Rebranding is an effective way to upgrade or alter your brand identity, with the aim of achieving a more advantageous position in the market. Think of Facebook becoming Meta or Dunkin’ Donuts transforming into simply Dunkin’—these are recent examples of rebrands, spurred by the companies’ outgrowing their original identity.
When should a business start thinking about rebranding? It depends. Maybe your brand identity has begun to feel dated or you intend to attract a different audience demographic. Some businesses rebrand in hopes of distancing themselves from past events, which typically means it’s time to revisit your mission and values. If your business has gotten an upgrade—new products, for example, or a merger with another company—it makes sense to upgrade the brand to reflect those changes. Sometimes, it’s just time for a creative redirection!
Whatever your reasons, make sure your team is clear about your business goals before getting into the nitty gritty of how to rebrand a website. From brainstorm to brand launch, here are the 5 essential steps to a smooth rebranding process.
Step 1. Get In Touch with Who You Are
Rebranding begins with definitions—who you are as a business, as an industry leader, and as a contributing member of society. It might sound hokey, but it’s anything but: finding your business self is an essential first step in crafting a brand that resonates with your audience while consistently reflecting your values, mission, and goals.
When a potential client finds themselves on your page, they should immediately grasp who you are, why you exist, and what separates you from the crowd. Take the time to consider the following:
- What do you stand for? The world is a messy place. How does your business help make it better? Think about what mark you want to make on society and how your brand can articulate that.
- What’s your tone? A voice that works for a corporate law office won’t make sense for a cruise ship company. When thinking about how to rebrand a website to match your evolving identity, imagine the mood you want your website to create. Are your products and services serious, lighthearted, exclusive?
- What makes you different? Whatever your industry, a strong brand should express what makes your business, product, or service stand out from the pack.
Step 2. See It, Hear It, Feel It
When considering how to rebrand a website in a way that best reflects your evolving identity, the most fun part is also the most creative one. On a well-designed business website, a brand identity consists of the following:
Your brand name should reflect and amplify who you are as a company. If you’re changing your name, be sure to use the new and old name in all rebrand announcements so that your clients can recognize you.
A logo is the public face of a brand. It can be cheerful—like the little red-haired girl that represents Wendy’s. It can be simple and modern—like the Netflix word logo. Whatever it is, keep it clean, straightforward, and easily identifiable. If clients struggle to figure out what your new logo means, you’ve already lost them.
Think of Nike’s legendary “Just do it” tagline. It’s a catchy way to convey what Nike stands for: swiftness, competence, and a go-getter attitude. Now recall the De Beers tagline: “A diamond is forever.” Those 4 words capture everything the company aims to represent: beauty, quality, and eternal love. To come up with your own tagline, ask yourself: what’s your unique “thing” and how can you state it in a brief and buzzy way?
Layout or site hierarchy
A major component of your on-site brand identity is the layout of your pages. Are images grouped together with just a few lines of text at the bottom? Is everything on one page? Is there a drop-down menu? Whatever layout you choose, keep your ideal customer in mind. Imagine them exploring your products, navigating from page to page, and clicking icons. Now ask yourself: is it an intuitive flow? Is it consistent with who you are as a brand and how you want to be perceived?
Voice or tone
This is all about the attitude you convey. Do you want your site copy to be funny? Authoritative? Reassuring? Example: “Hey, guys” vs “Dear Clients”.
Whether you use everyday language or lean toward elevated jargon, be sure it’s consistent with the impression you want to make. Example: “Slick gadget” vs “Sophisticated technology”.
The images on your site have a big impact on user emotion and mood. Silly photos of your team contribute to an air of friendly authenticity, while images of shining medical devices convey expertise and authority.
Imagine black text on a sunny yellow background. Now imagine the same black text, but this time with a lot of clean, negative space around it. Completely different feel, right?
No detail is too small when you’re putting together a checklist for how to rebrand a website. Typography, which includes the typeface and the spacing between letters, is a critical part of how you present yourself visually.
Bringing It All Together
From the logo to the copy to the typography, the goal is to get these individual elements to work together in harmony to express the look and feel of a brand. When working with web development and design experts, set aside time to have a thoughtful discussion about the emotions, moods, and attitudes you hope to inspire in your clients when they explore your site.
Step 3. Be Consistent
Following your exploration of who you are as a company and bringing that identity to life on your website, take the time to be mindful about how you will maintain brand consistency across all channels and mediums. After all, you don’t want to confuse your audience about what your refreshed brand is supposed to mean (looking at you, Uber).
While thinking seriously about how to rebrand a website is often the first step when changing directions, it doesn’t end there: every single touchpoint between your brand and audience should be consistent with your new vision. Align the following with your refreshed brand identity:
- Social media channels
- Email addresses and signatures
- Mobile applications
- Product guides
- Marketing collateral, like business cards and stationery
Step 4. Preserve SEO
If you’ve put in effort to build up your website’s Google ranking, it’s important to make sure that a rebrand doesn’t derail all that hard-earned SEO value. Our tips to retain SEO post-rebrand:
Keep Your Domain Name
Unless the current URL is completely inconsistent with your new brand name, the best way to keep all the precious inbound links your URL has acquired over the years is to keep your old domain name.
Set Up 301 Redirects
When users visit your old pages, a 301 redirect will send them to the new ones. If you restructured the content and URLs of your site, then it’s imperative to redirect every page from your old domain to each corresponding page on the new domain.
Identify High-Value Keywords
Use an analytics tool, like Ahrefs or SEMrush, to determine which keywords are generating the most traffic to your site while also accounting for the pages that are contributing the most value to your rankings. If there are keywords you want to go after more aggressively, now is the time to make note of them. Then incorporate both the high-volume keywords and the new keywords you’re targeting throughout your new site content, including meta tags and descriptions.
Step 5. Maintain Trust
People don’t like change, and when a trusted business suddenly expands or changes direction, loyal customers might worry that the leadership is no longer attuned to their interests and needs. Preserve trust by being transparent about your rebrand and letting your customers know that you’re still you:
- Keep Communication Ongoing, Authentic, and Simple. Anticipate questions and really take the time to be there for your clients. The last thing you want is people saying that you “sold out” or lost touch with your roots.
- Reassure Your Team. Clients aren’t the only ones who can get disoriented during a rebrand—your employees might also have concerns about restructuring existing processes or bringing on board new policies or staff. Reassure your team members that you’ll be there for them every step of the way and inspire them to feel excited about the good days ahead.
Rebrand Your Website with Buddy
The journey to an updated brand identity is an exciting one. At Buddy Web Design and Development, we successfully show small businesses how to rebrand a website that will be deeply in sync with their evolving values and mission. We pride ourselves on the quality of our products, the wide-ranging knowledge of our experts, and, most of all, on always being great to work with. If you’re ready to chat about rebranding or upgrading your business website, please reach out to us here or explore our work here.