According to the article “Rebranding your local business? Don’t start without reading these tips” by contributor Jamie Pitman on www.marketingland.com, whether your product or service offering has outgrown your name or website, you’ve opened a new location or you need a facelift for the business, you need a solid reason to rebrand before going through the process. Rebranding is not an easy or quick switch, so Pitman offers a few marketing steps you will need to take before undergoing a rebranding process:

  • Ask your audience. Survey your customers to find out what they like about the current branding so you can be sure to keep it, even in a small way. Ask them why they initially came to you and why they stay. If you are already in the process of rebranding, you can show customers potential logos and ask which they like better. Unless you plan to make the results public, you’re not beholden to their answers. You can be as public or as private as you want with customer involvement: send emails to specific subscribers, use social media, ask customers on-site or use pop-ups on your website. Remember to reinforce to customers that you want to keep them happy and satisfied.
  • Don’t change everything at once. Unless you plan to reach an entirely new customer base, it’s best to implement your changes over time. Making smaller adjustments, such as smoothing out the website or lightening the color pallet will lessen the risk of your audience losing their connection to the brand. If changing the name, try to retain a part of the original name in the new one. Finally, remember that if you change things too quickly, your SEO rankings for your website may fall with a new name, web address, copy and tone.
  • Research the competition. Use a search engine and local map listings to check out the competition. Especially if you plan to do a name change, make sure that the name doesn’t sound too similar to an existing business in the area. Furthermore, be sure to check if all social media handles — including ones you don’t think you’ll use yet, like Pinterest or Snapchat — are available for the same name. Remember, you want to keep your social media handles consistent so that customers can find you more easily.
  • Update your Google My Business listing. If you are rebranding, update your listing — do not make a new one and leave the old one up, as this could cause duplication issues down the line. Unless you plan to completely change your service offerings (think of a restaurant changing its menu from Indian to Vietnamese, for instance), do not plan to take down your current listing and its reviews. When updating, be sure to check the following areas for changes that you are making:
    • Business name
    • Categories
    • Address and phone number
    • Logo, photos and videos
    • Q&As
  • Update all of your listings. Like Google My Business, other sites that carry such important information as your business name, address and phone number will need to be updated as well. Inconsistent results across the web can not only cause your search results to suffer but also make potential customers lose trust in a business.
  • Hold an event at your store. Once the rebranding process is complete, this is the opportunity to get some media attention and make the most of it. By holding an event at your site, you give journalists an opportunity to visit, take photos and write about the rebranding.

Read the original article here.