Official B2B Rebranding Checklist
Rebranding is important for the growth of any company or organization. And, B2B rebranding is just as important as its B2C, or retail, counterparts. Because B2B products and services are often treated as commodities, the price is usually the most important factor when buying or selling goods. However, price isn’t everything, even in a B2B niche. Too many companies ignore the importance of a well-branded product or services that regularly meets or exceeds expectations.
If pricing was all that mattered, the market leader would always be the business with the lowest prices and the cheapest product would always be the one that was bought and sold the most. There would be no competition if price was all that mattered.
But, we know that’s not the case. We know that brands and reputations matter now more than ever. Younger generations will soon be the buyers and sellers powering B2B industries. And, it’s important you connect with those people. Younger generations are online, brand conscious, and extremely loyal to the companies who are aligned with their beliefs.
So you must ask yourself: Is your B2B organization branded effectively?
If not, you may be in need of a rebrand.
Stage 1: Earning Buy-in from Stakeholders
Before beginning a rebranding process, it’s necessary to determine if the timing is right for your B2B business.
_____ Stakeholder Survey – It’s important to recognize how your B2B business is perceived in your industry and local community. The first step is learning as much as possible about how people currently think about your business. Sending a survey to current customers, employees, and industry players is a great place to discover how you’re seen and to learn the ways your services and products can be improved. In addition to surveys, there are plenty of other great online tools for B2B customer feedback.
_____ Competitive Landscape – Has the industry changed since you originally launched your business? If so, how? Has the emphasis shifted? Perhaps cybersecurity matters more now than it did when you started. Or maybe it’s shipping speed that customers care most about. However the landscape has changed, your brand should recognize those changes and reflect them in the new brand.
There are likely more competitors now than when you started. How do those new B2B companies differentiate themselves from you? Identify the competition and determine why a customer may prefer them. You’ll want to keep those differences in mind as you evaluate your own brand messaging.
_____ Accurate Representation – Does your current brand accurately represent you and the state of the industry today? Like new competitors, industries themselves change quickly. Be sure to take note of new technologies or changing customer needs that have influenced the services and products you offer.
_____ Evaluate Your Vision, Mission, and Values – Proper mission, vision, and values statements will help your business plan for the future and maintain a consistent culture.
- Vision statements represent what an organization hopes to accomplish. For instance, Google’s vision statement is “to provide access to the world’s information in one click.”
- Mission statements describe what needs to be done to achieve the vision statement. Google’s mission is “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful”.
- Value statements describe an organization’s priorities and core beliefs. For instance, one of Google’s values may be to “focus on the user” or, that “Democracy on the internet is good”.
If your brand already has these spelled out and they’re applicable, that’s great! If not, they should be a top priority during your rebranding efforts.
Stage 2: Updating Your B2B Brand
Once you’ve decided to move forward with a rebrand, and you’ve earned the proper buy-in from stakeholders, it’s time to tackle production.
_____ Name Change – Sometimes, a rebrand means changing the name of a company completely. Did you know Google changed its name only a few years ago? As Google outgrew basic search functions and begin introducing hardware, smartphones and more, they needed to change names. In 2015, Google established a new parent company, “Alphabet”, to show that they are more than just internet searches. Like Amazon’s A-to-Z logo, “Alphabet” communicates an ability to do everything, from A-to-Z.
_____ Logo Update – Your logo isn’t your brand, but it is an important part of it. Updating your logo can be as simple as introducing modern colors, or could be as involved as creating an entirely new visual representation for your brand.
_____ Fonts and Typography – Your brand’s typography is much more than the font you choose. Typography is the white space on your website and in your ads, it is the size of the words people read, and it is the hierarchy of all of your visual elements.
_____ Colors – Colors are subconsciously connected to our emotions. Yellow evokes happiness and optimism. Blue invokes confidence and calmness. Do your brand colors tell the story you want them to? If not, will you change them completely, or alter them slightly?
_____ Style Guide – A style guide ensures visual consistency, no matter what is being made or who is hired to make it. A style guide should explain exactly how a logo can be used, what color combinations are acceptable and where and when specific logo marks should be used. A style guide should be complete enough that a freelancer should be able to make in-brand graphics by simply referencing the style guide.
_____ Website Makeover – The Internet is always changing. What works for web development now may not work next year. Likewise, what’s impossible today may end up as standard practice a year from now. Either way, your B2B website should be professionally built, easy to use, and fast to load. And most important of all, it should improve the buying experience for customers, not hinder it.
_____ Social Media Profile Pictures and Headers – Your brand needs to be on social media. For B2B organizations, that means LinkedIn at the very least. Be sure to replace all old logos, profile pictures and cover photos with new rebranded images.
_____ Printed Material – Everything you print must include the new logo, colors, and typography for a rebranding to succeed. That means table tents, flyers, mugs and everything else must be swapped out for items with the new design.
_____ Building Signage – Replacing workplace signage is absolutely critical to earning buy-in from employees who will see the new logo every day.
_____ Corporate Wearables and Uniforms – From daily uniforms to corporate polos for golf outings, everything employees wear needs to be updated.
Stage 3: Following-through on Rebranding
Rebranding doesn’t end with a logo or new website. A brand is about the promises you make to current and future customers.
_____ Internal Launch – Keeping your employees involved throughout the rebranding process is important. Be sure to roll out the new brand internally before launching it to your customers and the world. This way, your employees will have plenty of time to acclimate to it and learn why the rebrand is important to the success of the organization, and thus, their own jobs.
_____ PR or Launch Event – A PR event to launch your new B2B brand is a great way to ensure your local community is aware of your rebranding effort. Check out our article on how to have a successful B2B PR event for tips on hosting your own announcement.
_____ Stakeholder Survey 2 – After your new brand has been fully implemented and customers are familiar with it, it’s time to reissue your stakeholder survey. This time, if your rebranding efforts were successful, you should notice clear differences between the first survey and this one. Audiences should have a better understanding of your services and products and be able to differentiate your organization from its competitors.
- Resident B2B expert
- First agency position in 1997, joined Nichols in 2002
- Splits time between creative leadership and account service
- Remembers every detail about clients and their businesses
- Coffee connoisseur, music enthusiast and fair-weather runner