Imagine owning a position in the market so personal, no other company can own it.
The rebranding process can result in an inspiring, honest, influential brand—if you are ready to make the leap.
Rebranding is reinventing a person (personal branding), a company or a product. Each step in the process is specific and necessary. Omit these steps and risk a lackluster result!
To clear up any confusion, your brand is not your logo.
A logo is the graphic representation of your identity, but there is so much more to it than this. This is not a guide to redesigning a logo.
This is a guide to reinventing your company.
What it takes:
Get ready—you will be taking a leap into parts unknown! You will feel uncomfortable, but that is exactly where transformation lies.
It should feel like a new pair of shoes, a bit awkward at first, but in time you can’t go anywhere without them.
This is a top-down, collaborative initiative. Leadership must be involved, or don’t waste your time. You have to take your team with you into uncharted territory.
The rebranding will ultimately reflect the vision and values of you, the business owner, so it is up to you to assure your leadership team and every employee supports the new positioning.
It won’t work otherwise. Involve all departments from the start: Design, Marketing, Sales, Finance, Technology and Production. We involve our client’s customers too.
- A neutral, objective third party
Someone who has done this before understands how to go beyond the obvious and “get” the true essence of a company. They are not attached to old ideas, are able to incorporate diverse opinions and create consensus to gain a new perspective.
- Dumping the design by committee method
Working this way never results in anything but a mess. This is not to say people’s opinions are not valid, they are. People of every level, including customers, often offer insights the business owner never realized. But at some point, a single voice must emerge, which the whole team must align with. When you hire a designer, look for one who is strong enough to disagree with you, then let them do their job. Read more about why a “Yes” designer kills innovation
The Rebranding Process: A Step by Step Guide to an Inspirational Brand
Every business owner has a reason why they went into business. Something very powerful drove them to dare to take a risk.
The story of you in reconnects you with your purpose, history and values. When you stand for something, others will stand with you.
- Steve Jobs got how important design is when he sat in on a typography class. From then on, his purpose was to bring an astounding level of design to every product. He never wavered from his stand, often at great cost.
- Martha Stewart’s purpose is to elevate homemaking to an art form. Her stand is to bring great design into every household and has built the biggest personal brand in history.
- AirBB’s purpose is to connect travelers with a friendlier place to stay at a great price. They stand for the use of technology to make the connection.
How are you driving your stake in the ground?
Step 1: Your Purpose
Together, we explore these areas to shape your purpose, personality and story:
- Your history/roots/identity: What path brought you here?
- Purpose: What exactly do you do? What vexing problem do you solve?
- Values/Character: What you care about and why you care
- Expertise: What you do best
- Experience: Do you stay current in your field?
- Company Culture: What is it like to work for you and how do you give back?
- Operations: Can you deliver?
- Wins/Challenges: What you learned on your journey and how you apply it to your business today
This step of the rebranding process is always done with the participation of members of your team. Talking about their personal purpose during this session leads to alignment with yours later on.
There are no bad ideas in the early stage. Every observation is welcome in this idea dump phase.
Even customers can be tapped for their opinion. They will tell you how you show up for them, which will give you surprising insight. Even negative comments are helpful in setting you back in the right direction.
This is the time to do it, not after decisions are made. Get everyone’s input and feedback in Step 1.
Step 2: Developing Personality
Business owners often struggle with articulating the magic of their company, product or service. I’m always surprised at how many people are unclear about what is special about what they do or sell.
These are the questions we explore to redefine your personality:
- Why are you rebranding?
- What is working/not working about your current brand?
- What is the goal?
- Has what you actually do or sell changed?
- Who is your precise target market?
- Which vexing problems does your target customer obsess about?
- What are your fiercest competitors up to? Can you do better?
- Which knotty problem do you or your product unravel?
- Can you describe the benefits/value of your product or service?
- Why should anyone choose you?
- Which one word describes your brand?
The answers shape your new identity.
The new brand position concept must be:
- Emotionally powerful
- Differentiate you
- Show value
The art of headline writing
These ideas are often reflected in a tagline or headline. It is sooooo hard to distill the essence, purpose and value of a company in a few words. But it’s possible. Read our post on creating a sticky tagline
“Just Do It’ does. It is clear, emotional and inspirational. Pretty good for 3 simple words, right? But I bet it took thousands of words to get there.
We all recognize these, many of which have endured for decades:
- Think Different
- Think Small
- The Best a Man Can Get
- A Diamond is Forever
- Breakfast of Champions
- Finger-Lickin’ Good
- Got Milk?
- I Love New York
- The Company You Keep
and so on. Which is your favorite?
Notice, not one of these says “We do XX, one XX at a time.”
Step 3: Articulating the magic of your product
Once we have a clear, emotionally powerful, differentiating concept, it must be applied to literally everything visual and written.
Logos, Websites, images, presentations, business cards, brochures, trade show booths, signage, social media images, you name it. Images and graphics must be consistent with the rebranding objective.
If you are positioning your product as speeding things up, don’t use images of the NY skyline! If you say you are a ferocious advocate, don’t show me a kitten.
Words and language:
What you write must also be consistent. Headlines, website copy, emails, sales presentations, speaking engagement scripts, it all has to align. For goodness sake, hire a writer to craft compelling language for you.
Step 4: Aligning your people
A rebranding process can cement company culture, foster collaboration, boost morale and generate excitement and creativity.
Sometimes the new concept and how to apply it is not communicated at every level in your company. It will fail if this doesn’t happen.
Imagine your people showing up every day as Brand Ambassadors. When their purpose is aligned with your purpose, there is nothing they won’t do to support you. You want them to take ownership of the new position and run with it.
From the person who answers emails to C Suite executives, everyone must see how their own values align with yours. Imagine how poorly a salesperson sells when this is not present.
Step 5: Managing the Future
The bigger the company, the more places new messaging appears. Every marker on the brand path must be consistent. Put someone in charge to coordinate and execute the rebrand strategy across all platforms and media.
One head of branding needs to oversee the individual parts to assure they are in step.
Staying consistent over time is challenging. How many times does a new person come aboard and decide they like another font better than the one that is there? There goes the brand. Even in small companies, discipline matters.
A brand guide and new employee introduction can help continuity. Look at Apple or Nike. Even given the titanic size of these companies, they never waver on the design, language and visuals of their brand.
Step 6: Spread the word!
Be proud of your new rebrand. Use social media, articles, promotions, press, events, newsletters and more to build momentum for your brand. Take everyone with you into new territory — it’s thrilling!
If you followed the first 5 steps with an open mind, clarity and purpose, you will have a reason for people to believe in and spread the word.
When you follow this process, you can’t help but reinvent yourself into an inspiring, honest, influential brand.
Take the leap!