Question: I need to completely rebrand my startup. What is one step I should not overlook (in terms of marketing, customers, or any other area of the business)?
The following answers are provided by members of Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.
Start From the Heart
As we all know, people make buying decisions based on how they feel. So don’t create an intellectualized version of your brand that isn’t emotionally accessible to your customers. Start your rebranding by planting a flag in the ground for what you stand for as a business and building out your branding from that place of boldness.
Having a brand that your people are excited about and happy to be a part of is paramount. Will your brand be something your employees, family and friends will want to wear on a t-shirt and talk about? Is it something that sounds interesting and inspires the question, “Oh sounds cool, what does your company do?” It’s subtle but immensely important.
Focus on Conversion Rate Optimization
Your website, content and landing pages should be focused on customer conversion, and you should use analytics and feedback to consistently optimize for conversion. Most startups do not focus enough on conversion optimization and instead focus on things such as design. Agencies are investing more in people who are conversion optimization experts, and they are making it an important KPI.
Make Sure the Logo and Name Communicate the New Message
As disappointing as it is, people do judge books by their covers – businesses too. Ensure that your name, logo and colors are communicating exactly what they should be. Often you’ll only have seconds of a prospect’s time before they make a determination about your company. Make sure that determination is the one you want.
Validate Early and Often
You should constantly validate your ideas with consumers from your target market before you implement. Show them what you’re working on and ask if the change is net positive. You might even consider asking them if they have any ideas of their own. Don’t take one subjective opinion too seriously. But if you repeatedly receive the same piece of negative feedback, consider changing what you’re doing.
When rebranding, it’s important to come up with a solid idea of what the company stands for, and also make sure that the employees are on board with what the new brand reflects. This idea needs to stay consistent within the organization and employees.
Involve the Entire Team
When rebranding your startup, the one area you should not overlook is the involvement of your employees. Employees at startups live and breathe the company just like the founders and can provide valuable input in the rebranding process. On top of this, if you rebrand the company without consulting your team, you run the risk of choosing a new name or logo that they don’t like.
Pay Attention to Brand Archetype
One of the most helpful exercises we did for branding was determining our brand archetype. From guru to explorer to traditionalist to connector, there are 20 archetypes that you can select to characterize your business. After you pick one or two archetypes, ensure that your user experience, graphics and written content fit with the personality.
Keep Your Old Customers in the Loop
Your older customer base should be duly informed and kept in the loop. They should also be made aware that the rebranding will not affect their service in any way, as a change in branding might make them a little jittery and apprehensive.