By Sarah Tuson

A rebrand is important for small businesses to stay relevant, increase brand visibility and awareness, appeal to new markets and broaden their reach. The expectations are high: you want to mark a new chapter in the life of your business.

Rebranding your business takes work, time, and money. With that in mind, here are several pointers to remember when you decide to put the rebrand wheels in motion.

List the Reasons You Are Rebranding

Rebranding is about much more than creating a new, vibrant logo and calling it a day. There needs to be substance behind your rebrand, and you need to be able to convey this efficiently.

A company that desires a rebrand needs to dig and ask questions about what changes have occurred that will change the way the company operates. Considering what changes have or are taking place will make it easier for you to shape your rebrand around your company culture, offerings, people etc.

Has the company shifted its position in the market? Have you introduced new spaces and paths that do not align with the current branding? Have you overcome a period of bad reputation? Do you want to invigorate your brand and grow your business faster?

Whether you are rebranding the corporate brand, the business unit, the product, or all three, be clear about the extent of the changes you are making, and why those changes are warranted.

Know the Risks of Radical Changes

To change your brand name is a big decision, and though it may be warranted, and much better represent your brand, a name change can destroy equity that the name has generated.

However, if the current name has declining value and you believe the new name will supersede the current names equity, it could be a risk worth taking.

Stakeholders and consumers will often be hard to please with a large level of change in a rebrand. It can be hard to gain acceptance and trust in the new branding, and supporting communications may be cautious about the operational and financial risks.

Accept That It Will Not Happen Overnight

Everything takes longer than you think it will when rebranding, so to avoid disappointment, do not set too strict a date, as it typically takes months to complete.

Cutting corners will simply waste time and money, and leave you with a job half done – so make sure to analyse, create, and present your ideas thoroughly before any changes are made.

If you rebrand whole heartedly and with passion, you will undoubtedly spend a lot of money – but quality is key, otherwise why change at all?

Understand That Your SEO Will Take a Hit

If you are redesigning your website and the URL structure will be changing, or if copy on your website is going to be changed, both of these things will affect search engine optimization.

New content and URL’s will replace old material that was long recognised by Google, determining your page rankings, and therefore in terms of SEO, it could move your website back down the ranks.

This means you need to make conscious marketing efforts to generate positive SEO once you have rebranded. It is also important to ensure your company website is optimised for speed, as the quickest loading websites are often prioritised in search engine rankings.

Be Firm but Fair

You cannot be everyone’s best friend. Sometimes you need to deliver a harsh message or need further work to be done when you have signed something off. Issues will arise continuously — it is the nature of rebranding due to it being such a huge project.

At the same time, do not burn bridges. If mistakes happen, try and resolve them without taking drastic action or swearing off a certain business for good. Just because the work they have completed is over, does not mean you won’t need further help in the future.

Get Your Technology Up to Date

Companies with technology still set in the past could be missing out on a total generation of consumers as they just do not deem it necessary to make their websites mobile friendly.

According to StatCounter, we are now in a time where mobile has overtaken desktop, with 51.3% of pages loaded on mobile devices in October 2016, a 25% leap from three years previous.

Internet users are accustomed to a smooth, tailored experience when they surf the web on any device. Social media is also a very powerful tool in a rebrand, and it is therefore advisable to inspire all employees to show their support.

Rebranding is a process filled journey, not a romanticized short stay, and only when you begin will you come across bumps in the road, confusions, some failure, and the bizarre realization of how many things there are with your logo on.

If you have decided to rebrand, and make your brand reflect the company you are today, you will need to build your brand the right way: do not rush delivery, tell your unique story, and stand out from the crowd.