Any business owner can tell you the original vision for your business isn’t always the way things pan out. Industries change, technologies advance and your business simply might not stand out against the competition anymore. When the idea of rebranding your business comes into play, it is almost always followed up with “is it worth the risk?”
For these seven businesses, a total rebrand was the difference between sinking in their market and soaring to success. Read on to find out what these professionals learned from rebranding their business, and their best advice for anyone looking to give their business a complete overhaul.
Sydney Liu, CEO & Co-Founder of Commaful
Pencil was the original name of our company and featured stories and blog posts from industry leaders like the co-founder of LinkedIn and the lead actor of Silicon Valley. Our initial audience was all tech people, but we noticed a big flood of fictional posts (mostly from teenagers) showing up on the site. As fiction and poetry began to drive the most significant traffic to our site, we reached out to our users and quickly realized that these teens did not resonate with the colors and techy brand we had built. Furthermore, users were telling friends about Pencil, but searching for Pencil, people would never find our site.
Renaming to Commaful and using our new color scheme significantly increased user engagement, referrals, and retention. Thousands of users who struggled to find our site very quickly signed up within the days after the rebrand. I’d recommend that businesses do a full analysis of their user base and work WITH their user base to go through rebrands. Rebranding can alienate some existing users so it’s critical to get as much input as possible during the process. Study the products your users use. Show them mockups and designs. Publicly allow people to share their opinions so that the rebrand won’t shock them and will instead provide a positive experience.
David Carberry, CEO of Enradius
Originally our local listing marketing company was named Local Roll Call, and our branding was Are You There Yet? Search Engines were good at gathering some data and not all. Business owners didn’t understand how to get their information on the web.
Our thoughts were more along the lines of a classroom roll call and didn’t realize that Roll Call was primarily a well-positioned political term. We were stuck for a few years with it as we started to grow. Eventually, as mobile location and smartphone tracking were starting to take off, we knew most online advertising will be geographically based. We did research this time and actually trademarked our new name Enradius before we even launched a website.
It was an easy transition because clients liked the short easy name and customers can actually assume what we are now without conflict. If you are planning to make a switch, ask close friends and business acquaintances what they think and do the research before jumping into the water headfirst with a name. I would also take the time to research Trademarks, and copyrights and see if there are any search engine traces of the name.
Amber Hinds, Creative Director at Road Warrior Creative
On January 1, 2016, I rebranded my marketing agency, then Au Coeur Design, as Road Warrior Creative, with a new name, logo, social media handles, updated services, pricing, and more. In June of 2015, my husband/business partner and I realized that we wanted to take our marketing business in a different direction, and in order to do so, we needed to clearly differentiate the new business from the old. Renaming and rebranding was a significant part of that differentiation for a variety of reasons: (1) the original name was very tied to me as an individual and not our business as a whole; (2) our old business name included French which was unpronounceable and unspellable to just about everyone we met here in the U.S.; (3) The colors and icon for the business were very feminine and did not have the timeless, gender-neutral look that one would expect of a larger business — and we were aiming to grow.
We worked on our rebrand for over 6 months, particularly focusing on identifying our target demographic and creating a purpose statement that clearly represented the why of our business. Since rebranding, our revenue has more than quadrupled and we have taken on increasingly bigger and better projects and clients. Rebranding was the best thing we have done for our business growth and image.
Dan Vuksanovich, Chief Marketing Officer at Gravity & Momentum
I knew it was time to rebrand the business before I even started. Gravity & Momentum is in the stage blood business, but in late 2012 its colors were black & white and its logo was some sort of droopy play on the founder’s initials. There was absolutely no connection whatsoever between the brand and the products. How can you possibly run a blood business and not have red anywhere in your logo?
Our biggest challenge was that we didn’t have a whole lot of money, so we actually enlisted my mother (who used to be a commercial illustrator) to do the artwork, while I art directed.
One of the reasons my business partners brought me on board was to make us look like we weren’t running our business out of our founder’s kitchen, even though that’s exactly what we were doing at the time. The new brand identity, combined with a total redesign of our website and shopping cart, helped to instill a greater level of trust in our site’s visitors. Sales picked up almost immediately.
As far as the decision to re-brand, I had it easy, because almost no one knew about us at the time, so there was no downside. There was only the upside of moving to a brand identity that was more aligned with who we were as a company.
I think there are two questions to ask yourself if you’re going to rebrand:
1. Is our current brand hurting our company?
2. Does the potential upside of rebranding with better alignment outweigh the potential downside of confusing the existing customer base?
If you answer yes to both those questions then rebranding is something to seriously consider.
Joseph Liu, Career Consultant & Host of the Career Relaunch Podcast
When I started my business, I had originally decided to call it Onward Coaching, which I felt precisely represented the nature of the work I was doing, focused on helping people find the clarity to relaunch their careers. Unfortunately, I quickly realized that securing a trademark for the name would be difficult, which was important to me.
The main challenge in the rebranding process was finding another name. I needed a name that could connote the nature of my work, serve as a versatile name to encompass any future services I might add to my business, and also be trademarked. The second challenge was ensuring that name was available across all the social media platforms and online assets I hoped to secure. Finally, I had to change over all my existing assets to accommodate the new name.
I eventually went with ILUMITY, which has served as a versatile name that accommodates all aspects of my business. The rebrand to an abstract name has really allowed me to own my business name and create my own meaning around the name as my business evolves. Since I was able to trademark the name, I’m also now less concerned about infringing on someone else’s name or someone copying my name.
My main advice to someone thinking about rebranding their business is to be clear on what you hope to gain from rebranding that’s unavailable with your current brand, and confirm the switching costs are worth it. For me, I wanted to have a name I could trademark, so the hassle of switching was a small price to pay for a name I could protect and own in the long term.
Charles Gillespie, Gambling.com CEO at Gambling.com Group
KAX Media rebranded as Gambling.com Group in May 2017. We knew it was the right time for a rebrand as one of the assets in our portfolio, the domain name Gambling.com, continued to outperform other assets. We decided the new name would enable us to take better take advantage of the domain Gambling.com and communicate our business focus more directly.
Rebranding can be a daunting process. Our biggest challenge was producing a new corporate website to be launched at the same time. Delays completing the website caused delays with the rebrand, which affected our announcement strategy.
For anyone considering a rebrand, I would advise them to make sure the new name is an improvement by bouncing it off clients and partners first. This process will also help you understand who your audience is and mark out who you want to attract.
Legally, there is a lot of paperwork involved in updating the registration of domain names, trademarks, bank accounts, and so on. You don’t want to have to do this exercise twice. Consulting with a trademark lawyer or professional to have a search report done on the name is an essential step a business can take when it is rebranding.
Bob Bentz, President of Purplegator
I have owned my business for almost 30 years and twice we have rebranded. The first was when we partitioned some of the business from Advanced Telecom Services to ATS Mobile. Telecom had become somewhat of an outdated term and Mobile just made a lot more sense. Then, as the business grew, and expanded to other products and services, we didn’t want to be locked into any terms, so we completely rebranded to Purplegator.
The most difficult part of rebranding was positioning ourselves as a company that has spanned four decades, even though we have only been known by the new name for a short time. One of the unanticipated bonuses of the rebranding process was that the salespersons told me that more people answered their calls (mostly out of curiosity) when we rebranded to the present name Purplegator. There’s a lot of extra work involved in the rebranding. If you are a small company, you might not want to try to do it all at once as it may overwhelm you. Phase it in overtime.
Thinking About Rebranding Your Business?
Rebranding your business requires a great deal of time, hard work, and faith in your vision, but these seven success stories prove it could be what your business needs to rise to the top against the competition. If you think a rebrand could be the solution your business needs to increase sales and appeal to your target audience, reach out to the Creative Click Media team! We’ll work alongside you every step of the way to set you on the path to digital success.