Our industry is constantly in flux; from the technology we use to the clients we serve. As evidenced from some recent announcements, the brands are changing as well. If you’re considering rebranding your business you’re not alone. As a business owner, your brand and message should always be top of mind. But some questions remain. Do you know how your brand is perceived in the current marketplace? Are you satisfied with its direction? Is it time for a change?
Businesses may decide to rebrand for several reasons, and the decision requires a great deal of thought and research before venturing forth into a brave new world. Visual communications play a huge role in the process of creating a new persona for a business, but there is much more to it than merely changing the name and logo and rearranging the furniture. Before you can bring about a successful rebranding, you must first answer the question, “Why?” A satisfactory answer to that question will require you to dig deep, but it will also help you to understand whether your brand just needs minor tweaking or a complete makeover.
Regardless of the reasons you’re thinking of entering the process, it’s not a decision to be undertaken lightly. As with any other business investment you must perform your due diligence to ensure against making a costly mistake.
Having determined the need, you also must determine the full scope of rebranding necessary to achieve your goals and develop a plan to accomplish it. There is one primary phase to initiate your goals: research.
You need to define which elements of your brand need to be changed and why. And more often than not, you need the help of a professional in order to ensure successful results. You need to study the market and the competition you will encounter. Survey your customers, employees, business partners and industry experts for their opinions of your products, services and brand image. Companies that can afford to do so often hire research firms to assist them in this phase.
Change is not easy for some of us. Once you face the tough questions and responses from your research, the hard work truly begins. Rebranding can create a great deal of uneasiness and insecurity among your employees and management team. You will be attempting to bring about major changes in the way your clients and prospective customers think about your business. This will require equally major changes in the way you and your team members think about your business. Maintaining effective communication with all members of your team is the best way to prepare them for change and keep the process running smoothly.
Once you establish an effective communications plan, develop marketing and action plans to bring about the rebranding. Plug the required tasks to accomplish your plans into a detailed timeline with defined project goals, deadlines and an assigned responsibility for completion.
Brand Positioning Statement
A well-crafted brand positioning statement articulates your product and a service offering’s unique value to your current and prospective customers with clarity and focus. It is typically two to three sentences long, and is developed for long-term sustainability.
To forge an effective brand positioning statement start by answering the following questions:
- What business is your brand in?
- What is the target market for your brand?
- What is the point of difference for your brand?
In order to answer these questions thoroughly, assemble a committee of key personnel and/or advisors for a brainstorming session. Please note that in addition to your answers, your brand positioning statement should also reflect key points of your market research.
Identity and Name Development
Once you have defined where you want to take your brand it’s important to ensure that your visual communication properly positions your brand in the marketplace and sets the stage for a customer experience appropriate to your brand promise. Visual communication provides the basis for all of your branding efforts. And the single most important aspect is your name and logo.
Your brand name affects every aspect of how your business is perceived in the marketplace. The logos, fonts, colors, signage and other visual elements associated with your company directly influence how people feel about it, and ultimately help to illustrate what’s different between your company and your competitors. This applies to every point of contact with your clients and prospective customers; your signage, vehicle graphics, stationery, brochures — even apparel can add or take away from that impression.
Once you have secured your final identity package, any brand agency worth their weight in gold will test your final name, logo and positioning statements prior to finalization. It’s important to learn how your prospective clients and current customers feel about your new brand.
Launching a new brand can’t be accomplished overnight. It takes careful planning and in-depth testing. Your new brand name must resonate with your target market prior to officially launching it. There are also many items that will need to be physically rebranded, including:
- Interior identification
- Employee manuals and materials
- Marketing communications
It is important to take inventory of all of your branded materials. In this step of the process, it can be very easy to miss something important. In addition to your physical branding, it is important to plan your launch. Here are some items to research:
- Build from past experience – research how other companies have done it
- Media campaigns
- Social media blitz
Compliance and Brand Manual
Your brand is what makes you unique in the minds of your key constituencies. How your company is perceived is influenced by your ability maintain your brand identity and messaging. Maintaining a strong brand identity begins with the proper use of logos and trademarks, as well as consistency. Consistency is crucial because it enforces your brand and ensures your company is easily recognizable by anyone, anywhere at any time. Developing a master brand manual will ensure that identity standards are adhered to.
Successful Rebranding in our Industry
As part of the Sign & Graphics Division of alliance franchise brands, Image360 launched to the public in February 2013 at the Signs By Tomorrow and Signs Now National Convention. Our network has evolved into a sales-driven, consultative total-solutions provider. If you are interested in learning more about how Image360 was created, visit www.image360.com.