Sometimes it’s essential to refresh your corporate image to bring fresh energy into your brand, and to get people to see it with new interest. It also enables you to update your brand to suit current market conditions and more directly appeal to your target audience. You can even use the opportunity to reach out to a new market segment altogether.
For example, when Steve Jobs returned to Apple in 1997, he led one of the best rebranding campaigns of our times, transforming it from a brand that didn’t stand for much to an innovative thought leader in the tech industry.
However, you should never change your corporate image just for the sake of it, without doing thorough research. Whether you’re planning to refresh certain aspects of your brand, or a complete overhaul, there are some critical steps that will ensure that your company objectives successfully align with the audience preferences.
At a high level, it’s important to determine:
- Who’s your target audience
- How you want your business to be perceived by them
- How you’ll communicate the brand refresh
Although there are various challenges and difficulties, when it comes to refreshing your brand image, here are 5 steps that will put you on the right track:
1. Perform thorough brand research
If you want to update your brand image, you need to first understand where it is lacking right now. Perhaps it’s no longer aligned with the market requirements, or maybe your products and services have changed so you need to communicate your company’s new goals & expertise.
- What do you want your brand to stand for?
- How do you want people to perceive your business?
- How is it different from how your current brand perception?
Look at your competitors and analyze how they present themselves. How can you differentiate yourself? What gaps are they leaving in the marketplace that you can fill?
What is your mission? How do you help your customers? What value does your business deliver?
Finally, think about your vision. Where do you see your company a year from now? In five years?
Once you’ve answered all these questions, look at your industry and see what style of branding resonates with your audience – from logo design to color schemes to marketing messaging.
2. Identify your target audience and create buyer personas
If you’ve maintained the same brand identity for quite some time then it’s likely that it doesn’t resonate with your target audience anymore. So get to know your target audience(s) once again, to find out how their preferences have changed.
Start by surveying your audience about your current brand. How do they feel about your current logo, messaging and other brand elements? What do they like about it? What do they want to change?
Use your existing customer data to identify the audience demographic that you want to appeal to. If you’ve captured detailed information about your customers through your CRM platform, then it should be easy to analyze this data to find out what they care about, what they’re looking for and through which channels they prefer to receive marketing messages.
Developing buyer personas is a great way to clearly understand the different types of customers who buy your products & services. The idea is to create a fictional description of your target customer, with as many details as possible, including their background, demographics and behavior. Here’s an example:
Once you have an idea of your target audience’s age, location, gender, occupation, interests, likes, dislikes and other details, you’ll be able to figure out where to find them, how to reach them and the right messaging to effectively engage them.
3. Create brand guidelines
Develop brand guidelines to ensure consistent communication across all marketing channels. This is really important if you have a huge marketing and PR team, so that it sets the right tone about what is allowed with respect to your brand identity and messaging.
Create a brand document that covers:
- Visual identity – Approved colors, themes, font, sizes, logos, etc
- Tone of messaging – Should it be formal? Casual? Quirky or Informative?
- Editorial guidelines – Writing standards to ensure that you produce consistently great content
You should also determine the key messages that you want to communicate first, no matter which marketing channel you’re using. What’s the core message you want to communicate to your audience?
4. Ensure consistency
Consistency is one of the most important requirements for a successful brand refresh. You don’t want your business to send out various or even confusing signals to your audience.
Once you’ve established the brand guidelines, it’s essential to incorporate them into every company media and communication such as:
- Social Media profiles and content
- Sales collateral
- Printed and Digital materials
- Contract templates
It’s also important to trash all collateral that still carry old logos or branding, and replace them with the updated ones.
5. Plan for a launch that grabs attention
Once you’re ready with your new corporate image, it’s important to launch it in such a way that it makes a splash. Before you make the public announcement, ensure that you get a company wide buy in, internally. Uncover the new look and messaging to your employees and get them excited about it.
Externally, create a detailed plan that will generate buzz for your business. For example, you can have a public event, or one exclusive for industry insiders, to celebrate the relaunch.
Leverage your own media to generate awareness about the new look. For example, publish blogs about the new brand image, update your web copy to reflect your new messaging and post social media updates to communicate it.
Use paid media to promote content about your new branding via syndication, social ads, Adwords for video, PPC ads, and more to get top-of-the-mind awareness for your business. You can also get earned media by pitching relevant journalists, publishing guest posts and sending out a press release.
Once you’ve launched your new corporate image, measure its performance by tracking key metrics such as:
- Did the traffic spike during launch? If yes, then how long did stay stay so after the launch?
- How long did visitors stay on your site?
- How many pageviews did rebranding-related content receive?
- How many tweets, retweets, likes, etc did your content receive?
- How many third-party articles about the rebranding were published?
- How many social mentions did it receive?
- What was the overall sentiment about the rebrand?
- How did the rebranding impact your business in the following month and year?
Refreshing your corporate image must be done strategically, in a step-by-step manner. But if your new brand is aligned with your business goals and customer expectations, it will ensure that your rebranding is a success.