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Redefining Your Target Audience

The very first step in any rebrand should always be to re-evaluate your target audience. Depending on how your particular industry has been affected by coravirus, the way your business operates as well as who your ideal customer is may very well have changed. Don’t worry about starting from scratch because you probably have the information right at your fingertips. It’s all just a matter of taking another look at the facts.

Decide Who Your Product or Service Helps Today

Even if your core offering hasn’t changed, your target audience definitely has. A 10-year-old office furniture company may still provide chairs and desks, but the needs of today’s working spaces are now vastly different. As you begin the rebrand process, you’ll need a realistic picture of who has the potential to purchase your product or service. If that same office furniture company opened its doors marketing to open layout office spaces in the Loop, it’s time to adjust the focus.

Make a List of Your Favorite Past Clients or Customers

Think back over your years in business, and write down your best customer-centered experiences. This could be a short transaction that went better than expected or even a long-term partnership that helped define who you are as a company. Are there any similarities in the clients that were involved in these situations? This may just be the type of client you want to target in the long term.

Create a Complete Audience Profile

As you’re imagining your new target audience, really get into who they are and what makes them tick. What’s their story? How old are they? Are they tech-savvy? Where do they get their news? What makes them happy? Answering these questions now will shape your entire marketing plan later. You’ll be able to speak to your target audience in their language and through their preferred medium.

Don’t be afraid that pinpointing your audience will pigeonhole you into marketing ONLY to that group. Just because you choose an ideal client doesn’t mean you can’t work with anyone else. This is merely a jumping off point to help give direction to your rebrand.

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Make Your Website a Brand Asset

It’s a common theme for entrepreneurs to spend an immense amount of time – and even money! – on their first website, only to forget about it as the business picks up. This can actually become detrimental to the digital health and searchability of the business. Think of your website as a living, breathing plant — it continually needs water and sun if you want it to grow your brand. When considering a rebrand, it is absolutely imperative that you plan to revamp and optimize your company website.

Websites Have a Shelf Life

Your website is the digital storefront for your entire brand, often serving as the first touchpoint for your potential customers. The backend of your site should be easily accessible to layman users to make it easy to update key points of your business. (e.g. hours of business, new phone numbers, etc.) Unfortunately, due to the perceived complex nature of a site, business owners can become too intimidated make these necessary changes. If this is the case, we can almost guarantee you need a new website. There are dozens of professional website and content management platforms designed for users with absolutely no prior design experience.  

Focus on the User Experience

It’s no secret that online users’ attention spans have grown shorter and shorter over the years. In an effort to keep readers engaged and moving through your website, you’ll need to evaluate the user experience (UX). How many tabs or menu items does the visitor have to click through to get to the information the need? Does your website function well on mobile devices? Can the user quickly find contact info? It can be tempting to use flashy videos or photos, but always remember that the user’s journey should be simple and easy.

Don’t Forget About Copy

Web copy should be just as streamlined as the design experience, written in short succinct sentences that briefly outline your offerings with plenty of calls-to-action (CTAs). As you’re evaluating your current website, read through every single line of website verbiage. You may be surprised at how much your brand language has changed. Consider your SEO strategy (or lack of strategy), and how you can fix that with content adjustments and ongoing contributions.

A subpar online presence will negatively affect your business in a variety of ways. As you’re considering a rebrand, your website redesign should be the centerpiece of your marketing efforts.

 

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Your Marketing Materials Should Reflect Your Current Brand

Consistency in your brand messaging is key in communicating your core offerings. Even if you’ve defined your unique value proposition, this won’t be clear to your target audiences if your marketing materials don’t reflect it. As you’re evaluating your need for a rebrand, gather every piece of marketing you use or have used, and prepare to take a close look at each item.

Start with Your Logo

A business’s logo is the cornerstone of the brand, the starting point in creating that instant recognition among your target audience. However, the design process can cost quite a bit of time and money — two things budding entrepreneurs find are in short supply. Think about how you would do your logo today, knowing what you do now about branding. Now think about how you could put those ideas in place to give it an updated look. Remember, a rebrand doesn’t mean trashing your logo. Simple font and color hue adjustments can make a big impact.

Move on to the Marketing Collateral

Up-to-date marketing materials are important for every business, regardless of whether or not sales are involved in the day-to-day success of the venture. Gather up all of your collateral – brochures, pitch decks, direct mail – and review the messaging and overall design. Are they communicating the brand effectively? Is the message the same across each marketing piece? Does it have the correct address and contact information? It helps to sit down with all materials at once to get a top-level view of your marketing program.

Finish with a Complete Audit of All the Rest

A marketing collateral audit doesn’t only refer to sales materials; take a look at every item that contains your company name or logo. This includes items like business cards, pens, signage, stationary and envelopes. You might be surprised with just how many outlets your brand touches! Not only should you look over everything for accuracy, but also think about necessity. For example, branded USB drives were all the rage 10 years ago, but today this will make you look outdated.

After conducting your audit of all marketing materials, you’ll probably be surprised at just how much your business has evolved since its startup days. Still don’t know whether or not you need a rebrand? Take our quiz!

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Pay Attention to Your Employer Brand

Just when you think you have a good handle on how your brand is perceived by your target audience, we’re here to throw you a curveball: how does your brand look to potential recruits? If you find yourself just trying to fill open positions instead of recruiting top talent to help grow your company, it’s time to take a close look at your employer brand.

Recruiting is Marketing

Ten years ago, most of the workforce was simply happy to have a steady paycheck. Companies didn’t have to offer fancy amenities and perks, because they had the upper hand. Fortunately, the economy has recovered quite well, and unemployment has dropped to its lowest rate since 2000 (as of June 1, 2018). This means employers need to put forth effort to actually attract the type of employees they want.

Understand Your Brand

Just as you would conduct an external brand audit, you need to take a hard look at your employer brand. As you evaluate your recruiting assets, make sure your brand voice and feel is weaved through every piece of collateral. The same is true for the onboarding process, a new employee’s first true interaction with your company. Every member of your team – from customer-facing positions to the person processing payroll – should be able to explain your company’s culture. Word-of-mouth endorsement from your employees is just as good as any lead generation initiative.

Look from the Outside In

Once you’ve examined your company culture, take a look at how (or if) you’re promoting yourself as an employer. It might seem self-serving to talk about all of the wonderful benefits you offer your employees, but that is going to be one of your best assets when it comes to recruiting the most qualified talent to join your team. Applicants want to know these things, and not sharing what sets you apart is actually going to hurt your chances at recruiting.

Recruiting top talent to work for you is a plight understood by every company, but the ones who get it are the brands that treat their recruiting process the same as their sale process. Click here to read more about how to improve your internal and external brands for overall success.

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Your Brand Has Changed, Whether You Know it or Not

Are you the same person you were 10 years ago? Neither is your business. Chances are, if you’ve been around for more than a few years, something about your company has changed. This might be a slight tweaking to make your business more competitive or a complete shift as a result of industry changes. No matter what has changed or why, your brand should reflect that.

Core Offerings Are Huge

It’s easy to disregard slight changes to your products or services because they might not seem like that big of a deal from the inside. (Especially if this was a gradual shift.) However, from a potential customer, that small amendment could be just what they’re looking for. Take a step back, and look at your core offerings with a fresh eye. If someone you did business with on the first day you opened your doors approached you now, would you offer them the same service?

Company Culture is Key

Too often, company culture is overlooked when it comes to selling a brand. However, your culture and your brand cannot be separate. You’ve probably worked hard building a strong internal system of communications, employee engagement, general workforce bonding, etc. Sharing that with your target audience adds to your overall brand equity. Additionally, promoting your strong culture will help attract top talent that will drive your business forward.

Brand Equity Needs Attention

Speaking of brand equity, have you measured yours? Establish how much value your brand has within your target audience, and how recognizable it is among those in your network. Your customer might have a general idea about what you bring to the table, but the strong key points may have become muddied as your business has changed. A rebrand can be a fantastic way to reestablish your messaging and give your hard-earned brand equity a boost.

As you’re taking a look at how your brand has changed for your target audience, remember that it’s important to actually define those target audiences. If you’re still not sure whether or not you need a rebrand, take our quiz!  

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Consistency in Brand Messaging is Key

If you want to find out how consistent your brand messaging is, ask three people to describe your business: a customer, an employee and yourself. If your company has been around for awhile, you’ll most likely get three very different messages. No matter who the public face is for your brand, it’s important that everyone involved be able to distinguish the key points that set your offerings apart from the rest.

External Branding

Once you’ve identified your target audiences, think about how you want people to interact with your business. Whether a potential client is holding your business card, using your website or reviewing a sell sheet, the essence of your company should be there and be familiar. If you want them to walk away feeling confident, work backwards and decide what your business can do to instill that emotion.

How did a boring yellow ‘M’ become one of those most recognized logos in the world? Consistent branding. You might not be as big as McDonald’s (yet!), but presenting a unified look and feel across every single marketing channel is crucial in communicating your value to your target audience. Part of your rebrand should be to decide how this will spread across every platform.

Internal Branding

Depending on what type of business you’ve built, there could be multiple internal audiences – from support staff who keep the company running to client-facing employees who interact with your target audience on a regular basis. However, when it comes to brand messaging, everyone needs to be on board.

A good analogy is how restaurants work with their serving staff. When a new menu item is released, a good restaurant will have everyone taste the item while they explain the flavors behind it. That way, the servers can make recommendations to the customer and be able to describe the dishes before placing their order. Now, ask yourself how your employees would be able to explain your offerings to your target audience. Can they describe your services? Do they know the key differentiators of your brand? Would they recommend working with your company to their own networks?

Strive to have every single person who interacts with your brand come away with the feeling and knowledge you want to communicate. You may never reach McDonald’s status, but that doesn’t mean you can’t strive to instill that same recognition among your target audience.

Still not sure about a rebrand? Take our quiz!

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Quiz: Is It Time for a Rebrand?

Brands grow and change over time, morphing from the humble beginnings of an early stage startup to a full-fledged business. You’re proud of your success story, but how well are you sharing it with others?

From subtle changes in your core offerings to complete shifts in products and leadership, a rebrand will let your customers and network know who you are today as opposed to who you were before.

If you’re unsure whether or not your brand could use a refresh, fear not! We have put together a quick quiz to help you think about the different aspects of your business to assess whether a rebrand would be beneficial.

1. Do you have a clear target audience
You may have known who your customers were when you launched, but now it’s just….everyone?

a. Yes
b. No

2. Is your brand consistent across all channels
Think about whether or not someone who looks at your website will have the exact same impression as someone who is holding your business card.

a. Yes
b. No

3. Has your brand changed over time
This can mean a shift in product offerings, culture or even leadership.

a. Yes
b. No

4. Does your brand look attractive to potential recruits
Consider how you’re attracting top talent to keep your business growing.

a. Yes
b. No

5. Have you updated your marketing materials
Take a look at all of your marketing materials, starting with your logo.

a. Yes
b. No

6. Is your website working for you
Ask yourself whether your website is an asset or a liability.

a. Yes
b. No

Answer Key:

Mostly A’s
Congratulations! Your brand is in great shape, demonstrating all of your core values and offerings to the appropriate target audiences. Have you thought about how to expand your reach even further? Check out a few suggestions on how to boost your email marketing campaigns or launch a social media ad campaign.

Mostly B’s
You already know what we’re going to say. You might have spent $10,000 on a website eight years ago, and now you’re afraid to touch it. Maybe you have your 18-year-old niece making “graphics” for social media that aren’t quite aligned with your messaging. No matter what your reasoning, it’s never too late to refresh your image. Stay tuned to the Fetch blog for our series on how to make your brand work for you.