Since we’ve all been home a little too long, this analogy should make perfect sense. In the last six months, have you looked at your home and thought- blah. Or walked into the kitchen and thought, this needs a refresh! Maybe some new paint, update that backsplash- or maybe you are ripping out walls and ordering new appliances.
Your brand can become dated just the same way your old countertops can. But before you overhaul every visual representation of your business or ignore me thinking that’s not important, ask yourself- is it time for a rebrand? Do I really make time to focus on what my brand really is? Am I avoiding branding because I’m too busy working for the business to work ‘on’ the business? Which is a trap I find myself in often.
To be clear, when I talk about branding, I mean any visual representation of your business. That can be logos, colors, signage, printed materials, t-shirts your staff wears, social media, website, the list goes on and on. Anything your customer touches or sees in relation to your brand should follow a brand standard or guideline. I highly suggest having these branding standards in a clean document that you can give a designer or staff member for reference.
Evolving and adapting are part of any business. Your brand needs to be current and attractive. Knowing how distracted we can become by the day-to-day tasks, I’ve put together a few signs that your brand is in desperate need of an update.
1. You’re hesitant to hand out your business card or website address. If you cry a little inside when you present potential customers with your printed visuals or direct them to your online branding- its time. An outdated brand is one thing, but you should always be proud to show off your brand.
2. If you confuse, you lose. Is your brand style more ‘eclectic’ than clear and defined? Do you use logos, fonts, colors, tagline without a clear plan? Then now is the best time to create a clear branding plan. You need a clear set of branding guidelines so that every member of your team is on the same page. Take fonts for example, you should have a clear plan for which fonts are to be used for headers, buttons, and paragraphs on your website. Those fonts should also match printed material, flyers, business cards. If these things are put together haphazardly- you aren’t giving your customers a consistent branding experience which can lead to confusion or a less-than-professional perception of your business.
3. You look the same as the competition. You need to stand out. Your brand’s personality should feel different. There needs to be a differentiator between you and the rest of your industry. If not you risk looking like a franchise and your customers not knowing your value. Take a look at your competitors, do you stand out or blend in?
4. The business has gone through an ownership change. Does the new company or entity need to stay the same for the sake of continuity? I’ve seen instances where the brand needs to remain the exact same to keep staff and customers happy and instill a sense of security during the transition. But if a new brand will help the business shed a previous perception, its time to change it up!
5. Did you moved or change markets? Sometimes when you move you want consistency so customers know where to find you, like when you move down the street or across town. But sometimes a move is a great time relook at the market. When you are picking signage or paint colors for your new location, take the time to be sure you are creating a consistent and recognizable experience for your customer. If you move to a new market- be sure your branding aligns with your new target customer.
6. Your business has changed. Heck, it’s 2020- everyone’s business has changed. But have you changed focus? Do you offer different products or services than when you last reviewed your brand? If that’s the case, it’s definitely time to give your brand a good update. If you started as a wedding photographer and now you focus on sports photography or babies- your branding will need to evolve. Maybe you started as a food truck and now you offer catering? Any significant business change is an opportunity to be sure your brand is keeping up.
7. Do you have a new – or more clearly defined- target audience? Knowing who you are targeting is a big determining factor in the type of brand personality you are trying to convey. If you are targeting someone in their early 20’s you are going to use different colors and language than if you are targeting stay-at-home moms or men in their 70’s.
8. Have you outgrown your brand? New levels new devils, y’all! You can’t expect to compete with the big dogs using the same tactics when you were starting out. Scale impacts your brand. Also- if you have a hard time raising your price because your brand isn’t viewed as valuable enough, you need to have a hard look at the messages you are putting out.
9. Do you need to avoid a negative association? Oh, this is touchy! If your business has been impacted by negative press, a bad reputation, or any other events that could impact you- a rebrand could bring new life and new opportunities. Distancing your business from negativity can be the best option sometimes.
You don’t have to throw out everything. The saying ‘don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater’ totally applies here. If there are elements of your brand that work- keep them. Instead of a huge overhaul- can you simply refresh or evolve your brand? Instead of all new furniture, maybe you just need a fresh coat of paint. Take this time to review your visuals for consistency as well.
But have fun with a rebrand! Use this as an opportunity for a relaunch or reopening. If you are excited, that will rub off on your team and your customers will feel that energy as well.