As a business owner, there are few decisions more important than determining your brand's look, feel, and message. What do you want your brand to convey to your audience? How do you want it to make them feel? And what will your brand represent? While many entrepreneurs take the time to dig into these answers at the beginning of their business launch, they rarely re-evaluate their brand goals as the years go on.
I often speak with business owners who recognize their current branding doesn't do them any favors, yet they hesitate to "pull the plug" on a new design. Typically this occurs as a result from one of the two following situations:
1) "They still like the way their logo looks." In my experience, it's actually not the actual design they like - it's their emotional tie to the branding. Their logo represents the first decision they made for their business and it is difficult for them to let go, regardless of how well it accomplishes their business goals.
2) "They have so many things tied to their logo," making the decision to rebrand a difficult (and expensive) one. They begin to question whether a rebrand is worth the time, energy, and money required of them and eventually talk themselves into sticking with what they have.
What these business owners fail to recognize is that a rebrand can dramatically change their outcome, producing higher sales and inquiries from their dream clients.
But how do you know when it's time to re-think YOUR branding?How can you be sure it's the right decision? To help you evaluate your own business, I've listed out five scenarios when a rebrand might be necessary.
1) You no longer attract your ideal audience, or your target client is different from who it was when you started.
This is a big one - maybe even THE biggest reason why a rebrand is necessary. If you no longer receive those magical inquiries from your dream or ideal clients, it may be because your branding doesn't speak their language. Take (for instance) Susie, a hypothetical wedding photographer who started her business in 2008. Her branding at the time of her business launch was soft and romantic with an emphasis on fine art - perfectly suited for a mid-20-something target client on the brink of engagement. Since then, her photography has grown with her audience. The ceremonies she captured 10 years ago have turned into newborn and family photography sessions, bringing her an entirely new target demographic; however, Susie rarely receives new inquiries for family photography. They primarily stem from existing clients, and she can't figure out why. (Hint: A brand that mirrors the romance of old world Paris probably doesn't resonate with parents running around their backyard with a dog and two kiddos!)
2) You offer completely new or vastly different services from your initial business model.
This situation is more common than you may realize. Business owners often start out with intentions to offer, sell, or do one thing and end up offering, selling, or doing something entirely different! As your business evolves its services or product offerings, it's important to examine whether or not your current visual message lines up properly.
3) Your branding is outdated or too trendy.
Ah, one of the biggest woes in branding. Sure, your bright pink neon logo resonated well 7 years ago, but now? Now it sticks out like a sore thumb, and not in a good way. As the digital sphere continues to evolve, so do digital "palettes" - customers and clients tire of the trends and crave something fresh, something new. To remain a "player," you MUST pay attention to this, asking yourself often "is my branding still relevant, or is it stuck in the past?"
4) You brand doesn't stand out in a crowded market.
Maybe your branding suits your business perfectly fine, but it doesn't drive business the way you'd like. It looks nice, but it's similar to nearly everyone else's in your industry and lacks the ability to reflect the true uniqueness of your business. Business owners in this scenario often fight the urge to rebrand the longest - insisting the clients will come and failing to realize clients will never find them in the sea of look-a-likes.
5) Your business is changing names, merging with another company, or switching ownership.
Though pretty self-explanatory, any time your business undergoes a significant change, whether that looks like a shift in leadership, a major growth in services, or even a dramatic increase in the number of employees, your visuals must showcase this shift properly. With any major change, a business often re-evaluates their position on various strategies, processes, and offerings - all of which call for an evaluation of the overall brand goals.
Once you've decided it's time to rebrand, it's time to look into professionals to get the job done and done well! To help out, I've outlined 9 IMPORTANT Things to Consider Before Hiring a Brand Designer - take a look!