February 2, 2017
If your heartbeat has quickened after reading the word “rebrand,” you should keep reading. This is certainly a very important endeavor that shouldn’t be taken lightly, but here are five tips that might help you get the best out of this process and, hopefully, make it seem less intimidating.
There are many stakeholders typically involved with every rebrand project: executives, investors, marketing, legal. Since there is a huge effort going into so many layers of the project, you want to be 100% sure that all parties are on board. The last thing you want to do is spend months working on the rebrand to have it get aborted in the final stretch. Change is usually hard for most people, but everyone needs to agree on a common goal. Ask yourself: Why are you rebranding? What do you hope to achieve? All the work to follow should answer this goal.
Defining your goals is just the first step in determining your identity. What are the company values? What kind of products or services do you deliver every day? What makes you unique? The adjectives that you use to answer these questions will be the key to unlocking the visual aesthetic of your brand; you will also use the same adjectives to describe style and design.
It’s not about what you like – it’s about what best represents the brand. You must separate your personal biases from this process as much as possible. Recognize what is aesthetically pleasing, but put your own preferences aside. You should already have a good idea of what your target audience looks like, if not, now is a great time to profile them. Meaning, if you primarily sell to male IT professionals over the age of 40, pink probably isn’t the best choice for your color palette.
I understand we live in a world where everything is due yesterday, but a rebrand is something that should never be rushed. This is the face of your company, and if it’s done right, it will stand the test of time and attract customers and partners alike! In other words, every step of the process should get its own timeline. The work done in one stage will inform the work done in the next. The first thing that should be tackled after the brand mission and values are set should be the logo. Your logo is the skeleton of your brand and your main identifier. It is your company’s representation in all places and materials. It needs to be able to define you at a split-second glance. The logo process should always start in black and white; this will allow you to focus on the concept without the distraction of color. The finished logo will determine your visual aesthetic, and only then can you begin to pick out a color palette, imagery and stylistic treatments that match.
As mentioned above, a good visual identity should be timeless. A company should only be looking to rebrand maybe once every six years or so at most – or when there are specific business reasons to do so. Of course, there are different levels of rebranding. You are certainly eligible for brand face lifts or refreshers much more often to avoid becoming outdated or stale. During these brand refreshes, you should maintain your core color palette, typography and logo, but you could perhaps add on or emphasize different pieces of what already exists (remember those goals and values!). The reason: You want to develop “recognizability” and trust in the market. If you are constantly changing directions on how you look, you could be perceived as disorganized or inconsistent because your visual presence is a direct reflection of your company.
Having read the top five tips for rebranding your company, now you can take a deep breath! You’re ahead of the game. Rebranding is supposed to be fun! Deciding on colors and fonts is MUCH more enjoyable and interactive than reading through those TPS reports. It may seem daunting and time-intensive, but the process will all be worth it when you take it one step at a time.
As Jeff Bezos, Amazon founder and CEO, once said, “Your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room.” So we say, make an impact.