No matter how successful your business is (or you think it is), there is always room for improvement. Change is the only sure thing your small business will always encounter. And whether your goal is to attract a wider market or become the leader in your niche, one strategy that has proven successful time and time again is rebranding.
Your brand is more than just the logo on your letterhead. It is how people, both customers and potential ones, view your business. Your brand is more your reputation than just the colors on your packaging.
But when it comes time to make plans to attract a new or wider customer base, what can you do to modify and update your branding? Here are some tips.
Ask Your Most Valuable Resource: Customers!
Customer surveys should be a constant effort on your part. There is no better resource on how you should improve than your own customers.
These are the people who shop for your products and use your services. Finding out their motivations, needs, and wants is essential for designing products and services that suit them. Keep up your survey efforts, and find out if there is a common theme of change running through your results.
Determine a New or Modified Customer Base
Your loyal customers are what keep you in business, and you may feel like you need to remain loyal to them. However, if your goal is to expand and grow, you may find you need to attract a new type of customer.
Take the example of Stash Tea Company out of Portland, Oregon. This little company started in a little Victorian house selling loose herbal teas to individuals and specialty natural foods stores. However, years later, they found they needed to broaden their scope in order to reach and much different customer base.
Stash Tea began selling a wider range of traditional bagged teas, changed their look and packaging, and found that they appealed more to restaurants, grocery stores, and consumers via mail order. Now they are one of the largest specialty tea companies in the US, selling their rebranded teas in major grocery stores, restaurants, food service distribution, coffee shops, and of course, to a large loyal direct consumer base.
Update Your Logo
A logo is just a graphic that represents your company. Look at a logo for McDonalds, Starbucks, Ford, Chevron, and you recognize the brand immediately. But even these giants have changed and rebranded their logos.
Consider hiring a professional graphic artist. These trained and schooled artists can better conceptualize your business and mission in a more streamlined logo that is more compact, fewer colors, and even bolder than what you are currently using.
However, make sure you learn from the recent mistakes of Gap and Urban Outfitters who have experienced logo redesign debacles. Think back to point #1: talk to your customers and include them in the redesign!
With a new logo comes updated packaging, and to stay modern, think simple. Avoid using full-color packaging that looks to “busy” and has too many fonts. Change or modify the color(s) to match your logo theme and use fewer of them. You may find that simpler packaging will help increase sales.
Submit Press Releases
It never hurts to send out press releases of major changes in your business. It could be big news. For instance, if you are a local chocolatier who has made a name in the community who is suddenly selling your chocolates to be sold in all Disneyland theme parks, that’s story-worthy and could get you even more business.
Publish an Article in a Major Magazine
Publicity is always helpful to bring attention to your rebranding efforts. If you have made successful changes, consider writing about it and offering your success story as a motivation article. You might even consider approaching journalists to see if they will do a feature story about your rebranding success.
While rebranding is not an easy task, it is possible to do successfully. Most large corporations have undergone major rebranding at some point or another. Remember, Apple was once just a home computer business, but now they are a major international communication, entertainment, and personal computing seller. Your success may not be as large as Apple, but with the right strategy, you can find your new niche.