Tips For A Successful Rebrand

The word 'branding' typed out on a typewriter.

We all remember last year when Massachusetts’ own Dunkin’ Donuts dropped its name to just Dunkin’. Dunkin’ Donuts had been known on a first name basis by fans for years, and it was dropping the ‘donut’ to transform itself into “a beverage-led, on-the-go brand.” What Dunkin’ underwent was a rebrand. Rebranding may seem like it’s just changing your company’s name or logo, but there’s a lot more to it. Here our top tips on how to have a successful rebrand.

Make Sure You Have A Purpose

There are many reasons a business rebrands itself. They may feel their current brand is too generic. They’re feeling embarrassed to pass out business cards or share their website’s URL.

It may be because they are merging with another company or have acquired another one.

Or it could be because their business has evolved. They have new markets and therefore need a new brand to connect with their new audiences.

Whatever the reason, it’s important to have a ‘why’ behind your rebrand.  

Check For Trademarks

The last thing you want is to fall in love with a name or logo that is already being used by another company.

Sometimes companies will hire a law firm to perform comprehensive trademark searches, but you don’t have to do that. You can look for trademarks registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on their website. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office is the federal agency in charge of maintaining the national register of trademarks.

You should also perform a Google search of the name you’re thinking of going with. This website can tell you if the domain you like is still available.

Don’t Forget A Tagline

Just Do It. Because You’re Worth It. Finger Lickin’ Good. These are a few well known company taglines. Taglines are important as they represent your company’s mission. They are something competitors can’t steal from you and it’s what differentiates you from them. We recommend your tagline be no longer than five or six words and that it shows off your organization’s personality. Check out our previous blog on the difference between taglines and positioning statements for some more inspiration on taglines. 

Create A New Brand Guide

A brand guide is a formal document that dictates how branding elements can be used such as fonts and colors. Every organization needs a brand guide as it will keep your brand consistent every time it is used, be it via your website, business cards, social media, email signatures, letterheads, brochures, physical space, etc. Brand guides will also keep everyone inside your organization and outside of it on top of how to use and communicate your brand going forward. 

Alert Your Team

As we mentioned, your brand is more than your name and logo. It’s your company experience, and as such, everyone on your team from your customer service reps, sales reps, and marketers to accountants, project managers, and owners each impact how outsiders perceive your business. You should let your team know you’re going to rebrand and make sure they understand the company’s new core values so it can shape how they conduct themselves professionally. To go back to our last point, everyone at your organization should have a copy of the brand guide.

Go Public

What’s the point of doing a rebrand if you’re not going to announce it to the world. Have a press release published in your local newspaper. Write a blog post exploring the 

‘why’ behind your rebrand and the creative process. Share the news on social media to all of your followers.

Sperling Interactive is a branding company that knows how to make you stand out from the crowd. We can work with businesses, nonprofits, and schools to deliver an impactful and consistent name, logo, and tagline. 

How to Have Brand Consistency

Work space with laptop, coffee, smartphone, and phone. The laptop is open to a graphic that reads 'brand.'

The more consistent you are with every aspect of your brand- messaging, style, colors, fonts, offerings, etc.- the more likely you are to build and maintain brand trust because consistency makes you look professional, authentic, and dependable. You don’t want your brand to be to your audience’s interpretation. You want everyone in your target market to have a clear idea of you, and not only that, be excited about your offerings! In today’s blog post, we will be covering four ways to have brand consistency.

Have A Brand Guide 

Every major brand has a brand guide and so should small and midsize businesses. A brand guide is a guide that dictates how branding elements should be used internally and externally to maintain brand consistency. Sections you want to include in your brand guide are voice and tone, brand colors and fonts, media formatting, and photography and graphic styles.  You want every time your brand is on display- be it your website, business cards, email signatures, letterheads, brochures, social media, blog, or signage- to be in sync.

Create Brand Consistency With Content Marketing  

Studies show that content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing and generates approximately three times as many leads. With statistics like that, it’s impossible to ignore content marketing as a marketing strategy. Not only that, content marketing is a chance to have brand consistency because you’re able to educate your audience and discuss your brand values. 

If you’re new to content marketing, here are some questions to ask yourself that can help you generate content:


Who is my audience?
What is my audience’s pain points?
How can I help my audience? 

Don’t Forget Your Brand Personality 

Your business is a living, breathing thing, and as such, it has a personality like any living being does. Be sure your brand personality comes alive in your logo and messaging.

Even though every marketing outlet has a different personality, as this article from ClearVoice states, “your messaging on LinkedIn may be less casual or more professional, but it shouldn’t sound like it’s coming from a different brand altogether. Think about it this way: There is the ‘at work’ you and the ‘at home or with friends’ you. Your personality is the same, but your mannerisms adjust to the context.”

Don’t Try Everything

In our last blog post, Marketing to Different Generations, we mentioned how every generation (Baby Boomers, Gen Xs, Millennials, Gen Zs) are all a bit different, and as such, how they are marketed to should be different. Don’t feel pressure to try every marketing outlet. We’ve all got marketing budgets. It’s important to pour your marketing efforts and energy into the outlets that make the most sense for your brand.

If your primary audience is baby boomers, don’t feel guilty if you’re not on the Instagram train. That platform draws younger audiences, and as such, would not make the most sense for your brand. If you’re feeling stuck on where to put your marketing dollars, ask yourself: does it make sense for my brand to hang out here? Remember what we said above brands being living, breathing things. Think of marketing outlets as places your brand hangs out. 

Have A Brand Experience 

Brand consistency isn’t just the marketing department’s responsibility. These days branding is also the customer’s experience. Or should we say the ‘brand experience.’ Every department in your company from upper management and marketing to sales, HR, and customer service should know and understand your brand’s values and mission. They should make sure their performance reflects what your brand is about. This integrated  branding approach can ensure you’re providing a positive and authentic experience to customers. 

At Sperling Interactive, we work hard to make sure our clients have brand consistency. From the content on their website, the layouts in their print collaterals, to their graphics on and offline, everything should be consistent. Call us at (978) 304-1730 to learn about the brand guides we create for businesses and nonprofits. 

 

Brand Trust as Seen with 5 Companies

TOMS shoes on chalk

Just like it sounds, brand trust is all about establishing trust in a company’s brand. While this may sound simple, trust in a company can take years to build. Brand trust considers companies in a holistic manner. Consumers want to believe in a company they are about to buy from. Everything from their mission statement to their product information matters. Honesty and transparency are huge components in building strong relationships between companies and consumers.

Having trust in a brand leads to consumers continuously returning to the company’s goods or services. The connections that develop between businesses and consumers can also help long-term through a domino effect of positive outcomes, such as customer purchases, recommendations, and referrals. Brand trust allows for there to be a base of followers to maintain and grow the company.

Five companies are further explained below to provide a better understanding of what brand trust is about and how small businesses can take a page from their book. Although the companies range in how they function, they have great insights on how brands can develop better brand trust.

L.L. Bean

L.L. Bean prides itself in its heritage. The company began in 1911 with Leon Leonwood inventing the Maine Hunting Shoe.  Although L.L.Bean sells outdoorsy products, such as camp equipment, travel gear, and clothing, the brand focuses more on the social aspects of outdoor activities. The company’s marketing often shows families and friends happily engaged in a variety of activities. L.L. Bean’s passion for bringing people together can be seen in their outdoor programs, which are free outdoor courses for people with an L.L. Bean Mastercard. Through integrating the company’s own family stories, and also that of its customers, L.L. Bean has created strong brand trust.

Being a family-owned business or a family values business can be an easy element for a business to focus on in terms of their marketing. Similar to how relatability is imperative to building trust with people, the same goes for building brand trust. Being a company with family values tags along with ideas of teamwork, commitment, thoughtfulness, and responsibility. This can be shared through stories of the company’s history, or photographs of family members working together.

While a company may be family-owned, if that does not mean much to your business, then it does not have to be stressed in your marketing. There is not a straightforward plan that fits exactly with every company. The best way to decide on a direction to emphasize on for furthering brand trust is through taking the time to figure out what is worth focusing on both internally and externally. Being on the same page with everyone on a team is what makes a difference in being consistent and authentic. Ultimately, ask yourself what are your brand values and from there you can touch upon them in your marketing.

Patagonia

Patagonia has developed strong brand trust through their environmental activism.  They are thought leaders on sustainability. Patagonia has made many strides to be as eco-friendly as possible through their production standards, scientific research, and their Fair Trade certification. Some of their work practices are also sustainable, such as their excellent benefits for employees and promoting a Drive-Less program, which provides alternative commuting options to driving.

Their progressive social and political pieces have been able to spark conversation and bring added awareness to the issues they stand for. They dedicated their $10 million in tax cuts to environmental charities in protest of Trump’s tax bill and supported two U.S. Senate candidates based on their conservation stances. Patagonia is continuing to find ways to improve the environment and their efforts certainly make them stand out amongst other sustainable brands.

A takeaway from Patagonia’s brand trust can be how the company takes the time to try to better the environment. Both small and large companies can take action to help change the world. Positive impact can be as simple as people only using reusable water bottles at work. Or on a larger scale sponsoring a running race and only using paper straws and no plastic take away.

Other ideas could include taking a few minutes each week to pick up litter or making sure to turn off everything at the end of the day. A big part of sustainability is realizing that every action ends up being beneficial. Not every company has the resources to do extravagant environment campaigns, but any difference can still be made.

TOMS 

TOMS is a company that mainly sells lightweight cloth style shoes, but has recently added other clothing and accessories to their repertoire. For each pair of TOMS shoes that is purchased, another pair is donated. For every pair of sunglasses of theirs that is purchased, TOMS helps to restore people’s eyesight. As a result of this system, TOMS has been able to change the lives of millions of people. TOMS has been able to make a fortune for itself, while also spending and donating a fortune to people in need around the world.

Businesses have the opportunity to help their communities by giving back in a variety of ways. They can donate money, shoes, food, or even volunteer their expertise pro bono. Businesses can use their resources (consumers, connections, time, and money) to aid their community. Often, it feels good for businesses to give back to the local area that helps them do their work. Helping the community is something that is praised, so it is often not hard to promote it. While information should be shared on the company’s own website, email, and social media outlets, it can also be communicated to others through different local providers, including newspapers and radio. Marketing a company’s efforts for helping out the community can be beneficial on so many levels. One of these being brand trust because it shows the company is not just focused on themselves, but those around them too.

Ramblers Way

Ramblers Way is a company in Kennebunkport, Maine and Portland, Maine that makes sustainable clothing. Their sheep, garment production and retail are all contained within the United States, which the founder Tom Chappell felt was important. Ramblers Way is very detail oriented. Anyone is able to know what is happening at every step of the way as the company expertly describes it online. The company’s conscientiousness is also apparent in what they sell. With a smaller array of options, Ramblers Way can focus on what they believe in, creating clothing pieces in a sustainable manner. Together with Ramblers Way’s transparency, they are able to have excellent brand trust.

The clarity that Ramblers Way offers its consumers is impressive. Their website and social media platforms make it clear exactly how the company runs, such as explaining in detail the specific types of wool they use and the money they spend on donations. This can be also be reciprocated through other companies. Sharing information about the company’s past and present all work to aid brand trust.

Another part of transparency can be taking responsibility for previous wrongdoings, such as poor customer service because then the issue can be viewed as something which has since been improved upon. The more that is shared about a company, the better reputation and brand trust it will have.

Facebook

Contrastingly, Facebook is an example of an organization that has weak brand trust. The popular social media site has been caught in multiple controversies since its birth, but most recently regarding its privacy with user information. Yet, the company seems to have put minimal effort into taking any responsibility or making changes. Unfortunately, brand trust can be taken away from a company in minutes, while it can take years to build brand trust. Facebook has a lot of work ahead of itself if it wants to gain more brand trust again.

Companies that have gotten into controversial messes often lose a lot of their brand trust since there is no longer a strong relationship. Facebook has had recurring issues regarding their use of private user information. In response to these matters, the leaders of Facebook tried to sell excuses, but the lack of transparency caught up to them and people did not want to hear it. While sometimes certain problems cannot be avoided, what has been frustrating about the Facebook fiasco is that it could have been avoided. Even after the issue came to light, the company should have done a lot more.

Bumps in the road are inevitable, but knowing how to handle a crisis can change the situation. A key factor is communication. Sometimes that may be talking directly with a single consumer, but other times it may be sharing information with all consumers. Marketing can help to smooth out issues. Taking a moment to consider how best to approach the issue can be worth it in the long run. People are quick to remember negative things, but with the right plan of action it will all work out.

This blog was written by our marketing intern, Maura Honan. Maura is a communications studies major at Saint. Mary’s College in Notre Dame, Indiana. 

 

Tips For Creating The Perfect Logo

Various logos drawn on sketchpad. We live in a very visual world these days. While it is important to not judge a book by its cover, it can sometimes be hard not to when Instagram and dating apps have become things we look at every day. That said, having a logo that really speaks to your brand is critical. It’s a visual that tells people what you’re all about. You don’t want people to swipe right when they come across it so here are our biggest tips on how to create the perfect logo for your brand.

Ask yourself, what’s my brand’s personality?

Your logo should communicate your business’ personality. A good way to get to the bottom of this is to answer the question, how would you want your ideal customer to describe you? What are your business’ values?

Get inspiration.

What are some of your favorite logos? What are logos you don’t care for? Create a mood board of your favorite logos and one of your least favorite ones. Doing this can help you identify you what you like and what you don’t when it comes to design. Doing this can help you see if you want your logo to be classic, vintage, modern, minimalistic, or fun? If can also help you determine if you like certain colors and want them associated with your brand.

Keep it simple.

You want your logo to be easy on the eye. Don’t add to much detail. The most recognizable brands have simplistic logos. Check out this post which shows the evolution of McDonald’s logo.

McDonald’s original logo from 1940 is very different from how it looks today. Back then, it had black font and read ‘McDonald’s Famous Barbecue.’ In 1953, McDonald’s incorporated their then mascot, a chef name Speede, into their logo. Seven years later in 1960, McDonald’s  adopted its iconic red and yellow colors into its logo and dropped Speede. It added its name underneath the logo. In 2006, McDonald’s made their logo even simpler. For the past twelve years, it’s just now known for its’ golden arch.

Choose your colors carefully.

Color psychology is the study of how colors impact human behavior and emotion. Different colors can provoke different responses. For example:

Red is known for being an extreme color. It represents loudness, love, violence, anger, and adventure.

Orange is synonymous with joy, warmth, originality, enthusiasm, and creativity.

Because yellow is the brightest color, it represents happiness, optimism, enlightenment and clarity.

Green is an interesting color. On the hand it is the perfect color to use for eco-friendly brands as it makes people think of nature, growth, harmony, and fertility. On the flip side, green can also make people think of money so it’s another good option for financial businesses.

Blue symbolizes calmness and trust.

You get purple when you mix blue and red together. As such, this color is associated with power, royalty, and wealth.

It’s hard to not think of femininity when you think of pink, but it can also translate to sweet, playful, romantic, charming, and tenderness.

Brown provokes a sense of earthiness, rustic, strength, and reliability.

Black is a great color to use if your brand offers something that is sleek, modern, and luxurious.

White symbolizes clean, modern, and minimalism.

Gray can help you achieve a mature, classic, and serious look.

Make sure the logo can scale.

No matter what size the logo is scaled to, you want to make sure it is able to stand out. You don’t want it to be blurry if it’s reduced to a small size. You want people to understand it.

Consider using a symbol.

Symbols are powerful. We can’t deny that when we see a swoosh symbol we think of Nike, or when we see an apple icon our mind wanders to Apple. Maybe there is a simple symbol related to your business that you can design and incorporate into your logo.

Do public testing.

You may think your logo looks great, but what does the public think? Get a test group together and show them a few logo designs that you have. A test group can provide you constructive criticism and new ideas on what’s working and what isn’t. Sometimes it’s good to get out of your head and soundboard your ideas off of others.

Want some more logo inspiration? Check out some logos we’ve designed over the years.

Top Mistakes of Branding

Branding can be a great tactic and useful tool for your business. Branding is about creating a conscious image and awareness of your business. One that identifies and promises value. It has become less of an advantage and more of a requirement for a successful business. When creating a brand it’s important to have the following:

  • Tagline
  • Brand colors
  • Logo
  • Fonts and typography
  • Imagery

However, not many are aware of the mistakes that are often made when branding. Follow along for the top tips to avoid.

  1. Misunderstanding what constitutes a “brand” – Branding is more than just a tagline and logo. Your business identity includes an image, voice and specific style that all create the vision of your business. That is important to maintain.
  2. Not maintaining your brand – Businesses can be quick to change or alter their identity. However, it’s vital to remain true to your brand as changing can create confusion to your customers. Branding is a foundation to businesses.
  3. Jargon – Basically, business companies are all guilty of this to try and add value. Instead, keep it simple and to the point where your message is clean and understood by your customers.
  4. Not knowing your business – Every successful brand has a focus. If your business has great customer service and strive on it, make that your focus and run with it. If your delivery service isn’t the fastest at overnight delivery, don’t brand that you are. Instead, know your strengths and weaknesses and create an image that brings honesty and strength to both. Knowing where your company is competing can verbalize the differences and needs that customer want.
  5. Inconsistency – Consistency is everything when it comes to branding. Not only will it create familiarity to your customers and audience, but it also creates loyalty. Always be consistent.

Rules of Designing A Logo

What is a logo? A logo’s main purpose is to make a brand immediately recognizable, and inspire trust, loyalty and an implied superiority. Initially, it is what makes a company or business stand out in a competitive market. It is used to identify.

As Image is just as important, however, the main feature that your brand should include is a logo. It’s important not to ever hide your logo. Once you decide on an image for your company, it should be everywhere and on anything your customers have access to and in contact with. A logo can also be changed depending on the social media or different platforms that it is used on.

However, there are rules to designing the perfect logo for your business. One that represents everything your business believes and stands for. In doing so, your company will stand out among its competitors. Follow along for specific rules and tips on creating the best logo for your business!

  1. Create Balance – Having a balance is important for your logo. Keep your logo balanced and appealing by keeping the weight of the colors and graphics and the size equal.
  2. Know the Colors – When choosing colors for your logo, keep in mind what colors evoke feelings and moods. For example, yellow can evoke happiness. Avoid using colors that are so bright in the eyes, use colors that are near each other on the color wheel (for a warm palette use red, orange and yellow hues).
  3. Style – Your business design style should always suit the company. Also keep it mind that the more simple it is, the more recognizable it will be. If you start with a more complicated design, you often end up with a simpler version of it in the end.

Remember to create a logo that not only represents your business, but one that your audience and customers can relate to.

Branding Basics

Brand Identity is a huge factor when it comes to the success of your business. This includes keeping a specific color, pattern or even your own design to provide an image that perfectly suits and represents your business. Think of your mission statement and what its purpose is to your business. Essentially, your brand should represent that in one picture. It is what makes you stand out among your competitors.

So what is included in identity? It’s a clean way for describing your brand. This means stationeries, packaging, messaging, and even digital projects among others that follow a certain style guideline.

A brand is a relationship between an audience and a business. Initially, it’s the reward for the building loyal and genuine relationships with your audience. In doing so, as a business owner, you have to be aware of what it will represent to your customers. When creating your logo, it’s vital to have these three things come through:

  1. Vision – From offering an existing product in a completely new and inventive way, the vision for your business should be all about its journey and where it is meant to go, whether large scale or small.
  2. Values – Your values are what your business stands for and what you believe in as a business. This key is vital to be genuinely shown in the way that your business operates.
  3. Personality – With your three statements of ‘why’, ‘how’, and your brand promise, you now find how you would want your business to come across to your customers. This can come across through the graphic design, the tone used in your content, as well as through customer service.

Brand recognition is a powerful tool to have. It not only increases public recognition of your business or products, but can also help you engage with your customers and create a solid connection.

Developing Apps for Small Businesses

Mobile apps have become a great way for businesses to stay in the loop with their customers. For small businesses, it’s an even better way to branch out and receive more customers and even more traffic with the use of push-up notifications.

The mobile app industry is a huge competition, but inventing a brand new idea that helps your business will only keep your customers loyal to you. Whether it’s an app never developed before or an already existing app with a twist that makes yours stand out, apps will boost your success. From simplifying online purchases to gaining easy access to your information, the benefits they have is why small businesses are now developing apps to stay competitive in their market field. So, how do you start an app for a small business? Here are some tips to get you started.

 

What’s your goal?

The idea for the app is your first step, however, what is the ultimate goal? After thinking about what idea you want for your app, think about what its main purpose in your business is, and use that as your main focus. For example, if your business is all about catering services, your app will be promoting your catering services. Creating a clear view of your business to your customers need will be very important in motivating them to download it.  

 

Design for your audience

Sure this is the hard part, but knowing your target market is the main goal in any business. Knowing what they need and who they are, whether they are iOS or Android users, helps develop your app to work better by knowing what your customers issues are and giving them a platform that they can use as a solution. The best way to find out your target market is through the use of surveys. With these, you can find out which types of apps they will resonate with, and what they dislike or like about mobile apps?

 

Branding information

If you already have a branding set, such as logos, colors, fonts, etc., share the information with your developers. This gives developers the opportunity to provide you with the necessary solutions to your unique business needs, like your app loading faster, working on several platforms, keeping the aesthetic clean, and making it simple and effective.

 

Marketing Mistakes to Avoid (Pt. 1)

 

We have all been there before, where we come up with a great new marketing plan but end up having a hard time getting a strong response rate. Chances are that we are committing one, or multiple, of the following common marketing mistakes:

Weak Written Material:

Having strong writing skills is a crucial part in communicating with your target audience. In order to fully get through to your customers and motivate them to take action, you must first move them with your words. This can only be done through strong written content. The content should interest your readers.

Forgetting about SEO:

SEO is important in marketing for company visibility. When creating any marketing materials, do not forget to incorporate important industry keywords, tags and Meta descriptions to help your business rank high on search.

Repeating others Content:

Every now and then we all get stuck or seem to run out of new ideas and look to others for inspiration. However, while doing this, we end up repeating content every now and then. Doing this can make it difficult for your target audience to remember you. Write in your own point of view and incorporate your own experiences and inspirations into your work.

Not Self-Promoting:

Whenever you think about self-promotion, you probably think about something along arrogance, but it does not have to be this way. The truth of the matter is that if you’re not promoting your content, how will your audience know what your company has been up to? Promote your business’ greatest achievements and invite others to the celebration!

No Call to Action:

Not having a call to action is a big mistake. All your messages and marketing materials should end with a call to action. Connect your marketing materials to your brand and finish off with an instruction on what to do next and how to do it.

Learning from our mistakes is important. If you need help developing a marketing plan that works, contact Sperling Interactive for help!

Tagline vs. Positioning Statement

When you think “tagline” what comes to mind? What about when you hear “positioning statement”? Do you know the difference between the two? If you don’t quite know what the difference between a tagline and positioning statement is, don’t worry; you’re not alone. Many people tend to get the two confused all the time. Today, we will clear up some of the difference between the two and their soul purpose. Follow along to get a better understanding.

Taglines:

Chances are that when you think “positioning statement” you may actually be thinking about the tagline. A tagline is made to express the value of a product or service to help improve the appearance and position of a brand. Its duty is to help portray what the company does and who they are.

When creating a tagline, you want to make sure that you can answer the following questions:

  • What do we do for our customers?
  • How do we better our customers’ lives?
  • What is our unique selling proposition?

Once you are able to answer these questions, it’s time to put it all together into a clever statement. A tagline should be clever and witty, so don’t be afraid to use a play on words. It should definitely convey your company’s personality, as well. How else will you make your business memorable?

Positioning Statement:

A positioning statement is much more complicated than a tagline. It requires more information in just as a memorable way as a tagline. The components of such statement are:

  • Target audience
  • The solutions it offers
  • Comparison to competitors
  • Unique selling proposition (USP)

Here is a template to help get you started:

“[Brand’s name] is for [target audience] looking to [explain the services] unlike others [related industry]. [Explain why your business is unique in, at least, 3 points].”

Are you having trouble coming figuring out how to position your brand? Contact Sperling Interactive for a consultation.