I’ve had my business going a little over six years now.
Last week, I did something some would consider quite drastic.
I rebranded. Totally.
The logo that had adorned my website, business cards and Facebook and Twitter pages for years … gone!
“Why?” I hear your little brains ticking over. “Why would you do that? Branding is everything! How will people know you now?”
It’s true. Branding is a huge deal; and it is really important to get yourself a brand. It’s an easy way for people to recognise you, know who you are and what business you’re in. After some time, your brand become synonymous with what you do – take Coles or Coca-Cola for example. You see their logo and you know who you’re dealing with.
So, why’d I do it?
Here’s what happened in the beginning. I wanted a site; a forum that provided a safe place for mums, and to entertain the little part of me that wanted to be a writer when I grew up. I didn’t really know much about branding and logos … and the site was to be nothing more than “a bit of fun whilst I was working a proper job”.
I had a logo in mind, and after much to-ing and fro-ing (via a third party) my logo was created. And it FIT.
I loved it.
Over the years, my business grew in a direction and to an extent I had never anticipated nor expected. A new site grew out of the one I started and a new logo and brand was created for the new business.
I didn’t love this new logo – I LOVED it!
(It’s also very important to note that LOVING your logo and branding is just as essential as passion for your business – if you don’t LOVE It, it will affect how you relate to your business … but that’s a whole other ramble that I’m sure Alli will cover at some point!)
And it worked for the new business.
Business one, however, was still growing and people were demanding more and more that I hadn’t planned to offer – ever – in the first place.
The logo I first had was no longer fitting; it was starting to feel almost “wrong” for where the business was headed. And when your brand and your business starts to feel wrong as a partnership, when they no longer match each other or work together, and have you thinking “but that idea doesn’t work with the logo and what it represents” whilst your mind and gut are yelling “you have to do this, its where the business is headed” … then you really have some serious thinking to do.
How’d I do it?
First up … well, technically it was “second up”. Firstly, I had a stubborn conversation with myself, because I really don’t like change, and the two sides of my brain were having a screaming match at each other about the “best” decision to make – yeah, you know the one, we’ve all been there. After that – second up – I did something radical!
I took a step back and thought “what do my members really think”. Because, to be honest, I had a brand, I got my logo(s) designed and trademarked and I put them on my websites and business cards; just like I was told by every business expert out there.
I really had no idea how they were viewed or perceived by my members.
So I asked.
There was a clear preference for one over the other (phew, they loved the one that I LOVED! Lucky); but they also gave be a detailed response as to what each of the logos meant to them. What they liked, what they didn’t like, and mostly, how they relate to each logo.
What I didn’t expect was the relationship they had with one over the other; how it made them feel and how they related to it so closely … she (my logo) is them.
You can’t help but feel a wee bit proud and yell “BAZINGA!” when you get your logo that spot on.
How did I know it was time?
I didn’t specifically know it was time, per se, to rebrand.
Here’s what I did know:
Basically, by business was on go slow, and near standstill, because I didn’t “like” it. Not good when you’re trying to run a business, yes?
It had to change so that I, personally, liked it and enjoyed spending time on it. I also needed to make some fairly drastic decisions regarding the community aspect of it; what it was offering was restricting, to a degree, what I wanted the site, forum and community to be.
Mostly, I just wanted to make my life easier, and the software I was using was not only deterring me from working on it, because of it’s look, but the admin side of it – ARGH!
I’m not even going to get into the technical side of it!
I didn’t necessarily know it was time to rebrand – but I did know it was time to change the site before it rapidly fell into a hole.
In amongst all the decision making was the fact that my members resonated so well with one particular logo. This made it all the more easy to recreate the site, as the logo so suitably matched the direction the site was destined to head in.
Whilst I had to farewell two close friends; the two women who adorned the header of my website for over five years, and been with me through thick and thin, having them leave my life (and my website) allowed me to open more doors and more opportunities for growth and to do what I am most passionate about.
I knew it was time to rebrand because I was stuck with no clear way forward. Certainly not one without my mind constantly running around in circles about whether the idea fit with the logo or not.
And we all know you can’t possibly move forward while you’re running around in circles.
Is it time for you to rebrand?
I don’t necessarily recommend rebranding, especially if you’ve spend quite some time building up a brand that others are starting to recognise.
If you do feel the need to rebrand, then I recommend thinking very carefully about it – I know of businesses that have had up to four completely different, kind of relevant-to-their-business, logos in five years. Confusing and annoying to the customer, not to mention costly.
Whilst not a branding expert of any kind, I do have some tips from personal experience: