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How do you know when it’s time to rebrand your business? Find out why your first brand may not be your last.
A startup can develop very quickly in the first year of business. Not only are you building an audience, but you are also building a team, a workflow, and a company culture. Your audience and your team will both define the personality of your brand as it develops. You will build a relationship and reputation with your growing customer base and a casual way of getting work done in the office (or virtual workspace). This is exactly why your first brand may not be your last.
Your first brand design for a startup is like a sketch done by the founders and their design partners to give the company its first identifying assets.
If the initial brand designed by the founders doesn't fit anymore, that's perfectly normal! The initial logo and brand concept allowed you to get your basic assets together. You have an icon, a favicon, a logo, and a letterhead. That brand design generated enough ad copy to get started and attracted your initial team. But like children, businesses grow up and their personalities develop with the growing team and audience.
If your team has grown larger, developed new specialties, or even changed direction on your main priorities, build your brand around these new interests. Let your current team help define your true brand personality; the brand you've grown into, rather than the brand you started with. It's normal to rebuild your brand after the first year. Especially if your company has found its place in the market and your original brand no longer fits your team motivations, your client's preferred style, or the impression you want to strike with future clients.
Not every brand design is a hit and not every brand story is compelling. But when you're getting a new business model off the ground, it's not always clear what the hit brand design will be. Those early logos did their job during the launch, but if your customer base just isn't moved by your brand design, why not change it?
A brand that doesn't make an impact isn't doomed. Your company still has a solid business model, and a big-splash brand is just a matter of marketing. And for a rebrand, you may only need to change a few elements to make your brand more compelling, eye-catching, and rich in personality that your customers will enjoy and trust.
Your company needs a brand that catches the customer's eye, makes them smile, assures them of your expertise, and inspires them to call or shop. Your brand should also move the team; bringing people with similar values and motivations together to provide the quality goods or services of your company. If your original brand doesn't pack a punch, use your knowledge of your audience today to design a new brand that they'll love. Confer with your team, take surveys, and work with talented artists for a brand that will make waves in your industry.
Stories are a powerful part of branding today. From your founding history to your Instagram feed, stories give your customer audience an illustrated reason to love your brand. If your first-brand story wasn't moving the audience, that's okay. Tell it a different way or even build a new brand-mythos around your newly redesigned brand. Not all stories are compelling the first time we try to tell them. Any experienced storyteller will share that it's all in the way you tell the story. Whether you are creating a unique and fictional brand story or telling the story of your founding, you can always rebuild both the story and the way you tell it to better speak to your audience.
If your founding story didn't make a splash, tell it a different way. Use different details, leave out some parts, or spotlight the more interesting parts of the story. For example, you could re-focus on the founders' inspirations as children and young people, then lead directly into the difference you've made in the first year of business. This is your founding story but with details your audience may prefer.
If you have a fictional/personified brand story, you can write it any way you please. Follow the adventures of a curious mouse or knightly robot as your brand story. Create your brand personality in a way that your audience will enjoy and remember.
New companies like yours can also tell your brand story as aspirations; talk about what you plan to do and the difference you plan to make. Talk about your initiatives and the dreams of individual team members. Your audience will feel closer to you and join your company's growth arc.
Yes, absolutely! Rebranding happens all the time. Big business giants rebrand from time to time, and startups often need to rebrand (sometimes more than once!) to find the right fit with both their audience and their team. As your company grows and the industry adapts to influences over time, your brand will develop as well.
If you think of your brand as the style of clothes and mannerisms of your company, it's easier to tackle rebranding. When styles change, when your audience changes, and when your company grows or develops new services, the brand is likely to change as well. Sometimes those changes are little, and sometimes the right answer is to completely rebuild your brand and even your brand story.
Ready to rebuild your brand story to inspire your audience and reflect your brand's true personality? Take some time to reflect on the elements of your company that make up your brand identity. Your team's shared values and company culture, the service you provide clients, and the total personality of your brand all play a role and can all develop rapidly in your first year of business.
We’re Acton Circle, a boutique design agency helping purpose-driven organizations increase their impact. Led by Founder and CEO, Olivia Wheeler, Acton Circle has helped countless change-makers leverage the power of design for social good.Learn more