What a Small Business Rebranding Project Would Look Like
You’re refocusing your mission. Your leadership is changing. You’re expanding into new markets. Your merger is already underway. You’re acquiring a new brand or offering.
And now… your brand image feels stale.
Has it been more than a decade since you last made a decision on your small business’ visual language? A recent Entrepreneur article reports, on average, companies adjust their branding identity once every seven to ten years.
This is your small business guide to rebranding. A rebrand begins the moment you decide it’s right for you. Let’s take a look at what goes into the rebranding process!
Continuing a History of Success in Your Industry
Your business already exists. Great job! That means you have exercised certain core competencies that have allowed you to achieve high benchmark performance. Now, you’re seeing a big change coming, or perhaps things have been changing for a while now, and you need to match pace with the industry.
Write This Down: Take account of your organizational strengths. What are your competitive advantages? What’s special about your offerings? What are the main reasons for this rebrand? What questions do you have for a creative agency offering brand identity and logo design services?
Be Prepared to Overshare on Your First Date
When you approach a creative agency, the process starts with an audit. What creatives will want to know is what your current visual identity looks like, that is, how you use branding in different marketing channels. For example, if you’re a community center, they’ll want to know by what modes you promote your programs and how you use branding in the building.
This is when you’ll be glad you came prepared with some background on your company and new developments that prompted this consultation in the first place. Afterall, the American Marketing Association stresses the importance of brand storytelling. The agency will want to know your overall business performance, ratings and reviews, and what you hope to accomplish in the future.
Time to DTR (Define the Relationship)
Once you lay it all on the table, agency creatives will give their initial criticisms of your current communications. Keep an open mind. They’ll then ask you which suggestions you see value in pursuing. Your client relationship will be based on what advice you want to implement.
Depending on the goals you set together, the company may ask for more information or materials from you. When you part, creatives assigned to your account will do a deep dive into mission statement, relevant stakeholders, organizational values, and other components of brand and operations.
Setting a Date to See Each Other Again
Plan to meet when you can be generous with your time. You’re putting faith in this agency to deliver on the goals you discussed, but you might have a lot to talk about when you meet up again. Schedule a significant block of time to the process.
You may feel that your rebrand is urgent, perhaps tied to a specific leadership decision or market occurrence. Don’t settle for a rushed brand launch. Give yourself and the creative agency as much time as possible to talk through your brand transformation.
You’ll Spend Some Time Apart
At this point, the ball is in the creative agency’s court. Creatives will give their first go at composing a logo and secondary design elements such as color palette, iconography, photographic style, and visual language.
Be open to the idea of changing your business name, tagline, URL, or social media handles to accommodate the direction of the rebrand. For example, if you planned on incorporating a character into your branding in the future, it might be advantageous to change your Twitter handle to the name of that character.
If you’re overwhelmed by the idea of keeping up on social media, consider the social media managers at social benge. We offer paid ad and social media management that’s affordable and cost-effective.
Reunited and It Feels So Good
Finally, it’s time for the agency to present separate proposals for “brand systems.” Each brand system is an assembly of branding elements, like logo, colors and iconography. Creatives, who may include the graphic designer, will explain why they made certain design decisions and why each brand system might work for your small business rebranding.
Close to Final Comp
Here, “comp” refers to the advertising and graphic design term, comprehensive layout, (or simply, comprehensive,) that presents a creative work as it would be displayed when it's used. “Close to final” denotes that it isn’t the final version, (close!) since the creative presenting it still needs to get feedback.
At this point, the agency retains copyrights to all the material they create until you choose a direction. Then, both parties sign documents transferring rights to the branding scheme. You can refer to legal guides from the professional association for design, AIGA, to brush up on this concept.
So You Think You’ve Found the One
Once you choose a brand system, creatives on your account will open a dialogue to discuss minor changes that should be made. This conversation can go on for a while, so you’ll be glad you cut out a large portion of your schedule for this big check in.
After the rebranding proposal, creatives on your account will implement those minor changes and construct a style guide that will deliver brand elements to your company in a way that is more usable. For instance, they’ll design two-tone (black and white) equivalents to the logo, ensure icons can be used in a variety of settings, and finalize your business card. Altogether, these elements create your brand vernacular, your company’s style of visual communication.
Time to Make It Official
At last, your agency will contact you with digital materials and instructions on how to implement your new branding across marketing channels. This should keep your company’s aesthetic and meaning in sync across different modes of communication. This sense of consistency is called brand continuity and ensures that your company is distinct in various settings.
The ultimate success of a rebrand is not whether rebranding occurs, but how it positively impacts the business and augments your small business’ strengths and messaging. One way to evaluate this is to compare specific marketing activities from before versus after the rebrand. Another is simply to consider overall financial performance.
Are You Ready to Take the Leap?
A small business rebranding project can be emotional. You’re forced to be vulnerable. You have to dedicate time and energy outside your usual business responsibilities.
Though it will require you to step outside your comfort zone and think outside the box, implementing your new brand is a gratifying experience. When customers and partners see the new you, you’ll be able to greet them with confidence knowing you’re ready to tackle changes in your organization and in your industry.
Now that you’re prepared to make this commitment, social benge is here with the marketing services and expertise to deliver a rebranding strategy that will elevate your small business. Reach out to us on our contact page to start loving your company brand again.