Rebranding a business can be a challenge and you need to be prepared for the endeavor before you ever begin. You may want to change your name for various reasons. Maybe the name you chose years ago doesn’t fit the current company culture or products. Maybe you want to remove the personalization of a name or initial included in the original name. Or maybe you want to disassociate with legal issues your company has faced in the past. Whatever the reason, changing the name of your business can help you propel your business into new markets or even just help your customers better understand what you offer. Check out our business name change checklist below to get a brief explanation on how to go about changing the name of a business and rebranding strategies.
Before you begin a rebrand of your company, you must understand what’s wrong with the current branding. Is your name difficult to pronounce, in a foreign language that doesn’t resonate with your customers, obscure, childish, or lackluster? There can be many reasons why a name or branding doesn’t work out. Figure out what’s wrong so you can avoid making the same mistakes in the future.
Once you figure out why you want to change the name and branding, it’s time to focus on the customers. Understanding your customers is the first step to successfully marketing a product or service. Who is your target market? If your target customers are children, your name is going to need to be a lot different than if your target customers are college educated blue collar workers.
Create a buyer persona for your company that includes all of the most important information about the ideal customer you want to attract. Consider this a profile of your target customer based on real data that includes items like gender, income, job title, family size, etc. You should give this persona a name and a face so you can imagine this person viewing your brand. For more information about targeted marketing and marketing segmentation check out our articles “What is the definition of market segmentation” and “Targeted marketing, understanding the basics.” Tailor all of your branding and messaging to this desired target market and make sure you always ask yourself this question or similar: “Would Joe/Jill Customer resonate with this ad/image/blog/social media post?”.
Brainstorm a list of names that are a better fit for your brand. Be sure to check if website domains are available for these names. The worst feeling is coming up with a star-studded, unique name idea, then finding out the domain for that brand is going to cost $10,000 more than you have to spend. Also be sure to research the best names and find out if anyone else in your industry has already taken them. Even worse than missing out on the ideal URL for your website is running into legal issues with your business.
There are 4 main types of business names: functional, invented, experiential, and evocative names. Each name type can be wildly successful, given the right branding and marketing to go along with them. Functional names usually consist of a description of the company’s product or service. Think Toys R Us and Bank of America. Invented names are made up words or obscure words most people aren’t likely to know. Think Google, Pixar, or Kodak. Experiential names connect to something real but can have a touch of imagination. Think Safari, Netscape, Vanguard. Evocative names use suggestion or metaphor to let the customer interpret what your brand does. Think Amazon, Apple, Hooters.
Determine the legal changes that must be made to change your name. This can differ depending on the type of business you own. You may want to change your name entirely with every legal agency, such as the IRS, secretary of state, etc. This may result in a new EIN (employer identification number) for your business. Or you may be able to file a DBA (doing business as) with the new name, keeping the old name legally and using the new name as a front-facing name for your branding. Either way, you must notify the government that you plan on doing business under a different name. Make sure to update your licenses and permits to include the new name if necessary.
There are some obvious things that need to change with a name update including a logo, verbiage/content on your website, and physical marketing materials such as signage and brochures. And there are some not so obvious things that may need to change, such as company colors, imagery, and the way you speak to your customers. You may want to hire a professional marketing firm to handle the rebranding process to make sure your logo and other visual assets are on point. You may also want to trademark your logo if you’re concerned about another designer ripping off your design or using it inappropriately, but this step is not necessary in most cases.
Let your customers know about changing your business name. Returning customers might think they’re in the wrong place or customers who have heard about you with your old name might not be able to find you. Send multiple email blasts to your subscribers with a rebranding announcement, post on social media, and make it obvious on your website that you used to have one name and now have another. Use every channel you can find to let your customers know that they can still get the great product or service they’ve come to love. You can even make a blog post or a page on your website about why you decided to change your name. This not only lets your current and potential customers know who you are and used to be, but it will help users who don’t know still find you when searching for your old name.
Rebranding with a business name change is a demanding and tedious process. Aside from the research and legal changes that must be made, updating your branding everywhere is a lot of work. You must scour the internet for mentions of your old name and redesign every physical marketing material you have. Everything from your website to your business cards must have your new name and branding. That’s why we recommend hiring a marketing and branding professional to help guide you through the rebranding process. If you want to know more about the importance of branding, check out our article “Branding and its role in marketing” for more information.
We have written about various marketing strategies and tools in our previous articles, however there are certain distinctions when it comes to marketing for small businesses. These may be budgeting limits, limited area of operations, and difference in targeting and potential market. This article specifically guides you through marketing strategies and techniques for small businesses.
How is Marketing for small businesses different from other types of marketing?
Marketing of any kind involves attracting your potential customer base to purchase your products/services. There are various factors to be kept in mind such as marketing mix, analyzing your industry, analyzing your competitors, targeting, advertisement, etc.
These are important in cases of all large, medium, and small enterprises. However there are some crucial difference when it comes to actual marketing between small and medium, and large enterprises. These include:
Best marketing tools for small business.
Here is our list of top picks for best online and offline marketing tools for small businesses. Click here for a more comprehensive list of marketing tools.
Online marketing for small business.
Online marketing is a modern day competitive necessity. Even for small businesses, it has become important to maintain a stable digital presence. With advertising services like Facebook’s local market listing, it has also become easier to target and advertise specifically to your ideal potential customer base.
Apart from online advertisement, there are two other major online marketing strategies: SEO and Social media.
Search Engine Optimization is a sequence of strategies and methods used to by a website so as to increase its search ranking. For example, an owner of a bakery in Seattle would optimize their website content to appear in searches for "Bakery in Seattle." There are various methods and techniques of search engine optimization listed in our detailed article Search Engine Optimization.
Social Media is another excellent way to maintain an interactive customer base. Posting about current trends and connecting to your customer base online can help improve your business’s goodwill and even attract more customers. You can also use it for sales promotions or Pay Per Click (PPC) advertisement.
The most important points are to understand the dynamic of your local market, change and accustom to the needs of your audience as necessary, offer products of some customer value, and market to potential buyers only. Do not let the failure stories discourage you since entrepreneurship is all about facing and beating challenges. Once you understand what works for your market, marketing strategies become clearer. However in case of higher growth prospects and more complex market structures, professional assistance is recommended.
We Can Help!
Symphysis specializes in market structure and strategy. Every day we meet clients from around Greater Seattle for one-on-one training and consultation. Our marketing services extend to businesses of all sizes, family and enterprise. For more information, call or text @ +1 (425) 390-4738.
The concept of branding is a tricky one and could easily be confused with other aspects of marketing such as Advertisement and Trademarking. This brief article explains the definition of Branding along with its importance, what makes a "good brand," and emphasizes the need of a good branding strategy.
The following questions are addressed in this article.
What is Branding?
According to The American Marketing Association, a brand is, "A name, term, design, symbol, or any other feature that identifies one seller’s goods or services as distinct from those of another."
Legally registering a symbol or words for use in a company's brand is termed, "trademarking." A brand may represent one item, a family of items, or all items & services of that business. If used for the firm as a whole, the preferred term is trade name.
A brand is essentially synonymous to a firm’s goodwill(1), that is, the reason why a person is compelled to buy from a firm more than once. It is a relatively superior long-term marketing tool, emphasizing on the psychological benefit of a feeling of belonging. In other words, Branding helps the product’s recognition in any competitive market. Brand could be a Brand Name, Brand Mark, or Trademark(2, 2.1).
For example, in a market of over a dozen identical yet differentiated products (Monopolistic Competition(3)) of shoes or fast food, the Nike Swoosh, or McDonald’s signature "M" is effectively used to differentiate their products from others, build goodwill, gain recognition, and increase customer confidence.
Why is Branding so important?
In any form of competitive market, product recognition is one of the most important factors in convincing a potential customer to choose one product over another product of similar value. The potential customer, attracted by the product’s advertisement variables like packaging, labeling, communication, and branding, buys the product. The product being of superior value to them, psychological or real, would lead to the development of the most crucial advertisement method for a new brand: Word of mouth, or referral marketing.
Word-of-mouth marketing is when a customer advertises a product to raise a brand's goodwill, and therefore sales, by recommending it to their peers and associates. It is because of Word-of-Mouth marketing that the biggest brands gain popularity. Consumers prefer purchasing products that have been purchased and tested before. Consumers often look to reviews to save time and money on a product that wasn't worth their time.
In other words, branding helps create superior value to the potential customers in a market segment. It helps them view your product as a superior alternative to other similar or differentiated products serving their needs. Without proper branding, there is no way of recognizing the product and purchasing it from the previous producer. This leads to a fall in overall sales. This is also the case when the Brand name is poor, not memorable, and difficult to recognize.
What makes a good Brand Name?
A good brand name is catchy, relevant, and audibly pleasing. For example, in Coca-Cola, the ‘Cola’ suggests relevance to the product of soft drinks offered and the two C's sound catchy and are audibly pleasing. Similarly, Microsoft’s ‘Micro’ suggests technological relevance. In general, a good brand name should have the following characteristics:
What makes a good Brand Logo?
Similar to brand name, a brand mark (logo) should be relevant, eye-catching, suggestive, and capable of legal protection. Apart from this, emphasis on research for creation of a brand mark should be given priority since visual appeals have a much greater engagement rate when it comes to startup advertising. However, sometimes irrelevant and experimental brands gain great recognition, such as Wendy's or Apple, whose logo and name do not suggest any relevance but are some of the biggest brands in the world.
This is why it must be kept in mind that while brand creation is a priority, it can end up playing little under the dynamics of business environment. Factors such as advertising, Startup Marketing, Search Engine Optimisation, Targeted Marketing, Industry Analysis, etc. play an important role as well.
Branding is one of the most valuable aspects of Marketing. It is perhaps the only way a firm stands out in a competitive market. It is the pillar of building goodwill, which is crucial for any organization’s long term success,. It is important to deal with the process of branding with vigilance and under experienced guidance to develop a brand with a lasting effect on your consumers.
Symphysis Marketing Solutions offers persona and branding strategies that are ever-changing. We’ll help you build an identity for your business that captures the attention of your target audience. Our branding strategies are integrated across various social media platforms and digital marketing media.
For more information call or text us @ +1 (425) 390-4738