Rebranding Strategy: 8 Steps to a Successful Makeover
Feeling like your brand is stale?
Like it’s outdated?
Like you’ve simply outgrown it, and it’s now time to store it away in the decade in which it was created?
Then you’re ready for a rebrand. However, for many B2B companies, the thought of rebranding is both overwhelming and intimidating. Where do you even start? A new website? Logo? Differentiation? With so many tasks to tackle, it’s hard to know what to focus on. And how can you be sure that your efforts will produce a positive ROI?
This is why so many businesses remain stale. It’s easier to maintain the status quo than to implement an effective rebranding strategy.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. Rebranding can be energizing while leading to strong growth.
Over the years, we’ve had the opportunity to guide numerous B2B companies through a successful rebranding.
For example, we worked with Vi3, an innovative real-time data intelligence solutions provider, to both develop a robust rebranding strategy and then to put it into effect.
We started by developing a 153-page brand strategy for Vi3 in which we identified real-time “Data Intelligence” as a white space opportunity within Vi3’s competitive landscape.
Additionally, we guided Vi3 through a brand-naming process, resulting in a new name that communicates innovation, intelligence and insight.
Next, we began to put the newly developed brand strategy into action with new visual branding, including a gorgeous new website, a “look and feel” for the brand, a logo, corporate stationery, marketing collateral and a van wrap. These elements reflect Vi3’s innovativeness, industry-leading technology and superior customer service.
Finally, we worked hand in hand with Vi3 to overhaul their sales deck and their approach to sales meetings so that pitches are even more compelling.
We also worked with the office space consulting firm Officeworks in a similar fashion, helping them to implement a complete rebranding to better reflect their unparalleled commitment to customer service.
We began by developing a brand strategy for the company, identifying superior customer service as a white space opportunity within Officeworks’ competitive landscape. The brand strategy included a clear customer promise, market positioning, differentiation, linguistic tonality, core values, brand messaging and more.
Next, we created a new website for them so their online presence would match the stunning interiors they offer to their clients. The website now reflects Officeworks’s sleek and contemporary aesthetic and highlights their dedication to a superior customer experience.
Finally, we worked with Officeworks to develop new marketing collateral, including brochure, business cards, video and a 32-page entry for a national industry awards competition. This entry took home first place, demonstrating Officeworks’s superiority in the industry (and demonstrating the power of the brand)!
When all was said and done, our rebranding efforts with Officeworks helped them triple their revenue.
Getting Results from Your Rebranding Strategy
By now, you’re probably asking “how can my brand achieve those kinds of results?”
Before you begin the rebranding process, you need to ask the right questions. Specifically, you need to determine why you should rebrand in the first place.
- Is there something problematic with your current branding?
- Something outdated?
- Something you’re trying to fix or accomplish?
Once you answer these questions, you need to know how to implement a successful rebranding strategy so your efforts translate into a positive ROI instead of just a new color palette. Here are 8 steps to ensure a successful makeover.
A Winning Rebranding Strategy for Mega ROI
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Step #1: Set Your Rebranding Goals and Objectives
A successful rebranding strategy starts by determining your overall goals and objectives.
- Do you want to generate more leads?
- Compete at a higher level in the marketplace?
- Establish yourself more firmly as an industry leader?
- Make your Unique Selling Proposition (USP) clearer?
- Resonate more deeply with your audience?
- Let your brand personality shine through more powerfully?
- Replace your outdated branding so that your brand is seen as modern and with the times?
- Something else?
It’s not enough to simply say you want a new website or marketing collateral. Why do you want those things? What are you trying to accomplish through your rebranding? An effective rebranding strategy starts by developing a compelling “Why?”
If you don’t set specific goals and objectives for your rebrand, you won’t know how to measure the outcome and determine if it’s been successful.
Step #2: Do Your Research
The next step is to dive into introspection while also thoroughly researching both your existing clients and the potential clients you intend to target. If you don’t do this research, your perspective will be limited. Your goal is to have an objective understanding of both your brand and the marketplace in which you compete.
Start by interviewing your executives and employees. What is their perception of your brand? Is there anything that they are eager to change? If they were to start the business today, what would they do differently?
Then move on to your clients. Interviewing clients can be a veritable goldmine of insights. What comes to mind when your clients think of your brand? If you have any client survey or Net Promoter Score data available, be sure to dive deep into that. Determine new pain points of your audience. What problems do they struggle with that you can solve?
Next, dive into your company’s website data, search data, social data and email data. What do they tell you about your audience and their current perception of your brand? It’s critical that you understand current perceptions so that you can get from where you are to where you want to be.
Finally, as you develop your rebranding strategy, do competitive landscape research. This is critical for understanding and developing positioning, differentiation and messaging. You won’t be able to set yourself apart from your competitors if you don’t understand what your audience is seeing and hearing from your competition.
Step #3: Define Your Audience
After setting your goals and doing your research, you need to spend time defining exactly who your audience is.
Over time, it’s quite natural that your brand becomes a perfect fit for certain audience segments, while losing value to others. Any company that’s evolving comes across this. For example, the security software company Imprivata went from targeting banks, financial institutions and healthcare facilities to exclusively focusing on healthcare in 2009 after the financial sector collapse. Revenue subsequently increased by 40% within the following three years.
When it comes to your own rebranding efforts, explore whether you need to widen or narrow your target audience. Are there certain audience segments that you need to add or remove? Where are your greatest growth opportunities? What group of people can you have the biggest impact upon? If your refreshed brand would be heavily favored by a specific audience segment, then it may be more profitable to focus exclusively on that segment after the brand relaunch.
Your rebranding strategy will be most impactful if you know exactly whom you’re trying to serve. If you try to serve too many different audiences, you won’t effectively serve anyone.
A Rebrand that WOWs
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Step #4: Be Holistic
When it comes to rebranding, it’s easy to think only in terms of visual assets, such as logos. But rebranding is much bigger than a new logo. Rebranding encompasses EVERYTHING about you. An impactful rebranding strategy is holistic, encompassing many areas of your business, including many non-visual elements.
Rebranding can include core values, brand personality, positioning, differentiation, customer promise, mission and more. On the visual side, it can include a new logo, color palette, fonts, visual styles and look and feel.
Each of these elements should enhance the others, with all of them driving home your core values. Your rebranding strategy should be driven by the fundamental goals and objectives you set in the beginning.
Step #5: Be True To Your Essence
With a rebranding process, you’ll often be redefining the DNA of your brand. As you do this, it’s essential that you still stay true to your essence. In other words, you must hold firm to the core of who you are.
Why did you start your company in the first place? What problems did you want to solve? Who did you want to serve?
What are your core values, and how will you adhere to them? Although your positioning and differentiation may evolve over time, your core values should remain the same. They should be enduring.
As you rebrand, it’s critical that you stay true to your essence – the heartbeat of your business.
Step #6: Define Your Messaging Platform
As part of your rebranding strategy, you need to be crystal clear about your messaging. To that end, the development of a messaging platform is extremely useful. A messaging platform is a collection of soundbites that can (and should) be used consistently across the business to explain your brand, what you stand for, why it matters, your differentiation and your core messages. Just as you need to define the visual aesthetics representing your brand (See #7: Create a Style Guide, below), your messaging platform is your linguistic guide.
This can include your tagline, elevator pitch, headlines, one liners and full paragraphs that you can use repeatedly throughout your marketing. If you have multiple audience segments, it’s helpful to segment your messaging platform similarly, ensuring that your messaging resonates strongly with each segment.
Your messaging platform can then be applied to your website, content, marketing collateral, email, social media, trade show booth, internal communications and wherever else you are communicating your message.
Step #7: Create A Style Guide
As you move forward, different members of your team as well as third-party partners will need access to logo variations, logo usage guidelines, hex codes, fonts, approved messaging, etc. for all different purposes. It’s essential that everyone be on the same page when it comes to these things.
Make sure all of these details are documented and easily accessible so everyone can work to keep your new branding consistent.
For example, LinkedIn has a detailed style guide that includes everything from their brand voice to the types of photos that should be used to their standard color palette to their logo usage.
Skype has a style guide that’s overflowing with personality. It’s truly one of a kind. Skype’s guide goes in-depth on who they are, their brand personality, tone of voice, logo usage and even an extensive explanation of how to use speech bubbles.
When it comes to your style guide, the goal is to ensure that everyone is on the same page in regards to your brand.
Step #8: Plan The Launch
After you’ve done all the above steps, it’s time to launch, and when you launch, do it loudly. Don’t roll things out slowly, as this only confuses your audience and taxes your employees. Roll out the entire thing at once.
Don’t do things in bits and pieces. Draw a line in the sand and then make a clear jump to the other side.
Go big or go home. Ensure that no matter where a prospective customer comes into contact with your brand, they encounter the new you.
Rebranding in Action
Developing a rebranding strategy is cathartic. Throughout the process, you’ll be defining your new brand, a better brand, the ideal brand.
Each time we go through the process with a new client here at Stratabeat, their team gets excited. You can see them come alive. Is it a great deal of work? Sure. But it’s work that helps you build something truly special.
Any brand can become ossified through the years as executives and employees are busy being busy. At a certain point, everyone is spending their time getting today’s deliverables out the door. It’s a mad dash from one deadline to another. Through the process, a brand can become stale and outdated. The purpose and meaning of the work you’re doing can become lost.
A rebranding strategy is like dynamite. It forces you to have a laser focus on the present. It clears away the old to make room for the new with a big, bold jolt of energy.
When Stratabeat conducted a rebranding for ourselves a few years ago, including a new brand name, our team felt completely energized. Even today we revisit our Brand Stack as a team every quarter, reviewing brand elements such as our customer promise, positioning, differentiation, brand personality and tonality and core values. In doing this, we know exactly who we are and exactly how we help our clients achieve success. It’s empowering and helps both us as well as our clients to achieve more.
If your brand is feeling stale or perhaps a bit out of touch with the future, give us a shout and let’s explore what a rebrand could do for your business.