Why You May NOT Have to Rebrand Your Small Business in 2016

Why You Don't Need to Rebrand

Planning on a complete overhaul in 2016? Don’t hit the self-destruct button yet. Your brand may be salvageable.

Too many small businesses give up on (what they perceive as) an underperforming brand image. So, they invest thousands of dollars in a lengthy re-brand. They never realize they could have saved their old brand with a few cheap (or free) tweaks to their current marketing.

Here are a few things to try before writing your brand off as a failure.

Give Your Copy a Voice

As a writer, you would assume I feel like the copy gets too much flack when a brand isn’t doing well. Actually, I think it should be the first thing you blame.

That’s because most small businesses don’t know how to cultivate a proper brand voice.

“Figuring out your tone isn’t easy and even once you have it, the work isn’t over. You still have to determine how your new tone of voice gets translated into your writing style,” wrote Dr. Andrew Bredenkamp at the Content Marketing Institute.

You obsessed over the font on your website, now obsess over the words. It’s worth the investment to have a professional copywriter go through your website and marketing materials to help you find and unify your brand’s voice.

Solve Huge Problems with Microcopy

It’s possible that your current web copy doesn’t hit the mark, but it’s actually more likely that your microcopy is costing you sales. Microcopy refers to the instructions and details that help your customers understand your site.

Don’t throw away an entire e-commerce site. Look at the way you’re guiding customers through it.

For example, one website wasn’t converting and they discovered it was because the address users entered didn’t match the one on their credit card.

“So I ended up adding the copy ‘Be sure to enter the billing address associated with your credit card’ at the top of the form. And just like that, the errors went away,” wrote Joshua Porter, the architect of the solution.

Try to locate a moment in the e-sales process where your leads seem to drop off, then ask yourself why this is happening. The answer may be as simple as above.

Add More Social Proof

You’ve wowed your customers. Now it’s time for them to help you.

Ask your satisfied customers to sing your praises and help you with client testimonials.

“Charts and figures alone won’t easily convince a skeptical buyer. Spend time nurturing customers and ask them for a testimonial or to be the subject of a video case study or press release,” wrote Keao Caindec, Chief Marketing Officer at 365 Data Centers

“Having customers tell the world how much they love your product is invaluable.”

Also, apply for lots of industry awards. This can take a bit of time to research, and you pretty much have to nominate yourself. But adding the words “award winning” to your products or services is one of the best types of social credit you can earn.

Be Honest About Your Efforts

Ask yourself if you committed to your brand. Did you give it a chance to succeed?

Did you personify it across every platform? Or, were there other issues in play, like posting too infrequently on social media? Never mistake a problem in your process as a brand problem.

Never give up on a brand too soon. Yes, rebranding quickly can reflect rapid growth. But it can also make you look unstable.

Take Marketwired for example, a press release distribution services. They rebranded in 2012 to reflect their growing offerings. But then they rebranded again in 2013, and added a D to their name (formerly just Marketwire). The second rebrand confused their existing customers, and was nearly universally panned by brand critics.

“Less than a year ago we covered Marketwire’s logo redesign and it received favorable reviews. Sad to see it convert into this monstrosity and lame name,” wrote Underconstruction.com.

There may be good reasons to rebrand. It’s time to shake things up if you’re expanding your services, growing your company, or chasing a new target market.  Just make sure you’re doing it for the right reasons, and that a simpler fix won’t address the same issue.

Do you have any rebrand triumphs or nightmares? We would love to hear them in the comments below.

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