How To Rebrand Your Business Without Starting Over from Scratch
June 4, 2017
Sometimes in life, we just have to make a change. From new haircuts to new houses, we make changes based on what's best for us at the time. As they say, the only constant in life is change.
As small business owners and freelancers, sometimes we have to make a change to our business too. A change in your business's focus, specialty, size, or even physical identity can bring on the dreaded re-branding process.
There are generally three situations when a small business owner decides to make the leap and re-brand their business: 1. A major change in the business's core offerings or specialty; 2. A splitting of one business into two separate brands; and 3. A change in how the owner wants the business to be perceived publicly. I'll look at each of these three scenarios and give you some tips on how to navigate each kind successfully.
1. Changing your business's offerings or specialty
Many creative entrepreneurs decide to change course or refine their niche during the some stage of their businesses, and that's okay. In fact, that's one of the many benefits of running a small business (versus a large one) - you're steering a small sail boat, rather than an bulky ocean liner, and avoiding icebergs is much easier that way. You can make changes in a few weeks that would take a larger company months to accomplish. But on the flip-side, don't make branding changes every other month, just because you can, because it will confuse customers and make your business seem amateurish.
Once you're certain about where you want your brand to go, changing course can happen gracefully and gradually. In my opinion, rolling out new products/services while simultaneously phasing out old ones, is the way to go. Don't shock your current base with a radical change. The goal is to branch out to new clients without suddenly losing your old ones (and thus lose your current income).
If you are doing a visual rebrand as well, build up buzz and excitement among your current base by doing a countdown to a new logo launch, or build up your new website launch as an event to be celebrated with special offers or coupons.
2. Splitting your business into two separate brands
Perhaps you have two dual passions, let's say, wedding photography and corporate
graphic design. While photography and graphic design are somewhat related, your client base for each is going to be different. Instead of grouping both businesses under the same business name and the same web presence, it might be time to split them up, so that each can flourish on its own. (As Tevya said in Fiddler on the Roof, "A bird may love a fish, but where would they build a home together?")
I know this means double the branding and double the web maintenance, but it doesn't have to be painful. Perhaps you can use the same brand name, but host each business on separate websites. Or, unite both businesses on the same website and have a single landing page directing visitors to choose either the photography side or the graphic design side.
Since you are appealing to different types of clients, your approach to advertising each brand needs to resonate with the types of clients you wish to attract. For wedding photography, Pinterest and Instagram are where it's at. For B2B graphic design, you need to be on LinkedIn and Facebook for sure.
My advice for this type of rebrand is to get all your ducks in a row before launching the brands as two separate entities. Figure out the brand identity for each business, build the second website, create social media pages, and have everything ready, before you start driving traffic to the new location. Just like the first type of rebrand, build up buzz and excitement to let your fan base know what you're doing.
3. Changing the visual identity of your brand
This is probably the easiest of all three, because you get to put your creativity hat on and decide how you want your business to look and feel, without actually changing things that much internally. As you probably know, your brand is much more than just your colors or your logo. So when you choose new visual elements for your company, be mindful of what those choices will communicate.
Don't rush into the rebranding process, because you need to choose visual elements that will last for years. Don't waste money and time on branding that you'll want to change again in a few years. It's like investing in a good computer or quality pair of shoes - you need it to last.
For inspiration, think about brands that resonate with you. Do you appreciate the classicism of the Nike check mark or the Apple...apple? Do you prefer something a bit more trendy and au courant? (Beware of trends, as what's trendy today looks dated tomorrow!)
If you'd like a step-by-step workbook that leads you through the branding process, check out my Brand Story Kit, available as an instant download for just $10 on Etsy. If you have questions or need help with your rebrand, shoot me an email.
I love to help passionate entrepreneurs make a living out of what they love to do. Rebranding is a part of business life, and I would love to help yours be as smooth as possible.
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