So, lets start at the beginning, what is branding? And as a small business why do you need it? Simply branding can be defined as: “The marketing practice of creating a name, symbol or design that identifies and differentiates a product from other products” Source: Entrepreneur. Effective branding will enable you to differentiate yourself from your competitors, easily communicate your proposition to your customers and outline what can they expect from you.
So, you’ve worked hard to build your business, put your life and soul into setting it up and watched it grow. However, there comes a time when you need to establish your small business branding or consider a re-brand. Ask yourself the following questions will help you decide what is the right to or indeed if it is required.
Why rebrand your business?
Your motivating factors for considering a rebrand may include:
- Desire to increase growth or profitability of your business.
- An outdated visual identity or brand positioning.
- Increased market competition or loss of unique business identity.
- An introduction of new products or services that may warrant expansion into a new area.
Is now the right time?
What worked for you when you launched your business may not be working for you today but your proposition or competition may have changed. With my clients I often see a website or collateral that was right for them at a point of launch but 2/3 yrs down the line things need updating and refreshing, as your business grows so should your proposition and identity. Or simply times may just have moved on and your website and brand look may just look dated.
Who is your target audience today?
Your audience may also have changed since you first set up your business, consider who your target audience is now and how they may have changed as your business has moved forward is key. Think about the key demographics your product or services appeal to, why would your audience be drawn to your brand? What other brands are successful among this kind of audience? and how do you compare to them. Understanding your current customer base motivation is key to evolving your small business branding.
What makes you stand out?
Unless your offering is particularly niche, chances are there are other businesses in your area providing similar products or services. Identifying what makes you stand out from your competitors will give you a focus during the decision-making process. Remember even if you have competitors which are really similar to you, no one does what you do the way that you do it, with your experiences and people will buy into that, or not. Think about how you can use your rebrand to communicate your unique selling points.
What do you want to change?
Make a list of the things you want to change. You can then set aside a budget and plan accordingly, taking into account your current audience and what makes you stand out. The biggest thing you may want to change is your name – how your business is identified in the market. It may be that your old name isn’t attention-grabbing enough, or doesn’t accurately represent your current offering. Next, there’s your visual identity, including your logo, typeface and colour scheme. You may also like to refresh your company’s tagline, and think about the tone of voice you use to communicate with customers. All of this can be collated into a new set of brand guidelines, and then applied to your website, business cards etc. It’s also important to consider the legal aspects of your rebrand throughout the design and decision-making process – is your new name and logo available for trademark copyright protection, and will you be able to secure a relevant domain name?
How will you communicate your rebrand?
Your rebrand shouldn’t come as a shock for your customers. Spread awareness and build the anticipation over a few months/ weeks before you change your brand. You may like to create ‘teaser’ stories for your social followers by announcing your imminent rebrand and then using a countdown to build excitement. During every step of your pre-launch, launch and post-launch communications, focus on how the rebrand will accompany positive changes for your existing customers. While future prospects will love your new, easy-to-use website and eye-catching logo, your existing audience will appreciate a little more substance behind your rebrand.
Remember, how and when you rebrand your business is up to you – there’s no hard and fast rule. If you’re not sure whether the time is right or where to start we would love to hear from you, drop us an email at: firstname.lastname@example.org to talk through your options.