When you started your company, whether six months or many years ago, odds are you offered certain products or services. Flash forward to present day and the idea you had has flourished, growing well beyond your initial offerings.
When the business started, the company name aligned perfectly with your products and/or services. Now that you’ve grown well beyond humble beginnings, that name doesn’t encompass your full brand or offerings. Or if it does, it may be only one or two original offerings.
The question at hand, unfortunately, doesn’t have a black and white answer, instead is fraught with gray areas. Should we change our business name or brand to reflect our current offerings?
We have compiled the most important areas companies of all size should take into consideration when decided if a rebrand is necessary.
Why Might There Be a Need to Consider a Rebrand?
The why behind considering a change of any magnitude to your brand has a great effect on how you’ll proceed. Is the change due to a merger of two companies where a new brand will be necessary? Has your brand become stagnant and could use a makeover? Does your current brand not engage new customers the way you had hoped?
If the company is a relatively new business, say under 2 years old, you could most likely make a relatively seamlessly switch. Remember that all social profiles, pages, web pages, citations, and anything else you have online will need to be updated with the new branding. The Big 3 (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn) have different allowances and rules for changing profile information.
What Is the Cost of Building a New Brand?
As with any project, the best thing to start with is a budget for how much the project will cost, the cost of building a new brand also has many variables and therefore many different answers. Fear not, however, because Elevare has the experience to help guide you and your business through this process and help cover all the bases.
In today’s market, general startup businesses usually spend between $2,000 to $10,000 on startup costs for branding, design, websites, marketing consultations and more. On the other hand, established small businesses can spend upwards of $20,000 to $60,000 to rebrand. The size of the company and overhead, website size, and a number of products or services offered factor into how much the project will cost.
Are There Any Legal Changes to the Company?
Even if your brand is staying the same, a name change will carry legal requirements and considerations, in addition to a few common courtesies to others. The Small Business Administration has several recommendations for businesses in the process of or considering a name change.
Check trademarks and available domain names. Even a variation of a name could be trademarked and cause legal issues down the road, regardless of if you or others think it’s different enough. If your domain name will be changing, be proactive early in the process. See if one or several possible new business names and or variations are available. This will lessen the stress should you find out your first or second choice is already taken.
All business types except for sole proprietors should notify their secretary of state to change business names. During this process is when you’ll be notified or discover if the name you’re looking to change to is already in use by your state or another business.
The IRS along with state and local revenue agencies will need to be notified of any name changes for your business. Additionally, business licenses and permits will need to be updated to reflect any name change. Usually, a small business falls under a category of a sole proprietor, corporation, or partnership and doesn’t need to change its employer identification number (EIN) with a name change. But, we recommend checking with the IRS to cover your bases and lessen the chances of a tax surprise in the future.
Under the area of common courtesies, you’ll want to develop a plan to notify your customers of a business name change and have the change reflected on all loan paperwork, leases, bank accounts, and other important paperwork.
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Should I Survey My Customers?
If at all possible, ask your key customers their opinion on the pending name change before it happens. Nobody likes to be blindsided. It’s another way to show your customers that you appreciate the relationship you have with one another. Allowing input can further build those relationships and potentially avoid launching a rebranding that is rejected by new and old customers alike.
Blind surveys to customers will give invaluable insight and honesty you can consider and work with during the rebranding process. Remember to tip off vendors and suppliers as they will need to update paperwork on their end.
Surveying customers can also lead to the discovery of information you didn’t expect. Perhaps it’s not your brand at all that’s an issue, but they left because of a service or product you used to offer but don’t anymore. Getting this information during this process is crucial to understanding your need for a rebrand.
What Kind of Marketing Will Be Involved in This Change?
Again, this hinges on the size of your business. The bigger the business, the more costly the rebrand is going to be. Consider everything your business uses in its marketing. Common areas that will need to be involved include:
- Corporate identity/product packaging such as letterhead
- Business cards
- Promotional materials
- Any printed materials.
- Sales materials and tools such as website, brochures, presentation materials, and templates.
- Interactive tools such as an email newsletter, branding used on other websites not your own, and company blog.
What Are the Pros and or Cons to Changing Your Business Name or Brand?
Possible reasons you may need a rebranding could include customers don’t engage with your company like they used to, competition in the area has grown and your company’s image is stagnant, or you want a modernized look and feel to your brand.
Regardless, if you are considering a rebrand there’s something that you feel needs changing. One of the best things you can do is write a list of pros and cons regarding the change, why you feel it’s necessary and if there are any other issues that may be affecting your decision.
Is there disconnect between your company, offerings, and customers at this point, possibly leaving everyone a bit out of the loop? A change can be an exciting time for the business and customers alike, giving a fresh spark for everyone.
A branding change can be a fun, exciting process for all those involved. Putting everything on the table and working to cover all the angles will help to ensure your success. Remember that a clear plan will help to abate current customer confusion, and that communication is key. A rebranding announcement on social media, press release, even emails to current clients are all very important during launch phase.
What’s the Final Conclusion on Whether a Change Should Be Made?
There’s a lot to look at and consider when the question of changing your business name or brand is raised. If you do decide that a change could give your company the persona it needs after years of growth, Elevare can help you from the first day to the final day.
We also offer free consultations and free estimates to companies creating a new company and brand or considering a change to their current one. We can help you discover the best solution to move forward with growing your company and making your vision a reality.