No one ever said that rebranding was easy. In fact, your first rebranding might also be the first time anyone’s put any serious thought into your brand. The initial brand for almost any company is something meaningful or amusing to the founders during the wild days of a startup. The brand was likely thought up just to complete the launch checklist, with a favourite animal or an in-joke during one of those late startup nights.
And the first brand very likely suited that first startup team well. All 12 of them thought it was totally cool. But over time, companies grow and change. You may have a completely different (or much more diverse) audience and customer base now. You’re probably employing several times more people than when you started. And it’s time to build a brand that really works for the company that once-startup grew into.
Growing Out of Your Old Brand
The reason most companies decide to rebrand is because, like a child outgrowing shoes, your old brand just doesn’t fit anymore. Your teams aren’t a scrappy startup team. And you don’t need to break into the market anymore, you are an established brand with a growing audience of customers. There’s a good chance that a new brand could really reflect what you’ve become.
While still keeping the personality and passion of the founding brand, of course. So the question is…
What Should Your New Brand Be?
You already sort of have an idea of what a rebranding should achieve. Your brand should relate to your industry, appeal to your audience, and represent the company. But the last one most of all. In fact, if you achieve that, then you’ll have hit all your other goals right on the head as well.
The best brands are ones that somehow perfectly reflect the personality and reputation of a company. Entirely. You want a brand that makes employees proud to wear the uniform and allows customers to get exactly what they see. In other words, the best way to decide your new brand is to look inside yourself — as a company — and discover the brand that already exists inside.
You have a company culture, a set of industry-driven values, and a style of interacting with the customers. The key is to somehow capture that in your logo, brand voice and your entire brand strategy.
Let’s take a look at your brand, just waiting to be discovered in things you already know about your style, audience, and values.
A big part of your company is your industry-related values. Not only do you have a place on the Venn-diagram of Fast-Good-Cheap, but you also have certain methodologies that differ from competitors. These are what set you apart. How you treat your customers, the quality of your materials, the thoroughness of your safety procedures. These are an important part of your brand that many companies overlook about themselves.
Consider how your business is unique on a product and service level compared to your contemporaries and competition. What do you put an extra effort into that could become a part of your brand design? If your company has always been dedicated to fast delivery, you might incorporate an element of speediness into your brand. Like a fast creature (squirrel, cheetah, ostrich to name a few).
Or perhaps your company is meticulous about final product quality. The new brand might feature a jeweller’s glass or a notoriously careful mascot who always double-checks. The right industry-related brand elements can really appeal to your staff because they will relate to it.
Your Target Audience
Your target audience is also an important part of your brand. Your brand should include imagery and colours that your audience finds appealing. But more importantly, it should fit neatly into their lives. You want your brand to be a comfortingly familiar logo and a reliable set of features and benefits. In a way, you want audiences to know exactly what they’re getting when they see your new brand.
Part of this is keeping elements of your previous brand so returning customers can easily follow you through rebranding. Another part is thinking about what will feel right when your customers buy and use your products. Your logo will be in their cart, on their computer screen, or even displayed in their house. Your social media posts in the new brand will appear on their feeds.
And you know your audience better than anyone else. Consider your marketing personas and make sure your brand will be a welcome addition to the homes and workplaces of your customers.
Your Company Culture (Behind the Curtain)
One very important consideration is that employees represent and are represented by the brand. They wear the company shirts, work under the logo, and speak in the voice of the company to customers and vendors alike. This gives you two simultaneous goals.
You want your staff to be proud to wear the brand. They should find it funny, or feel it represents a good cause, or shows off the quality of their work. This will also help you attract candidates who would be a great addition to your team.
And second, your brand should accurately represent the company culture. How you treat employees, whether you are serious or fun, whether your animal-loving or all seem to share a passion about safety. This is where your brand personality is hiding. Believe it or not, your company culture is actually the most important part of rebranding, because it’s who your company is.
Discovering Your Company Identity
If you don’t know what your company culture really is, or how to translate into a brand, then you don’t know your company well enough to rebrand yet. The next step is to actually discover what your company identity is. And if you already have multiple locations, this can be a pretty big project.
It’s time to discover if your team is funny or hardcore. If they like to work late and order a pizza or achieve superhuman productivity to finish without overtime. If they like fuzzy animals or think of themselves as coffee-drinking robots. If they love every customer personally or design great products in spite of them. If they are a cooperative team or made up of independent rockstars who pass work around.
Learning these things will teach you a lot about what your brand should be as well. And one of the best ways to do this is to spend time walking the floors and listening. In fact, your brand might just start to form unbidden in your mind as you get a clear idea of the true overall personality of your company.
Your Brand Was Inside the Whole Time
When a company needs to rebrand, they come to designers and hope the right brand will just happen. But designers aren’t psychic. Unless you are talking to in-house designers who have spent time in every part of the company, they don’t actually know the right personality to convey in your new brand. The right symbols to use, the right colour scheme and imagery for your target audience.
But you do know. The right brand for your company is just waiting to be discovered. Because the elements you need have been there inside your company the whole time.
So when your marketing strategist or brand strategist asks what you’re looking for in a brand, don’t just say “We like dogs. Give us a dog brand”. Instead, describe the brand that already exists. Describe your industry and your values compared to competitors. Describe your audience and how they should see your brand when it’s complete. Describe your teams and how they get along, the personality they create for the brand as a group.
If you need help ironing out the process to get started our Marketing Discovery helps to develop a solid strategic foundation so you can move forward with your rebranding. Interested in learning more about you to reach inside and discover the right path for rebranding? Contact us today!