Sometimes, it becomes necessary to rebrand your company. As a brand photographer I’ve worked with people on many branding and rebranding projects. They can be a big undertaking, with photography as only one aspect of the updated brand.
There’s a lot to consider when choosing to do a rebrand and lots to take into account to be sure you do it right.
You may be doing so for one of several reasons. There are certainly times when you need to, such as:
Replacing Outdated Branding — Trends change, and if your branding doesn’t keep up, you may start to lose customers to competitors.
Company Restructuring — A merger, acquisition or demerger may necessitate a change.
Trying to Reach a More Specific Audience — A rebrand can ensure that your brand identity resonates with your audience.
A Product or Service Change — If your business has changed what it offers, the old branding needs updated.
Internationalization — The brand identity may not translate to other countries if you’re growing internationally.
Strategy Shift — If your company has grown and shifted from its initial vision, a rebrand will help with continued success.
Correcting a Recent Failed Rebrand — If internal and external stakeholders aren’t happy with a rebrand, they may influence leadership enough to rebrand the company a second time or revert back to the old branding.
Rebranding is not an exercise to take lightly. You should take a holistic approach when rebranding. Don’t spend all your time and resources on just a new logo or a fresh gallery of brand photography. A smooth and successful rebrand has to be synergistic.
Parts of a Rebrand
Doing a full rebrand takes months and consists of many steps, only one of which is brand photography.
This is an essential first step. Knowing your company inside and out, and the brand you already have in place, is critical. To rebrand, you must understand your brand as it stands now. Only then can you improve your brand for the future.
Ask yourself, what’s working and should be kept, what’s not working and can be eliminated and where can you improve?
Looking back at your old brand can also act as inspiration and ideas for your rebrand. You may see something that you abandoned years ago and decide to revive it, or perhaps there are elements of your current brand that can morph into something usable now.
Establish Who You Are
The next stage of rebranding your business is to remind yourself of the core aspects of your company. You should review and plan out everything, down to the company name.
Revisit your mission and vision. What do you do, why and how does it improve the lives of your customers, clients and audience?
Set your values in stone — what do you believe in as a company? These guiding principles your company lives by should give you a foundation for everything else you do.
Add a slogan. An effective slogan should highlight what’s beneficial about a product or service, prompting consumers to buy into the brand.
Think long and hard about who you are. It will lead you into the future of your company and make the rebrand go more smoothly.
Know Your Audience
Your rebranding efforts won’t do a bit of good if you create a brand that doesn’t appeal to your audience. Ideally, you’ll want to be a customer of your business as much as your customers want to be. If you and your team don’t have buy-in, how will your audience feel?
Make your brand authentic. Make it you. Make it part of your soul. Eat, sleep and breathe your brand. Have passion for your brand.
This is the way you’ll truly come to know who your audience is. Speaking with and selling to like-minded people is what it’s all about.
A good way to start to get to know your audience is by defining their demographics and expanding to their interests and what makes them tick.
When you know this, you will be able to do a rebrand of your business that they will love, support and want to connect with.
Lock in the Logistics and Legalities
Before doing any of the creation — new logos, fresh photography and all the rest of the visuals — you want to create a plan for how to do it effectively.
The two most important parts of your plan are communication with stakeholders and securing the trademarks that will protect your work. Understand the hoops you have to jump through before you get to them.
Make a plan for notifying internal partners. You’ll want everyone working together and no confusion, so plan how you’ll set expectations and give instructions. Then keep people in the loop early and often.
If, as you progress through your rebrand, you want to release bits and pieces as part of a soft launch, then guard the elements you want to hold back for later.
Embargo them or keep them out of places people have access to just in case they see something cool and make a rogue decision to use it earlier than planned.
Just as important is knowing what you’ll need to do to trademark your new rebrand. It’s good to get an understanding of this before you start so that you aren’t surprised by what you need to do later on.
You certainly don’t want to go to all the hard work of creating something brilliant only to see your competitors or other companies steal it.
For me, this is where the fun starts. Photographers, artists, designers and writers love making new brands. We get to open up the toy box and go nuts for a few weeks or months as we create something new.
This is where all the earlier hard work starts to pay off. Check out my brand checklist for more details, but you’ll want to address each aspect separately and wholly, including:
Brand Mood Board
Make a collection of ideas, pictures, color swatches and other things that you see fitting your brand.
Pick out the words you will use that will define your brand through thick and thin.
Colors go a long way to giving your brand a personality and making your content recognizably yours.
Fonts and Typefaces
Don’t let fonts become an afterthought. Pick ones that match your brand’s personality.
This is arguably the most informed piece of your branding arsenal. It’s what customers see and think of first when encountering your brand.
Single-owner businesses, small businesses and medium businesses will benefit from a gallery of useful brand photography because it increases your conversion rate.
I’ve seen the impact that fresh brand photography has for small businesses owners. Many times it’s the difference between success and failure.
Don’t skimp on photography. Hire a pro and get it right. If you’re serious about your brand then you need to take your branding photography seriously.
Update Your Website
Take your visual style guide and implement the changes on your website. This is the first place many people encounter your brand, so consider updating the website before you launch anything else. Don’t forget to update the URLs if you’ve changed the name of the company.
When you do a full rebrand, you’ll want to purchase a new domain and set up redirects from your old site to your new website. This step is less intense if you’re only doing a refresh or a partial rebrand.
Be sure to test your site and make sure everything functions as intended. It’s easy for things to get mixed up or broken when you’re making significant changes so test, test and retest, and make sure to get several fresh pairs of eyes on it.
Update Marketing Channels
Update every touch point you have, and maybe even add new ones. Everything you distribute, post online or share with your audience in any way must match your new brand style and positioning.
Things to update may include: flyers, handouts, pamphlets, brochures, letterheads, business cards, advertisements, billboards and more. Build templates to make this easier and quicker.
Create a template for each of these things by knowing what you used in the past and what you’ll need right away when you launch your rebrand.
Eliminate Old Branding
It can’t be “out with the old and in with the new” if there’s still some of the old stuff floating around. You’ve got to purge your brand assets of all the old creative visuals. This can be hard to talk yourself into if you’ve still got a couple boxes of unused business cards sitting in your supplies closet, but it must be done.
Your new brand can’t fully take off if it’s being anchored by the old stuff. Make sure to eliminate the old and replace with the rebrand materials everywhere you’ve got anything, including:
- All Digital and Traditional Marketing Materials
- Business Cards
- Tradeshow Giveaways
- Company Uniforms or Clothing
This is not an exhaustive list but should get you thinking about all the places your brand exists now and where you’ll want the rebranding for your business to be after launch.
Rebranding your business isn’t an easy undertaking — a lot goes into it. But as long as you’re doing it for the right reasons and with the right attitude, it can be a fun, inspiring experience.
Making your brand new and fresh again is exciting and will pump some energy into your company.
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