So you know you need a rebrand, but what do you need to prepare before going ahead with it and working with a designer on developing a brand new identity for your business?
It is my view that it is the job of the designer to work with you on uncovering the answers to some of these questions and to dig a little deeper to give us a better understanding of how a rebrand can help you to meet your business goals. But, there are a few things that you can think about in the meantime to get you (and your team if you have one) ready to work with a designer on your exciting rebrand.
These questions apply if you are a new business in need of branding for the first time, or if you have been going for a while and are in need of a refresh.
So, here’s some things to think about…
- Identify what is and isn’t working with your current branding
It might be that your brand feels outdated and generally a bit old and stuffy. Maybe your website hasn’t been updated since 2010, or you created your logo yourself on Canva at the start of your business. Maybe things are just in need of a little refresh.
Perhaps your audience or demographic has changed and your branding is no longer serving them. It’s just not working for the right people anymore and it needs to change.
On the flip side, maybe you are a brand that has a legacy that you do not want to lose with your customers. You have spent time building up a reputation that you don’t want to totally lose through rebranding. You have built up trust over time and don’t want to lose loyal customers through changing too much. This is more often the case for businesses that have been going for a while, so it is important to get aligned on which parts of your current brand are important to take forward and evolve through the rebrand. Think evolution, not revolution.
If you are a business looking for branding for the first time, you can instead think about some of your competitors and what you believe is and isn’t working for them. It might be that the market you are in is saturated with bland, minimal samey looking brands which struggle to differentiate themselves, or you’ve noticed that every other brand in your space all use blue as their main colour and you want to do something different. Through identifying this, we can begin to see where the gaps and opportunities are to come up with something that will set you apart from the rest.
- Get your team aligned on what the goals for the business are (short and long term)
And if you are a solo-founder without a team, make sure that you are aligned and clear on what your goals for the business are. Think: why did you start in the first place? What drives you to get up every day and work on this wider mission?
Getting aligned on your business goals ahead of working with a designer means every decision made will be grounded in reasoning and direct insights from your customers and market. Design can improve communication within your team, as well as communication with your customers. Improved communication creates clarity for everyone interacting with your business and therefore the quality and output of your product or services will increase a.k.a you will make more money.
Maybe your short term goal for the business is to increase brand awareness. Good branding can help to get eyes on your business and increase its visibility (marketing gets it in front of the right people).
A long-term goal could be a financial one, or it could be having a positive impact or mission. Design can directly correlate to both financial and mission-based goals for your business. Great design conveys great quality which, in turn, increases consumer trust and therefore brand loyalty and higher purchase rates. It can also be imperative in showcasing your values as a business and sharing that with the world.
- Decide on your non-negotiables
These are things that are really important for you to get across with the visuals. It’s helpful for you to have a think about what these might be ahead of working with your designer. These could be very concrete things such as your main brand colour. It might be that this is an integral and highly recognisable part of your brand that you believe needs to stay. For example, Coke’s red is so integral and recognisable to their brand that you only need to see this colour, alongside their unique and recognisable bottle shape to know that it’s Coca Cola.
Less literally, a non-negotiable for you and your business could be that it is imperative that your branding conveys that you are a non-profit organisation. Or, it could be that it is essential to represent that you are an approachable and friendly brand through your visuals.
Non-negotiables can be quite abstract but they are really important in establishing what is and isn’t important to you before going through a branding exercise.
In my view, it is the job of a strategic designer to question and probe to delve deeper into some of these non-negotiables to see whether they really are non-negotiable or not, and to make strategic design decisions based on this.
- Know why you are rebranding
We briefly covered this above, but it’s important for you to really get clear on why you are rebranding. Beyond your measurable goals or KPI’s such as increasing visibility for your business or increasing profits, it is important to know why you are rebranding beyond the metrics. A rebrand is a big change, but one that can be incredibly powerful and transformative for your business, but it is a big job. You need to solidify what your brand represents and why you want to change or hone it. Getting clear on your (and your team’s) expectations of a rebrand can be really useful information to share with a designer.
Here are a few reasons you might decide to rebrand:
- A change is in the air – You might have been through some big changes recently and your business mission and vision have changed and you need a brand refresh to reflect this. The pandemic has forced a lot of businesses to adapt and pivot, maybe you have a new service, product or offering that isn’t being communicated effectively. The business you have today might be different from a couple of years ago and you need a refresh to show off your next stages of business.
- It’s just not working – You might already have a brand identity but know it’s not working for you but you’re not quite sure why. Your branding looks outdated and just doesn’t reflect your business anymore. The world around you or the market you’re in might have changed and your brand is now looking a little tired and in need of a spruce up.
- You’ve lost your way – Sometimes the motivation behind your business and the positive impact you are trying to create has gotten a little lost. Your ‘because’ and reason for being is the most important thing to convey to your customers, but is it being communicated effectively through your branding?
- Your audience has changed – As your business grows and changes sometimes, so does your audience. Your branding might no longer be appealing to the right people in the right way. It may be that it’s time for an update to ensure your customers feel at home and comfortable when they interact with your brand.
- Onwards and upwards – You are currently in a period of growth or change, maybe looking for external investment or to make new hires to take your business to the next level and you want the best chance possible to move your business forward
This may seem like a lot to think about, and can sometimes feel a bit overwhelming. If you are thinking about or are about to go ahead with a rebrand, I encourage you to think about these things before the project starts. You don’t need to spend ages on any of these prompts, but it will help to steer the project in the right direction if you have thought about some of these things in advance.
If you want to talk further about how you can get yourself and your business ready for a rebrand, or to find out more about how we can work together to build you a brand that feels like home, get in touch!