Considering a rebrand for your company? It might be just what you need to jump-start sales and reach new levels of success as a business. But it's a big undertaking, and deserves a lot of thought. If you are thinking of rebranding — or even just changing your company's name — take a moment to think through these ten things to make sure you're on the right track, before taking the plunge and reintroducing yourself to the market under a new name.
1. Why you're making the change
A rebrand or name change is a big commitment, so think carefully about why you want to make the change in the first place and how it will affect your brand equity. If you're rebranding to be a better fit for your target audience, or to minimize confusion from similarly-branded competitors (or other companies in general), go for it! You should be planning to rebrand in order to make a positive change and impact on your company's place in the market.
If you want to make the change just to do something different, you may want to rethink your motives. Consider conducting a brand awareness survey and market research to really nail down reasons why you should (or should not) change your company's name and branding. Remember, if you go for a full rebrand and name change, customers won't have the security of seeing your new look under a familiar name.
2. Who you (really) are as a company
Don't make the same mistake as Radio Shack when they tried to reinvent themselves as "The Shack." Don't rename your company to try and fit what you want it to be if that doesn't accurately reflect how your customers see it. Otherwise, your company will be a laughingstock — and that is definitely not what you want. Take stock of your company's image, and be realistic about how your company is perceived. You want to make sure that your company's name, brand, and voice are carefully crafted to be the perfect fit for the company and your audience — there's no point in coming up with new branding unless it's right for your company.
3. How to stay compliant
This is one of the least exciting parts of the process, but it's important. Make sure you have a clear understanding of what you need to do from a legal standpoint if you do change your company's name as part of your rebrand. Think about how your bank accounts, checks, and other legal considerations could be impacted, and explore what you need to do to make sure everything is ready to go when you launch the company's new name.
4. To what extent you're looking to rebrand
Are you just looking to rename the company? Or will the new name be accompanied by a shiny new logo? New brand colors? Will you be revamping your design standards? A rebrand is more than just a name change, but it's up to you to decide just how much you want to change. You can either do a full overhaul, or start small.
5. How much work needs to be done to make the change
Let's face it: a name change and rebrand can be a lot of work. Look into your team's bandwidth, and take inventory of what will need to be updated. Marketing collateral, sales documents, advertisements, and your website will all need extensive updating, even if the only change you make is your company's name. Be realistic about how much work will need to be done to make sure everything is ready for the launch of the new name, and consider hiring external help to ensure that everything is good to go.
6. The effect on brand recognition and SEO
How long has your company's current name been around? If you've built up a certain level of brand equity, you'll need to consider the impact that a name change will have. Hopefully, you're making the change for the right reasons, which will help improve your company's standing in the long run. In the short term, however, be prepared for some metrics (like SEO and brand recognition) to take a hit, and be proactive about building them back up. You might want to consider hiring an outside expert to guide you through the process and make sure that your inbound marketing efforts aren't affected by the changes.
7. How long you'll take to roll out the new name
A name change isn't something that should be done in a month. Set reasonable expectations for how long it will take you to conduct the necessary market research, settle on a new name, update existing materials and collateral, and develop a launch strategy. Give yourself time to get it right, but make sure to set an achievable date to ensure that it gets done.
8. How you'll reintroduce yourself to the market
We've written before about how to make sure that your rebrand doesn't cause you to lose your customer base. So think carefully about how you will roll out the brand and name? Develop a strong, thought-out campaign to make it clear that your company has a new name. Be transparent about why your company renamed itself — you may want to consider writing a blog post about the change so that your customers don't feel confused or left out. Don't come up with a fantastic new name just to botch its launch.
9. How you'll manage competitors' reactions
If you're in a particularly competitive industry, this is one you'll want to devote a good amount of time to thinking about. Will your competitors mimic you? And if so, how will you ensure that you continue to differentiate your company from them? Or, will your competitors try to take advantage of the change and sow confusion or doubts in the market? Do plenty of competitive research ahead of time to make sure that your rebranding efforts really make an impact in making your company stand out.
10. If it's really a good name
Last, but certainly not least: run the new name past objective, honest people from a variety of backgrounds, and make sure it is truly the best name you can choose. This goes for plenty of aspects of a rebrand, too — you don't want to roll out a new logo only to find that many people think bears an uncanny resemblance to something rather inappropriate.
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