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It’s been a long time coming, but you might notice that I’ve given my website a little refresh, redefined my brand colours and rebranded my logo.

Why? Well, truth be told, I didn’t invest much money into my service-based business in the beginning. I just wanted to make money as fast as possible so I could spend it on plane tickets to visit my then-boyfriend (now-husband!) in the US. And in hindsight, this was a mistake. 

Even so, I was fortunate in the sense that having a basic logo I designed myself never hurt my chances of getting work. In fact, it’s only recently in the pandemic when Brits haven’t been able to go outside much (except to exercise) that I’ve had the time to make significant changes within my business.

If you’re also considering change, you’ve come to the right place. Here’s an extensive guide on rebranding a small business (by someone who’s literally just done it!).

Rebranding a Small Business When to Do It and How

Why Do Businesses Decide to Rebrand?

First things first, you might decide to rebrand because something has changed within your business and your current branding doesn’t reflect this change. Therefore, you need to adapt it.

By current branding, I’m referring to your visual brand identity, i.e. the imagery and graphics that express your brand’s personality and differentiates it from all the others.

Ultimately, the aim of a rebrand is usually to create growth so you can reach new clients and/or customers.

When to Rebrand Your Business

Not sure whether to rebrand? Not to worry — here are some tell-tale signs that it is time. (Cue Rafiki from The Lion King.)

Your Mission Has Changed

Reasons for rebranding a small business 101: your brand’s mission, vision and/or values differ from the ones you started with. If your logo, colours, fonts and/or brand voice no longer align, it might be time to make some tweaks.

For example, if you read my fashion and travel blog Trendy Tourist, you’ll notice that this has also been recently rebranded because of the following.

  • I wanted to adapt it into an online magazine and the design needed to reflect this new purpose. Digital readers might land on the site wanting to learn how they can look and feel their best whilst travelling so that they can live their best life. If so, they should be able to access different articles that pique their interest quickly and easily.
  • The original name of the blog was “The Trendy Tourist” to focus on my personal style and adventures. I dropped the “The” because I want to build a community of like-minded people and refocus the content on how it could help the reader using a collection of experiences (not just my own).
  • My old logo was amateurish, complex and didn’t say anything about me as a person. The new logo is simple, contemporary and sophisticated and reflects my brand messaging of dressing, travelling and living well, even on a budget.

Ergo, rebranding this business just made sense!

Your Audience Has Changed

Even if your brand mission and vision are pretty much the same, are you expanding your product range or going in another direction with your offering? If so, your audience has probably changed.

Alternatively, perhaps your core audience is the same but you’re trying out a different niche or market meaning that you’re targeting a new segment.

Either way, you might find that your visual brand identity doesn’t cater for your new audience anymore and you want to make sure that it does going forwards.

You Have Time to Work On It

When you first launch a new business, there’s so much to do and (what feels like) so little time to do it in. Especially if you’re in a hurry to gain ROI so that you can pay your bills at the end of each month.

However, when you reach your third year of trading, things start to calm down a little bit. Or at least they have, in my experience.

It’s a great idea to just start, even if you feel like you’re quite ready. That said, it’s an even greater idea to revisit elements when your business is making decent money and you can afford to make them the best they can be.

How to Rebrand a Small Business

You Have Money To Invest

Speaking of affordability, most new businesses struggle to invest in key aspects of marketing. The money they do have tends to go on the fundamentals, like product sourcing, website building and logistics.

Although, it’s just as important to have a visual brand identity that wows. After all, this serves as your first impression with a potential customer.

That’s why some businesses might choose to redesign theirs at a later date when they have more funds to put into it, just like I did.

You’re Not Happy With Your Current Branding

At the end of the day, you have to be proud of your visual brand identity. It’s going to make up a big part of your business for the long term.

In other words, if your logo makes you want to cry every time you look at it, you might have a problem. (Hey, it’s okay — I’ve been there!)

You might also feel like your visuals don’t stand out or align with the times. In this case, rebranding might be a good option for you.

10 Rebranding Tips for Small Businesses

Decided you want to breathe new life into an old brand? Awesome! Rebranding a small business is straightforward if you follow my top tips.

1. Define Your Mission, Vision and Values

Firstly, you need to be 100% clear on your brand mission, vision and values, i.e.:

  • What’s your brand’s purpose? What goals are you trying to achieve?
  • Which direction do you want your brand to go in?
  • What can you offer your target audience? How would you define your brand’s personality? What is it about your business that’s unique compared to others?

It’s these ideas that form the foundation of a powerful brand identity.

2. Understand the Needs and Wants of Your Target Audience

Rebranding a business can be a bit like starting all over again. To create the best visual representation, you need to come up with your ideal client or customer profile.

  • Who are they? How old are they? Where do they live? What do they do?
  • How much disposable income do they have? What are their spending habits?
  • What do they care about? What are their problems and how can your brand solve them?

Answering these questions will help you to come up with a visual brand identity that primarily caters for your target audience.

3. Research Your Competitor(s)

Looking to your main rival(s) can provide inspiration whilst ensuring that your brand stays competitive. After all, they’re likely to target the same audience, right?

Having said that, avoid copying any aspect of your visual brand identity. In an overcrowded marketplace, originality is the key to success.

Struggling? Assess current trends in your industry and how you can make your brand modern and relevant to attract potential clients or customers.

4. Reassess Your Business Name

Does your business name need some work to reflect a new purpose, niche or audience?

If so, get brainstorming! Think about words that tie in with your brand’s:

  • Personality
  • Strengths and attributes
  • Mission
  • Vision
  • Values
  • Unique offering

Oh, and try to make your brand name as creative as possible so that it sticks out in the minds of your target audience for years to come.

5. Analyse Your Logo, Brand Colours and Fonts

Rebranding a business involves reassessing all elements of your visual identity, including your logo, brand colours and fonts.

For instance, I was happy with my business name of Dream Scribe, but my original logo was amateurish, old-fashioned and the typography didn’t embody it. I also had a mismatch of brand colours that made absolutely no sense for this business.

(Not sure what I mean by “typography?” Check out this post.)

Now, my brand’s colour palette is black, white and gold with silver and blush pink accents. The typography was designed by an experienced graphic designer. And hopefully, you’ll agree that all aspects of the branding look more professional, contemporary and elegant to mirror the nature of my freelance writing services. Result.

Rebranding a Small Business

6. Consider Your Brand Voice

Alongside your visual brand identity, your brand voice (or the personality and emotion fused into your business’ communications) might also need a tweak during a rebrand. Especially if your mission, audience or offering has dramatically changed.

Think about:

  • How you want to talk to your ideal customer or client
  • What kind of language would resonate with your ideal customer or client
  • How you will capture their attention and connect emotionally to provoke action

Pro tip: consider what it is compared to what it isn’t, i.e. it’s fun but not silly, expert but not bossy, goofy but not inappropriate.

7. Get Opinions

If you’re finding it challenging to make final decisions when it comes to your visual identity and brand voice, don’t be afraid to ask for opinions.

Get the input of your staff members, friends and family members. Post your options into Facebook groups for small businesses and go with the majority. You could even conduct a focus group with your target audience to gain valuable feedback.

Either way, you’re not alone. There are always people who are willing to help you succeed.

8. Refresh Your Website Design

Once you’ve redefined your visual brand identity, you can start aligning your website design.

Don’t forget to:

  • Implement your new colour palette
  • Change your fonts
  • Upload your rebranded logo
  • Change your header to your new business name (if applicable)
  • Buy a new domain name if you’ve changed your business name and redirect website visitors to the new domain name

Need assistance with the latter? Contact your website hosting. If you’re with SiteGround (*), they can do this for you free of charge via their Live Chat feature. Winning.

9. Update Your Physical Materials

As well as updating your online store, rebranding a small business that sells products might need to update signage for a brick-and-mortar store.

Then there are other physical materials to alter, such as your packaging, labels and business cards.

Needless to say, it’s a lot of work, which is why you need to evaluate whether it’s worth it before you decide to rebrand in the first place.

10. Update Your Online Presence

Lastly, remember to refresh your online presence in line with your new branding. From your social media banners and display names to email banners and signatures, it all needs an update.

In fact, if you’re going to have to change your social media handles to reflect a new business name, you might want to check that the handle you want is available before you make the change. 

On the other hand, you can always ensure you have the handle you want by using underscores to your advantage. Or, you can include the location of your business at the end, i.e. “dreamscribeuk.”

Signs You Should Rebrand a Small Business

Rebranding a Small Business: It Doesn’t Happen Overnight

If you’re thinking about rebranding your business, you have to consider why. Has your purpose changed? Has your audience changed? Do you need to stand out more against your competition?

Regardless, make sure that you’re sure because once you change everything, it’s kind of difficult to change it back.

A rebrand doesn’t just happen overnight either. It’s a lengthy process that requires patience and perseverance. But once it’s done, I assure you, it’s completely worth it!