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New Beginnings: Your Guide to Rebranding

No matter how long your business has been in the game, it’s important to keep apace of the changing market. Target audiences may be shifting, expanding, or contracting faster than ever before and it’s all you can do to keep up with them. Sometimes this is easy, but sometimes it requires a radical shift on the part of your business. With the new year approaching, it’s time to take a look at one high risk (but potentially very high reward) moves: rebranding.

 

What Does it Mean?

Rebranding can be done many different ways, but the ultimate goal is the same: to create a new identity for your brand. We’ll talk about some of the strategies for this later, but the first step to successfully rebranding is to identify what your current brand is.

You can do this by looking at your brand elements. This includes everything about your brand from the name down to the logos and catchphrases. We’ve laid out everything you need to know about brand elements here. Rebranding means that some or all of these elements are going to change.

 

Why Rebrand?

If your business is steadily growing, reaching new audiences and turning them successfully into customers, a rebrand may not be right for you. Rebranding works best when there are opportunities for you to seize that no other strategy will reach.

Perhaps your original target audience was too narrow, and a rebrand will broaden your appeal. Perhaps as you move into larger markets, competition is stronger and you need to evolve stand out more. Or perhaps feedback from customers shows that some of your brand elements are confusing, BLANK, or downright boring.

 

Rebranding Dos and Don’ts

If you’ve decided a rebrand is the best option for your company, there are a few things to keep in mind as you move forward. Rebranding is a risky move—you want to proceed carefully and make sure you analyze every decision.

DO:

  1. Keep what worked from your old brand; a new logo might be in order, but you don’t always have to change your brand’s name, or vice versa.
  2. Try and be consistent. We’ve discussed how crucial brand consistency is before, and you don’t want to lose any loyal customers as you rebrand.
  3. Give your audience something to talk about. A new slogan to try out, a new story to experience—anything that gets them thinking and talking about your brand.

 

DON’T:

  1. Alienate your current audience. Focusing on new audiences is great, but remember who supported your brand first. Brand loyalty works both ways.
  2. Toss out your entire brand. Starting fresh may sound like the right idea, but with an original brand identity you carefully crafted, there are many elements you can and should recycle. Maybe a new logo, but consider using the same colors, fonts, etc. This will also bridge the gap between your old brand and your new one in the audience’s minds.
  3. Just change one element. Remember in 2009 when RadioShack became “The Shack” but didn’t change anything else about their brand? Yeah, neither do we, because it was a really bad move and they’ve since changed their name back. We found that gem in this article from entrepreneur.com—they have tons more golden rules of rebranding backed with real-world examples.

 

Your brand is a reflection of your business’s heart and soul. Changing it may be necessary to keep up with the rapid shifts in today’s markets, but remember that your company’s appeal will always come from the core of ideas and strategies that you first dreamed up. If you’re considering an extreme makeover, business edition, get in touch with us today to talk about how to make your brand stronger in 2017. And from all of us at Infinite Reach, Happy New Year!

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Does Your Personal Brand Include Workplace Attire?

With office dress codes becoming a thing of the past, wardrobe choices are more important than ever in showcasing your personal brand at work.

What You Wear to Work Matters

A personal brand is a microcosm of your company’s brand, just as you—a front-facing worker or owner—can be the face of the company itself. In that light, most people know it’s crucial to make a good first impression. Avoiding messy, wrinkled, or mismatched outfits is a given, but does that mean you need to wear a freshly pressed three-piece suit every day?

The short answer is: no. But of course, it depends on many factors.

For one thing, there’s your chosen industry. If you sell high-end menswear or work high up on the corporate ladder, a full three-piece suit might be the appropriate choice—if you offer landscaping services, sell your own paintings, or run a bakery, not so much.

“Even jeans and a t-shirt can have a purpose, if that’s accepted clothing in your line of work,” says Jim Joseph for entrepreneur.com in this article.

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Location is another element to consider. Here in Phoenix, summer temperatures can make suiting up impractical at times. Foregoing a jacket or wearing a polo in place of a button-up is considered more acceptable in the desert than a city like New York.

And of course, we all have that friend or colleague with a signature line of Hawaiian shirts.

So Maybe I Can Ditch the Formal Wear—What Next?

While in many places it seems the days of stringent workplace dress codes are on the way out, the freedom to make every day Casual Friday doesn’t mean standards should go out the window when it comes to attire.

“No matter your occupation or personality, you should have your own personal ‘dress code,’” says Joseph.

The key is brand consistency. We have a great blog on “Why Brand Consistency is Important”, and the lessons there can easily apply to your personal brand as well.

Sticking to your self-imposed “dress code” every day can:

  • Become an extension of your larger brand
  • Define your style
  • Communicate your company values
  • Help you find a target audience of like-minded clients
  • Get you in the mindset for work—like a uniform or suit of armor
  • Signal what is acceptable to your employees (if you’re the boss)
  • Show you’re ready to step into other roles (if you’re not the boss, yet)
  • Give others a sense of reliability

The goals are brand recognition and brand loyalty. Setting expectations for appearance and then meeting them with consistent wardrobe choices is a great way to achieve these goals and avoid mixed messages.

Beware of Boring

Though consistency is a decisive factor in personal branding, you must also be wary of sameness. There’s something to be said for owning identical button-up shirts in every color, but a good personal brand goes beyond the basics for a distinct look. You want to use your wardrobe to communicate what makes you—and by proxy, your company—unique.

Consider Hillary Clinton: politics aside, many have commented on her choice of the iconic pantsuit. It is recognizable, it is versatile, and it is a garment she has turned into a statement of identity. Even Clinton herself has joked about her favored attire: her Twitter bio lists “pantsuit aficionado” among her credentials.

She has leveraged the pantsuit into a reflection of her personal brand. The pantsuit is Hillary Clinton, and vice versa. It’s a shrewd branding strategy, and one that may pay off as she appears consistently to vie for the top job in the country.

For others, a personal brand can come down to well-chosen accessories. Examples can include flashy jewelry to class up an outfit, funky socks for a bit of fun, or colorful infinite-reach-personal-brand-attire-sockshandbags to signal youth and vivacity. The idea is to be noticed by standing out consistently. Remember our friend with the Hawaiian shirts? He knows the power of his personal brand, and how to dress for his own success.

At Infinite Reach, we know the power of branding, too. We take your brand identity into account in everything from web design to corporate photography—where the right outfit is essential! Check out our full range of services or contact us for a free consultation.

In the meantime, read our blog about “What Branding Colors Communicate to Your Clients” and start shopping for the right shades to suit your business today!

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What to Include in your Brand Guideline

At Infinite Reach we call these our Marketing Standards, they are our guide for not only our brand but for each of our clients brands as well.  The goal of your Brand Guideline is to create a framework that anyone in your organization can follow.  It creates a guide for your brand so that everything you push out has a consistent look and message.

We went over why brand consistency is so important in my May blog post, but just to give a recap, brand consistency is what helps build rapport and brand recognition amongst your target audience.  This is what eventually creates that coveted brand loyalty that every company wants to achieve with their customers and clients.

In order to keep your brand consistency on track, you need to create a brand guideline. That’s why we created the following list of items to include in your guide.

Brand’s History, Key Values and Mission

The first step in creating your brand guideline is outlining your brand’s history, key values and mission.  This is the framework for what’s to follow in your guide.  It gives the person looking at your standards the background knowledge they need to understand why you chose the color palette you did, what your logo represents etc.

This first piece is not only important for your graphic design and marketing team to know, but each and every employee.  So, it’s really explaining what your brand is all about in a way that’s important to everyone at your company.  It also gives them the background knowledge they need to continue keeping your brand consistent.

Logo, Official Color Palette and Typography

Of course you need your logo, colors and fonts. These are going to be used the most throughout your branding and marketing efforts so it’s important people get it right.  You have already established your brand history, values and mission, so you have the groundwork done.  Now connect that to each of these elements.

Why did we choose this color palette?  Are there times when we should use one color over another? When people know the why it tends to resonate more with them.  They aren’t making all the headlines on the website purple just because, they understand the reasoning behind that.

Typography is one area that may seem unimportant, but it’s definitely imperative that everyone understands which fonts they should be using and when.

The logo, this is one if not the most important aspect of your branding.  When you see just the Nike Swoosh do you know what brand it is? Of course, and that’s because they make sure to keep that logo consistent no matter what they are using it for.  A lot of companies have multiple variations of their logo, so ensuring your team understands when to use which logo is important e to keeping your brand consistent.

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Example of a Marketing Standard Page

Letterhead and Examples of Marketing Projects

You should be using company letterhead on anything you send out.  It only helps your brand recognition.  The only problem is making sure everyone is using the same letterhead, so it’s another important component to include in your brand guidelines.

Examples of past marketing projects are also important. They highlight the marketing standards you’ve already established.   For example, when we post about our blogs on Instagram we have a set graphic format we use each time so it’s consistent.  Eventually our followers may not even need to see the logo on the image to know that Infinite Reach posted a new blog.  The examples help guide your team and give them a framework for their next project.

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Example of our Instagram Blog Post Images

Brand consistency is very important and a brand guideline allows you to share what that brand is to your employees.  It helps create a guide for anyone in your organization to use and keep them within the brand image you’ve already created for your clients or customers.

 

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Why is Brand Consistency Important?

Why is brand consistency so important?  A brand, as defined on BusinessDictionary.com, is a unique design, sign, symbol, words or a combination of these, employed in creating an image that identifies a product or differentiates it from competitors.  In short, your brand is your company’s identity.  It helps your customer build an impression of what your company stands for.  Keeping your brand consistent allows you to build a rapport with your customers so they trust your company and find it synonymous with a positive experience.

When we work with clients on branding packages, we keep the messaging and visuals consistent with the marketing standards we’ve created for them.  We want to keep that cohesion through their business cards to the website to their marketing materials.

Brand Recognition

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Photo from GlobalBrandsMagazine.com

Once you build that relationship with your customer you don’t want to lose that due to inconsistent messaging.  If you keep everything from marketing to product packaging consistent that brand recognition will start forming in the minds of your customers.  It takes 12 times for your customer to see your color and recognize it in association with your brand. That recognition is invaluable and can eventually lead to brand loyalty.

Brand loyalty is when you have consumers that become devoted to your brand and will continue to purchase your product over competitors.  From my personal experience, if a product I use on a normal basis is sold out at a store, I usually won’t even look at the competitor products, but instead check other stores.  These are products I recognize from when my mom purchased them during my childhood and I have a connection to them now.

Helps Differentiate You from Competitors

While establishing your brand recognition, you were also showing your customers how you are different from the competition.  People who shop at Wal-Mart value their “Everyday Low Prices” and they make sure to keep that verbiage consistent in their branding.  Target customers seem to be willing to pay more especially when Target collaborates with high end designers.  Both companies use brand consistency to build a relationship with their ideal customer.

They also want their customers to think of them first when they need a product or service.  So, by keeping their brand consistent, they are top of mind to those costumers.

Case Study: Aligned at Work

case study Aligned at Work

We recently completed a Website Design & Branding package for one of our clients, Aligned at Work.  We always start these projects by understanding who our clients target market is and what their business goals are.  This particular client targets business professionals, so we wanted the branding to consistently speak to that audience.

In order to achieve that we made sure everything from the logo, to the website reflected a clean and professional image.  When we created presentation folders, letterheads and business cards, the branding was consistent.  That allowed for all of these key pieces to present the same brand image to potential and current clients.  This helps them stand out from the competition and also becomes familiar to customers.  From the moment they receive a business card, visit the website and go to their first workshop they have a consistent message from start to finish.

Understanding the importance of brand consistency will allow you to develop a strategy that helps develop brand loyalty in your customers.  Need help creating your brand identity?  Contact us today for a free consultation, we would love to help and learn more about your business.

We also have a great blog on “What Your Branding Colors Communicate to Your Clients” if you need more information to help create your brands marketing standards.