How your website can help you rebrand

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When an organisation rebrands it is a massive undertaking. Not only is there the expense of engaging a brand agency, there is also the cost of reproducing all of their print material, not to mention the website.

Rebranding is a big risk. It has enormous cost implications and it is often hard to tell whether it will be worth it.

The challenges of rebranding for web designers

As web designers rebranding can also prove challenging. Websites are redesigned as part of a rebranding process, but often those doing the rebranding are more focused on print than the web.

Web projects are often delayed by rebranding exercises, or worse are expected to happen in tandem when the branding is still in flux.

However after countless web projects that have happened in tandem with rebranding, I have realised that this problem is an opportunity.

How your website can help you rebrand

Websites have two characteristics that are invaluable in the rebranding process.

First, websites are easy to change. Unlike print there is little cost associated with altering copy, imagery, colour and typography. This means your website is the perfect test bed for new brand ideas. A website allows you to experiment with different branding approaches in a way that print material never could.

Second, websites are measurable. Not only can you experiment with different branding approaches, you can also see which is more successful. You can run multi-variance testing on different approaches and monitor which leads to a better conversion rate.

Although it is possible to run focus groups to gather feedback on a rebranding, nothing beats the hard conversion data that a website can provide. This is because the data is based on real customers interacting with your brand in a real environment.

The costs of testing branding online

Of course using the website as a test bed for a new brand is not without cost. If you you want to experiment with different approaches these need to be designed and coded.

However, the amount of work may not be as much as you anticipate. We are not talking about designing multiple versions of the site.

Because brand is used across multiple mediums from business cards to billboards, it doesn’t tend to focus much on layout. Instead it works with colour, imagery, typography and copy. These are elements that are relatively easy to change on a website. Layout is the element that takes the most time when building a site. Therefore testing multiple versions of a branding is not an insurmountable cost especially when compared to the cost of rolling out a brand identity that proves to be ineffective.

So next time you go through a rebranding exercise include the web designers as early in the process as possible. It could save you a lot of money in the long run.

Have you taken this approach before? How did it work out? Perhaps you have had bad experiences of rebranding because it wasn’t tested before being launched. Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below.

 

  • http://jumptheblog.com/ Ben Holt

    Being a one-man, online-only operation, rebranding has been exactly as easy as changing the website. This proved very effective with my first blog, and is something I’ll be undertaking this year on my current site in response to reader feedback. Good post, thanks!

  • http://christopherharper.org/ Christopher Harper

    I have been involved with the re-development of a website for a destination marketing organization. We were re-branding almost simultaneously. The creative sessions for the website were more difficult because we were still familiarizing ourselves with the new brand concepts.

    As the brand was refined, we made many alterations to print pieces, apparel, etc. I think if we would have tested some of those adjustments via the web, as you suggest here, we may have had fewer transitions and less overall difficulty.

    This is good advice. I wish I would have had it a couple of years ago.

  • Molly McCarty

    The company I work for just finished a major rebranding. I completely agree with you that the most important thing to do is talk to the designers early on in the process. Luckily for us, we have designers on staff who were able to work with us from the beginning. What a lot of people forget about (that you mention) is that rebranding is more than just a website. It means new marketing and promotional material and oftentimes a new logo. When I wrote about our rebranding experience (http://www.webdevelopmentgroup.com/2012/09/rebranding-with-wordpress/) I talked about how stressful the whole experience can be. Sometimes there are members of the company who do not want to rebrand and other times not everyone can agree on which way they want to take the rebrand. Thanks for your helpful insights into this process!

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