In the movie Sex and the City, there was a pivotal scene where Miranda and Carrie stood in the aisle together flipping through the Vogue Age edition that featured Carrie dawned from head to toe in couture as an homage to what was supposed to be a celebration of her long-awaited marriage to the love of her life. But there, in glaringly ugly small print, was an editor’s note. Miranda swallowed slightly with no desire to read the message that was sure to bring even more misery to the events that had already transpired between Carrie and Big. So Carrie reluctantly read the words herself. As Carrie read it aloud, she nodded in unwanted acceptance. The note had nonchalantly read, “Bradshaw is still single and living in New York.” At that moment it was as if the entire world had eyes on her. Her reputation as the witty single gal columnist who finally got her man was, in one editor’s note, turned into an almost embarrassing display of her failure to frolic in the land of happily ever after… right there… for everyone to see.
Now, what is a girl to do when she goes through a devastating break, and life feels like it’s spinning out of control? Why…a makeover of course. In the blink of an eye, Carrie turned her signature dirty blonde hair into a rich chocolate brunette which in turn gave her permission to completely shed that shameful “still single and failed it” editor’s note and create an even better one its place, “self-sufficient and nailed it.” It gave her permission to change the way people perceive her. A rebranding.
Like Carrie’s transformation, in business, so many of us work long and hard to build a solid reputation. And even when we invest a tumultuous amount of effort to sustain a perfect persona, the reality is that with time things change and events happen often resulting in us losing grip of that reputation we worked so hard to upkeep. The evolution of our businesses brand is inevitable and often necessary. Rebranding is very much like a sweet makeover after a bad break up. When something dramatic happens, like a change in our mission or a break with a bad client, a man walking out on us on our wedding day or anything else for that matter, it is the perfect time to do a check in, and perhaps even shake it up. To take control of people’s perception of our brand and breathe a new life into the business.
Rebranding is very much like a sweet makeover after a bad break up.
How we know if a brand change is necessary can come in many different flavors. However, if we take note from a few of our predecessors we find that several common ones will without a doubt affirm that a rebrand is just what the doctor ordered.
You’ll know you need to rebrand when one, two, or any for the following events happen to you:
1. YOU DIY’D YOUR STUFF, AND NOW YOUR BUSINESS IS TAKING OFF.
DIY is the go-to solution when you’re starting a brand with a limited budget. Usually, it’s not perfect, but it definitely checks all of the things we need to get started. When you begin to notice a steady or even dramatic increase in your audience base, this is when a rebrand is definitely a great solution.
Rebranding in this instance helps to showcase your level of professionalism, your expertise, and also helps you to create a fresh palette for your mission to stand out in a way that your audience can recognize.
We do this on our website by first and foremost updating our photography so that the images on the site are showcasing us at our best and showcasing our accomplishments on both the home and biography pages. To learn more about creating the best photography and more for your website download this free 30-page guide on the 3 Action Steps To Design Your Greatest Website Ever.
2. YOU’VE CHANGED OR UPDATED YOUR SERVICES (INCLUDING CHANGING YOUR RATES)
This is when your business set out in one direction and decides to go in another direction altogether. For instance, in the early days of Marie Forleo’s business, there were many signature programs such as masterclasses, and even a live conference. She and the team made a strategic decision to instead focus on B-School (an online program for people looking to start a business) with the intention of reaching as many people as possible. Around the same time, we also noted an impressive upgrade in her visual brand identity that signaled this shift to her audience. Her updated website showcased a focus on her award-winning online TV series and the signature B-School program as well as the amazing results it has yielded for her audience members over the years.
An increase or decrease in your pricing falls under this umbrella as well. Pricing often helps to targets certain markets (for example high end vs. affordable). Thus on our websites updating the aesthetic (such what is displayed in the photographic images on your site) can act as a cue of the increased value of your brand’s product and services.
3. YOU’RE MARKETING TO A NEW AUDIENCE
Melanie Duncan started her first business selling customized greek apparel. Her target audience at the time was clearly to college students. As her audience started making their way out of college and lifestyles started to change, she saw an opportunity to further serve them by tailoring her customizations from solely greek apparel to high-end home decor. More recently, she made a transition from selling products to education. When this happened, she had to reposition her brand from retail seller to an industry expert to yet again grab the attention of a new audience.
What we learn from her story is that we need to recalibrate our brand to align with the market that we’re targeting. Branding to a college student is different from marketing to a newlywed and undoubtedly different from marketing to a person who is seeking business advice.
So what does this mean for us as an owner? It says that when we see a shift in the dynamics of our audience (an increase in income, buying a home, getting married, having a child, minimalism, etc.), we need to adjust with them so that they can feel a sense of connection with us as they grow. We do this on our websites by making the mission clear on the homepage, updating the photography aesthetic and vibe, and even adding a video reel that showcases our target audience.
4. YOU’VE GONE THROUGH A BREAKUP OR CHANGE IN MANAGEMENT.
As a business idea grows and evolves, so too can it’s leaders. Founders often find that they no longer have the same vision and therefore part ways. This change of leadership can sometimes cause confusion with loyal customers/clients. Thus, a change in leadership is often the perfect opportunity to rebrand the business.
The rebrand can help translate the new vision, and mission of the business thereby giving the community a sense of confidence that the brand will continue to deliver outstanding service or products.
5. YOU HAVE A NEW MISSION OR BUSINESS STRUCTURE
In this instance, you may decide to take a new direction with your business. A great deal of this happened during the famed recession of 2008. Companies that kept a steady pulse were the businesses that shifted their mission or structure to align with the needs of what the market demand or simply shifted direction to align with their values. For instance, let’s say you were in the business of marketing but decide to transition into product development. Lenora Porter did a fantastic repositioning of her personal brand to showcase her skills as a developer and designer so that her audience knows not only what she does, but also leans in on her expertise to gain knowledge on what it takes to break into the product development field. Her website showcases this new mission with a portfolio of her projects, her accomplishments, and a list of places where has been featured.
Another great example is social media strategist Jasmine Star whose humble beginnings started in wedding photography. Her mission shifted from soley photography to business strategy as she noted she had a wealth of success in the space and a hungry audience looking for advice on how to run and market their business too. She re-launched her website to showcase her new focus on strategy and product solutions.
6. YOU NEED TO STAY RELEVANT
So if you’ve been in business since Prince first sang Purple Rain, then your website was likely created in a time when web design was not really important. Things have certainly changed. And most importantly, visual design has made considerable waves in influencing the way that people are buying.
Updating your brand for relevancy is a must! Even if your business has amazing 5-star ratings, the reality is that our audiences’ first impression (and likely ultimate decision to buy) will be based on their experience when visiting your website.
We showcase this on our websites by using modern User Interface designs such as stacked photography, parallax scrolling, video backgrounds, vertical menu navigation, and even tasteful animations. Maya Washington, infamously known as Shameless Maya demonstrates an elegant use of a few of these features on her website.
Most important is optimizing the site for mobile use so that your audience has just as amazing experience on their phones as they do on a desktop.
As hard as we may try to manage our reputations, the best way to gain control of how our audience perceives us is rebranding. How you know you’ll need a rebrand can be for several different reasons including the following:
- Your business is growing. If you DIY’d your brand, but now you see exponential growth, you’ll want to update your website to showcase your accomplishments and images.
- You’ve changed or updated your service. If you are adding or removing a service or increasing your prices, a rebrand on your website will showcase the focal product and new prices.
- You’re marketing to a new audience. If you are transitioning to an audience that has different needs or preferences, you’ll showcase this on your website with updated visual aesthetics and typography.
- You’ve gone through a break up/change in management. If you’ve had a change in leadership, a rebrand will help to inform and showcase the new mission of your business.
- You have a new business mission or structure. In this case, your business may be selling a new product or service, or even go from subscription to flat-rate model. A rebrand on your website will make this apparent and easy for the audience to understand.
- You need to stay relevant. If you’ve been in business for some length of time, but want to showcase your company’s accomplishment you can do so by using modern user interface design elements on your website and optimizing for mobile use.