April 5, 2017

How to know if your professional service is ready for a rebrand

A recent study from the Technology Services Industry Association (TSIA) has found that a company’s success is “increasingly being determined by their ability to ‘defend and protect’ AND ‘adapt and transform’ at the same time.” This balance between upholding tradition and embracing the new is difficult, especially when a professional service rebrand is being considered.

A rebrand is a significant undertaking, and all factors must be considered before any investments are made in the process. If your professional service company is on the fence about whether or not to move forward with a rebrand, our four tips below will help you determine if you’re ready.

Internal transitions

It’s not uncommon for a business to experience a change of ownership, the retirement of a lead decision maker, or an internal overhaul of the company’s services. A professional service rebrand during the middle of these larger transitions is natural and fitting. With such a large change, your company’s identity is bound to change with it.

Consider a law firm brand. When a partner leaves, so does their name that was once part of the company’s name, and components of the internal culture as well as services or capabilities may shift too.  With the partner’s departure, a rebrand could be necessary, which would involve renaming the firm, a new logo, and a potential reframing of positioning or offerings. By rebranding along with natural internal shifts, the process will have an easier flow for everyone involved.

Ask yourself…
Do you find yourself in the middle of a large company change that will impact your internal and external branding? 

Shifts in your competitive marketplace

According to the 2017 Professional Services Maturity Benchmark, ‘Nimble organizations that can easily adapt to change have higher levels of strategic clarity, confidence in leadership, lower levels of attrition and higher revenue growth.’ One of the most significant branding challenges facing professional service firms is standing out from the competition; the basics of brand promises, services, and customer care are often the same across industries. If a company is able to adapt quickly to the changes of their competitive marketplace, they’ll find an easier path towards growth and success.

Professional service companies often find themselves running to keep up with fast-changing shifts in the industry. For example, with the rise of online banking, financial brands have to reevaluate their business strategy to incorporate the latest mobile banking technology. Similarly, the car service industry has had to adapt to the rise of services like Uber and Lyft. As consumer habits and expectations change in response to competitive technologies, so must the firms that serve them.

A rebrand is a chance to revitalize and reorganize your company’s brand identity in response to market shifts. A brand refresh or rebrand can help define a memorable, unique position for your business in the eyes of customers. A fresh look, defined message and reinvigorated sense of purpose can transform internal and external perception of the brand, which may be just what is needed as your brand’s context shifts.

Ask yourself…
Is your company’s brand strong enough to withstand the competitive shifts of your industry? 

Internal brand confusion

Every interaction that an audience member has with your brand should reinforce their connection to your brand’s identity, values and mission. Your employees are one of the primary vehicles for your brand message: they are ambassadors of your brand and represent it with every client interaction. It’s paramount that each employee has a clear understanding of your brand’s purpose and personality, so they can convey it consistently and authentically.

Maintaining flawless internal brand communication over time is nearly impossible, especially as employees and leadership come and go, or as on-boarding processes change. Conduct an internal survey to get a sense of how clearly your employees understand the unique purpose and position of your brand. If it’s hazy, it may be time to conduct a brand refresh or rebrand because those processes are ones that intentionally immerse a business (and its employees) in the language of branding. Your team will emerge with a clear sense of who you are, and what they can do to most effectively communicate that message.

A Brand Guide is often a component of a rebrand. It is used to communicate a new brand identity to employees, and to inspire excitement about the new look. As an example, check out this Brand Guide for Champlain Cable, used to clarify Champlain Cable’s position and purpose to internal teams.

Ask yourself…
Do you find that your company’s core messages are unclear to employees?

A matter of design

Design is about much more than pretty colors. Your brand’s visual languge affects the way you’re perceived by customers, employees and the competition. In professional services, design and visuals often don’t get the priority treatment (and therefore marketing expenses) they deserve. Therefore, many professional services, from law firms to accountants to community banks, have visual identities that are lackluster and out of date.

Take a look at your brand’s visual identity. Are your brand’s visuals consistent across every platform and user engagement tool? Does the look and feel of your brand match the modern-ness of your services, products or technologies? Does it reinforce your brand’s personality and character?

If the answer to any of those questions is well, no, not really – a “brand refresh” may be in order. You can think of a brand refresh as a process that updates an element of your brand, but not the entire thing. In this case, a visual refresh may be all that is needed. The result of a visual refresh is a logo, visual identity, look and feel that accurately represents who you are, how you’re different, and that positions you firmly as the forward-thinking, ambitious and modern brand that you are.

Check out how the non-profit brand Champlain Valley Association on Aging was transformed into Age Well, a modern, progressive brand with new and striking visuals.

Ask yourself…
Do your brand’s visuals accurately represent who you are and why you’re different?

If you feel that your company meets any or all of the four tips above, then you are in need of a rebrand. Some next steps include finding your company’s differentiation and learning how to start the rebranding process. You’re on your way!




Branding, Design, Marketing