Rebranding

Time for a New Set of Wheels? 4 Steps to Giving Your Brand a Facelift.

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A few weeks ago, my husband broke the news to me: “It’s time for a new set of wheels,” he said. I was happy with my existing motorcycle, but no matter what I said, two days later, we traded in my old bike for a new one. And it took only one spin around the neighborhood to ask myself why I’d kept the older one so long.

Related: The 8 Must-Follow Rules for Rebranding Your Company (Infographic)

Refreshing your company brand can feel very similar. If you’re still using your original brand, you might find yourself holding tightly to your positioning, your logo and, well, your baby. All the while, the marketplace, your employees and your customers are looking around to see what’s new.

Admittedly, knowing when to refresh your brand can be tricky, and actually pulling the trigger can be even harder. So, how do you know when it’s time for a brand renovation?

One simple check: Read your website the way a customer would. Does it feel a little outdated? Does it properly showcase new products and services? When was the last time you posted to the blog? Obviously, a website update might be in order, but this could point to a deeper issue.

If your brand and overall positioning don't reflect what's trending, you’re missing a chance to attract the employees and customers you need, to grow. But refreshing your brand means more than changing your logo -- it’s a structured process that requires research and careful consideration.

Follow these steps to guide you through the process:

1. Do your homework.

It’s important to start by listening to your customers and prospects: Interview professionals in your industry; benchmark your peers; chat with your employees. Generate thoughtful input from the people who matter most. What needs are going unmet that you could meet? How is the industry changing? What do and don't your customers love? 

Get a clear picture of how you’re perceived today, how you want to be perceived in the future and what needs to change for you to match the new societal perceptions with your own positioning.

Related: The Ultimate Rebranding Checklist for Entrepreneurs

2. Reflect on your values.

Your product, services and technology all change over time. The dynamics of your industry change constantly, and your company should be agile at adapting to those changes.

At the same time, your values should be timeless, and you should draw inspiration from them whenever you consider modifying your brand. If you don’t already have your values clearly established, find out what inspired your employees to work for you. Uncover why they wanted to be a part of your company. What matters most to them? Use these findings as the foundation for your rebrand. No matter the iteration, your brand should always be authentic and accurately reflect who your company is.

3. Decide on an evolution or a revolution.

Before our own rebrand, we had to ask ourselves, “Are we going for a brand evolution or revolution?” This question became increasingly important as we read comments from clients who didn’t want Mitchell Communications to change; they liked what we were. Our customers were asking only for an evolution -- meaning small, incremental changes. But in our hearts, we wanted a revolution. We wanted to jump ahead and be innovative.

It’s important to consider your own aspirations, too. If your answer is similar to ours, find a happy medium by not changing so much that your current clients are confused, but enough that you can share your aspirational vision.

4. Tell your story.

Once we defined our new brand positioning and platform, we updated everything from our sales and marketing materials to our logo and website. We did a complete overhaul to tell a powerful story of a company celebrating 20 years by eagerly looking ahead, as well as evolving to serve our clients’ changing needs and attracting top talent to serve them.

Your rebrand should tell just such a growth story. Plan a proactive communications campaign, starting with your employees, continuing with your clients and prospects and ending with your industry and community.

While I tend to be skittish about upgrading my ride, I feel no such hesitation in the professional realm. In fact, we’ve refreshed our company brand five times during our 20 years. And each time, we've experienced an uptick in production, momentum and morale.

So, maybe it’s time for you too to ask, “Is it time for a new set of wheels?”

Related: Don't Brand for Now, Brand For 'Then'