This blog post was written for WNW Digital by Jonathan Alder. Jonathan is a brand specialist, helping organisations communicate with clarity and confidence. He is the founder of Alder and Alder.
A rebrand is the opportunity to take your business in a different direction. Sometimes that decision is made out of choice, sometimes out of necessity. Whatever your reason for making a change, the process you should follow is the same. In this post, I share some advice on how to rebrand your business.
Generally speaking, there are only two situations when you need to consider a rebrand: When your business is changing; or when the sector you operate in is changing. To remain relevant to your customers in these changing circumstances, it might be necessary to take your business in a different direction. A rebrand can help this process, as you adapt the way you present your business.
If the reason for change is something that’s happening in your business, it’s usually the result of something you have planned. This could be the launch of a new range of products, a move into a new sector or perhaps a merger with another company. In these situations a rebranding exercise is a proactive step, to support the broader business strategy and increase the chance of success.
A move into a new sector is often an attempt to reach a new audience so that you can take your business in a new direction. A new audience may well have new expectations, so in order to make your products and services relevant to them, you might consider rebranding, to meet these new expectations
Changes to your sector, however, are often unanticipated and always the result of decisions and actions outside your business. This could be the arrival of a new competitor, changes to legislation or simply a change in customer behavior. The impact of these changes is often (but not always) negative, and a rebranding exercise is part of the business strategy to solve the problem this unanticipated change has created.
Brexit is an interesting example of a change to legislation that will affect many businesses. What those changes will be, and how they will affect businesses is still unclear. But for any business that has sold to European customers in the past, a repositioning of the company – supported by a rebrand – might be necessary to offset the new barriers raised by the change.
A rebrand isn’t about changing your logo, it’s about changing perceptions, so before you can make decisions about WHAT you need to change, you need to be clear about HOW you need to change.
Your purpose is the belief or vision that lies at the heart of your business and motivates you. A clear purpose helps to give your business direction and acts as a reference point for decision making. If you’re considering a change of direction, it’s a valuable asset. There are two key characteristics for your ‘purpose’. Firstly, it should be short. This makes it easier to share it when you need to. You should be able to capture it in a single sentence. Secondly, it should focus on your customers, not your company. Try and describe the benefit you want to bring to them.
Your values are a really useful tool to help you translate your purpose into something tangible for your customers. They describe the behaviour that is required to fulfil your purpose. Your values are usually a list of adjectives, and they provide a reference point for everyone within your business. If an action doesn’t reflect at least one of your values, you probably shouldn’t be doing it.
Although many companies use their values as a marketing tool, they are really an internal asset, used to guide the behaviour of your team, rather than influence the behaviour of your audience. Your aim should be for your values to become something that your audience experiences – through their interaction with your business – rather than something they read.
In this way, your values become a tool to help you create an experience that is distinctive and memorable for your audience. It’s the quality of this experience that will change the perception of your business, as a result of rebranding.
One of the key components of ‘brand’ experience, is the way your business communicates with your audience. A rebrand is the opportunity to change the way you communicate, but that doesn’t mean you have to change everything. You only need to change what is necessary to help you get your message across, and change perceptions.
At the heart of any change is your visual identity – the raw materials of your communication. There are six elements to your visual identity; your logo, your typeface, your colour palette, your imagery, your language and your design style.
The scale of the change to your visual identity is usually linked to the scale of changes you are making to your business. To communicate a small change, you may only need to make minor adjustments to the existing elements of your visual identity – a change to the colours you use, for example. But if there have been significant changes to your business, you might feel that the best way to communicate that is through a more comprehensive change.
Whatever your reason for making a change – whether it’s part of your plan to open up new markets or a reaction to a more challenging business environment – the decision to rebrand your business can help to make your strategy a success.
If you think it’s time to make a change, I’ve created a guide that shares some practical advice on how to rebrand your business, in 10 steps. It’s available as a free download from this link.
Written by Jonathan Alder, Alder and Alder.