Is It Time to Rebrand Your Business?
Many businesses have undertaken the risky process of rebranding and emerged stronger and more competitive in the marketplace. Successful examples run the gamut of goods and services, from Burberry clothing and Harley-Davidson motorcycles to McDonald’s “healthy meal options” and Old Spice deodorant. These and other businesses determined that the time had come to move in a new direction, while maintaining their customer base and striving to stay current with the times.
If you feel the time is right to engage in a rebranding process, it’s important to keep these key objectives in mind:
- Know with certainty why you are rebranding your business
- Understand how to execute the steps needed to succeed
- Make the transition from old to new as smooth as you can for your customers
It starts with pinpoint positioning—identifying and then communicating how the rebranding process will benefit your current (and future) customers. Making some minor changes in how you present your products or services won’t necessarily gain the return on investment you seek; on the other hand, a major change might alienate the target audience or, at the least, leave them confused about why you’ve chosen to deviate from your core offerings.
Give the world advance notice
Once you determine that the time is right to rebrand your business, go slowly at first. Through press releases and other public relations venues, let your customers know that change is coming—and how it will benefit them. Make use of all available opportunities, including email alerts, blog posts, newsletter articles and social media announcements, to get people excited about the ultimate roll-out. Update your profiles on Twitter, Facebook, Google + and all other related sites, making sure that the rebranding message you want to communicate is consistent across all platforms. This should encompass anyplace your customers might encounter your business.
Keep the focus on your customers
A key element of the rebranding message centers around a basic customer question: “Why should I buy from you and not from the competition?” Remember that the purchasing decision almost always has an emotional component—and this, too, should be reflected in the new brand.
Expect some likely drop-off in your existing customer base once the rebranding process is well underway. Inevitably, some customers simply won’t respond positively to the change, while if your strategy and execution are well-designed, you’ll garner new customers in new markets. (Some of that potential loss in customers may be offset if, as noted above, you do a good job of letting them know what’s coming ahead of time.)
Update your website
In the midst of all of your rebranding efforts, don’t neglect an update of your business website. When the rebranding becomes official, it’s essential that existing and new customers visiting your site experience the new brand, as opposed to any confusing or misleading remnants of the old brand. New content and design should reflect these changes and any old links should be automatically redirected to new URLs.
Get employees on board
No rebranding efforts will succeed without buy-in from your employees. Let them know as early as possible about your planned changes. Encourage their input and suggestions about how to keep existing customers happy. Be sure they clearly understand the messaging itself and are prepared to communicate it in their dealings with customers. Do all you can to transform employees into highly enthusiastic ambassadors for the new brand.
Rebranding is a complicated process with a lot of moving parts. But careful planning and attention to detail can help infuse your business with new life and energy, offering great promise for the future.
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