A well-executed rebrand has the power to breathe life back into an otherwise stagnant, even failing, business. Because of the power it can have, it can be tempting to toy around with the idea of rebranding your business even when it isn't necessary. Despite the temptation, it's wise to only rebrand when you absolutely need to in order to protect yourself from the potential downsides of a brand overhaul, such as a negative impact on SEO (search engine optimization), lower brand awareness and logistical barriers like time spent reformatting all your existing assets.

On that note, here are three surefire signs that your branding is outdated and ready for a rebrand, plus how to start the process of fixing it.

1. It No Longer Communicates Your Specialty 

The marketplace changes every single day, and savvy business owners will adapt in order to survive and capitalize on opportunities. Because of this, a business also changes the focus of its services and products throughout the years.

If you started out as a video production company, yet all your sales for the past eight years have revolved around social media marketing, it might be time to rebrand into a social media agency to optimize your marketing messaging.

When it comes to standing out as a business online, the more specific you can be, the better off you'll be. If you rebrand yourself as a more specific version of yourself, such as taking a standard PR agency to a PR agency specializing in blockchain, you'll essentially be eliminating the number of businesses you're competing against and increasing the likelihood you'll be the best in your category.

2. Your Design Looks Old and Outdated

Perception is reality when it comes to marketing and branding. Because of this, if your logo, social media profile photo or something related looks like it was made on 1996 Microsoft Paint, then your brand will come off as unprofessional as a result. While quality of design may seem nuanced or difficult to determine, here are a couple easy ways to decide whether or not it's time to hire a graphic designer to revamp your brand.

The first is sign is if it's been an extremely long time since you created your company's design. If your logo was made in the 1980's and you haven't updated it since then, it's most likely time to redesign your assets.

The next option is to ask someone outside of your organization for honest feedback. It's easy to get tunnel vision when you work inside a company on a daily basis. If you aren't in tune with what great design looks like, then ask someone you know and trust who has also has an eye for design, or hire a consultant to do it for you. 

3. It Uses Offensive Language or Imagery

Times have changed for the better in recent years in terms of sensitivity around social issues and beyond. As a result, what was once socially acceptable for companies to display simply wouldn't fly nowadays. A perfect example of this would be GoDaddy. Just a few years back, GoDaddy's commercials had overly-raunchy, sexually-charged imagery that was degrading to women.

Today, GoDaddy has rebranded, and instead now tries to empower female entrepreneurs in its messaging. However cringe-worthy or insincere this rebrand was, the key takeaway here is to be mindful of all groups when crafting your overall brand and marketing campaigns.

How to Fix It

Using the above criteria, take the time to identify exactly what needs to change in order for you to be successful in your branding, then write it down on paper. Is it the overall tone of your brand, the fact you've redefined your products and services to fit demand, or something else entirely? This exercise will help you crystallize what exactly needs to be changed so you can better convey it either to the firm you hire or your marketing department.

Next, decide whether or not to hire a firm. Paying a company that specializes in branding to is always my first recommendation. On top of the firm being filled with experts in the field, hiring one will also save you a ton of time and stress.

Lastly, you can always conduct the rebrand internally. If you have a talented marketing department, or if you're on a tight budget, the best course of action may be to do it yourself. 

An effective rebrand can truly mean the difference between your company sinking or swimming, so it's important to only do it when it's absolutely necessary. That being said, if you're sure your brand is outdated, then start by using the tips laid out in this article to get started. It might be the best decision you make this year when it comes to your marketing. Best of luck.

Published on: Aug 29, 2018
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