Rebranding is expensive, time-consuming, potentially confusing, easy to get wrong, and rarely executed correctly. Scary enough? Perfect.
You've likely already realized that your brand needs an overhaul - it's not reaching the right people, or resonating with your target audience the way you want it to. But before you commit to a full-fledged rebrand, there are a few things you should consider.
Why do you want to rebrand?
First, let’s talk about the Why. The top 3 most common reason we hear is
- Your business name potentially excludes a certain client type and so you'd like to change the brand to be more accepting.
- There are other businesses around you with a similar name.
- To have complete autonomous control over your messaging.
There are a lot of reasons why companies choose to rebrand, but not all of them are good reasons. If your only motivation is that you're bored with your current look, or you think a new logo will be enough to bring in new business, you might want to rethink your strategy. A successful rebrand should have a clear purpose and goal, whether that's reaching a new market, changing your company's image, or something else entirely.
Whether you’re rebranding to appeal to a wider audience or to differentiate yourself from your competition you’ll want to execute these things first.
Define your ideal client avatar
The next step is to get clear on who your ideal client avatar is. This will help you determine what kind of messaging and visuals will resonate with them. Your avatar should be as specific as possible, taking into account things like age, location, gender, interests, income level, and so on.
Your ideal client avatar should be someone you can picture interacting with your brand on a daily basis. Once you have a clear understanding of who they are, you can start to craft messaging and visuals that will speak to them directly.
Establish Clear and Well-Defined Core Values
Yes, I know that picking a new logo and new colors is so much more fun than these 2 action items, however, these must be defined before you move forward, or your skull and crossbones logo will alienate the soccer mom you’re trying to appeal to.
Your core values are the foundation of your company - they should guide everything you do, from the way you treat your staff to the way you interact with your members. If you're not sure what your core values are, take some time to brainstorm with your team. Once you have a clear understanding of your values, it will be much easier to craft messaging and visuals that reflect them.
Your core values should be something that you are passionate about and that sets you apart from your competition. They should be timeless, meaning they won't change as your company grows and evolves. And most importantly, they should be authentic - don't try to be something you're not just to appeal to a certain audience.
Take Inventory of Where Your Brand Is Seen
Now that you know what kind of rebrand you want to do, it's time to take inventory of all the places your brand is seen. This includes things like your website, social media platforms, marketing materials, business cards, and any other place where your logo or other branding elements are used.
For each of these touchpoints, ask yourself if the current visuals and messaging are aligned with your new brand. If not, you'll need to make some changes.
Make these 3 lists
- Every place your logo is listed
- Every place your business name is listed
- Every place you’d like your new brand to exist
Once you have all 3 lists, you'll have a better understanding of what it might cost to update your presence for all of these touch points. So the next question is, how much is this going to cost you?
Can you afford it?
A rebrand is not a cheap undertaking. Not only will you have to pay for things like new logos and marketing materials, but you'll also need to budget for changes to your website, signage, and any other places where your brand is visible. If you're not prepared to make a significant investment, a rebrand might not be the right choice for you.
Create Game Your Plan
Next step will be to determine what things you need to do in your physical business to attract appeal to your ideal client avatar, and/or differentiate yourself from the competition. Remodels, branded equipment, new equipment, new class offerings, new technology, etc. Add them all to the above list and put them in order of execution. For example, you probably shouldn’t launch your new Bootcamp to appeal to your new avatar before you’ve updated the facility and brand. Shouldn’t announce the brand, before logo design is done and website updates are pending. This is without a doubt a critical thinking exercise, so take some time with it.
Ask Yourself "Are you ready for the change?"
Now that we know WHO (Client Avatar) we’re trying to attract, HOW (Rebranding Lists) we are going to attract them, WHY (Core Values) they’ll choose us; we can assess IF it’s a good idea. Can you execute on the entire list of action items from a monetary expense, and time expense standpoint? If the answer is ’no’ and you still feel strongly about rebranding, then remove the roadblocks and re-evaluate if the rebranding will still allow you to appeal to your client avatar, attract them, and have them choose you. In this phase, it can help to have discussions with you ideal client avatar. Preferably these discussions should be with someone who isn’t a friend or related, ie someone who isn’t a member of your gym.
Continue to refine the action items through this process until you decide to move forward or move on. Once you have the final list of action items, assign them a timeline. Speaking from past mistakes, I’d give everything about a 30% longer time allotment than you think. Don’t get me started on changing the name of your Facebook Page. The rebrand should be announced and rolled out exhaustively by a certain date, so plan to make that date sometime in the slow season as to avoid brand confusion when marketing to new prospects.
Remember, a rebrand means more than just changing your logo - it's a complete overhaul of your company's image. That means your employees will need to be on board with the change, and you'll need to be prepared for any potential growing pains that come with it. If you're not ready for such a major change, a rebrand might not be the right choice for you.
Brainstorm Names, Logos Ideas, Colors, Hashtags
Now the fun and stressful part of brainstorming names, logo ideas, new colors, hashtags, fonts, tone of voice, and more. It may behoove you to hire and brand expert at this point. Someone to help navigate the multiple styles of logos, color palettes, and can produce a brand guide similar to the team over at Brick outlines here: BRICK Brand Assessment Guide.