This week, I am moving into a new office. My company has always been run from a home office, but I decided to take the plunge and move out and expand. I am partnering with another woman business owner to lease an office in Green Cove Springs, FL, and we have been busily creating our new space these last two or three weeks.
All of which made me think about rebranding. Every company or business has a brand. Whether you consciously create it or not, a brand exists. The best definition of a brand I ever heard is that “a brand is a promise.” The promise might be different for you than for your neighbor, because your interaction with the brand is unique. Your customers have an image in their minds of what your brand is. You can try to manage your brand image, but it is impossible to control it.
If you have not been managing your brand, or if you haven’t updated your company’s image in a while, it might be time to rebrand. But how do you go about that? Here are a few steps I suggest:
1. Research your existing brand. Find out what your clients or customers think about your business by asking them, either through a survey or in person. By understanding your current position in their minds, you can decide what changes you need to make. For example, do your customers think of you as trustworthy but expensive? You can improve that image either by lowering your prices or by doing a better job of explaining the high quality you provide for those higher prices.
2. Do a 360-degree look at your business. Assess your business from the parking lot all the way to the restrooms. What do your signs say about you? The colors of the walls, the state of your shrubs? Are your marketing materials up to date and do they all have a consistent look and feel? How about your website – often the “front door” to your business. Is it mobile friendly? Is it cluttered, or easy to navigate?
3. Determine what you want your brand to be, and write it down. This might be a mission statement, a tagline, or just a couple of words, but if you have a clear vision of what you want to communicate it will be easier.
4. Now decide if you need to make changes to your logo, signs, colors, website, etc. Maybe you only need to make changes to the content, or perhaps provide additional training to staff.
5. Make an implementation plan. Many companies, especially non-profits and very small businesses, cannot afford to throw away boxes of printed materials. But I recommend a definite deadline by which everything will be changed over, even if it is a year away. You can phase in your implementation if you need to, but prioritize those steps according to what will have the most impact on your brand.
6. Lastly, communicate with customers, vendors, employees and other stakeholders about your rebranding. Ask for their feedback to make sure you are hitting the mark. If not, make changes. This can, and should, be a continuous process of measuring your brand’s impact.
In a few weeks, I will be speaking to a group of women business owners in Nassau County, FL about rebranding. I’d be interested in hearing your ideas about what I should include, or your feedback about this post. Have a great day!