A strong brand identity can drive sales, while a weak one can hold a business back. Is it time for your company to rebrand?
Your special events business may be keeping up with economic and market changes, but is your brand keeping pace?
There’s no denying that 21st-century business culture is fast moving and ever changing. A leading driver for this environment can be found in customer perception. No business, especially a special events business, can afford to not pose this simple question: How is our company perceived by customers? This perception defines your brand and its narrative—the story of your business. A weak brand identity may be breaking the business instead of taking it to the next level.
No matter the size of a company, a strong brand identity drives sales and recognition forward. While a company may have been delivering quality tent and event services for years, its brand may not have grown with it. Because of this growth-but-dated scenario, leaders of event service companies may find themselves wondering if their brand and messaging are relevant to what they are doing today and where they envision their company in the future. Some companies also find that they’ve grown through acquisitions, but failed to successfully integrate acquisitions into the parent company. All relevant and justifiable reasons for a company to consider rebranding.
A new direction
Beyond a memorable logo or a pretty website, a strong brand identity increases a company’s value. It also provides employees with direction, which makes acquiring new customers easier. A business rebrand is about a great deal more than making your letterhead look good; it’s about the bottom line. To help you decide whether rebranding is right for your company, ask these questions:
- Are you telling your story in a manner that sticks in the minds of customers, whether or not they bought your service?
- Is the look of your brand current or are there outdated elements (fonts, colors, message)?
- Are you reaching your targeted buyer, which may have changed over time?
- Does your target include the millennial buyer? Are you appealing to that buyer?
- Are your sales slipping? Is your competition invading your market share niche or service area?
- Are there new channels of business worth exploring? What have you done to begin to gauge these opportunities?
- Does your brand streamline your identity or is the identity fractured into multiple divisions that should be combined or partnered more efficiently?
If two or more responses to these questions are unfavorable, a brand makeover might be in order. The good news: rebranding is a public expression that will share with your customers just how far your company has come.
Businesses that fail to develop a strong brand risk becoming dwarfed by more dynamic competitors. If your company is operating the same way today as it did when it was first launched, your brand has become stagnant, which means you are losing business. Evolution is a positive driver for innovation and will keep your business current.
A rebranding effort may include a revision or replacement of a number of elements: logo, color scheme, tagline, packaging and even how your service is presented to the customer. Your brand is what customers think of your company; defining that requires a creative approach to even the tiniest details. Once you have decided to rebrand, review each of these touch points:
- Company name
- Sales collateral
- Social media engagement and voice
- Areas of public visibility (building signage, vehicle wraps, uniforms, etc.)
- The story line of your company message
Proper planning for changing any of these touch points is crucial. Given the importance of this work, it’s necessary to prioritize how efforts should be concentrated within your team. Before you begin, analyze, organize tasks and record the financial impacts so there’s transparency within your team. Set realistic targets and timelines. Then incorporate a tracking process to ensure there are few surprises. A rebrand implementation is one of the toughest exercises a company can undertake, but it can also be one of the most rewarding and profitable.
What’s your edge?
Once you’ve decided to move forward with a rebranding effort, you’ll need to decide whether to hire a branding expert to create and/or execute a rebrand. Often this decision comes down to budget and internal resources. In general, the longer you’ve been running your company, the more a new perspective from a third party with expertise in branding will be beneficial. While there’s a cost associated with that advice, it can often help you navigate pitfalls or shortcomings in advance.
If your in-house executive team has the experience and creativity to develop a great identity, you may decide to have it head up this project. Bringing in support from freelance writers, graphic artists and marketers to work with your in-house team is a potential solution. Regardless of the make-up of your rebranding team, don’t forget to have a thorough briefing to cover the project’s goal. This briefing should discuss all areas, including aesthetic, communicative, technical and legal. Make sure everyone is on the same page and focused on the problems you are looking to solve.
Before making any solid changes, solicit feedback from your customers. Why do they come to you? Often the reasons why people choose your services are not what you thought they would be. This feedback will be especially valuable if you’re not sure what gives your company an edge over your competitor. Identify that edge and build your core brand around it.
Ultimately, your brand is the external face of your special events business. When it fails to reflect the level of success your business has achieved, customers may assume that you have fallen behind the times. Whatever your reasons for rebranding, your company’s message should remain consistent and true to the products and services your business offers.
Whether reflecting advancements in your products or services or the evolving nature of your business as a whole, the process of rebranding is essential to telling your story in the best possible way to reach customers. It should result in not only a different “look” but also a different experience for the customer. You can positively redirect how you connect with buyers with a successful rebrand.
[ Kelly Treadway is founder of EventCurious, Atlanta, Ga., @eventcurious. ]