Rebranding Your Business: The 5-Step Strategy For Success

/ real-life wins
Vrinda Singh

Deciding to rebrand is one of the most critical decisions you can make as a business. When executed well, it can lead to exponential growth and increased brand awareness for your business. If managed poorly, it can have an enduring impact on your public perception and legacy.

We recently sat down with Hayden Bleasel, Founder of award-winning design studio Jellypepper, to map out a foolproof process for a successful rebranding campaign. Having worked on branding for companies like Google, Spaceship, Canva and National Geographic in the past, he understands exactly what it takes for a business to navigate this tricky terrain.

Let's dive into his strategies for executing a smooth and successful rebranding campaign.

But first: Do you need to rebrand?

GAP could probably have skipped on it.

Before you dive into a rebrand, it's imperative to consider whether you're rebranding for the right reasons. While rebranding is a great idea if you, your business or audience have evolved over time, it is not a magic pill that will solve any deeper issues that might exist within your product or service itself.

Step 1: Redefine your values, vision and mission

While it can be tempting to start the process with finding a designer and redesigning your logo, redesigning will not be fruitful unless you first analyse how your brand has evolved over time.

Alan Ashley “A successful rebrand is all about getting into the more personal, emotional and cultural aspects of the company, rather than jumping straight into design. It's important to redefine the mission, vision, the culture and values, recognise why the company exists, what impact you want it to have on the world and how you want to run it internally. All these factors should reflect in your brand.

We get a lot of clients who initially think the brand is just a logo, a colour palette or the shapes, but that's only the surface of what your brand actually is. It’s what your customers think that you are and it’s shaped through the experiences they have with your product, your service and communications. It’s also a reflection of your internal strategy and culture.

If you’ve got a vision, values and mission, your brand is just an implementation of that, and your website is just a manifestation of your brand. All of this is linked - a new logo is just the tip of the iceberg."

- Hayden Bleasel

Start afresh with your vision, mission and values and clearly define what they all are in the present. Make sure you document these in writing and hold them at the centre of the entire rebranding process. Here are a few factors to consider when shaping your vision:

  • The wants and needs of your customers
  • How your customers feel about your company
  • What differentiates you from your competitors
  • How your employees perceive your company and brand
  • How your community perceives your company and brand

Step 2: Make sure all stakeholders are on board

Alan Ashley “Before jumping into a rebrand, get all important decision makers and stakeholders in a room and talk things through. Make sure that everyone is comfortable with the rebrand and that everyone knows exactly why it’s happening."

- Hayden Bleasel

This is especially crucial if you're working with a larger team. Before jumping into the actual process, it's also important to define certain factors to ensure that everything runs smoothly. This includes:

  • A timeline for the rebrand
  • The budget you're willing to allocate to it
  • Any changes to your product offering
  • What work might be needed of each team member

Step 3: Research, research, research

Now that you have your core values in place and your team is ready to roll, you should spend some time understanding your customers (current, former and almost), prospects, competitors and internal staff.

The best way to do this is through qualitative surveys and in-person interviews. Here are some helpful resources to get you started:

The goal of this research is for you to understand how your brand is currently perceived by these key players and how much this perception differs from your redefined values and vision.

Step 4: Choose your army

In most cases, it's wise to consider hiring a design studio when undertaking the rebranding process. Whether your strategy involves a big shift in your vision, your core product or service, your messaging or your target audience, an agency can help you provide a coherent experience across your website, logo, app and customer service.

If you don't have the budget to hire an agency, you might be wondering whether rebranding is a worthwhile exercise for you. As it turns out, it actually is.

Alan Ashley “Branding is an iterative process. If you’re a small company and you want to rebrand, go to war with the army you have. If you have limited budget, hire a freelancer, hire a friend and use your resources sparingly.

It's important to remember that your brand isn’t set in stone, it’s just a stepping stone. It's the next evolution of your brand as you learn more about your company. Once you hire a team, once you grow, once you make more money and get more customers, your outlook and the way you talk to them and behave is going to change and your logo is going to change with it.

If you think that right now your brand doesn’t reflect who you are, take some of the resources you've got to come up with something that, at the very least, pushes you in the right direction."

- Hayden Bleasel

Ready to choose an agency? Here's a comprehensive guide on choosing the right one for your business.

Want to rebrand on a budget? Here are some tips to get you started:

Step 5: Spread the word and be transparent

Alan Ashley “The true value of a good brand is consistency of communication. If you are going to rebrand and make a big change, make sure that it’s reflected everywhere consistently.

If you’re going to rebrand, don’t hesitate to do it. The companies that rebrand successfully are really open about it with their existing customers. This might involve sending out a series of emails or one really comprehensive and genuine email.

You might say something like 'We know you’ve invested a lot of time and loyalty in our brand and we really appreciate that. We’re in the middle of a rebrand and it’s because of these reasons. Ultimately, we really value you, and we want to provide you with a better experience. This is what you can expect within the next 6-12 months.'

The more open and candid that you can be about plans for the future and the reasons behind rebranding, the better."

- Hayden Bleasel

5 tips for communicating your rebrand

  • Tell internal stakeholders and staff first. Share next steps, as well as logo files and messaging architecture. Make sure everyone updates their email signatures, presentations, documents etc.
  • Follow this up with the series of emails to your existing customers.
  • Reach out to the media with a press release. Contact any local media outlets that tend cover businesses like yours and get the word out beyond your staff and customers.
  • Write a blog post about your rebrand and share this with your professional network through LinkedIn, Medium or your company blog. Here's a cool example from Atlassian.
  • Make sure your company's social media pages are updated to reflect your new brand.

Remember: Don't hold on to the past

Alan Ashley “If you already have an established brand, it can be tempting to look at everything you've done or all the news articles you’ve been featured in, and feel apprehensive about changing things up. But take Slack as an example. They had a logo that everyone knew but they still changed it because there were problems with it, and they thought they could do better. That’s the mark of a good company - they had a vision of the future and they were focusing on the long term.

You might be afraid of alienating your current audience, but it's important to recognise that the audience you have now is just a small portion of the market that your business can potentially win.

Your current customers know what you do purely because they need you, but there's still a huge portion of your potential audience that you haven't tapped yet - and you won't be able to if your branding doesn't properly reflect what you do.

Your brand might have a lot of awareness right now, but compare this to where you want your business to be in the next 5 to 10 years. If you feel that you've only achieved a small portion of what you want to, the short term disruption caused by rebrand is a small price to pay.

Making sure that your brand is constantly evolving and becoming a better reflection of you as a company is more important than anything else. Don't be afraid of rebranding - just be meticulous with your research, clearly define your identity and be authentic in your communication with customers."

- Hayden Bleasel

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