7 Signs It’s Time to Rebrand
and one reason not to!
A good brand is consistent — allowing customers and clients to recognize your products and services, as well as making your business stand out from the competition. But what exactly warrants a rebrand?
I frequently have clients and potential clients ask about rebranding, and I always want to ensure they are doing so for the right reasons. It is easy to want to “shake things up”, but not only is branding an expensive and time-consuming process, if done correctly, your brand identity should be intentional, purposeful and fully encompass your business’ identity. That’s definitely not something you want to completely change every 6 months.
With the relaunch of my website last week, I included a brand overhaul and some big changes to the studio’s visual identity. Before I decided to rebrand ABC&D, I thought it was important to take the “practice what you preach” approach and ask myself some of the same questions I ask clients looking to rebrand.
If you think it's time for a change in your business, here are seven signs that may (or may not) confirm that inclination, as well as one reason to stick with what you’ve got! Along the way, I share some of the main reasons why I decided to rebrand, and what I was hoping to accomplish.
1. You don’t have a complete brand identity or you never set clear standards
When your business first launched, that DIY logo (or simply typing out your name in a fancy font) probably worked well enough. Now with a growing audience, it may be time to up-level and give your brand a visual edge against the competition. With experience and clarity behind services and products, you want to make sure you have visual assets to tie those offerings back to your business. By setting clear standards, your audience should be able to tell with a quick glance what is coming from you and your business. The benefits of a cohesive brand identity is another blog post in itself, but there is no substitution for establishing a tone of professionalism, building brand recognition with your customers, and setting yourself apart.
2. Your current brand was built on trends and looking at the competition
Instead of figuring out what makes your business stand out and establishing a strategy behind you brand, you went the easy route — looking at what everyone else did. The problem with using Pinterest to “get inspiration” or ideas is all those things have already been done for someone else. It’s important, so I’ll repeat it — your brand is all about defining your business’ identity. What makes you great? What can you offer customers that no one else in your industry can? How is the experience of working with you unlike anything else on the market? Hint: you’re not going to find the answer on Pinterest or someone else’s website.
If you’re worried you made that mistake, you’re not alone — I’m totally guilty. My first year in business, I was so worried about what other designers were doing and what worked for them that I was too scared to be myself. I wanted to “look” like everyone else so I would be taken seriously like everyone else. A year later, I’m focused on highlighting what makes ABC&D distinct — and not afraid to use visual elements that do the same!
3. Your business just went through some drastic changes.
Over time, business grow and develop. You may have recently changed your business’ name, or what once was a one-man/woman show might now be an entire team. Also, significantly changing your offerings or your business strategy can warrant an “external” change. Think about how fast food restaurants have recently adjusted their brand messaging to encourage eating healthier. The focus on “super-sizing” your meal might have cut it ten years ago, but certainly wouldn’t work the same way today. Your brand identity should consistently reflect who you are as a company and how you can best serve your customers.
In my post about my website redesign, I mentioned how at the end of last year there was a massive (and unanticipated) change to how my business functioned, as well as my primary source of revenue. While at first I thought this was a complete disaster, it forced me to address existing issues and focus on how to build a better studio. After some serious evaluation, it was clear I needed to refocus the direction and vision of ABC&D and a new brand identity seemed appropriate.
4. Not all publicity is good publicity
Sometimes, things just don’t go right. It’s not uncommon for companies look at a rebrand as an opportunity to shed their skin and get a fresh start. Whether it was bad publicity, or something like this hilarious story about clients confusing your business with a totally different one, a fresh start might be what you need to move forward. If you’ve been caught up in some unfortunate situations, consider whether or not your business can “bounce back” on its own, or if you need to show a new face to your audience to regain their trust.
5. Your current brand doesn’t appeal to your target audience
And possibly, your audience has recently changed! As your business evolves, it is easier to get a better idea of who you target customers and clients are. What type of people buy your products? What characteristics do your most favorite clients have? Ultimately, what type of person is drawn to your business and who do you want to attract? Answering these questions can take some time, but it’s crucial your business is communicating with the right audience — and your brand identity should do the same. If you’re target audience is young, active males who love sports, a brand identity with pastel colors, script fonts and feminine details probably wouldn’t speak to them. Branding is all about perception and you want to make sure your target audience has an accurate vision of who you are.
For me, it was all about narrowing in on which types of clients were my absolute favorite to work with. It came down to the fact that I loved working with liked-minded individuals and businesses — they are super passionate about their work, love collaborating with other creatives, and value quality design. (Is that you?) In order to appeal to this audience more, I needed to consider what they were drawn to, as well as incorporate what makes me unique as a designer.
6. Changes in your offerings
Maybe you started offering a service such as photography or graphic design and after excelling in that industry, you have more people looking to you for education. Two great examples I always think of are Jenna Kutcher (a photographer now offering tools and resources for business owners) and Christina Scalera (an attorney that now focuses on sales and marketing advice). If your offerings have shifted, your branding might need to do the same. You always want it to be clear to customers and clients what you are selling and why they should be getting it from you!
7. You’ve outgrown your current branding
With a couple years of experience under your belt, you may be on to bigger and better things. Perhaps you have raised your prices and your business is now considered luxury or high-end — your brand identity should speak to that change. Again, your brand identity should be an accurate reflection of who you are as a company and it can also suggest where you are going.
I definitely checked this box when reconsidering my branding. It’s not uncommon for new designers or freelancers to charge less for their work — not always because of quality, but because of their experience in the industry. It took more than a year in business for me to establish some confidence in myself and my studio — I do know what I’m doing, and in some cases, I’m doing it much better than my competitors. I wanted a new brand identity that reflected this confidence and continued to establish ABC&D as a reliable design studio.
And one reason you definitely shouldn't rebrand — you’re bored.
When you first established a brand identity for your business, the confetti was flying and champagne bottles were popping! You couldn’t wait to incorporate that new look into anything and everything with your business name on it. But now that the dust has settled, you don’t get that same feeling — you’re bored with your brand.
Rather than a complete overhaul, try and take a new approach to what you have. Believe it or not, brand identities aren’t totally set it in stone. Just like people do, our businesses grow and evolve over time and it’s ok to shake things up just enough to keep it interesting. Can you incorporate a new color into your palette? Should you switch up the layout of your blog post or social media graphics? Would some brand-new photos shed a different light on what you already have in place? A fresh take on your existing brand identity can only help to make your brand stronger.
If a few of those reasons to rebrand applied to you, it might be time. I would love to chat and see if we would be a perfect match and partner to bring your business to the next level.