What is a brand? Those unfamiliar with strategic marketing may think that a company’s brand is just its logo, its colors, and the overall feel of its web site. While these are all ways to showcase a brand, your company’s brand is actually much more than a set of colors and font guidelines; it’s your company’s identity.

That being said, a company rebrand should be well thought out and thoroughly researched. It is important for those undertaking the rebrand to fully understand the company’s reasons for wanting to rebrand. I’ve helped several clients undergo rebrands, and I’ve seen the results go several different ways. One observation I’ve made is businesses that rush the process tend to lose out; they are likely to be rethinking things again in another 3-5 years.

Based on what I have observed to be successful and unsuccessful, I’ve compiled the top questions that professional service firms should ask themselves before diving into a rebrand.

What are our company values and culture? First and foremost, you should fully digest all the reasons for the rebrand. What has changed about the company’s values or culture that needs to be reflected in the new branding? Maybe you have merged with another new firm, added new services, or branched into new sectors or geographic areas. Whatever these reasons may be, be sure to compile a concise list that summarizes what has changed about your company, and incorporate this information into your company’s new brand identity.

I would also recommend surveying the partners and key professionals within your firm to see what terms they would use to describe the firm. Is the company professional, traditional, creative, innovative? Having a clear idea of how the employees view the firm will help guide the rebrand.

Do we have the time? Rebranding requires a long and detailed process, and, as stated above, it should not be rushed. Before taking on a rebranding effort, make sure your team has the time for due diligence. Make sure your professionals have the time to think about the rebrand and contribute to completing the surveys mentioned above. Be prepared to spend time researching the industry and competition as well.

Rebranding your firm will not only require a lot of time for strategic thinking and planning, but it will also require time spent rolling out your company’s  new look, feel, and identity into all of the firm’s materials, which takes me to the next important question…

What is our budget? Updating your brand affects everything.  Not only is it expensive to conduct the necessary research for a rebrand and pay a designer for their creative services, but there are a number of other expenses that follow. If you plan to update your logo and brand messaging, be ready financially to update everything else, since a new logo and branding needs to be carried through on all marketing and company materials. Updates to keep in mind are:

  • Web site and social media profiles, including banners, backgrounds, URLs, and more.
  • Letterhead and envelopes
  • Business cards
  • Office signage
  • Brochures, service sheets, folders, etc.
  • Ad templates

What is going on in the industry? Be sure to identify your company’s top current competitors as well as firms it may compete with in the future. Then, look at their web sites and logos to get an understanding of what is going on in the industry and if there are any trends that should be noted. For example, if all of your competitors are moving to a more modern and youthful look, you will want to make sure your new brand doesn’t look too traditional in comparison. You don’t want to appear out of touch or outdated. Researching your industry and competitors will also give you an idea of what is currently being done so that your designer can help your firm find ways to differentiate itself from the crowd.

By taking the time to ask yourself these questions before rebranding your firm and to plan accordingly, you can ensure the success of your new brand and eliminate the headaches that can result if you rush the process.

Has your firm recently gone through a rebrand? I would love to hear your success and/or horror stories. Are there any other important questions that you would add to this list? Let me know!