You know you’re selling a good product. You know that you offer great customer service. But somehow, despite all your hard work, the message just isn’t getting through to new prospects.
Maybe it's time for a rebrand? If any of the situations below ring true for you or your team, it's time to consider a deep dive into who you are and who you want to be.
1. You Don't Know Who You Are
Three common scenarios call for a re-brand - and in fact, many brands experience all of these problems at once. Let’s break down the three reasons for a re-brand. We’ll also examine how to start rebuilding your presence in the market, with three easy steps: Verbalize, Visualize, and Vocalize.
When we talk about branding, people often focus on their brand logo or marketing materials. But successful branding is about much more than graphic design.
Instead, branding starts with defining your purpose (enter Simon Sinek's Ted Talk: Start with Why). That includes questions like:
What do you do? You should be able to introduce your business with one, simple sentence.
What makes you different from your competitors? Chances are, you’re not the only business in the world that sells your product or services.
What kind of experience can your customers expect? Are you a self-service platform, or do you offer hands-on support?
What kind of relationship do you have with your customers? How do they stay in touch with you? How much do you know about them?
Who is your ideal customer? You can’t sell unless you know who you’re selling to.
It’s easy to blame slow sales on the market. However, brand problems often start on the inside.
For example, if your brand has recently expanded, changed hands, or changed its product offering, then it’s easy to lose track of your identity. In some other cases, your business hasn’t changed ─ but you’ve been chugging along in the same way for so long, that you’ve forgotten what your brand is really about.
But whatever the cause, the effect is the same. If you can’t give a clear answer to all the questions above, then you don’t know who you are as a brand. It’s time for a refresh.
The re-branding process starts with verbalizing who you are. Spend time brainstorming with your team, getting customer feedback, and working with a branding expert. Once you can express and explain your brand identity, then you will be ready to re-brand.
2. Your Branding is Out of Date
OK, so we said that branding is more than your logo or design. But that doesn’t mean you should ignore visuals completely!
Sometimes, you still know who you are. But you are communicating that identity in a way that’s out of date.
For example, here’s what the Google homepage looked like, back in 1998.
In 1998, that was the height of sophistication for a webpage. It had buttons, drop-down menus, and a customized logo. It used Times New Roman because all the authoritative sites used Times New Roman. But now?
Well… Google is still a search engine. It does pretty much the same thing. But the brand visuals have changed so that Google’s message to its users is still fresh. It looks clean, compact, and mobile-friendly - just like every IT brand should be in 2019.
Your branding needs to stay up to date, too. Take a long, hard look at your website and marketing materials today. Compare them to your competitors. Ask your team for honest opinions.
If your brand visuals look outdated, or they aren’t getting your message across, it’s time for a re-brand. Time to think about the image you want to project today. Time to visualize your brand, and make that image into reality.
3. Your Customers Don’t Know Who You Are
Now we come to the third, and final, scenario: your customers just don’t know who you are. There are several reasons why this can happen.
- You don’t know, so you can’t tell them. Just as we discussed in the first section, you need to have a clear brand identity before you can broadcast it to the world.
- You do know, but your message is out of date. As we saw in the second section, you should constantly update your visual branding to stay accessible and relevant.
- You do know, but your message is getting lost.
That third point is the most difficult to solve. Where exactly is your message getting lost?
Maybe you aren’t reaching out to the right audience. Maybe you need to revisit the tone you use. Maybe you’re being drowned out by competitors. Maybe you’ve been stuck in your little bubble for so long, that you’ve lost touch with what your customers need to hear.
In other words, you are failing to vocalize what your brand is about.
If it has been a long time since your last rebrand, it can be difficult to get enough perspective. Think of it this way: a re-brand is about making your brand new. So you won’t get very far if you use the same old strategies, ideas, tools, and team. You need to introduce something new into your re-brand.
That could mean running a series of rebranding workshops or sending some members of your team for professional development. It’s certainly a good idea to get an outside perspective and advice, at some point in the process.
Last of all, remember that when you re-brand, you are starting over. That doesn’t mean that the growth of your business has to slow down. But re-branding does have to be a thorough process - as thorough as if you were creating a brand-new start-up.
Start by verbalizing your brand identity, then visualize how you want to present it. Finally, you’ll be able to vocalize your brand to customers, with a fresh, new message.