run by the same team – customers like to know where they stand. If you are open that you want to refresh they will welcome the change and see it as investment in them too, especially if your rebranding includes a refurbishment of the offices or shop or business premises, even just a lick of fresh paint – the effort will make them feel valued and included. So keep them in the know.

Whatever your reasoning for re-branding, it is so important that all of your branding is consistent, so when it comes to your business activity you are using the same colours, logo and ethos on marketing material, online, in store, and uniforms etc. Ensure you allocate a sensible budget from the offset, this gives you an idea of how much you may need to spend on elements such as a website or a front of house sign, or business cards.

Re-brand for the right reasons, and think it through carefully, don’t just do it out of boredom, or just because you need a change – remember if it ain’t broke, then don’t fix it.

By J P Martin

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