Rebrand your business

Rebrand your business

Most companies go through a rebrand at some point in their history. It may be a logo refresh or a complete name change, but whatever you’re doing, the process shouldn’t be taken lightly. After all, you want to make sure your customers still know where to find you. Peter George has been through two name changes with his Winnipeg advertising and consulting firm. It became McKim Communications Group last year after it was previously McKim Cringan George, among other names, during its century-long history. Given his experience, George, the company’s CEO, consults with brands on minor refreshes and total image overhauls. Here, he shares his advice on rebranding.

Is it time?

“The decision starts with a feeling from the owner that what we’re doing doesn’t feel quite right for where we are today,” says George. It could be that something has shifted or the brand identity is limiting things like global expansion or recruiting talent. This shift could trigger a change in some or all of the following: name, logo, branding message, tag line, website and even products and services. “Personally, I think every 10 years, most businesses will need to rebrand in some way,” he says.

Calculate the cost

George warns against pursuing a rebrand to satisfy the ego. “Everything you do in this regard has to make you more money or maintain the market share you have,” he explains. Consultants, designers and printing will run you anywhere from a few thousand dollars up to $40,000. If the cost can be recouped, then go for it.

Ask around

To figure out what needs to change and why, assess what’s “off” with the way you’re interacting with the market. Consider hiring an outside research firm that can lead focus groups or just talk to your stakeholders and clients on your own. You might find out that your customer service approach is dated or that, say, your green messaging conflicts with your excessive packaging. For instance, McKim’s rebranding process revealed that clients wanted to see youthful faces, not boomer partners, so the company uploaded a photo collage on the McKim website so they could showcase everyone on the team.

Execute professionally

With your market research in hand, seek out graphic designers, marketers and the like to help you put together new materials. Can you do-it-yourself at this stage? No, says George. “Many small businesses think this is something they can do on their own, but this is like representing yourself in a complex legal matter.” Experts will help you decide what you need to change and what can remain, but most companies end up making smaller tweaks – only about 5 per cent of the time do companies change their name or overhaul their product line, he says. What experts do most is to ensure that the new logo, website design or slogan comes with the right message and a killer look.

- Diane Peters / Illustration by Marlene Silveira