When you first start a small business, branding is often an ideal vision of the image you want to project. You pour your time, effort, and budget into crafting the right tone and personality. But the bigger your business grows, the more you realize your brand doesn’t fully capture the value you provide.
Just like a person, a business identity can evolve as you gain insight into what works and what doesn’t. Branding your small business takes a lot of work, and the idea of starting all over again is scary. What happens if the new branding is a disaster? What if customers hate your refreshed image?
Small business rebranding is a worthwhile risk when it helps you create a focused growth strategy. However, it’s essential to make sure you’re doing it for the right reasons. Here are key signs you’re ready to rebrand your business for success.
1. Your Branding Is Inconsistent
Do the various elements of your brand work together or compete with one another? Do these elements all reinforce the message behind your brand? If you can’t definitively say “yes,” you have a big problem.
Branding is a tool to build trust, so you have to live up to your brand promises. Everything from the visual look of your products, to your customer service policies, tells a story about your business. You want customers to have a consistent experience, no matter where and how they come in contact with your branding. If you confuse people with too many messages, they will abandon you for businesses with a clear identity.
2. Your Branding Is Outdated
Sometimes, a brand needs a good facelift to remind people you still share their values. To do that, you have to create a brand voice and personality that feels like it comes from your customer’s world.
Look at the example of Old Spice, a long-standing brand that lost touch with its broad male customer base. Having words like “old” and “spice” in the name do little to sell a product as fresh and modern. Not to mention, Old Spice had steadily gained an unspoken reputation as the go-to brand for over-the-hill dads and granddads.
That all changed in 2010 when Old Spice rebranded with a viral ad campaign starring former NFL player Isaiah Mustafa.
A series of strange and absurdly funny ads followed, showing a sexy and youthful new side of the brand. Old Spice also made the smart move of targeting women, who frequently influence the purchasing decisions of male shoppers.
While Old Spice still embodies tradition, the brand used humor to completely transform public perception. If your brand no longer speaks the language of your customers, it’s time to change your approach and grab attention.
3. Your Business Doesn’t Stand Out From Competitors
Imagine all the dollar stores in your area. Can you tell them apart, or do they basically have similar names and products with little differentiation?
If you compete solely on price, you don’t have to worry about standing out. But most small businesses can’t afford to be clones of each other. The whole point of branding is to highlight qualities that make it worthwhile to pay more for your services.
You want customers to come to you for the unique value you offer, regardless of price. Brand storytelling is the key to bridging this gap.
The more you invite customers to learn about the values and people behind your business, the easier it is for them to trust you.
With this in mind, think about whether your business has something unique to offer customers. Do you provide more flexibility and personalization than your competitors?
How about fast, convenient service? Extensive options? Step-by-step guided help? Loyalty savings?
While a strong value proposition doesn’t need to be extreme, it should be a promise you can uphold. Rebranding yourself as the best in a highly focused niche can boost credibility and sales.
4. You Need to Overcome Negative Brand Associations
A bad reputation is hard to shake, but it isn’t impossible. Rebranding can be expensive and time-consuming, so think about whether you can repair your reputation through customer outreach first. Consider these factors as you make a decision.
- Do you have a strong following of loyal customers who can lend support?
- Do you target customers who see the value in your products?
- Do you have a strong source of differentiation?
- Do staff provide a positive experience for customers at all touchpoints?
A poor reputation may be a sign of weak branding, bad customer service, or mismatched customers. If you’re targeting the wrong people or have no idea who your most lucrative customers are, you will constantly run into conflicts until you strengthen your brand.
5. You’re Ready to Target New Customer Segments
Rebranding is often a good idea when you’re targeting a new demographic. New customer segments will either know nothing about your business or have preconceived opinions.
In both cases, a rebrand may be necessary if your target customers have significantly different priorities than your current audience. Consider the growing market for adult coloring books.
Adults have always had the ability to buy coloring books for themselves. Yet, many self-conscious adults were turned off by the perception that coloring is childish.
Major manufacturers, therapists, and booksellers repositioned coloring books as therapeutic tools, and suddenly, they’re selling to an all-ages market.
You don’t always have to change your entire business identity to attract new customers segments. Instead, focus on expanding your brand story to show multiple aspects of the same core vision.
6. You Expanded or Acquired a Business
Whether you’re taking over a known business or merging two companies, a rebrand can help you start fresh with a unified identity.
- Do you want to project a different image than the one customers have come to expect?
- Do customers associate your business with a specific product, which no longer reflects the range of services you now offer?
- Do one or more of the acquired businesses have a negative reputation?
- Do you have location-specific branding that makes it difficult to expand to a larger geographic range?
All of the above are valid reasons to rebrand with a clean slate, so you can avoid getting pigeonholed.
7. Be Strategic With Rebranding
Before you dive into rebranding your small business, create a plan to measure the return on investment. Rebranding is a big step, and you shouldn’t make such a drastic move just to get out of a marketing rut.
Early on, you should figure out whether a rebrand will be mainly visual or conceptual. Will it primarily affect your marketing assets, or will it involve a considerable shift in values?
While the former is mainly a monetary investment, the latter requires support and understanding from your staff and customers.
Blindsiding your loyal customers can drive them away. Think about how you want to roll out your new identity and be transparent about your intentions. You don’t have to lose customers when you use rebranding as an opportunity to reinforce your commitment to great service.
When you are ready to rebrand, make sure to design a logo with this simple online logo maker.