Rebranding makes a statement, whether a tweak or total makeover 

quick glance at the logos of Ford and General Motors, and you know who they are. That drives your own perception of the company. Is it a good company that I want to deal with, or is it a company that I don’t want to deal with? 

That logo, that brand, differentiates the company from its competition. If that logo starts to show some age, it’s time to rebrand.

“Branding makes you stand out,” says Rick Voigt, president and CEO of Today’s Business Products. “Branding gives you your own identity. An outdated logo may say this is not a very sophisticated, growing business.

“Every so often you may have to look at your logo and your branding statement and ask yourself if you need a complete redo or a slight modification and modernizing.”

Smart Business spoke with Voigt about the benefits of rebranding and why it can be a wise investment for your company.

Why is branding so important?

When people view a logo, their brain connects it to the brand.

They associate that brand identification with the company’s years of service, dedication and customer service. They say, ‘Oh, these guys know what they are doing. We’ve used them for years.’

When people see your logo, they should have a positive reaction and want to do business with you.

Why should a company rebrand?

You want to avoid a negative reaction. You want to make a good first impression, because first impressions last. I was recently at a trade show where I was handed a business card. It said something like ‘HTG Co.’ You look at that and say, ‘You need a total redo because you’ve probably had that business card since 1970, and you need to modernize it.’

When you are ready to rebrand, should you hire a consultant?

I would advise that. While I am not a graphic designer, I know what I like, but you need to find an expert who can come up with some logos that you can review and see which one hits you. It’s interesting when dealing with a consultant. You may find it kind of hard to move away from tradition, but a good consultant is going to tell you why you need to change your logo, why you need to update it and what to do with it. Be sure the branding is consistent; if it’s not, you’re basically saying you are inconsistent.

Should you look for a consultant who can tell you about marketing your brand as well?

Yes. A consultant can go through everything you need to change — your letterhead, your website, your trucks, your business cards — anything that is in print has to reflect the new change.

You may be able to find a consultant through networking, or maybe a customer of yours does branding. In that case, he or she would already know about you and you wouldn’t have to teach them anything about your company.

What if a company is reluctant to spend a lot of money on rebranding?

Make some commitments. There are two that you have to make: the mental one and the financial one. So once you’ve made those two commitments, hire a good consultant or designer who will help you through the process.

See if the consultant will go out and get quotes on all the items that you need to change so it will be easier to put a budget together. Then, choose what you want to change and make the changes.

What’s the preferred way for a company to implement a rebranding?

You can do it one of two ways: a rolling change or all at once. I suggest the rolling change since it can be done over time, allowing you to change all the business cards, the letterhead and all the smaller stuff without breaking the bank.

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