Although there may be various reasons to rebrand your small business, it’s important to ensure there is a definite need before committing the time, money and resources to the project. Below are some questions to consider before ultimately deciding if you should move forward with rebranding:
- Is your current company name too limited to encompass new product lines?
- Is your target audience a completely new market, i.e. upscale versus cost-conscious?
- Have you merged with a business that has a more established brand identity than your own?
- Is your old brand not considered trustworthy for some reason?
- Is your company name easily confused with others in your industry or community?
- Is your company name easily misspelled or does it have a negative connotation?
- Is it difficult to get the domain name associated with your brand, no matter how much you’re willing to pay?
Once you’ve determined that you have strategic reasoning behind rebranding, it’s important to recognize that not all rebranding efforts are equal. The undertaking can range from a simple logo change to a full revamp of the company, its image and even its internal operations.
At the simplest end, you may just want to make a slight shift. For example, you can update a tired logo without losing all its design elements, or tweak your corporate name to make it more current or reflect an expanded market. At the most extreme end, you may need to overhaul your entire corporate look at once. This includes your logo, website, marketing materials, storefront signage and even the interior and exterior architectural elements of your business place.
Regardless, if you are planning to rebrand based on a merger or a major change in the markets you target, be sure that your internal processes and procedures also change to reflect your new image. Put in the effort to inform your senior management and staff about the new brand so that all communications from the company reflect your updated image.
Regardless of the extent of your small business rebranding effort, there are some general principals you should bear in mind:
- Don’t be afraid to expand your customer base in the long term, even if that means losing some customers in the short term. Don’t become too closely attached with the original idea you created (i.e. a logo or a name)..This may cause you to not take valuable input from others.
- When you develop a new name or logo – with or without the help of a branding consultant’s expertise – don’t solely rely on inspiration. Go through an analysis that encompasses questions such as the following: What does your company stand for? What are your strengths and weaknesses? What problems do you help customers solve? How do you stand out from your competitors?
- Once you’ve settled on a new brand, be prepared to communicate publicly your new brand identity. Your loyal customers should be informed that your company’s identity has changed. You need to tell the story of your company’s evolution and the reasons behind it. Already loyal customers can help you do that.
Finally, examine your reasons for rebranding prior to making the investment. Don’t make changes simply because you’re bored, or fearful that your small business is becoming outdated. The most important questions to consider are the following: Is there something different about my company that requires a different image? A new product line? A new audience? A new corporate structure? If you can answer yes to any of these questions, then it might be time to consider a new image. Have you ever rebranded your small business? Share your experience and best practices with the SBOC community below.
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