Rebrands can be stressful, particularly when you’re not sure what a strategic process looks like. At RightMarket, we like to know how things work. So we research and collaborate with experts to make educated decisions. In case you’re considering a rebrand yourself, here’s what we’ve learnt to keep things simple and coherent.
It's easy to lose your sense of identity during challenging times. We used this time to go through a rebrand and the whole company has benefited from this process. Leading to a renewed sense of employee re-engagement, empowerment, purpose and unity after the lockdown.
– John Murphy, Managing Director of RightMarket
Before making changes anywhere, you first need to update your brand guidelines. Because you can't create content or update your website in a coherent manner without knowing what you stand for. Strategically or visually. This will also help your team work more cohesively throughout the process.
At the very least, your brand guidelines should include:
- Archetype(s) – your brand’s personality
- Values – your ethical priorities
- Vision & mission – why you do the things you do
- Your brand colours
- Your logo
- Your tone of voice – how you address people
When we did our own rebrand in 2021, we started the process by redefining our archetypes. They represent personas that allow people to relate to us as a brand. It also gives personality to the way we do things in comparison with our competitors.
The 12 archetypes you can tap into are:
- The creator — inspirational, innovative, provocative
- The ruler — refined, commanding, articulate
- The caregiver—caring, warm, reassuring
- The innocent—wholesome, optimistic, honest
- The sage—knowledgeable, guiding, assured
- The explorer—exciting, fearless, daring
- The outlaw—disruptive, rebellious, combative
- The magician—transformative, mystical, informed
- The hero—honest, motivational, brave
- The every(wo)man—friendly, humble, authentic
- The jester—fun, loving, playful, optimistic
- The lover—sensual, empathetic, soothing
At RightMarket, we’re a mix between the sage and the everyman. We like to learn and share our knowledge. But we like to keep things simple, for everyone’s sake. That is really at the core of how we do things.
Bear in mind that your archetypes define how you do things as a brand. But they don't represent your product, your audience or your own personal brand.
Once you’ve defined your archetypes, you should have a better idea of your values. For us, these are:
Your values should be as specific as possible. Because even as the world and markets change, your values are basic principles that’ll always stay the same. And they’ll impact everything in your business. From your tone of voice to your visual identity, the partnerships you’ll make to the events you’ll create.
Once you've defined and documented the core of your brand, you can move on to your visual identity. Because the choice of colours, fonts and imagery you make must match your core strategy.
In our case, our palette is predominantly blue to emphasize our “knowledge” value. It also works for trust and safety, in line with our focus on compliance and our “sage” archetype.
It's important to keep accessibility in mind when revisiting your brand colour palette. Particularly for public sector bodies. But as a general rule, you want to make sure you’re not excluding anyone from having an equal experience.
Your choice of fonts and colour pairings can affect people with visual or cognitive impairment. So, among other things, you need enough contrast to ensure everybody can see and read your content properly. You can use Accessible Brand Colours to check how compliant your colours are in relation to each other.
As you can imagine, this is just one of the reasons you can't plug accessibility at the end of your process. You must have it in mind straight from the start, or you'd end up having to do it all over again.
Finding the right imagery for your brand can be difficult. The style needs to be visually consistent. It needs to make sense given the nature of your activity, and preferably, it shouldn’t cost half of your annual budget.
Based on your archetypes (yes, them again), you can decide what the best options are for you:
- Stock photography
- Vector design
Stock photography is the easiest thing to come by and it doesn’t have to look cheap. At RightMarket, we’re using a mix of stock photography and what our clients have made with our design platform. This helps us show real-life examples of what you can create with RightMarket. It also adds context to something that could seem unclear to people who’ve never heard about us before.
Tone of voice
Your choice of words impacts how people perceive your brand. For example, don't use complicated jargon or regional phrases if you're working with non-native speakers. It's those little things that make your brand more inclusive and approachable.
In our case, simplicity is helping us clarify what we’re trying to achieve. It’s a great way for us to do an internal check-up, and avoid saying nothing at all with too many words.
We even have a section in our brand guidelines to ensure simplicity and consistency throughout our communications.
If you’ve done all the steps above, you should now be in a much better position to start updating your website. You can change your colours, fonts and logo, and update your copy. But how do you cope with content and user experience?
As you’ve probably noticed, brand control can be as fragile as the user journey on your website. For brand control, of course, there’s RightMarket. But when it comes to user experience, it’s best to ask people who know. When we did our own rebrand, we worked with Tamara Sredojevic, a UX designer & brand strategist.
Simplicity & guidance
We wanted simplicity for sure, but we also needed to put guidance in place. As much as we enjoy the learning process, we also like to share what we know. So the blog takes a big part of our site, which is why we've included our latest articles in the menu.
Each site has its own measures of success depending on the original objectives. For us, the ability to generate leads is one of these measures. So we reduced the number of pages on our site so that you'd find your way more easily. We now have a “features” page to explain what you can do with our design platform. And we have a “get started” page to walk you through Project discovery. We know our clients love this step so we decided to give it more space than we did before.
People visit websites for specific reasons. Our job as designers is to make it easy for them to do what they came for. In RightMarket’s case, people may want two things: learning something or becoming a client. Anything else, particularly if you put it in the menu, is diminishing the value of more important content. So be selective about what you add to your website.
– Tamara Sredojevic
So, before making changes to your website, review what’s really needed and make sure you know what the objectives are. Whether you decide to work alone or get help, the process will be much easier if you know what your objectives are.
If you’ve read everything above, you now know that to make a strategic rebrand, you have to work in stages. First, brand guidelines. Then, changes onto your website and social channels. Don’t hesitate to take your time. This is an important investment to rally people to your cause in a coherent manner. And if you need more tips about this, we’re always here to help.