Rebranding is a huge decision. As a business rebrands itself, it faces the task of setting new expectations, conveying a new message and holding on to the old customer base as well as appealing to a new one.
In a way it can seem like starting all over even if a business is only building on success. Then there are cases when businesses make a complete departure from the existing mode of functioning. In all cases, established brands run the risk of losing business and traffic if the rebranding isn’t handled properly. On the other hand, a well-executed rebranding can bring you tens of thousands of new followers.
There are many things that can go wrong. In order to ensure that nothing falls through the cracks, here’s a rebranding checklist to help you out.
Make sure the new name is yours alone
Businesses often take on new names when they rebrand themselves. This is a bigger challenge than one might imagine. Especially for businesses that have seen some measure of success and visibility, changing an existing identity for something entirely new is a bold gamble.
One can, however, lessen the risk involved in rebranding by claiming the exact domain name.
It needs to be ensured that the new name does not sound similar to an existing business that is already showing up high in Google search results.
Next, claim the respective handles on social sites as well. The hashtags need to be intuitive, too.
For example, if your business is named Beautiful Workplaces, then that is the hashtag you should ideally use for marketing on Instagram or Twitter. To minimize confusion and maximize the chances of the rebranded business being found, make sure there are no established competitors using similar handles.
Clean up the web pages
Moving to a new site can present a business with a whole new set of headaches.
The 301 redirect is your friend.
Delete web pages that are not of use anymore.
Change the brand name to the updated one across the website as well as on all the content on the blog.
Introduce links, where needed, to direct visitors to the updated profile/content so that they do not keep searching your website using outdated information. A professional web design company can help you determine how to best clean up your website, especially if it’s large with many pages and subpages.
Update links in guests posts as well
For businesses that have undertaken extensive guest posting, this can be a pain. But it would help if those third-party websites are contacted and requested to update the links to new URLs.
Failing which, make sure users are directed to the new page when clicking on the old links.
Update the business info in web directories
We should have perhaps begun with this. All the directories that your business listed in, as well as the local profiles will have to be updated with not just the new name but all the changes that have been made to the business. This may include the new domain name, new social media accounts/handles, changes in services, changes in contact details, etc.
Rebranding or no rebranding, it pays off immensely to keep a business’s profile updated.
Update SEO with new keywords
With a brand new business name and an evolved mission/vision, you might want your business to rank for a new set of keywords.
This is especially the case where a business has introduced a new suite of services, done away with some of the previous ones, or expanded its target audience.
Keyword research would have to begin anew and the website optimized for this new set. For the technical-minded, here is a detailed guide on how not to let a rebrand mess up your SEO efforts.
Set the tone for the rebrand with fresh content
Don’t wait till the last moment to announce to the world your intentions of unleashing a new website on them. Followers do not like being kept in dark for that long. Instead, use your upcoming rebranding to entice and engage old followers and gain new ones.
Inform via the blog or through a social media campaign about the imminent updates to the website, along with your plans to change things en masse. You do not have to necessarily, at this stage, let anyone in on the details. But if the change is going to be massive, and especially if it is going to involve a brand name or logo change, it is advisable to let the followers know of what is coming up.
A business can gradually start to move in the new direction with carefully created content that signals a change in direction undertaken by the company.
The point is for the blog content to reflect the updates sooner than later.
Promote, promote, promote
For rebranding to work, the accompanying marketing will have to be top-notch.
It might help to launch a social media campaign to educate followers about the new handles as well as the new logo. In fact, take a look at Instagram’s rebranding for some great examples of best and worst practices.
In certain cases a business may have to create a new Facebook page and encourage fans to migrate there. This will not be an easy task since it runs the risk of losing some of the followers in the process, but a thoughtfully crafted social media campaign can help. If you have announced the upcoming changes via the business blog, your followers may even be on the lookout for the new page.
Similarly, email those on the subscriber list to inform them of the changes as well as the update address.
Send out a press release to let local media companies know about the change.
Look to multiple channels to get across the news of the rebrand.
Test, then announce
Test, test and test.
Rebranding is a big change for followers, and businesses do not make it any easy for them by botching up a few things here or there.
Nothing is more annoying for users, and hence more damaging for a business, than unhelpful websites, an MIA app, or outdated information.
Rely on best practices to sail through the rebrand
Despite all of the above, a business might see a dip in traffic and/or a fluctuation in Google rankings. There is no need to fret, however. When you have implemented the above suggestions and promoted the rebranding to the best of your ability, the business will regain its footing in little time.
Have you been feeling your business might benefit from a new look but have been shying away from it because of the potential risks that would pose? We can help you with that!
If you have carried out a rebranding, how was the experience and what would be the key takeaways from it? Chime in with your two cents in the comments to help others learn of how to best handle this tricky transition!