If you’re thinking about rebranding simply because you no longer like the way your font looks or are just bored with the look of your logo, then it’s time to slow down and reconsider. Dramatic changes to your brand just because you feel like spicing things up can create a really big mess. Keep in mind that just because you’re bored with your logo doesn’t mean everyone else is.
The first question to ask yourself is why do you want to change your photography branding?
If you’re wanting to rebrand because your margins are suffering, your customer base has dwindled, or a business you view as competition has opened, then this is a red flag. These not-so-shiny-or-desirable conditions can’t be solved with a makeover of your brand. There’s some deeper digging that needs to be done first to find the source of the issues. Rebranding because you’re having business trouble is kind of like wearing black because you think it makes you look thinner. It might make you look thinner. But you’re not actually thinner.
However, if you’re wanting to rebrand because you haphazardly approached your identity when you started your business, or you acquired your business and the current brand is misleading, confusing, dated, or just plain bad, then it is the right time to consider rebranding. If you had a publicity issue that you couldn’t overcome, such as declaring bankruptcy or having a huge product failure, it might also be time to consider rebranding.
Next, think about how much brand equity you could lose?
Brand equity is the accumulation of all your marketing and advertisements, your public relations efforts, the experiences of your clients, the public’s exposure to your logo, your donations to auctions and charities, your volunteer efforts, and your vendor relationships from when you started your business to now. Changing your brand might confuse your customers and the public. And although many businesses view rebranding as an opportunity to gain publicity and refresh their image (quite possibly attracting a new audience), it’s a risky endeavor, because you could lose significant brand equity, the familiarity that you’ve already created.
Remember how confused you were when Prince changed his name to a symbol? Sure, he generated a ton of publicity, but did his album sales increase? Did anyone even recognize the symbol? What keys did fans type to find him on the Internet? Will your customers recognize you if you rebrand? Will they assume your company has been purchased or, worse, that you’ve gone out of business? And what are the aspects of your brand that you can’t afford to lose? Could Donald Trump shave his head? What if Tiffany & Co. began to sell its products in a big-box store? What if Coke changed its formula? (Oh wait, they tried that . . .) Identify the specific things about your brand that people love and hold onto those things tightly.
Finally, you need to get clear on how much you’re willing to invest in your rebranding efforts.
If you’re going to rebrand, you must go big. During my time in the advertising agency world, we helped an engineering firm rebrand. Because the company had changed and their admittedly out-of-date identity no longer reflected the forward thinking, energy, enthusiasm, and innovation it provided, its leaders decided to rebrand. Think about the investment it takes to change your brand on thirty years’ worth of documents, uniforms, company vehicles,promotional items, signage, company literature, and countless other materials! But they went for it. And they went big. No longer was anything muted brown and gold; it was all sharp-contrast red, black, and white. The trucks were painted. All employees received new branded shirts. Absolutely everything was rebranded, and it clearly communicated to prospective clients the fresh, innovative spirit of the company. The effort was a massive success because it was embraced companywide. And at the end of the process, company leaders were glowing about all the new business, because the rebranding signaled to prospective clients that they were current and had fresh solutions.
Can you afford to embrace rebranding? Do a quick inventory and slap some price tags on rebranding before you make the commitment. How much will it cost to reprint all your promotional pieces? How much to rebuild your website? How much to rebuild your sign? How much will it cost to notify all your customers about your new identity? Everyone’s inventory of costs will be different.Consider every possible item that carries your brand and understand that they’ll all need to be replaced simultaneously.
Rebranding isn’t an easy answer to your business problems. Yet it is how your customers feel about you so if the brand you have now is attracting the wrong clients, it may be time to invest in a new one. Have you rebranded your small business? What did you learn from the experience?
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