Featured in Natural Products magazine, with a focus on smaller food product companies:
1. Get it right from the start
Is a rebrand you want? A brand is the personality of the business, and a rebrand is more than changing the colours on the packaging or the company logo. It has to do something for your company to help it grow. So, minimise risk by answering these questions: why do you want a rebrand; what difference would it make to your company, and what problems do you think rebranding would solve? Your answers will provide the focus of your rebrand strategy.
2. Walk in your customer’s shoes
How well do you know your market? A rebrand must be customer-led. For instance, a company may say their shoppers are “mums” but are they mums of babies or teenagers, mums-on-a-budget or 'yummy-mummies'? Do they go to music festivals or flower shows? The more deeply you know your customers, the more you can connect with them, give them what they need, and know where to find them. Rather than broadcasting your product, have conversations instead. Surveys and focus groups are valid if you have the budget to do them expertly. Small companies can talk to shoppers at food fairs and/or online via social media. You could ask a friendly blogger to keep a diary for a day to find out how your product fits with their lifestyle, or even spend a day in someone else’s home. Ask questions, listen and observe. The more you know your customers (or the different types of customers), the more return you will get for your spend.
3. Check your budget and choose a designer
Costs can be a ‘piece of string’ exercise so the question is: how much are you prepared to invest? Drill down by looking at your strategy. If you want more sales and to reach a bigger market, what does that look like in financial terms? Will sales go up 20%, will turnover double? Put a number on it. Then ask: what percentage of this are you prepared to invest to achieve success? Knowing your budget will help you find a suitable designer. If budgets are limited, then concentrate on paying an agency to do the creative thinking but ask for a guideline document and manage some of the application yourself. But be realistic about your budgets and capabilities and make sure your designer knows it too so they do not come up ideas that are too costly or complex to maintain in the long-term.
4. Bring others with you
It is dispiriting for morale when the boss walks in unannounced with a new pack. Everyone in your company needs to understand why you are rebranding. Their views are useful so include them in a round-table discussion. Talk to your suppliers: they too will have ideas worth listening to, and they need to be aware of upcoming changes that might affect paperwork etc. Think about who else will see your brand. If the rebrand will affect signage of your external building, for example, let your local paper know so the local community can share the excitement and understand what is going on.
5. Work towards the launch
You will be surprised how many things have your logo stamped on it. Make a list (or design audit) of everything that will be affected: coasters, pens, business cards, invoices, letter heads, van signage, billboard and the website. Think about what you will do with the old packaging; perhaps you need to arrange for your supplier to take back old stock so it does not sit beside your shiny new one. Decide whether you take a hard or soft transition approach. If companies have the resources, everything is swapped over on D-day. A smaller company might spread the cost over months. But whether hard or soft, choose a date for your launch because without a hard-point, projects can over-run and run the risk of fizzling out. Aim for a good marketing day such Valentine’s day, Halloween, or an annual trade fair.