Small business owners spend a lot of time, resources, and money to establish their unique brand when starting out. But marketplaces, consumer activity, and your own products and services generally evolve over time. Undertaking a branding refresh can be a good way to address the evolving business landscape.
Rebranding can stimulate growth, expand, increase profits, strengthen its workforce, and gain a competitive advantage. Even larger corporations have done rebranding successfully. For example: Weight Watchers® changed its name to WW®, Dunkin Donuts® is now just Dunkin'®, Sugar Smacks® cereal is now Honey Smacks®, and Kentucky Fried Chicken® dropped the “fried” and is now simply KFC®.
Is your brand ripe for rejuvenation? Here’s what to consider and some tips to keep in mind.
What is rebranding?
Rebranding is a marketing strategy that updates a business’ image and can affect overall operations. A couple ways to refresh branding can include choosing a new name and logo. Updated branding should also be reflected in your marketing materials and online presence. The goal of rebranding is to help set you apart from competitors in your industry to attract possible investors, employees, and the public.
Reasons to consider a rebrand for your small business
Overhauling your business brand is a big decision that can come with big implications. Here are four good reasons to consider a rebrand of your small business.
Differentiate from your competitors
If your company name isn’t unique, you might be hurting your brand and missing out on big opportunities to grow. When potential customers search for your business on Google®, a generic logo can hurt your brand. Avoid using stock art as most consumers can decipher when a logo is cut and paste. A related problem occurs when you use stock art in your branding or marketing materials. Another reason to avoid stock images is that others may use identical photos, which may lead to confusion. Visit the SmartBiz® Small Business Blog for some helpful tips: Niche Marketing to Help Your Business Stand Out.
Refresh outdated branding
Your website is a good place to start researching options. Your navigation, colors, font, and images might look dated. Review your social media channels as well. Our post, 12 Branding Tips for Small Business for steps to follow if considering a rebrand. We’ve got easy to follow steps and examples from real entrepreneurs.
Move past a poor reputation
It happens to even the best of companies, a customer service stumble or product issues can lead to a flood of negative reviews. A rebrand can help customers see your business in a fresh way. Reputation management is critical these days. Visit the SmartBiz® Small Business Blog for this helpful article: Protecting your small business using online reputation management. You’ll learn strategies to keep a solid reputation.
When your business evolves
Do you have the exciting opportunity to expand or enter a new market? One step is to use fresh branding to cement your brand with new customers. Our post, Successfully Evolve Your Small Business, has information about steps to expand.
Rebranding steps for a small business
Start by understanding your mission, vision, and values
These three terms are often grouped together but they have distinct differences.
A mission statement is a formal summary of the aims and values of a company, organization, or individual. Your company vision is a clear mental image of where you want your business to be at some point in the future, based on your goals and aspirations. Core company values shape your company culture and impact your business strategy. They help you create a purpose, improve employee cohesion, and encourage commitment in the workplace.
Have a complete rebranding strategy that works with your existing branding
Many businesses don’t have the luxury of starting from scratch. If you’ve decided to go with a partial rebrand, look at your brand assets. Make sure those elements that get updated are also in line with existing materials. Don’t just start with a new website, consider updating packaging, signage, social media pages, etc.
Consider your competition
In addition to a clear customer persona, a competitive analysis is a great idea. A competitor analysis, also called a competitive analysis, is a way to identify competitors and understand their strengths and weaknesses in comparison to yours. This exercise helps to determine how to manage competitors and fine-tune your marketing strategy.
If you have a team of employees who help run your business, include them in the process. They should have a firm grasp of your mission, vision, and values. Make your goals clear and ask for input. In addition to sparking great ideas, your employees will feel engaged and valued.
Rename your business
A name change might be in order if your business model shifts entirely. As an example, let’s say you started your business as a consultancy, but you now only sell software. In that case, it’s probably time to drop the name “Jones Consulting” and rebrand with an easily identifiable software name instead. Simple Steps to Change Your Small Business Name can show you how to get started.
Rebuild your brand identity
Now for the fun stuff. Put your vision into place by rebranding your identity through updates of your logo, website, business cards, stationary, product packaging, and email design. If you don’t feel the color, format, and design duties are in your wheelhouse, look to an outside consultant or agency to guide you and spark ideas.
Manage the rebrand carefully
A rebrand can be complex and take some time. Create a brand plan with timelines to help you move through the process. Set deadlines and assign tasks so everyone involved is on the same page.
Launch and promote
Are you ready to introduce your refreshed brand to the world? Prepare to spread the news far and wide. You might be asked why you rebranded so have an honest answer ready. Social media is an excellent and cost-effective way to kick it off. If you have a physical location, use signage. You can also issue a press release for local outlets. A customer newsletter or dedicated email can let your existing customer base know the exciting news.
Rebranding can lead to increased sales and opportunities to expand. If you’re in need of working capital for inventory, marketing, hiring, or equipment purchases, a small business loan can help. You can even use funds from some loans for debt consolidation. Government backed SBA loans are known as the “gold standard” in funding because of low rates, long terms, and small monthly payments. Visit the SmartBiz Loans ® website for more information.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: The SmartBiz® Small Business Blog and other related communications from SmartBiz Loans® are intended to provide general information on relevant topics for managing small businesses. Be aware that this is not a comprehensive analysis of the subject matter covered and is not intended to provide specific recommendations to you or your business with respect to the matters addressed. Please consult legal and financial processionals for further information.