Rebranding Small Business: Lessons from Our New Change in Identity

Are you considering rebranding your small business? Learn from our experience, the do’s and don’ts, and what to expect along the way.

Recently I rebranded my company from Simple Creative Marketing to Authentic Marketer. In this post, I share some lessons learned and resources used in the process.

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What is rebranding?

Branding is the identity of your business. It’s how customers perceive you and what sets you apart from the competition. Your brand includes everything from your name and logo to your color scheme and website design.

Here’s a great 4-minute explanation of branding:

What Is Branding? 4 Minute Crash Course.

Rebranding is when you change one or more aspects of your brand identity. It’s the process of creating a new name, identity, and/or image for your existing business.

To do this requires reviewing and updating your existing brand and brand strategy.

It’s also essential to develop a rebranding strategy that outlines elements such as

  • brand messaging

  • brand personality

  • brand elements

  • new brand identity

  • the brand’s audience

  • and more.

What is brand identity? (and what does it have to do with rebranding?)

Brand identity is how a business presents itself to and wants to be perceived by the world.

It’s made up of many elements (such as your name, logo, website, social media presence, etc.) that all work together to create a cohesive whole.

Your brand identity should be consistent across all channels and reflect your company’s values, mission, and personality.

A rebrand is often necessary when a company’s brand identity no longer accurately reflects who they are or what they do.

Rebranding can also be done to rejuvenate a company’s visual identity, appeal to a new target market, or simply keep up with the times.

Why is rebranding small business necessary?

There are many reasons you want to rebrand your business. Maybe your business has outgrown its original name or identity. Or you want a fresh start.

Whatever the reason, rebranding is a big decision, and it’s not something to be taken lightly. It took us 16 months to rebrand our company!

We changed our logo, brand style guide, domain, and website during that time. We also learned a lot about rebranding in general.

By the way, if you want to rebrand your personal brand, this short video might help.

Why did I rebrand Simple Creative Marketing?

1) My old website sucked.

Six years after launching my website, I noticed it had a lot of issues – slow load time, hundreds of pages, lots of plugins, and broken links. It was a downright mess and just too big to clean up.

The proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back (although I associate more with a giraffe because of my height – I’m 6’1″) was that my website wasn’t loading quickly enough, and critical sales pages weren’t displaying correctly.

This potentially hurt sales and became a constant source of frustration for me.

I was once on a sales call with a potential client, trying to sell them my done-for-you case study service. They told me that they couldn’t view the packages I had available. Needless to say, I was embarrassed.

2) I wasn’t a fan of “Simple Creative Marketing” anymore.

It wasn’t doing a great job of representing my brand.

3) Internally, we (and I) were making some changes.

I needed a break. I felt burned out dealing with pandemic life, lockdowns, client work drying up, and being unable to travel outside Australia for a couple of years with my wife.

Six months or so leading up to that time, I felt like my business wasn’t working. This was a reflection of my inner state, and I was not in a good place mentally and spiritually. I’d lost my drive and my mojo.

During the pandemic, I started feeling that something was wrong with how I’d approached business – that there was a hidden cost of chasing fast growth and hustling.

My work had become monotonous and unfulfilling, and I was in dire need of a change. I also needed some time to improve my well-being and think about my beliefs and viewpoints on issues.

So my wife and I packed up our stuff and put it into storage, let go of our apartment in Sydney, and booked a one-way ticket to Portland, USA, to attend a crazy event called World Domination Summit.

This was also around the time that we ended our professional relationship with our excellent part-time VA, Janine Cabato. Janine was asked to go full-time with her other client, and we’re thrilled that she was given a chance to support herself and her family that way.

Why is Rebranding Important?

Businesses evolve, so it’s only natural that their brands do too. Rebranding can help a business stay relevant and top-of-mind with its target audience.

It can also breathe new life into a company, increasing excitement and energy internally and externally with customers and clients.

Rebranding is also an opportunity to correct any misperceptions about your business that may have developed over time.

For example, as part of rebranding from Simple Creative Marketing to Authentic Marketer, I wanted to clarify our service offerings, updated pricing, business model, and a new direction.

When should a company consider rebranding?

You may consider rebranding when the business:

  1. Has outgrown its old image

  2. Wants to appeal to a new target market

  3. Wants to distance itself from negative associations

  4. Has been acquired or merged

  5. Wants to re-energize its core team with a new start (or, in my case, as a solo entrepreneur – re-energize myself!)

There may also be other scenarios, but these are some more common ones.

What steps should be taken to make your rebrand successful?

  1. Define your goals

  2. Research your target market and competition

  3. Evaluate your current brand

  4. Develop your new brand identity

  5. Create a rebranding strategy and plan

  6. Implement your rebranding plan

  7. Communicate the changes

  8. Evaluate and fine-tune your rebranding efforts.

If you’re considering rebranding your business, I encourage you to follow these steps to ensure a smooth and successful transition.

Rebranding strategies and tips.

While every business will have its own unique rebranding experience, here are some general rebranding strategies and tips that can be useful.

Start with a clean slate

Rebranding is an opportunity to start with a fresh perspective, so don’t be afraid to let go of preconceptions about your business, product, or service.

Be clear on your goals.

What do you hope to achieve with your rebrand? What are your business goals? Clarifying your goals at the outset will help you measure the success of your rebranding efforts down the track.

If you’re going for a new identity, also consider elements that make up your brand’s visual identity and brand essence. You’ll want to capture and convey your brand story.

Collaborate with your team.

If you have a team, it’s crucial to involve them in the rebranding process as early as possible so that they can provide input and feedback.

Depending on the size of your company, you may also want to consider bringing in outside help, such as a branding agency or consultant.

I was fortunate enough to have a few amazing people help me with rebranding:

  • my brilliant web and graphic designer, Colleen Keith
  • my wife and Chief Efficiency Officer Cindy (by the way, she’s currently available for freelance marketing & admin work, so get in touch with her if you need a hand with things like graphics, posting blogs on your site, and bookkeeping)
  • my VA (at the time), Janine.

My website needed a fresh new look, and the business needed a complete brand overhaul, so having Colleen onboard was critical. She’s helped multiple businesses to rebrand successfully, so I knew she was up to the task.

I sure as heck wasn’t skilled enough to do it on my own!

Brand strategy

It’s highly recommended to start with a brand strategy before rebranding.

Your brand strategy will consider your target market, business goals, and competition to develop a comprehensive plan for rebranding.

This will help ensure that your rebrand is on track and aligned with your business goals.

Here are some useful resources that can help with this process:

Redefine brand mission and positioning

Without carefully considering the business’ brand mission and positioning, no rebranding effort is complete.

Here are a few questions:

  • What does your business do?

  • Who are your target customers?

  • What need does your business fill for your target customers?

  • How is your business different from your competitors?

  • Why should anyone care about your brand?

For example, when rebranding from Simple Creative Marketing to Authentic Marketer, I had to consider these questions.

As part of the rebranding process, we also updated our web site’s copy and ensured that it aligned with our new brand identity.

I also added new blog posts to help build organic traffic, level up authority on my website, attract new leads and build relationships with our target market.

Redefining your brand mission and positioning will impact all of the following:

  • business strategy

  • company’s mission

  • impact on existing customers/customer base

  • new audience (if any)

  • market positioning

  • mission and values

  • marketing channels

  • the brand’s vision

  • marketing strategy

Establish a schedule.

Like any project, rebranding efforts must be planned and managed to succeed.

I recommend working backward from your rebrand launch date to establish a schedule of deliverables and milestones.

This will ensure that you stay on track and don’t get overwhelmed with rebranding.

I recommend involving your team in this process, so everyone knows the rebranding timeline and their respective roles and responsibilities.

Colleen and I used Clickup to manage our project timeline and all tasks as they came up.

rebranding small business - Screenshot of our rebranding project tasks in Clickup project management software
Screenshot of our rebranding project tasks in Clickup project management software

Set a budget

Rebranding costs can quickly add up, so it’s essential to set a budget at the outset and stick to it.

Be realistic about what you can afford to spend on your rebrand. Consider all costs, including design, development, copywriting, photography, video, marketing materials, web design, digital marketing, logo redesigns, etc.

If you’re working with a branding agency or consultant, get an estimate of their fees before signing on the dotted line.

Redesign all marketing assets.

A new brand or a brand refresh typically results in new marketing collateral, such as a new website, business cards, letterhead, social media assets, etc.

Be sure to update your marketing assets to reflect your new brand identity.

If you’re working with a branding agency or consultant, they can typically guide you through this process.

Let’s look at some of the key marketing assets you’ll likely work on.

Change your brand positioning.

Your brand positioning helps you communicate your brand consistently, clearly, and attractive to your target market.

If rebranding to change your brand positioning, you’ll need to dedicate time to clarify your new brand positioning statement.

Your brand positioning statement is the foundation of your rebrand and should be developed before anything else.

Spending time on this is important, as your brand positioning will guide your rebranding decisions, from your new logo design to your website copy.

Get input from your team members, customers, and target market to ensure that your new brand positioning statement accurately reflects your business and resonates with your target market.

One of my favorite activities during this rebranding process was reaching out to clients and asking them to leave testimonials on our new client wins wall. Seeing all the cool feedback from past and present clients was amazing!

screenshot of case study testimonials

Update your brand’s voice and brand guidelines.

Your rebranding efforts should also include an updated brand voice that aligns with your new brand positioning.

Your brand voice is how you communicate your brand to the world. This will typically be reflected in a brand style guide or voice and tone guidelines.

These guidelines should be created or updated to reflect your new brand voice and be used by everyone in your company, from your customer service team to your social media manager.

Your brand voice should be consistent across all channels and touchpoints.

Some examples of brand voices include:

– Approachable

– Professional

– Fun

– Casual

– authoritative.

Your brand voice should be reflective of your company culture and the type of relationship you want to have with your customers.

It’s also important to consider how your brand voice will change over time as your business grows and evolves.

Warby Parker, Dollar Shave Club, and Nike are a few companies with distinct brand voices.

Warby Parker’s brand voice is fun and approachable. Dollar Shave Club’s brand voice is casual and masculine, and Nike’s is confident and inspirational.

Consider how you want your customers to feel when interacting with your brand and use that as a starting point for developing your new brand voice.

Choose a new name or keep your current name.

If rebranding, you might also want to consider changing your company name.

A few things to remember if you’re thinking about changing your company name:

  • Your company name is often the first thing people learn about your brand. It should be reflective of your brand positioning and values.

  • A new company name can be a great way to start fresh and boost your rebranding efforts.

  • Changing your company name can be a big undertaking, so make sure you have a solid plan before making the switch.

  • If you’re changing your company name, update your domain name and all your social media accounts.

If you decide to keep your current company name, that’s OK too! You can still rebrand without changing your company name.

A new brand needs a new logo.

A logo represents your brand and should be included in all your marketing collateral.

Your logo should be unique, memorable, and recognizable.

If you’re working with a branding agency or consultant, they will typically create a few logo concepts for you to choose from.

This is precisely what Colleen did with my logo. We went through several rounds of ideas and back and forth on feedback and edits until we arrived at the final logo.

Update your website.

Your website is often the first touchpoint potential customers have with your business, so it’s important to ensure it accurately reflects your new brand identity.

This might involve a complete redesign or simply updating key elements, such as your logo, color scheme, imagery, copy, etc.

During our rebrand, one of the activities that took me a long time was identifying how many of the 200+ pages and 30+ WordPress plugins we would migrate over to the new website.

During our rebrand process, Colleen identified multiple pages with code that no longer worked when we switched to Elementor from Divi. So my VA Janine and I had to manually remove the broken code.

I also had to work through each page to identify things that needed to be updated, such as lead magnets and outdated content.

It felt the same as when my wife and I recently had to go through all the items in our apartment and decide what we wanted to keep and what we would trash.

While it was a lot of work, it was worth it because our new website is much faster, easier to use, and reflects our new brand identity.

screenshots of How our website looked before and after the rebrand
How our website looked before and after the rebrand

Traffic, don’t forget the traffic!

If you’re moving from one domain to a new one, what do you do if your old domain gets good organic traffic every month?

What can you do to ensure that all of the excellent SEO juice you’ve developed over many years isn’t lost?

This is precisely the question I had for Colleen.

Word of advice, if you’re rebranding, start thinking about this early on like I did.

We came up with a plan to set up 301 redirects from old pages to new pages so that we wouldn’t lose any traffic during the rebranding process.

This was one of the most important steps in our rebranding process, and I’m happy to report that we didn’t lose any traffic or rankings during the rebrand. In fact, we had the most page views of all of my sites just last month. You can read more about it here.

Screenshot of Fathom analytics data for my website
Screenshot of Fathom analytics data for my website. You can see that in the first 30 days, the traffic started climbing as redirects were implemented.

Take your audience along for the ride, and get feedback from your target market.

When rebranding, sharing updates on how things are changing and getting feedback from your target market is essential.

After all, they’re the ones you’re trying to appeal to with your new brand!

For instance, I posted this question in my private FB group, asking for feedback from trusted entrepreneur friends:

Screenshot of a survey question posted in my FB group
Screenshot of a survey question posted in my FB group

Introducing two weekly newsletters

I made the decision to clean up my old email list and start a new and improved weekly newsletter as part of my renewed focus on real marketing.

In fact, this has led me to produce two weekly newsletters:

  • A free weekly Authentic Marketer newsletter with a new format that’s more essay-style. Every week, I explore topics such as authentic marketing, building online businesses, and personal improvement.
  • A second paid “build in public” newsletter that’s for folks interested in me sharing a behind-the-scenes look at how I go from zero to building a $20K/month service-based business and passive income stream. (You can get a sample of this newsletter here)

Monitor and course correct

Once you’ve launched your rebrand, it’s essential to monitor its progress and course correct as needed.

This might involve re-evaluating your brand positioning, monitoring your brand awareness, conducting customer research, analyzing your web traffic, etc.

Regularly review your rebranding efforts to ensure they achieve the desired results.

Rebranding can be a big undertaking, but if done correctly, it can be a very rewarding experience for you and your business.

Now that we’ve rebranded our small business, it’s time for a new lease on life!

I’m excited to announce my new brand, Authentic Marketer! I’ve got a new website, logo, and coaching program, Accelerator!

I’m excited about my rebrand and can’t wait to see how it helps me attract new clients, build deeper relationships with existing clients, and level up my business.

If you’re unfamiliar with my work, I’m a marketing coach and copywriter who helps entrepreneurs find their voice and authentically share their message with the world. So if you need help doing this, check out my services and get in touch.

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