Deciding to rebrand is really exciting. It allows you to see your business in a whole new way and we’re all for that. One decision you’ll also be considering on your rebrand journey is whether to rename your creative business – is now the time to go all in?
There are many reasons why people choose to change their business name but ‘usually’ it’s because the name no longer reflects their offering or the audience they’re trying to attract. Whilst it might have served them well in the early stages, the business has now evolved and somehow the name just isn’t quite aligning. Would you buy a pair of trainers from Blue Ribbon Sports? No? How about Nike? If you didn’t know already, Nike were formally known as Blue Ribbon and we all know where their rebrand took them.
It needs to work seamlessly with your brand visuals and convey a particular feeling or emotion. High-end brands will often use their own name rather than something more gimmicky, whereas a brand opting for a more fun, relaxed vibe will lean towards a play on words or something a little more ‘out of the box.’
Either way, it’s essential to go back to your audience and look at whether the name is accurately reflecting what you do and your brand values. If you weren’t in the room ‘explaining’ your brand, what assumptions would people make of your business from the name alone?
Changing your business name is scary. You’ll wonder whether you’ll lose clients or how people will find you.
Yes it will take time to make the transition and it won’t be easy but if you’re looking at the longevity of your creative business then making sure all the elements of your brand are lining up, is absolutely key.
So where do you start?
If you’re going to change your business name then planning is king! Never leave the planning phase to the last minute as it’ll come back to bite you on the rear end. Allow yourself plenty of time to start mapping out the transition and work on each step one day, week, or month at a time. Launching a rebrand without keeping people in the know will just lead to confusion and that’s never a good thing.
1. Think about all the people you currently work with and create a list of all those that need to know you’re changing your business name. This might be suppliers, collaborators, and past and present clients. We’d advise having this as a spreadsheet somewhere just to make sure you’re super organised and you can refer back to it later.
2. On a second sheet now list all the businessy, financial-type folk that will need to be informed. This is likely to be your accountant (if you have one) your business bank, Companies House and HMRC. You can start the process with HMRC right here.
3. Thirdly, create a list of all your brand collateral, (invoices, welcome packs, email signatures, business cards, etc) social media platforms, and listings that will need to be changed. Add to the list any places you are currently found that you no longer wish to be associated with. Cancel any subscriptions or directory listings that no longer align with your new elevated brand and set a reminder to change your business name with Google My Business (if you have an account here.)
Treat these three lists as gold dust and make sure they’re easily accessible.
All too often we see business owners announcing their change of name way too late. It seems to come out of nowhere and leaves us scratching our heads. You can start drip-feeding information a few MONTHS ahead of your official launch date – you might write a blog post to let people know something new is on the cards or drop it into your Instagram posts. We’re not talking about doing this every day but a little mention here and there won’t go amiss.
Now refer back to your first list – send an email letting these people know that something exciting is underway! The sooner you do this the better as it will allow for clients and suppliers to ask questions and for you to address any concerns they may have.
If you’re changing your business name then you’ll need to buy a new domain name for your website. Get this pinned down as soon as you can so that no one else snaffles it first! If you’re working with a web designer they might be able to do this for you (we do) so get this one ticked off the list. You will also want to purchase a new email address which you can do through Google Workspace.
Make sure you keep your existing site live for the time being. We’ll come to this later.
Once you’ve worked through the steps above it’s then time to start thinking about the launch of your rebrand. Doing this quietly never ever works so be prepared to get visible!
When you’ve received your new brand pack from your designer go back to the third list you created and start redesigning all your brand collateral. This will include your invoices, welcome packs, business cards, and all your branded stationery. If you’ve got a super helpful brand designer, they’re likely to help you with this for an additional fee but it’s totally doable to get on with this yourself if you have the time.
Refer back to the first list you created and send out a little gift or branded notecard to let people know when the launch is happening. We would do this around a week before the official website live date. Make the note really personal and make sure it incorporates your new name and visual identity. You might also want to ‘encourage’ these people to share your rebrand on social media when it happens. This process is all about getting your audience to feel your excitement with you because…
What will you do on the day of your launch to make sure people fully understand and ‘get’ that you’ve now changed your business name? Can you run a competition or go live? Could you do a Q&A talking about why you decided it was time to make the change? Start generating some ideas so you’re fully prepared on the launch day and ensure you’ve blocked out time in your diary to be visible on that particular date. If you have an existing mailing list, draft a newsletter that can be sent out on the day you go live. This is a great way to keep people in the loop.
The week before you launch, set up a redirect where visitors to your old site will be immediately redirected to your new website. This can be a complicated process so make sure your web designer can help or contact your current hosting provider so they can sort this for you. It’s also worth adding a landing page to your old website that states you’ve now moved. This will cover all the bases if the redirect doesn’t immediately take effect. It’s likely your new website won’t be completely finished so make sure the redirect takes people to a holding page where you can have a clear message welcoming your audience from your old website to your new home.
If you’re working alongside a professional brand designer you’ll be give countdown graphics to share on your social media platforms. A week long countdown is more than enough to remind everyone that you’re switching things up and will give them a little sneak peek into your new brand identity.
The day before the launch, start changing all your social media platforms over to your new name. Refer back to the third list you created so you can tick these off as you go. You’ll also need to check that all the places you are currently listed on the world wide web now link to your new website.
On the day you launch, SHOW YOUR FACE! This can be on stories and within a pre written blog post. It’s very hard to make a connection with a ‘new’ business when we know nothing about you and again this will reassure folk that just because you’ve changed your business name, you’re still amazing at what we do. You can read more about launching your new brand here.
The work doesn’t stop after the launch day! Sorry, but it doesn’t. Now is the time to keep reminding people that you have rebranded and answer any questions they might have. Go on stories over the following month and sign off with a little note saying, ‘remember I’ve changed!’ You might also want to consider a new marketing strategy such as Facebook ads or generating a mailing list to keep people up to date.
When you decide to change your brand name you are positioning yourself differently. It takes time for a new audience to understand this change and it will take patience and commitment to reassure your audience that it’s still you beavering away behind the new brand name. It will take a lot of work but if you’re ready to elevate your business and are looking to communicate with a whole new audience then now is the time. It will open up so many new opportunities and that’s always a brilliant thing!
If you’re a creative business owner and you’re looking to chat through the rebrand process in more detail, then drop us a line here. We’re now taking design bookings for January 2024 so let’s have a catch up!
Hannah and Toby xx