You’re smart and savvy enough to appreciate that once you create your logo and develop your brand, your job isn’t done. Your brand isn’t static. It isn’t a one-and-done task. It forever evolves, and this is where rebranding comes into play. Sometimes it’s a large task (a complete overhaul) and on other occasions a tweak.
The fact is rebranding matters to all businesses, and in some form or another you’re always rebranding your company.
With this in mind I’d like to turn your attention to storytelling, and how it should rule the roost when it comes to your rebranding efforts. You live in a world where people desire real connections and meaning with the messages they come across and the brands they use.
Your brand isn’t your logo. Your brand isn’t your website. Your brand isn’t the clever strap-lines you create, or the fact you’re ace on Twitter or Linkedin. But your brand is part of your story, and your story is most certainly your brand – at least it can be, and in my opinion should be.
Care to delve deeper into why and how? Good, keep reading…
WHY YOU SHOULD FOCUS ON YOUR STORY WHILST REBRANDING YOUR BUSINESS
To begin, let’s set a few records straight…
Rebranding doesn’t mean you hand the keys to an expensive marketing firm to do a complete overhaul on EVERYTHING. Sometimes this is the case, because maybe you didn’t focus on your brand in the beginning. Maybe your company’s old and in need of a serious spruce up. Maybe you’ve taken a new direction and your current brand doesn’t cut the mustard.
Often, rebranding’s a far simpler process, and I consider the following part of the rebranding sphere:
- A new website
- A tweaked logo or strap-line
- A new focus on social media or content marketing
- New offices, or new uniforms, or decorating your existing world…
In other words, rebranding is when you bring something new into your world, or tweak and evolve what already exists. Which means, of course, you do it every single day because you forever push forward and grow and mature and diversify.
Whether you’re in the middle of a large rebranding overhaul or a mere continuous tweak, it’s important to hone in on your story and share it with an audience that cares; aka: YOUR AUDIENCE!
We live in a chaotic world of white noise. Each day you come across thousands of marketing messages and so do your customers. We don’t care to hear any of it so we blank it out, except those who care to genuinely reach out to us… connect with us… invite us into something meaningful and provoking.
Storytelling achieves this, and you happen to have a unique story to share with your most valued peeps. So if you’re rebranding right now, take a step back and stop thinking about logos and colours and fonts. It’s not to say these are important attributes because they are, but they mean nothing without meaning.
Which your story has. So what are you waiting for?
3 STORYTELLING STEPS TO REBRANDING SUCCESS
The trick with rebranding, compared to branding a company from scratch, is you can’t invent something from nothing. This also happens to be the benefit to rebranding, because you have an existing foundation which means you understand your audience (at least a little), know what does and doesn’t work, and more than likely have a business on the up (or at least with traction).
But sometimes starting from scratch is easier because you don’t have to work around existing pieces that often contradict each other. For instance, I recently worked with a client who has a thriving business and a solid(ish) brand. BUT the logo, colours, and overall aesthetics didn’t quite align with everything else I had planned.
Given the choice, I’d have started again and created a new visual identity, but this client placed a decent amount of money into the logo only a few years ago. As such, I had to work with it and around it, which provides quite the challenge in its own right. But this is where the power of your story comes into being.
Because so long as you focus on your story you can ensure all the various elements align with one another. Where there’s alignment there’s happy customers, so no matter what stage your brand and business is in, consider these 3 storytelling steps and kickstart a most wonderful rebranding process.
1: THINK LATERALLY
When it comes to rebranding, a LATERAL approach is one you should take.
You see, you’ve built up certain biases, preconceptions, and overall routines that you’re comfortable with. It doesn’t matter whether they work or not, because you aren’t the right person to see it. You’re too close. You’re too biased. You need to step away from it, because your true story lies beneath the surface.
This is why a Lateral approach helps because it takes an indirect approach to problem solving.
Where you naturally go through a more standard step-by-step process (especially when dealing with your own business), lateral thinking asks you to go sideways and diagonal and focus on areas you may assume are unrelated.
For instance, you may take the more standard approach of creating a questionnaire for your existing customers to fill in, and analyse your competitors website’s whilst rebranding your business. This is fine, but will it unearth your true story?
A lateral approach asks you to take a different path, such as monitor a group of people who would never use your services and figure out what they learn, what catches their eye, and what keeps them interested whilst on your site. You may still analyse your competitors websites too, but rather than look for features they all share, ask yourself what’s missing.
What features do they lack, and could you add them to provide a unique experience for your own customer…?
You’ll get answers when you look in the obvious places, but you discover best answers when you step outside the box.
2: FOCUS ON YOUR PEOPLE
If you focus on people you’ll rarely go wrong when it comes to your brand and story.
When I say focus on your people, I mean your staff (and other folk who directly interact with you: suppliers, investors, mentors…) and your audience (customers, endorsers, readers…). When it comes to rebranding, you often focus on those you wish to connect with, and your potential new customers that await.
A recipe for disaster if you ask me, so instead focus on those people around you. These are the people invested in you, and who care, and who so often provide the key to your story’s locked door. When it comes to great business storytelling it’s brands who embrace people that usually hit the nail on the head.
Allow your customers to share your story. Make your employees the star of your story. Ensure it becomes about PEOPLE, but not any old people… YOUR PEOPLE.
Not only will they share it with the world and make it their own, but they offer an insight into what you do well, what you don’t, and what makes you special. It’s under these layers where your story hides, so focus on these people and you’ll unearth a meaningful and wonderful story.
3: EMBRACE BEING DIFFERENT
One of the big benefits of rebranding is that you’re already underway. You already have a product. You already have customers. Things are rolling, baby, and it’s your job to pick up the pace. I mean, that’s what your rebranding is all about, right?
So don’t be afraid to stand out and be different. If you delve deep and unearth your true story, and it happens to be completely different from all your compatriots, embrace it. Embrace the fact you’re quirky and unique and out-there and unlike anyone else.
This isn’t a bad thing, and often separates the good story from the spectacular one.
It’s not about being different for the sake of being different, but following your story’s true path. When working with clients, I take them down a rabbit hole and let it play out. We often have no idea where it’ll lead us. We can guess. We can presume. But until you venture down it and see what it unearths, you don’t know.
But when you roll down that hole and find what you find, stay true to it. If it happens to be different to what you expect, and make you unlike everyone else, embrace the fact you’re different and be damn proud. If all you ever try to be is slightly better than the others, your rebranding efforts will NEVER make a difference.
REBRANDING + STORYTELLING = YOUR NEW BEST FRIEND
I personally believe you’re always rebranding your business because you never stop learning or growing. And if you’re not in the middle of the rebranding process now, you’re more than likely thinking about it (a new website, logo, brochure, etc…).
Focus on your story instead of the usual everyday shit. Honestly, there’s no point in rebranding if you aren’t trying to create something meaningful. You just waste time and money and make no difference at all. If you’re going to do it, DO IT.
Lateral Thinking, People, and Embracing Difference only scratches the surface, but it’s a good place to start. I encourage you to dive deeper though, and that’s why I created The 30 Day Brand Story Course. You should check it out, but above all get in touch and share your thoughts, ask your questions, and chat to me on either FACEBOOK or TWITTER.
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