Building a brand isn’t easy. From the moment your business is conceived, you must consider how you want to be perceived, who your target audience will be, and how you’ll reach them. Your brand is the ambassador for your products and services. Customers should learn everything they need to know by your logo, slogan, and social media interaction. Your reputation then comes after, once people have a chance to sample what you offer. That word of mouth also goes into building your brand.
If you’re lucky, you’ll pull in loyal customers who are happy to spread the word. Your employees will be the best you could possibly hope for. And your bottom line will be well into the black. However, even when everything is going well, you may be aware that your brand—your identity—still doesn’t mesh with your services or your company culture. When this happens, you may be tempted to leave things just as they are rather than mess with success. Just remember that this incongruity will continue to eat at you, and eventually, your customers will notice that something’s not quite right.
So how can you make changes to your company’s face without leaving it completely unrecognizable? There are ways, so never fear. We’ve got some tips to make changes that will leave you feeling more comfortable with your brand.
Your first task is to determine whom you can trust to tell it just like it is. Believe it or not, you’ll want to include your detractors in this list. After all, aren’t they just looking for a reason to tell you what they think? You need people who aren’t afraid to sugarcoat the facts, and your closest friends and business associates may be tempted to hold back.
Start with the most visible aspects of your company and begin tearing them down. Discuss the colors and how they represent the services you offer. Decide if your logo is too edgy for your buttoned-down business or too tame for your wild and crazy services. The same goes for your slogan. These are the first things your customers will see, and they really need to tell everyone what you’re all about.
Remember, however, that your brand isn’t just your colors and logo. You’ll need to attack from all angles, including your customer service policies, the tone of your web copy, the message you send through social media, the environment of your store—whether online or brick and mortar—and the staff you employ. If you’re not entirely aware of the many aspects of your current brand, branding giant RiechesBaird has a handy brand strategy wheel to help you identify the many parts.
When you discover the issues with your branding strategy, devise changes that will allow you to keep the majority of your previous decisions. For instance, the colors could change without requiring a full design project on the logo. You might find an edgier way to word your slogan without changing the message completely. The trick is to be recognizable even after you’ve made the switch, or you’ll confuse your customers.
While making your changes, make sure to keep them close to vest until you’re ready for the full unveiling. Nothing makes rebranding harder than having to rebrand yet again if you don’t get it right the first time. If you make changes publicly where your customers can see them before you’re ready to present your new face to the world, you’ll only create confusion.
It’s exciting to hit upon new ideas, but you should gather your team together and put together a comprehensive plan for unveiling your new brand. Your new image includes so much more than your colors and website design. The words you use to present your new image should jive with the new brand, too. You can cover this with your web copy, press releases, social media, and blogs. If you can’t keep your message consistent with your business brand, all the changes you’ve made will be for nothing.
Get everything ready together, from your logo and slogan to your website design to your social media strategy. Make sure everything is in line, double check your plans, do a dry run of the presentation, and then do it all again. It’s imperative that your transition from one face to a new one is as seamless as possible.
When you’re sure you’ve got it right, it’s go time. This is where all your hard work should pay off. If you’ve followed the tips outlined here, there’s no reason your customers should be confused by your new image. Your social media content, press releases, blog, and web copy should answer any questions they may have about your reasons for the change.
No matter how well you plan, many of your customers could still be alarmed by your changes. Be ready to reassure your most loyal supporters that you’re not going anywhere. The rumors could include speculation about changes in management, mergers between multiple companies, or even last-ditch efforts to save a business. With an excellent damage control plan in place, you can glide smoothly over the bumps into your new, improved, and successful brand image.
And that’s how it’s done.
Image credit: freedigitalphotos.net/Stuart Miles