You’ve just faced the ultimate digital brand test. Whether your organization used the shutdown to maintain sales, stay relevant or retain customers, it became indisputably clear which businesses had prioritized digital customer experience prior to the pandemic and which were in the throes of an existential crisis. Regardless, every organization has equal opportunity to re-emerge stronger, smarter and more agile. For some, that means rebranding to better align the essence of the company with audience perceptions. But before you do, it’s important for you to consider the three B’s of rebranding.
Know why you are rebranding and what specifically you plan to accomplish in doing so.
Rebranding is not like re-siding a house and calling it new. More accurately, it’s like keeping parts of the structure while remodeling others or bulldozing the house entirely. Your business will live in this digital dwelling for a long time. Given your recent experiences, how can you redesign elements to better serve day-to-day business operations, long-term ambitions and unpredictable disturbances in the market? In the “analog” world, this might look like replacing a deck with a three-season room to extend living space. In the digital world, think about the assets that reinforce your brand, such as the company website, online applications or tools, social channels, recognizable logos, and catchy taglines.
Here’s where things get tricky. Yes, you want to rebrand in a way that serves your long- and short-term internal goals. However, if you center branding solely on the preferences of the company, you’re already doing it wrong. Your brand isn’t just for you; it’s for your customers. Their perception of the rebrand is paramount. So, before you get too far into the deets, kick off the project with a deep-level analysis of your target market.
Know the value of the brand you’ve already created.
Unlike the tangible assets that add value to physical property, brand value is accrued through consumer perception and experience. Reputation truly is everything in the digital realm. To that end, think about the notoriety your brand already established in the marketplace. The last thing you want to do is knock down an important support beam and compromise your brand’s structural integrity.
For example, if customers recognize your brand by its logo, drastically changing that logo could confuse them or raise questions about business stability. But keep in mind, just because a brand asset has value doesn’t mean it can’t be changed. Like preserving the ornate features of a century-old Victorian, the point is to give careful consideration to such details and look for ways to elevate the concept while preserving its original charm.
Plan to spend roughly 10%-20% of the marketing budget on rebranding.
Lift the curtain on a professional branding process and you’d be amazed at the science and psychology that goes into every minute detail of a company’s appearance, tone, voice and essence. Typography, iconography, color pallets, narratives, messaging — every word, shape, and hue is intentional. Depending on the degree to which you rebrand, the full process can take anywhere from a few months to nearly a year.
Recently, I wrote about the current average costs involved in a digital marketing budget. According to research, most organizations spend about 5%-10% of the company’s annual revenue on marketing efforts (depending on brand equity and a slew of other factors). Let’s say your company pulls in $15M in revenue annually. Given the state of the economy, I’ll play the numbers conservatively. Here’s what the general breakdown should look like:
Total Annual Revenue = $15,000,000
-5% Marketing Budget = $750,000
-10% Rebranding Budget = $75,000
Word to the wise, don’t let sticker-shock fool you. Your brand is connected to every single aspect of the business. There’s a limitless return on the cost of rebranding, but potential will depend on the quality, thoughtfulness and strategy of the rebranding process. Here’s what you’ll likely be paying for:
A professional rebranding process will also result in a visual, editorial and brand style guide, which details the parameters surrounding every aspect of your brand. This brand style guide will ensure that no matter who your company hires to handle PR, digital marketing, advertising or promotions, the brand concept remains consistent across all channels to preserve your rebrand investment.
Pick a crack team. Once again, do not compromise quality and experience for cost. Look for a branding agency with the moxie and talent to translate your greatest ambitions into a cohesive, memorable digital presence.
Do competitor research. Rebranding isn’t just an opportunity to update your company; it’s also an opportunity to rebrand how target audiences view your competitors. Audit their websites. What pages exist? What’s on each page? What do you think or feel when you land on their site? What’s working? What’s missing?
Prioritize brand narrative. A brand narrative is an underlying idea or experience that your brand wishes to share with audiences. It’s the theme that ties your brand’s entire purpose together and the emotional footprint a brand story leaves behind. A common mistake is to get caught up in the aesthetics of the rebrand, but mark my words, what you say and how you say it are equally profound and crucial to brand success.
Incorporate trust signals. Consumers are experiencing a “trust crisis.” They want to support brands they believe will do the right thing, but are increasingly skeptical about motives. The most effective way to establish trust with consumers is to integrate the following trust signals:
Not sure which level of rebranding is best for your business? Download our free branding guide!