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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 while, 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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Redefining Your Target Audience

The very first step in a company rebrand should always be to re-evaluate the target audience. Depending on how long you’ve been in business, what was true of your ideal customer back then is most likely not true today. (Those young Millennials fresh out of college aren’t so young anymore!) 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.

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.

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 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 cubicle-ridden office spaces in the Loop, it’s time to adjust their focus.

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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Eight Lessons from Eight Years in Business

*A note from Fetch PR partner Lina Khalil

 

Fetch has gone through a ton of changes since Erryn and I started the business in 2009, growing leaps and bounds in clients, staff and even square footage. To celebrate our eighth year in business, the whole team came together for cake and wine and to reflect on the lessons we’ve learned. Here are a few of our favorites.

 

1. Put all the cards on the table.

One of the best ways to keep your team passionate about the company’s goals is to be transparent about where you’ve been, where you are currently, where you would like to go and how each individual plays a role in getting there. When employers put all the cards on the table, their team feels more connected and committed to reaching the company’s goals.

 

2. Be real about your struggle.

Being able to identify where you struggle personally while also being able to have success in those situations provides individual development that will help you grow as a company. Obviously, you want to stay true to who you are, but you can’t always be the same person in every professional situation and rely on just your natural skill set if you want to progress. You need to understand your strengths but not fall back on them constantly to the point where they become a weakness.

 

3. Bootstrapping isn’t cute.

Money isn’t everything, but when you’re running a business, it can feel like the only thing that matters. We like to ask ourselves two questions when it comes to making business decisions: Can we afford to do it? Can we afford NOT to do it? Always remember that any financial venture is an investment in your business. If an opportunity to improve your business may stretch you financially, consider how long it would take you to reach your goals without making that investment. Compare this to the short-term financial strains that you may incur by going after it. We have found that nine times out of 10 that making the investment has paid larger dividends.

 

4. Don’t sell yourself short.

Go after your ideal candidate as soon as possible, even if you’re not currently in the position to hire them. Make your intentions known and start the conversation early with them. Most business owners feel undeserving when it comes to attracting top talent. However, if you passionately sell your vision to them, they may reciprocate by telling you their must-haves in order to make the move. This will put you the best position to secure your rock star candidate and accelerate the growth of your company.

 

5. Wear less hats.

At some point every business owner wears multiple hats. While this approach allows you to launch your company and get off the ground with minimal investment, it was never meant to sustain a company long term. It is important to understand your revenue-generating activities which will help you analyze the value of your time. This will allow you to pinpoint processes that you are currently handling and outsource to a third-party who can do it more efficiently and for less money than what your time is worth.

 

6. Take your blinders off.

In our personal lives, we all know self-care is important – meaning, you have to take care of yourself first in order to help others. This is no different than running a business. While keeping your clients happy is the number one priority, neglecting your own business can stagnate your growth. To ensure your business doesn’t plateau, set aside time each quarter to look at your business as a whole. This will allow you identify areas of opportunity, promote innovation and boost creativity within your business.

 

7. Sh!t happens.

Ultimately, we can’t control when bad things happen, but that doesn’t mean we should sit around waiting for them to happen. While these negative experiences allow opportunities to learn and grow, it’s equally important to recognize the good moments and enjoy the heck out of those times.

 

8. Boy bye.

A relationship with a client is oddly similar to a relationship with a significant other. Sometimes, when the relationship with a client goes south, you automatically try to mend the broken pieces but realize that it can only hold together for so long. When it gets to that point, it’s time to let the client go in order to keep your company intact.

 

We hope these lessons that we learned throughout our eight years in business can serve you well in your enterprise endeavors. Here’s to another eight (plus)!

Check out one of our highlights from this past year