What is rebranding?
Rebranding is taking a step back from your organisation to assess whether all the elements of your brand are clear, aligned and focused on the same goal. It is making sure that your brand still achieves three core aims: being authentic to itself, relevant and engaging for its audiences, and sufficiently differentiated from its competition.
Once this audit is complete, a rebrand remediates all the issues that have become apparent to provide your brand with a robust platform for future growth and success. Much more than just a skin-deep cosmetic change, a successful rebrand re-examines the core tenets of your brand strategy to ensure they are fit for purpose and then constructs a new and meaningful visual and verbal identity on this firm foundation.
A rebranding strategy will articulate answers to the fundamental questions of Why?, What?, How?, Who? and Where? Once you have built consensus around the answers to these questions, you can take a fresh look at your logo, all aspects of your brand’s visual identity, and tone of voice. Once your brand and visual identity guidelines are in place, you can then start to roll out your B2B rebrand across all touchpoints – prioritising those that have the most significant impact on your audiences.
Rebranding is a pivotal moment in a B2B business’s lifecycle but not one that brand owners often undertake. To increase your chances of success, it helps to work alongside trustworthy experts like Liven Creative.
When to rebrand?
We have identified eight challenging situations that could provide sufficient impetus for a B2B organisation to rebrand. These are:
• Imminent launch
• Scale-up investment
• Preparation for sale
• Change in leadership
• Merger or acquisition
• Increased competition
• Geographic expansion
• Outdated identity
You can read more about each by clicking here.
However, if you don’t feel like your brand is facing a specific challenge, there are other tell-tale signs to look out for that might indicate a rebrand is overdue:
• Sales have slowed up
• Loyal consumers call you their ‘best-kept secret’
• New members of staff don’t get it
• Top talent is going elsewhere
• Your competitive landscape looks different, but you still look the same
• You are constantly apologising for it
• The way you present yourself is inconsistent across media and channels
• Do the challenging situations strike a chord? Do you recognise the tell-tale signs? Perhaps it’s time to embark on a B2B rebranding program and invest in your brand’s continued future success.
Tips on Rebranding
A rebrand is a seismic shift for any B2B company. The secret to a successful outcome is not to underestimate the scope of activity and make sure you follow an organised process:
1. Gather your team
Decide which departments and personnel you want to be involved. Not everybody needs to weigh in, but it is usually worthwhile to solicit input from across your organisation, ensuring a broad spectrum of perspectives is considered. Don’t underestimate the level of commitment that a successful rebranding process requires from your leadership team and key personnel across your business. On the plus side, participation increases engagement and acceptance of what the rebrand is trying to achieve, improving the likelihood of a successful and effective branding program. You might also want to seek guidance from a specialised third-party rebranding agency – like the team here at Liven Creative.
2. Be honest about your goals
Why are you rebranding your B2B business? What do internal and external audiences currently think of your company? Do their perceptions match those of the leadership team? What would you like them to think? Honest answers to these questions and more are critical to inform your direction of travel. Be prepared to challenge your assumptions by involving your people, suppliers, and existing customers – and steel yourself to hear some hard truths and learn from constructive criticism.
3. Tackle every touchpoint
At the outset, think carefully about every piece of branded collateral your business produces. Is it consistent? Does it add up to a coherent story? Collect everything together in one place so you can see how it combines to create the overall perception of your brand. This exercise gives you an insight into where the gaps are and what a rebranding program can improve. Address the touchpoints with the highest impact first.
Where do your customers come face to face with your brand most often? For B2B businesses, the answer is not always the most obvious. For example, for utility companies, which touchpoint do you think they found to be more impactful than high-profile advertising campaigns, fleets of liveried vans, and an army of uniformed technicians? The answer was the bill that arrived on customers’ doormats every quarter. Investing in the information design that made bills easier to read and understand – and provided opportunities for promotion and cross-selling – improved brand perception and increased income.
When you’ve settled on a new brand identity, cement everything into a set of guidelines that set out the core tenets of your strategic brand thinking and guide the implementation of your visual identity and tone of voice. Ensure your new brand guidelines also include plenty of examples that demonstrate best practices across all your branded collateral and communications channels.
4. Be courageous
The people responsible for procuring B2B business products and services at work are also B2C consumers at home (and at work when the boss isn’t looking). You are competing for their attention against the competitors in your sector, but also with every other brand pumping messages out into society. In their downtime, your B2B brand is up against social media platforms, their favourite magazine, and streaming services on their phone. How are you going to earn their attention?
Also, don’t forget that people buy from people, not faceless corporations. Consumers make purchasing decisions with both logic and emotion. Your main enemy is indifference. If you want some people to love you, you must accept that others will feel the opposite – and that’s OK. You can’t afford to be mediocre or boring; you’ll just get lost in the noise. Have a clear USP. Develop engaging narratives around your brand story. Create attention-grabbing visuals. Be difficult to ignore.
Once all your ducks are in a row, it’ll be time for your rebranding announcement and launch program. An excellent place to start is by reading our article, “How to announce a rebrand”.
What to do next?
Of course, we’re just scratching the surface; each stage deserves ample time and consideration. If you need help or advice with any part of your rebranding process, Liven Creative can be your experienced guide, helping you navigate a clear path to B2B rebranding success.
Get in touch
For a head-turning B2B rebrand that is deliberately different, let’s talk.