Rebranding is an incredible challenge for any company, and the uniqueness of the task guarantees there will always be new things to learn. You might say that some of the lessons are well-known, but how they apply -- and how they impact you -- can offer refreshing insight.
As a company president who is currently leading an organization through a rebrand, I’m hoping to pass on a few tips for how entrepreneurs, business leaders and managers can navigate similar waters without fear of capsizing.
The company, which was founded with the name Allied Trade Group, started as several websites that all rolled in to the same business, originally branded as ATGStores.com. But, as the home furnishings industry changed, it became clear to us that “ATG” would have to change, too. Here are 10 things we learned in becoming The Mine -- now a premier online destination for unique fine furnishings and décor.
1. Changing your company name isn’t going to solve all your problems.
When we first started to talk about rebranding the company, we knew our name wasn’t our only issue, but it was part of the puzzle. We knew the ATG acronym was confusing and hard for customers to remember; however, a new name wasn’t going to be a magic Band-Aid that resulted in instant organic traffic and a sticky brand.
Before you rebrand your company, you need to reevaluate your overall strategy and offering.
We used data and customer insights to accomplish several things: We redefined our target audience, established a new strategy for our products and services, and created a plan to overhaul the look and feel of the website. It took us two years to take our offering from 4 million to 1 million items, and refine the selection with a focus on high-quality, design-forward brands.
We also added and improved services to support those brands. We now offer one-on-one service through our personal concierge team, professional installation and assembly services, more robust pro services and access to design partners who provide original content and design inspiration. Once we had that in place, we felt confident we were ready to reintroduce ourselves as The Mine.
2. Finding the perfect name requires a process of exploration and elimination.
It’s best to know what names aren’t available for sale or aren’t within your budget before you start planning. Brainstorming is great, but it’s also good to focus that effort in ways that will result in a usable concept.
I think people probably imagine a very creative process, and it is, but it’s also very methodical. Or, it probably should be to make sure you’ve uncovered and considered every available option.
3. Don’t put too many cooks in the kitchen.
Choosing a new name isn’t easy. It’s important to have a team involved in the selection process, but you have to be strategic about it. Having both internal and external players helps gain perspective, but less is often more in this kind of situation.
Related: 5 Signs It's Time to Rebrand
4. Give your team as much info as you can, as soon as you can.
Once you’re ready to share with your team, be sure to explain why, how and when you’re rebranding, and maybe do it sooner rather than later.
We announced our rebranding as The Mine to the team about two months prior to launch, and we learned right away that we should’ve given them more time with the concept. The rebranding team felt very familiar with it because they’d been working on it for so long, but the extended team was surprised by the news. They had a lot of questions, and we learned we needed to more thoroughly explain the "why's" moving forward.
5. It’s important to realize you’ll never be 100 percent ready.
There are always going to be more projects and ongoing improvements, and you’ll keep thinking, Let’s just check one more box before we rebrand. It’s important to draw a clear line in the sand and to go for it, knowing there will always be more items you’ll want to complete. If you wait until you’re 100 percent ready to rebrand, you’ll end up waiting forever.
6. Getting team buy-in is critical to the success of a rebrand.
Every rebrand has an internal and external component, and they’re both equally important. We received a lot of feedback from team members who were unsure about the rebrand; they liked ATG, and they were proud to be a part of that.
Of course, loved hearing that, and we realized we needed to find a way to let people know that they were a part of it, and that -- at the end of the day -- we weren’t changing as a family. So, we call ourselves The Minds Behind The Mine. We all have a part, and each is as valued as the next.
7. When you’re trying to establish name recognition, sometimes it helps to partner with someone who already has a recognizable name.
We invited Alexa Hampton, design icon and owner of the Manhattan-based design firm Mark Hampton LLC, to be our creative director early on in the rebrand, and she has been an invaluable resource.
She participated directly in the creative process, which helped give her some ownership in that. And so, when it came time to promote it, she was ready with plenty of stories to tell. It was great for us, because she’s a respected member of the design community, and it was good for her because she got to help shape the destiny of a company -- kind of a big deal.
8. You should be willing to let the process take you in unexpected directions.
We hired a branding firm to make sure we didn’t get stuck in a rut with our thinking, and they helped us decide on a look for the logo and lettering by creating three different buckets: “bold,” “unexpected” and “traditional.”
It was incredibly helpful, because once we saw our options (and there were hundreds) we knew right away we weren’t going traditional. The firm pulled from several different industries, and our style definitely borrows from fashion and beauty, perhaps even more than furniture, but that’s what makes sense for The Mine.
9. Consider the possibility that less is more in your design.
In the beginning, there was a feeling that we had to include an image of some kind in our logo messaging, just to make sure people understood exactly what we were about. But, after much research and testing, we decided we didn’t want to oversell it, or make it look like we were trying too hard.
And, that ended up being a great call. Now, we have a name and logo with more versatility, and it invites our customers to explore a little bit. It’s also got a more exclusive feel, which can be hard to convey once you start using imagery.
10. Rebranding is hard work and it’s important to celebrate your victories.
Once it’s time to go public, be sure to celebrate as a team, internally, and as a brand, publicly. Go for it, own it and make sure your team has fun doing it!
The Minds Behind the Mine are so excited to announce our rebrand and hear what the world has to say. We want to welcome everyone to The Mine so we can share our hard work with our audience, and show them how we make it easy to get the home you crave.