While a rebranding project can be an exciting undertaking, it can also be an arduous one. Without the right tools, data, and know-how, a rebranding project can become a costly mistake. With that in mind, we’re talking about what a rebrand is and how to do it correctly.
What’s a B2B brand?
Branding refers to the look and feel of your brand and products. Think about well-known brands like Apple or Slack: without thinking, you were able to bring their logos and branding to mind.
More than a logo
Logos are essential, but they’re not the only part of a brand. A brand is about your mission, vision, business goal, and plans. A brand encompasses every aspect of your business, which means a rebrand does, as well.
In his famous TED Talk about branding, Simon Sinek urges business to start their branding process by asking themselves a seemingly simple question:
“Why do you do what you do?”
Some things come to mind like helping people, making money, or innovating but getting very granular with your “why statement” will help you zero in on all other aspects of your business. Typically, a branding coach or agency will help you by telling you to fill in the blanks in this statement.
“ [Brand name] exists to [ do an action] by [means of carrying out that action] in order to [the benefit of that action].
When you know the heart of what you do and how you do it, pinpointing the best way to update your branding becomes a much easier task.
Drive emotional connection
When people see your brand as more than a product, they’re more likely to work with you and buy from you. Think about Apple. Apple makes computers, phones, and other tech gear, but that’s not what they sell: they sell the lifestyle of a future-forward, cool Apple User. People want that, and they’ll wait in line all night to get it.
Tech companies need strong branding
There are already a lot of tech companies globally, and no small number of them are competing with your brand for eyes and clicks. In a sea of light blue squares and circles, it can be hard for a tech brand to stand out truly. This is why it’s significant for brands in the tech industry to think outside of the proverbial box.
Know what colors and shapes you want to use to help encapsulate your brand. It’s ok to be different; your brand values and offerings also play a big role in how your prospects perceive and engage with your business.
Why consider B2B rebranding?
As we covered earlier, rebranding your tech company is more than just updating a logo. Many companies find themselves at various parts of their growth, asking themselves if something needs to change. Here are some of the most common reasons tech companies decide to rebrand.
1. You have a new strategy
Accelerating your growth? Pivoting to a new model? Getting acquired? There are several great reasons to rebrand, but every rebranding project should begin with a foundational reason for the work you’re about to undertake.
Your leads may be less qualified, or you’ve plateaued with your current pipeline and have stayed flatlined longer than you wanted. Sometimes a little shake-up is exactly what you need to re-awaken your target audience to your brand.
3. New model, service, or product
If you’re about to pivot on the way you’ve done business, rebranding is the perfect way to let your clients and prospects know that changes are happening. Whether you’re keeping the same business name or introducing new brands or services, it’s important to try to keep some note of your previous brand in the update. It can be a small nod to your history or part of a secondary color palette, but a new look can confuse some of your legacy clients who may not be affected by the change but may worry about it anyway.
It’s easy to want something new and shiny once you’ve acquired a new brand or company. However, it’s important to note that not every new acquisition requires an update in the brand. If an operating company has acquired you, it might not be necessary. If you’ve been acquired by private equity, a rebrand can help create excitement and generate new returns that will help keep investors happy and your business growing.
5. Your current brand is out of date
Having an out of date or stale feeling brand is a valid reason to embark on this journey. A rebrand can help get clients *and* employees re-energized about the company. Updated swag always helps!
6. You don’t feel competitive
There's often a difference between who you think your competitors may be and who they actually are. With that in mind, it’s important to do a little research as part of the beginning of your rebrand. Here are a few things to ask:
- Who are your biggest competitors and how does your brand compare? Do they seem more up to date and modern? Do they seem to get more engagement on their social or through paid channels? Think about where your brand fits into your competitive landscape from a visual perspective.
- Can you easily differentiate your brand from everyone else’s? We all know that blue is B2B’s favorite color, so maybe it’s time to make a change. When you do a Google image search for similar companies, can you tell the difference between their logos and yours? Do you use the same stock photos and fonts?
- What personality do you want your brand to have? When a prospect sees your branding, how will it make them feel? Calm? Excited? Happy? The choices you make with colors, shapes, and wording will help generate an emotional first impression with your target audience and help them take a step towards engaging with your brand. It’s also worth noting what about the competitors you like. You can re-imagine an image, add a new color to your palette, or opt for something more minimal and less image-heavy. Look around with a critical eye and note what you don’t like, like, and love. It will help the design process go much faster when you have examples to share.
7. It’s time to change stakeholder perceptions
If things start to slow down, the call might be coming from “inside the house.” Classic horror tropes aside, it’s not always just your clients’ and prospects' reactions (or lack thereof) to your brand that may make you want to consider rebranding.
- Your board and investors. Nothing says “We’re on a path towards growth and change!” like a rebrand. Outdated branding can leave a bad taste in investor’s mouths, especially if you’re not the only company in their portfolio. Keeping your brand modern and engaging is just as important for your board and investors as it is for your prospects.
- Your Employees. This is the group that can be the most overlooked during the rebranding process. Your employees must know what’s happening during the rebranding process and why it’s happening. They’re going to be the real world agents of change once everything is revealed, so they need to be informed and excited about what it all means. A few different teams may need extra motivation, so here are some quick talking points.
- Sales: With new branding and new collateral, Sales will have more modern and engaging pieces to send to clients, which means they’ll spend less time trying to create something on their own.
- Support: It’s important that your Support team feels supported during the brand changes as they are the ones on the frontlines fielding questions and helping new and existing clients alike. Talk about how a rebranding can help redefine, in a clearer way, what your brand does, which can help make their jobs a lot easier in the long run.
- Operations: While Operations may already be involved to some degree in the rebrand, they need to get excited as well. Think of them as the cheerleaders for the non-Sales teams. Ensure your Ops team knows why the rebrand is happening, how it will help the companies achieve their goals, and how it will impact what they’re doing both day to day and long term.
- Existing Customers. For some companies, rebranding can help existing customers re-discover all that your business has to offer. Perhaps you have really stable relationships but just can’t execute on the upsells. A rebrand can be the perfect reintroduction into what you do and how it can help them and educate them on any new products or services from which they would benefit. Rebranding can also let your clients know that you’re growing and looking towards the future, something that can instill both confidence and comfort.
- Prospects. New leads! More qualified leads! A rebrand can make your brand more visible to your target audience and redefine who you are and what you do, causing more qualified traffic through ads, organic search, and social media.
Must-have information integral to your rebrand
Before you begin the rebranding process, you must have all of your proverbial ducks in a row. This means researching; you begin the process to create a strong foundation of data and information to guide your rebrand based on strong, thoughtful, and careful consideration.
Conversations with key stakeholders
It’s never good to make assumptions about how people feel or think about your brand. Make sure you pull your stakeholders into one or a few conversations about the brand as it is, how they perceive it, and what a change would mean to them.
By exploring their understanding of the brand, you’ll be able to pinpoint their understanding of your mission and values. You’ll also be able to use their valuable feedback to help inform how your rebrand takes place.
Do your research on successful and failed rebrands so you can learn the mistake of those before you. Check out other B2B brands but be sure to look at the brands you admire, as well, even if they’re not in your industry. Having a wide spectrum of information and examples to pull from can actually help you narrow down what you like and don‘t like easier.
h3 Pinpoint your business goals
Once you know your business goals, it’s important to think about how a rebrand may bolster or hinder them. Do you have a lot of products with disparate names and brands? Rebranding could help you tie everything back together and make it easier to present solutions to your clients. Did you just update your brand a year or so ago? It might not be a good time to make even more changes that can signal a lack of stability to your client base and shareholders.
Build a business case
You need to think of your rebrand as reinvestment in your brand. You will quantify your return on investment as long as you pay attention to how the money you’re putting into the rebrand can increase things like conversion, sales goals, reach, engagement, etc. Show how your brand is performing now and what your project will happen with performance once the rebrand has rolled out. If you have a specific plan with metrics attached, it will be easier for you to discuss or defend your investment.
Find the right B2B rebranding partner
Not everyone is going to be a good fit for your rebranding project. There are a few vetting steps to take in your search to get the right people to help you along the way. Here are a few things to keep in mind.
- Not every agency is equipped with the right skill set for your project. Be sure to speak to multiple agencies, have them present ideas to you, demonstrate that they understand your needs, and have the tools needed to help your rebrand ideas become a reality.
- Experience really matters. B2B branding is its own animal. If you’re speaking with many B2C experts, make sure you ask them for examples of B2B brands and rebrands that they’ve done. Ask for references from their examples so you can speak to another B2B business about their experiences. This is a big project, so make sure you work with B2B experts who understand what it takes.
- Make sure your quotes cover everything. When you feel like you have a good foundation in place, make sure you communicate with the agencies you’re speaking about the budget and deliverable expectations. Remember: rebranding isn’t just about new logos and a new color pallet; a rebrand touches literally every aspect of your business from digital and social to real word collateral, ads, business cards, t-shirts, etc.
Rebranding isn’t easy, but it’s worth it
We help many firms rebrand, and while it can be hard work, it’s also an exciting undertaking that can yield tremendous results if embarked upon for the right reasons.