Ahhh, January 1st. New year, new you, right? Your calendar tells you it’s time for a fresh new start, but what about your business? As we take time at the beginning of each year to reinvent ourselves, it’s easy to want to overhaul our businesses too.
It would be smart of me to tell you that everyone needs a rebrand all the time, right? That would certainly help me maintain an active client roster, but it’s simply not true. Money, effort, and time spent on branding is best served when there’s lots of careful thought and intention behind it. If you do it right, you won’t have to worry about rebranding year after year; you can create a brand that stands the test of time–for a long time. Sure, nothing feels as great as turning over a new leaf, but if you’re not careful, you could throw away valuable brand equity and trust that you’ve built with your clients by tossing away a brand image too carelessly.
So how do you know when it’s time to start over? How do you know when it’s time for a little brand grooming, and when is it time to let the brand you have keep doing its thing? I’ve got three areas you can assess to determine if it’s time to ditch your current direction, or stick around and see what flourishes right where you are:
In the early phase of many businesses, branding is a sidenote. Budgets stretched to the max by startup costs aren’t quite bountiful enough to hire a fancy branding agency. So you create a starter logo, throw some complimentary colors together, and declare, “This is our brand…At least for now,” with the intention of scaling and snazzing it up when resources allow.
If you think back to the lifecycle of your organization and realize that that snazzing up day never came, perhaps it’s time to revisit. Over time as you hone in on your businesses processes and ability to deliver a quality product with high-caliber customer service, you want to ensure that your brand mirrors that sense of value and excellence.
If you’re finding that many of the clients and customers approaching you are turned off by the prices you charge, it could be time for a rebrand. Price shoppers are a clear indicator that your brand is not exuding the same excellence that your product (and therefore price) does.
Take an honest look at the visual message you’re putting out there in your marketing materials. Ask someone outside of your organization to peruse your company’s website and tell you what they perceive based on your messaging. If there’s a misalignment between the quality of your visual message and the quality and value of your product, it may be time for a rebrand.
One of the most common misconceptions I get from my clients about what I do is that branding is “just a logo.” Branding is so much more than a logo, and in the perfect world branding should exist to show the outward world your business’ strategy for the future in a lightning-fast visual way.
Yep, there’s a lot more going on here than just a cool icon you can slap on your company’s social media pages. It’s all about deciding where you want your business to go, and choosing a visual direction that helps show that.
Take some time to think about your organization’s current marketing strategy. Will you be aiming to reach a different audience over the next few years? Are you placing greater emphasis on a different type of product or service in the future? Are you planning on moving your sales team toward a different tactic in the future?
If your company’s visual strategy doesn’t jive well with the overall company strategy, it may feel like a mismatch to potential customers. A deep dive with a branding expert can help you resolve those differences.
Perhaps one of the most underestimated aspects of visual branding in customer’s minds is consistency. When people see something that falls outside of what they expect (aka: something inconsistent), it makes them uncomfortable, it makes them question, and it makes them feel unsafe.
Before you write this one off, think about it. If a potential customer goes to your website and sees a different message from page to page, they might think, “If this company can’t even keep their own organization together, why should I trust them to meet my needs?” Sure, the general public is not as detail-obsessed as yours truly when it comes to branding, but these subtle slights, they matter.
Take an audit of any materials out there that communicate your brand messaging. Everything from your website and print materials down to your business cards and email signatures. Are they all current and updated? Do they look consistent from one item to the next?
Over time consistency can fall by the wayside for even the most attentive brands, but if you’re finding that your brand image is spinning out of control, it might be time for a reset.
Want to see what it looks like when a business is going a new direction and the current brand just can’t keep up? Check out my case study on TowerPoint Capital’s rebranding project.
Here’s the thing, no one will ever come to you and say, “I decided not to go with your company’s product because of the branding.” Because unless they’re a super design snob (like yours truly), brand perception is so subconscious that most people can’t identify it as the thing that turns them off. But if your brand is not in consistent alignment across the board or it doesn’t support the strategy of your business and quality of what you provide, it could be doing you a disservice.
A strategically timed and carefully planned brand redesign is not about starting a new year on a new foot, it’s about trimming the fat of what’s holding you back, and putting on the newer, tougher shoes you need to forge through new territory.
If you’re not sure if the timing is right for you, schedule a free consultation with me today. I’ll walk you through a more in-depth version of the assessment and help you determine if a rebrand is the right next step for you.