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How to rebrand your business in 6 steps (Checklist)

Ready to reach new audiences and boost your bottom line? Follow this six-step checklist to rebrand your business.

TL;DR

Out with the old brand, in with the new

Whether it’s a minor refresh or a total overhaul, rebranding your business can help you stand out from the competition, reach new audiences, and make more sales.

Here are six steps to a successful rebranding:

  1. Audit your current brand. Determine what’s working, what isn’t, and where you have opportunities to grow and improve.
  2. Do some research on your current customers, new target audience, and competitors. The more you learn, the better your rebrand will be.
  3. Revisit your mission statement, a.k.a. your “why”. If you need to, re-establish your mission - it drives every part of your business, including your branding.
  4. Revamp your visual brand assets, like your logo, color scheme, and website.
  5. Set your brand voice and value proposition. Keep your messaging consistent across your marketing.
  6. Roll out your rebrand. Update all of your marketing materials with your new logo and messaging, then announce your rebrand to the world.

Does your branding feel outdated?

Are you trying to reach a new audience?

Is your brand getting lost in the competition?

Have you changed your marketing strategy or mission statement?

If you said yes to any of the above, it might be time to rebrand your business.

Rebranding your business involves rethinking your marketing strategy, visual identity, and messaging to create an updated version of your brand. A brand refresh can help you reach new audiences, change people’s perceptions of your brand, and revitalize your sales.

That might sound like a daunting (and expensive) process, but it doesn’t have to be.

In this guide, we’ll walk through a six-step rebranding checklist. Whether your brand needs a partial refresh or a complete overhaul, you’ll learn how to rebrand your business without breaking the bank.

Let’s dive right in.

Step #1: Audit your current brand

Before you start making changes, you need to figure out where your brand stands right now. A brand audit helps you understand:

  • What’s working for your brand?

  • What’s not working for your brand?

  • What opportunities do you have to grow and improve your brand?

Answering these questions will help you plan your rebranding efforts and avoid mistakes you made with your brand in the past. It will also provide you with opportunities and ideas for your rebrand.

The more established your existing brand is, the riskier a rebrand can be.

Take Uber, for example. In 2018, Uber changed its mission, logo, and app design.

That’s a major change in brand strategy — but they kept the company name the same.

Here’s why: The name “Uber” has strong brand recognition. People even use the business name as a verb (“I’m going to Uber to the airport”). A name change would have done Uber’s brand more harm than good.

A brand audit will also help you determine whether you need a complete brand overhaul or just a partial rebrand. As the adage goes, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

For example, you might find that your brand messaging still fits your mission, but your logo design and website feel outdated. All you need is a visual brand refresh rather than completely changing every aspect of your brand.

Your brand audit is all about the internal perspective of your brand. In our next step, let’s look outside your business for more brand insights.

Step #2: Conduct market research

Market research is critical for any big business or marketing decision. You might think you know what people think of your brand, or how it compares to competitors, but you can’t be sure until you do your research.

Unless you’re pivoting to an entirely new market, start with your existing customers. What do they think about your current brand?

Surveys are one of our favorite customer research tools. They’re an easy and affordable way to collect valuable customer data and feedback. Plus, 90% of consumers have a more favorable view of businesses that ask them for feedback.

In your survey, ask your current customers:

  • What comes to mind when you think of our brand?

  • What three words would you use to describe our brand image?

  • What do you like the most about our current offerings? What do you dislike?

  • Why do you buy from our brand?

  • How can we do better?

Use a free tool like Typeform, Google Forms, and SurveyMonkey to create your survey, then send it to your email list.

If you’re rebranding because you want to reach a new audience, you need to look beyond your existing customers and get to know your new customers.

After all, you can’t create a new marketing strategy if you don’t know who you’re marketing to. Learn who your target market is as people, not just demographics.

That’s where buyer personas come in. Content marketing consultant Amy Wright explains: “Buyer personas describe who your ideal customers are, what their days are like, the challenges they face, and how they make decisions.”

To build your buyer personas, look at forums, brand communities, and reviews for products in your niche.

  • What are my target customers talking about online?

  • What challenges do they face?

  • What are their goals?

  • What do they value?

  • What language do they use?

When you learn how your audience talks and thinks, you can tailor your new and improved brand to them.

Finally, don’t forget to look at your competitors. Competitor research helps you figure out what your competitors do well and where there are opportunities for your brand to stand out. The more you learn about your competitors, the better equipped you’ll be.

As a creator or solopreneur, you are your brand. That’s especially true for business owners who run an education, coaching, or lifestyle business. Your personality, experience, and unique outlook differentiate you from the competition.

And people want your authentic perspective. 86% of consumers say that authenticity is a key factor when deciding what brands they like and support.

With that in mind, here are a few simple strategies for competitor research:

  • Read reviews of their products to see what your audience thinks of them. What do they do well? Where do they fall short?

  • Look at their visual brand assets, like media kits or style guides. What do they have in common with your brand? With each other?

  • Use social listening to track keywords and phrases relevant to your brand. This can help you learn more about your audience and gather intel on your competitors.

  • Use a free SEO tool like Similarweb to analyze your competitors’ websites. These stats help you see how your site stacks up against your competitors’.

To organize your competitive analysis, check out this template from creative content agency Column Five.

Now, armed with your brand audit and market research, it’s time to look at the core of your brand: your mission statement.

Step #3: Revisit your mission statement

Your mission statement is a short, action-oriented statement that clearly explains what your business aims to achieve.

In other words, it’s the “why” behind your business. What motivates you to get up each morning and do this work? Your mission should drive every part of your brand, from your logo to your brand voice.

Renowned author and motivational speaker Simon Sinek calls this “starting with why”. Your “why” is “a purpose, cause, or belief. It’s the very reason your organization exists”.

Sinek places the “why” at the center of any successful business — inside the “how” and “what” — and calls this concept the Golden Circle.

To identify your “why”, ask yourself:

  • Aside from the benefits of entrepreneurship, what motivated you to start your business?

  • What excites you about solving your audience’s problem?

  • Has my mission changed since I started my business?

Your “why” might be the same as when you first launched your brand, and that’s okay. Use this step as an opportunity to remind yourself of your mission and make sure that you stay true to it across your branding.

Once you figure out your “why”, you can incorporate it into every part of your brand identity, which has two big benefits.

First, when you put your mission front and center, it’ll resonate with your target audience. 89% of customers are loyal to brands who share their values, and 56% of customers feel more loyal to brands that “get them”.

Second, making your mission the cornerstone of your brand helps you keep your branding consistent across channels.

Brand consistency can increase your revenue by 10–20%. That’s why it’s one of our top branding tips for entrepreneurs.

Beyond boosting your bottom line, brand consistency is integral to building relationships with current and potential customers. Customers more easily recognize and remember your brand, which keeps you top-of-mind when they’re ready to buy.

With your updated (or reaffirmed) mission statement in hand, you’re ready for the creative part of the rebranding process: revamping your visual brand.

Step #4: Revamp your visual identity

The next step of your rebranding strategy is to update your brand’s visual identity. Your visual brand identity includes any creative asset related to your brand, like your logo, fonts, and color palette.

Visual brand assets play a vital role in your branding, marketing, and sales. Up to 90% of purchases are influenced by visual factors, and 40% of marketers said that original graphics helped them reach their marketing goals last year.

Let’s start with the first impression many people get of your brand: your logo. It can be as simple as a stylized version of your brand name, like this example from Erika Tebbens Consulting:

Using a signature color can boost brand recognition by up to 80%, so choose a color scheme for your logo that you’ll be happy to use across all of your brand elements.

To revamp your logo, you could hire a freelancer to design something new from scratch — but there are other options for every marketing budget.

Use a dedicated business logo maker, like Tailor Brands or LogoMakr, or a free graphic design tool, such as Canva or Venngage. These tools make it easy to create a new logo in just a few clicks.

Here are some examples from Canva, which offers over 17,000 logo templates:

Beyond your new logo and color scheme, decide what other visual updates you want to make. Do you want a total website redesign? Bespoke brand fonts? Custom gifs for your social posts?

If you have the budget, you can outsource these tasks to a freelancer to save time (and technical headaches).

If not, don’t worry — there are plenty of ways to tackle a visual rebrand on your own. For example, if you use the Podia site editor, you can build a customized, branded website without writing a single line of code.

Here are a few more resources to help you create beautiful visual assets for your brand — no design experience required:

Revamping your visual elements is only the first half of your creative updates. The second half — and our next step — is updating your brand voice and messaging.

Step #5: Establish your brand voice and messaging

Your brand voice shows off your brand personality across your written content, from your tagline to your email copy and everything in between.

As you work through your new brand identity, consider how your brand voice should change. Do you have a new mission to share? Are you speaking to a new audience?

Look back at your research from step two. One of the most valuable forms of customer research is voice of customer research, or learning how your audience describes their needs in their own words.

Here’s how copywriting pro Joanna Wiebe explains voice of customer research:

“If it sounds like copy, it’s trying too hard, and it needs to try a little. So, that means listen to customers… You want to listen to exactly what they’re going through… and then put that into copywriting frameworks and formulas.”

Mirror your audience’s language in your brand voice and messaging. This shows your ideal customers that you understand their pain points and can help them meet their goals.

Your brand voice and messaging should also reflect your mission and values.

Take business strategist Minessa Konecky, for example. Minessa’s brand, Direct to Success, is dedicated to helping fellow entrepreneurs build a “hustle-free” lifestyle.

That philosophy is clear throughout her website copy, from the product descriptions of her online courses to her “About” section.

Minessa’s target audience is entrepreneurs looking to grow their businesses without getting overwhelmed or buying into the “no days off” mentality.

From her copy, it’s clear that she understands the struggle that her audience faces and is well-equipped to help them overcome it.

(Podia makes it easy for creators like Minessa to sell online courses, digital products, online communities, and more — all from one dashboard. Get started with a free 14-day trial.)

This is also a good time to revisit your brand’s unique value proposition, or UVP. Your UVP is a clear statement that explains how you can solve your customer’s problem better than anyone else.

To determine your UVP, ask yourself these two questions:

  1. What problem does my business solve for my customers?

  2. What makes my business different from my competitors?

Your UVP is your north star when it comes to brand positioning. Like your brand voice, it should be present across your marketing, whether you’re writing your About page or promoting a new product.

Before we move on to our final step (your official relaunch!), here are some resources to help you highlight your brand voice and messaging by writing stellar copy:

Step #6: Roll out your rebrand

The day has finally come: You’re ready to launch your rebrand.

Before you start shouting from the rooftops, you need to update all of your marketing materials and customer touchpoints with your new branding. This is by far the most tedious part of a rebrand, but it’s key for creating that valuable brand consistency we talked about earlier.

Plus, announcing your rebrand when half of your marketing materials use an old logo can confuse your customers, followers, and other stakeholders, like affiliates and partners.

This free checklist from Ruby & Sass lists everything you need to update after a logo redesign. It’s a solid jumping-off point for your rebrand updates.

Once you update all of your marketing materials, you’re ready to spread the word about your rebrand launch.

Here are some ways to announce your rebrand:

  • Issue a press release.

  • Post on all of your social media channels to show off your brand’s new look.

  • Email your subscribers to share your new branding.

  • Create a case study about your rebranding process so other brands can learn from your experience.

  • Write a blog post to share your brand story like Slack did in 2019.

However you announce your rebrand, make sure to explain why you made the changes and share how it reflects your brand’s growth and mission.

Like we talked about earlier, people value transparency and authenticity — this is a great time to show that those are important to you, too.

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Rebranding your business doesn’t have to be an expensive or complicated process. It may take some time, but when you do it right, the results will be well worth it. Happy branding!

A portrait of Rachel Burns

About the author

Rachel is a content marketer for Podia, an all-in-one platform where online courses, digital downloads, and communities scale with their creators. When she’s not writing, you can find her rescuing dogs, baking something, or extolling the virtue of the Oxford comma.