Your brand shouldn’t be something you change on a whim one day just because you woke up hating everything.
Rebranding your business (or yourself) requires careful preparation and strategic thinking before you even consider changing any of your public-facing properties.
Once you have done all the work on the back end-messaging, positioning, audience targeting, etc.—then you can plan the visual rebranding as part of a coordinated launch.
How do you know it’s a good time to rebrand? Although the answer varies case by case, here are nine good reasons to take on a rebranding project:
1. Sales have plateaued or decreased. If you aren’t bringing in new business or selling products, or you can’t seem to increase revenue, something isn’t working. It’s even worse if your target audience is going to the competition. There has to be a reason. More often than not it’s that your brand is no longer relevant. Find the cause.
2. The needs of your audience have changed. Without customers, you wouldn’t be in business. Do the products/services you offer fulfill what your customers need? If not, decide whether you can make that change.
3. Your visual representation is outdated. Visual appeal changes over time. You can have a classic logo and still want to tweak it over time. Maybe your initial logo was crafted based on now-stale design trends.
4. Your values and positioning have changed. Sometime customer needs change, but often business owners find the brand itself has shifted over time. If so, realign it with the foundation of your organization. On the public-facing side of the brand, if your current messaging doesn’t match what you are offering, it will confuse your target audience.
5. You don’t feel an emotional connection to your brand. If you just aren’t “feeling it” anymore, that will come across in everything you do. Don’t make knee-jerk decisions; instead, follow a structured process to get on the right track once the rebranding has been completed.
6. You don’t stand out; you’re too close to competitors. It’s easy to get sucked into what your competitor is doing without your realizing it. Before you know it, there are five nearby competitors with a similar name or logo. Perhaps you all use the same “differentiator” messaging to say why you are the “premier” brand in the industry. Step outside the industry norm. Look at what attracts your audience; it will help you form branding that stands out visually.
7. You’ve expanded past your geographical name. Your business has grown beyond your initial expectations. The problem? You used your city name as part of the brand. It’s time to drop the geographical labeling and use a more global brand name. Your messaging will take a broader focus, but you can still talk about your grassroots, local mindset, which many customers appreciate.
8. You’re boring. No one likes to be told they are boring, but some brands just fade into the background. You don’t have to go crazy, but a little bit of spice will attract a larger audience.
9. Negative association. Often, negative press will run its course and things will get back to normal; other times, your brand will forever be associated with something terrible. Perhaps the pronunciation is similar to a terrorist group’s name, or maybe you had a massive crisis that you just couldn’t overcome. In any case, identify the negative association and figure out how best to start fresh. It could be a name change, a tag line revision or even new core messaging for your customer outreach.
A version of this article originally appeared on the SongBird Marketing Communications blog.