Posted on May 1, 2015 by Jason Wright Spread the loveA few weeks ago Chelsea wrote a great blog post about documenting the teams approach and feedback for our internal rebrand. You should check that out if you haven’t already. In today’s post, I’m going to tell you why it’s time for you to consider a rebrand by using our own as an example. STEP ONE – REALIZE IT IS TIME One of the biggest mistakes you can make is believing that the branding you have now will never change. If you have that mindset, then you could be stunting the growth of your business. Like anything in this world, things change. As times and styles change, so should you. Rebranding is a big task and that’s why most people dodge it and put it off for as long as possible. More often than not a business owner puts the brand on the back burner in favor for closing deals or working on actual client projects/accounts. Ask yourself the question, does my brand represent my core business values? Dan Antonelli from B2C explains that, “Many businesses have outgrown their brand without realizing it. Maybe it was never good to begin with. But now the business is growing, they’re trying to attract better clients, and they just don’t quite look the part.” How true is that? Seriously, we get caught up so much in what we do day to day, that we often neglect the things that could use the most attention. Kevin Getch, founder of Webfor, always knew that we would rebrand one day (original logo was created by him). Little did we know, that day was coming sooner rather than later. Webfor Rebrand Fact After contemplating a rebrand for more than a year, we made the decision to move forward by first holding a series of meetings where we discussed company values, mission, site requirements and overall goals. We started a couple of Google Doc’s to keep track of our brainstorming notes. STEP TWO – TAKING A LEAP OF FAITH (WITH GOALS) At some point you have to take the chance and find a way to move your brand forward. With the owners blessing, we took that leap of faith. Whenever you’re going from point A to point B, you have to set goals. You should ask yourself questions like: What are we trying to accomplish? How are we going to measure success? Are we losing or gaining brand equity? What kinds of risks are there? How much will this cost? Setting clearly defined goals with due dates and key checkpoints is going to be critical to your success. Knowing that you’re going to have to spend some money to make the magic happen is important. Investing in a rebrand is as an opportunity, not an obligation. This is your chance, here and now, to take your business to a whole’notha level. Webfor Rebrand Fact We thought about what we wanted to accomplish and how we planned on getting there. For instance, we knew it was time to get away from having a project gallery that listed just about every recent project. Instead, we wanted to showcase the value of what we do through a variety of real case studies. While we knew a whole content refresh was in order, we felt the case studies should be a deep, well thought out section of the website. One of our other primary goals was to clearly identify our core services which includes branding. You would be surprised to hear how many times we’ve heard clients tell us, “you don’t do branding”. We used this as further fuel to build a site that says, “hey, we do design, search, social and everything in between.” STEP THREE – KNOWING WHO YOU ARE If you haven’t already developed core values and a mission statement, you should probably stop here and do that now. While cliche, these things will help you communicate your brand message more effectively both internally and externally. If you know who you are and what you stand for, that will show through in the next phases of your rebrand. Start with your logo and evaluate whether or not your logo represents your brand message effectively. Think outside of exact shapes or cartoony graphics and more about the lines, colors and font styles. From a designers perspective, I can easily look at a logo and make some assumptions of when (what year) it was created and that’s simply based off of reflecting on past trends. Logos really break down into a small subset of options (or combination): Illustrative Typographical Abstract Sometimes you can use a combination of the three though you’re better off not making your brand too complex because it can be distracting or downright cost you more to produce collateral like business cards, flyers and vehicle decals. You will definitely want to avoid creating something too trendy because chances are many other people are already pushing that trendy envelope resulting in a wide array of businesses with similar looks and feel. Also avoid using clip art. DON’T DO IT! It’s tacky and doesn’t represent your business very well when you use something contrived and rehashed by software programs or cheap pre-built logo websites. Lastly, hire a professional design agency or individual to create this new masterpiece. If you’re a local plumber with a design background, you might feel like you have what it takes…it’s possible…though, you’re not going to have time and that’s the reality. Handing off such a critical element of your business and brand to someone who knows what they’re doing is going to get you the results you’re looking for. Webfor Rebrand Fact Two of our designers began sketching ideas having received the green light to comp out some logo options. Each took a different approach, one was more agency-ish and another was more down-to-earth, warm and inviting. We looked at what we wanted to convey to our audience and it wasn’t as simple as, “okay let’s go with this one”, because changing our brand meant we were about to divert our current equity into a completely new appearance. So what did we do? We took the new logos to our audience and got their feedback directly. It was then, that we realized what we liked as individuals differed from what our current, and not current, customers liked. That’s not to say one of the options wasn’t any good, it simply came down to what spoke to our audience more and what was perceived as professional and clear. What resulted was great work from some of the best designers I’ve come to know. We also have plans to use the non-selected logo for other materials soon. First Logo Designs Second Round of Logos Final Logo Designs STEP FOUR – DESIGNING THE BRAND EXPERIENCE I’ll save all of the other juicy details for now and generally say, that your brand experience doesn’t stop with your logo. That’s where it begins. Rolling out the brand across all of your materials, signs, buildings and email signatures is how you begin creating that one cohesive message, something that’s important to customers. Nothing distills confidence more than getting an estimate from someone who has three different logos spread across their business card, website and email signature. When you have your new logo packaged up and ready to go, it’s time to develop a strong online presence. While I could go on for days on this topic, you should think about these things when you’re creating design and development requirements: Is there enough on my website that would convince someone to pick up the phone or fill out a form? Is the website easy to use, see and navigate? Do the colors and imagery properly represent my current and target audiences? Can I get to any important page with two or less clicks? Am I able to load the site on a phone and tablet? Alternatively, is my website mobile friendly or responsive? Is there a primary call-to-action? Creating an awesome design is a process of understanding what you would like to see versus what your customers actually care about. They are different things and as such, sometimes you have to remove yourself from the situation and allow a team of experts to “wow” you with something that’s designed to bring people in the door, so to speak. If you’re taking all the right steps, how could you go wrong? The design may never be what you thought it should be, but if you’re converting visitors into buyers at a higher rate than you have ever seen, then don’t try and fix what ain’t broke because you’re on to something quite special. Webfor Rebrand Fact Once we nailed down the logo, we were given a substantial amount of freedom to come back with something that would take the brand to the next level. Believe or not, the previous site was pretty close to being an out-of-the-box template so as we moved forward we knew that we wanted to create a completely customized experience for our users. So, we started by thinking about the mobile experience first and how each section of the website would work on a mobile device. The design team created wireframes that included the requirements defined earlier and later created two unique designs based on the approved wireframe. With each designers flavor on hand, we merged a few elements from one design into another to come up with our final solution. In the meantime, our team was hard at work on refreshing all on-site content. By the time we reached development, content was ready to go. This gave the team more freedom to build out pages specifically based off of the content that was provided. All of this is to stay, where we were before versus where we are now, is a whole different world. The rebrand alone has increased our conversions by close to 10% over last year. This could happen for you too! Full Rebrand Complete! Come on by, we’re right next to Vinnie’s Pizza in Downtown Vancouver, WA at 1002 Main Street. STEP FIVE – IT DOESN’T END While you might hope that with a new logo and website you’ve reached the end, that’s simply not the case. Not that it can’t be, but it shouldn’t be. Your website is a living, breathing thing. Kinda like a plant. It needs to be a watered, trimmed and re-potted once in a while. Just because you have a new website now, doesn’t mean you wont need a new one in a couple years. Staying on top of your brand keeps you ahead of your competition and current. Take time to evaluate your website analytics and look for opportunities to improve content and conversion rates. Setup some heat mapping software and analyze how users are interacting with buttons and primary call-to-actions. Point being, don’t stop here and always look for ways to leverage your brand. Webfor Rebrand Fact Every last Thursday of the month we have something called the “Webfor Hackathon” which basically means we set aside time to evaluate the website’s performance through analytics and heat maps. We look at which pages perform well, but convert poorly and look for opportunities to change that without putting too much up front of our visitors. You should never stop growing your website or at the very least, reviewing what can be done to improve your conversion rates. We manage search and social activities for clients across a wide range of business types. We know how difficult it can be to stay ahead of the game, that’s what we’re here for. WRAPPING IT UP You have all the opportunity in the world to grow your brand and create a presence that people in your community will come to recognize. Taking the necessary actions can mean the difference between increasing your profit margins, or not. Whelp, that’s all I have time for this go’round. Do you agree? How do you feel about rebranding your business OR do you have some insane stories to share with us? We want to hear about them so sound off in the comments below!