If a rebrand is on the mind, ask yourself these questions to see if what you need is a slight tweak of what you’ve already got going for you, or if a full re-evaluation of your brand’s visual identity is in order:
1. What is the motivation behind this change?
Have your products or services changed? Has your target market and clientele changed? Has your business grown or pivoted in a new direction? Do you feel that you finally have the clarity in your business goals and need your brand to reflect this clarity? Or are you just tired of your current design and want a change?
2. What do you need your brand identity to do for you?
What are you trying to communicate to your clients? Is it working? If so, what’s working? If not, what’s not resonating properly?
3. Who are your ideal clients?
Unlike when you first start out, you’ve had time to work with a number of different types of clients at this point and should have more clarity on WHO your IDEAL clients are. Who do you love doing business with the most? What is it about these people that make them such ideal clients? Does your brand speak to those people?
4. Who are your most successful clients/products?
What is it about those projects or products that made them so successful? Was it the type of client? The level of their investment? Was it the way you conducted the business? The quality of the product? Does the success of that project/client/product match the message you are putting out there with your brand?
5. How will you determine whether or not this change/rebrand was a success?
What factors will determine whether or not your changes/rebrand were successful, in-effective, or deterring for your brand? How do you plan on tracking these changes?
Fill out the answers to the questions above and then look back through your own responses to determine whether or not a rebrand is in order.
Wait! Still not sure which is right for you?
Is a Rebrand Right for You?
What Is the Motivation Behind This Change?
If your business has grown, your offerings changed, ideal clients have changed or you have more clarity in the kind of business you want to build, then it’s probably time for a rebrand.
Your brand’s visual identity is often the first impression you have to make on your target market. Making sure that your visuals support every element of your business’s goals is critical to a successful first impression. If you’ve gone through major changes this 2017, then a big rebrand might be exactly what you need in order to move into 2018 with confidence and clarity.
You don’t want to lose any of the momentum you’ve got up or the loyal followers you’ve built up. But you know that you need to make some changes.
If your answer was that you’re just sick of what you currently have and want a change, then a rebrand might be in order if you feel that your first design never properly reflected what you want for your business, but change for the sake of change can be incredibly damaging to a business’s recognition and overall success. In this case, a rebrand is not right for you. Constantly changing the way your business looks makes it harder for your ideal clients to recognize your work and build a trusting relationship with your business.
In that case, you might just need to update some of your brand’s collateral, get new photos taken, or freshen up your social templates. All of which can give you that fresh look you crave while not totally changing your brand’s identity and throwing your audience for a visual whiplash.
What Do You Need Your Brand Identity to Do for You?
If you feel that your brand’s identity isn’t clearly communicating your message to your target clients (p.s. your message is that you are the perfect person to meet their needs) then it’s probably time for a rebrand. If you feel that your message is in there, but a few tweaks to what you have will make that clearer, then a full rebrand isn’t necessary, but instead, an audit of your current brand elements to gauge where updates need to be made v.s. where things can stay exactly the same.
Who Are Your Ideal Clients?
This is always an exciting one to explore again after being in business for a while. It’s also critical to do regularly as your “target” client might change or alter as you become more and more acquainted with your own business and your goals for how you want to build your brand. Doing this from day one is hugely helpful in creating a more focused voice and clear identity for your brand, but it’s natural for it to pivot or change. So, who are your true ideal clients? Does your brand clearly speak to them? If not, then it’s time for a rebrand. Making sure that your visuals are clearly resonating with your ideal clients is critical to a brand’s success.
Are you still targeting the same clients and happy with the audience you’re attracting to your business? Then a rebrand is not right for you. Instead, reflect on some of the ways you use your brand. Maybe a website redesign is what you need. An enhanced online experience with the brand identity your clients already know and love. Give them something new and exciting to play with while not stepping away from what they already trust.
Who Are Your Most Successful Clients/Products?
This might seem like the same question as the last one, but it’s really not. Sometimes, we love working with one kind of client, but find that another type of client is oftentimes more successful after working with us. Same with products. You may love creating one kind of product, but find that another product is way more popular and successful. Do your ideal clients and most successful clients/products line up? Are they different? What is it that makes one more successful than the other? Does your brand bring in the more successful clients v.s your true ideal clients? Does your branding better promote one product v.s the products you love most? If so, it might be time to consider a rebrand. We don’t want to break what isn’t “really broken” but possibly adjust what you currently have in order to bring more balance to the force.
If you are happy with each outcome, working with some ideal clients while also working with others who seem to be more successful/positive working experiences, then possibly consider updating your marketing materials. Creating product guides or process guides for each piece of your business can be hugely helpful in educating both kinds of clients. Assisting them in getting the targeted information they need to invest in you or your products. But keeping what’s already working for you the same as not to rock the boat until you are ready for a major change. (No need for a full rebrand.)
How Will You Know Whether or Not Your Changes or Rebrand Were Successful?
No matter which decision you make for your business, how do you plan on tracking whether or not it was a successful decision? Establishing a process for evaluating growth, change, and feedback on your brand is an important best practice to put in place for any small business. It isn’t just how it looks, but how it works. Knowing what’s working from what’s not is going to help you continue to make the best decisions for your brand. Guessing is never a good idea, and only focusing on what you like, v.s. what your clients like can be detrimental to your brand.
If you decide on a full rebrand, reach out to past clients and get their feedback on the new changes. People who’ve worked with you in the past have the intimate knowledge of what makes you so great and can give you helpful feedback in making sure your message is clear with this new look. Also, be sure to set new milestones for your brand that move in the direction you want to take your business. Seeing how fast or slow you move towards those milestones can help you determine if you need to continue to make changes or if your rebrand was a great success.
Case Study of a Full Rebrand With Hashtagitude Digital Marketing
We connected with fellow Colorado small business owners, Helene and Ryan of Hashtagitude Digital Marketing earlier this year when they found themselves in need of a major rebrand.
They have been in business for a few years and knew that it was time to make some major changes to their visual identity in order to better communicate their current brand’s message. So much had changed since they first launched and their current look no longer fit their needs.
As a digital marketing agency, they prided themselves on their ability to make authentic, long-lasting connections and communities for their clients, vs just mass collecting followers. They needed this new brand to embody the handcrafted, timeless, and true methods they used to build their client’s online engagements. Something to show their authentic practices and people-focused perspectives on digital marketing.
Their ideal clients were other people-focused businesses who wanted to create one of a kind, handcrafted experiences for their clients. From custom jewelry designers who create each piece to meet their client’s requests, to a yarn company that hosts weekly crafting events to engage their clients in a more inviting and personal environment. Other like-minded brands who embodied handcrafted authentic client relations.
The more personal the relationship between the business and the client made them exactly the kinds of brands that Hashtagitude wanted to work with. People who appreciated not only their digital expertise but the one-of-a-kind handcrafted experience they valued. Communicating that through their rebrand was critical.
The Final Brand
Since their rebrand, Hashtagitude has actively taken their activities off-screen and in-person with other local businesses in the Denver area and beyond. Knowing that the personal connections they strive to build for their clients are what make them unique and successful, they have made a commitment to participating in similar activities and utilizing their brand elements in ways un-traditional for their industry. From handwritten postcards, stickers, and colorful business cards, they now have a brand identity that visually embodies their handcrafted values and authentic commitments to their clients.
(Do they not look like a ton of fun to hang out and talk business with? Wine, Thai food, coffee, and talking about business… four of my favorite things!)
Have you felt that itch that it just might be time to make some major changes for your business?
A rebrand is no easy task. Unlike when you first started out, you most likely don’t have near the same amount of time to go through all the little details that go into a brand design and development phase. You’re probably already actively engaging on social media, and the thought of updating your brand’s identity is terrifying to consider. You don’t want to lose any of the momentum you’ve got up or the loyal followers you’ve built up. But you know that you need to make some changes.