Guest Post by Jenny Le, Owner of WebSubstance digital marketing agency
Branding, whether for a company or an individual business owner, is one of the most difficult tasks in marketing. I discovered this over the past year as I underwent a rebranding for my own company. I want to share my journey to inspire you to do the same for your company.
What is Branding?
First of all, what is branding? When thinking about the definition of branding, I came across this simple description on Shopify: “Branding is the process of creating a distinct identity for a business in the mind of your target audience and consumers. At the most basic level, branding is made up of a company’s logo, visual design, mission, and tone of voice.”
Why Did We Feel We Needed to Rebrand?
When my business partner and I started WebSubstance in early 2000, our target market was “almost everyone who needed a website.” We were excited to offer ourselves as a trustworthy and reliable post-sales service company. As we grew and added more sophisticated clients, additional services were needed.
Our target audience changed as our business grew and evolved, and the brand we chose at the beginning no longer reflected the clients we wanted or how we wanted them to perceive us. This is a normal process during the lifecycle of a business.
We loved working on branding and rebranding for our clients, but now we discovered just how complex working on our OWN brand could be. We found we were very—even overly—critical of every item on our rebranding to-do list and needed much more time than we thought to envision, digest, and finally settle on new ideas, graphics, and images.
We had redone our logo, business cards, and website a couple of times. We faced our biggest challenge in August 2021 as we worked on the rebrand for our digital marketing agency.
Was it because we were now more focused and intentional this time around? We were.
Why Did We Need Time to Think?
For us, rebranding involved updating and strategizing our new client acquisition process and defining how to retain and educate clients and prospects.
On top of this, we needed to take care of current and new clients. It was overwhelming.
I listened to my inner voice that told me I needed to allow enough time to complete the rebranding process. I gave my rebranding team of strategists, copywriters and designers 12 months to complete it. It took 14 months.
How Did I Know the Rebrand Was Right?
After all this time, I knew our brand was right because I still liked it as we worked on it. That meant we were headed in the right direction. We had to let each of the new ideas sink in for a few days. If we still liked them, we moved them into reality, creating the look, feel and synchronicity that would be our new brand.
For example, it took five months to finalize our new logo. We just weren’t convinced that the preliminary sketches were right and knew they needed a little something more. We set aside time weekly to review them, and that worked well.
We needed time between each viewing to “try them on.” We reached out to people we trusted to see what their thoughts were and incorporated their responses into our final decision. We believe our new logo aligns perfectly with our strategy and target market.
How Does Our Journey Help You?
Give yourself time to generate ideas, think about them, process them, and let them sink in. You’ll see which ones rise to the top.
Honesty plays a big role. If something doesn’t look right to you, trust your gut. Don’t wait until the end of the project to mention you didn’t like a graphic or image. This will only discourage your rebranding team, and you and they will have to move backward in the process to modify elements and match the changes.
You want a brand you can live with for a long, long time. Rushing the process will only lead to indecision, and potentially having to change the brand before long. It’s best to take the time needed to get a final product that is right for your company.
In the end, the effort is worth it. I am happy to see our final product and proud of our rebranding team’s efforts. Even though the journey was challenging, it was definitely worthwhile.
I hope my journey inspires you to create a brand that delivers the message you want and need. Take a look at our new logo and brand on our website at websubstance.com. We’re awfully proud of it!