Branding / Design Strategy / Rebranding

How and when to rebrand your business

Over time, every business evolves. Maybe that’s simply adding new products to your ecommerce business, or having a wider range of services, exploring new markets or changing your customer niche. When that happens, you might be thinking about changing certain things within the business, in order to attract a new audience, or to express a new image entirely.

Perhaps the rebranding of a business is the most common way to realign your image and ethos – especially if you’ve been established for a long time and your current image just doesn’t fit with where you are right now. If your image is old and tired, you might be considering bringing it more up to date, to give a more contemporary image in order to attract a new generation of client.

Is your branding good enough?

Perhaps the first thing you need to think about is how effective your current branding is, and why you feel that you want to rebrand now. Evaluating your current brand is the first step in the process, and rating the overall brand and then looking at each element can help you to decide the steps you need to take, and what (if anything) already works well.

Ask yourself these questions;

Does your brand have meaning? In other words, when people see your brand, do they immediately know what it is that you do? Does it grab attention, and let your customers know who you are?

Is it different? As well as being in line with your ethos, ask yourself if your branding stands out. If the colours, fonts, voice and tone are generic, you’ll look and sound just like everyone else – people need to be able to recognise you, so stand out!

Is it sustainable? Think about longevity. Just because your branding is on-trend now, that doesn’t mean it will be in ten years’ time. A good brand should be future-proof, and if the brand you have right now looks dated and old-fashioned, that’s a big warning flag, and a sign that you need to update it.

If you’ve answered YES to all of those, then you’re on the right track. But if they’ve thrown light on anything that puts doubt in your mind, you can start to think about which elements of your branding are not working, or even embarking on a whole rebrand throughout.

Elements of design in rebranding

I’ve spoken about this in more depth in my previous article, but I’ll just touch on some of it again. Because I find that many businesses misunderstand what branding actually is. Good branding encapsulates all the elements of your business – it’s far from just having a cool logo.

Yes, it might start with your logo, after all, it is an essential part of your branding and can set the tone for everything else within your business. For example, your logo will appear on almost all of the other elements of your marketing, including your website, email signature, letterhead, business cards, brochures, invoices, and shop front, if you have one.

But this essential element should be used to tie in with everything else, and it all needs to be kept consistent.

Think also about your tone – this is something I often see businesses getting wrong. The voice you use for your web content should be mirrored on your social media and printed material, and should match your overall image. For example, if your brand image is contemporary and youthful, your voice should always reflect that.

Don’t forget the re-launch

After your rebrand is complete, use the opportunity to launch your new brand image – this has a couple of benefits. Firstly, it reminds your customers to acknowledge your fresh presence, and it promotes you to potential new audiences.

Promote your new images on all of your social media channels, and share offline too. If you can use the opportunity to launch a new blog at the same time, then that’s even better – as this will also serve to let your audience know that you are actively making efforts to keep in touch with them on a more personal level.

The Severn Agency can help you in creating your new branding strategy. If you would like to talk to us about how you can refresh your branding, or would like advice on your current branding, please give us a call.

Design: ©Newell & Sorrell
Design Strategy / SEO / Web Design

Reasons why you should update your website

Almost all business is done, at least in part, online these days. When people are in the market for a new product or service, it’s highly likely that the first place they will turn is the internet. They will use Google, or they will consult their social media platforms for reviews and advice.

For this reason, I always stress to my clients that getting their website right is vitally important. Nowadays, there are so many free sites that you can use to DIY a website, it makes the design process seem perhaps a little too simple. But I believe that if you want to stand out and be noticed, there are elements that need to be considered, that a standard, free template, won’t provide.

But I’m not going to talk too much about that here. What I am going to talk about is, going back to my original point, why it’s so important to keep your website updated, and relevant.

A large part of my work, whether I’m doing a complete rebrand, working with a start-up business, or just looking at improving a company’s online image, is website design. It’s often one of the first things a client will want to discuss, because a website forms such a big part of the marketing strategy.

But it always amazes me how some businesses put so little thought into their website. There tends to be a thought process that once the website is up and live, it will just sit there and attract loads of new customers. But it really doesn’t work that way.

Websites are no longer just ‘static’

Since the introduction of social media, the way businesses and consumers use websites has drastically changed. They’re no longer just a ‘shop window’ for people to view your products and services. They are now much more interactive. Everything online is linked – we have easy access to social platforms, blogging, video, and so much more. And people expect to see elements of that across your website.

If you think about how people use the internet now, compared to even just ten years ago, the technology alone has completely changed. We are no longer tied to a desktop in order to consume online content. We can use our smartphones and tablets, which are with us most of the time. And this means that we can, and do, access our online world from wherever we are.

Because of this, online content has become much more fleeting. People need to be kept engaged, and are much less likely to spend so much time on each page or element they see on-screen. By nature, they flit between pages more quickly, because there is much more content to get through.

So unless your website has enough fresh content to grab and keep their attention, they’re just going to bounce, and read something else.

Google Ranking

Something that I find is often overlooked by businesses is Google ranking. I can’t begin to tell you how many times I’ve launched a new website as part of a rebrand, only for the business owner to come back to me a few weeks later to ask why they’re not appearing on the first page of Google.

What they fail to understand is that maintaining that website takes work from them, after the site goes live. If you just let it sit there, it won’t do a thing.

Google favours sites which consistently publish fresh content. That can be in the form of blogs, new product information, image updates, news sites, events calendars, and inbound links via social media etc.

To get on that front page, a company needs to be constantly reviewing and updating the right elements of their website.

Return visits

As well as enticing new visitors to your site, you’ll also want people to want to come back. Give them a reason to want to do that. If your site never has anything new to offer, people are only likely to visit once, in order to get the information they need.

Return visitors are important to your business, and your website needs to have something fresh and new for them to see when they do.

Hopefully, this article has served to inspire you to look at your own website. Does it pull in new customers for you? Does it look good enough? How could you improve it?

If you’d like to chat through some ideas for your website, or another part of your corporate branding, we’re happy to help.

Design Strategy / Web Design

Web design doesn’t end with going live

My work at the Severn Agency sees me dealing with a lot of businesses who need me to create branding for them, and one big part of that is getting their website built, starting with the initial design and layout, bringing in their branding to make sure that it all ties in and looks good. A lot of time is spent on this element, because ultimately, a company’s website is where all of the other online stuff leads to – things like social media, email campaigns, and even printed material, all eventually lead customers to a website, so getting it spot on is essential.

I’ve said it before – the online world changes, evolves, advances at a rapid rate. Even in the last 5 years, the design and function of websites and social media are very different to what they were. And businesses need to understand that websites are no longer those static, non-moving pages they once were. They need to be constantly updated, and interactive.

SEO Friendly web design

In designing a website, one of the main contributing factors is that of SEO. Of course, from a design perspective, it’s vital that the site looks professional, and includes all the elements needed to attract and keep visitors on it for as long as possible, and decrease bounce rates (how quickly a visitor leaves the site altogether).

In order to keep those bounce rates low, and to maintain the interest of our visitors, we cannot simply rely on the initial design and static content of the site – although this is just as important to get right.

These days, there is a huge emphasis on interaction, and I think that this is the key to a good website, and sadly, one which many businesses fail to understand.

In order to succeed, a website has to remain fresh and current. Perhaps that is why blogging has become one of the most dominant forms of web content – people will return to read updated content in a niche that they have an interest in, much like a newspaper or magazine.

So from an SEO perspective, having current content such as this, will be favoured by search engines, enabling your site to be found more easily.

Social integration

Even before your website is at the design stage, it’s really worth thinking about how you’re going to drive traffic to it – like I said before, no-one is going to ‘fall upon’ your website unless you work on driving them to it.

It’s important that your branding includes all of your social media platforms, because it’s from here that people will initially get to know you. Integrating your social media with your website, writing regular content such as blogs or newsfeeds, and creating newsletters and emails are all part of the web design process, and are all important in getting your brand noticed.

I can’t tell you how often I’m asked to design a website, where the client hasn’t considered any of this – they simply want a website that will sit there and bring in the customers. They don’t consider all of the work that needs to go into it after it goes live.

Where design fits in with SEO

When we think about SEO, we consider things such as keywords, meta tags, titles and names – but design can do so much to help your rankings too.

For example, when you are using images for your website, whether they are product photographs, images to accompany blog posts, or any images which are used to illustrate your website, it’s important to consider that large images which ‘drag down’ the loading time of your site will have a negative impact on your search ranking. Therefore, having images of the correct size is vital.

Also, make sure that you are placing written tags within the ‘alt text’ section, which will also be considered for SEO reasons. Search engines will look for correlation between the images you use and the written content on the page.

All of this is just scratching the surface – there is much more that goes in to creating and maintaining an SEO friendly website. If you are in the process of updating your own business website, and you’d like to learn more about driving traffic, implementing new design elements, or overall branding, please feel free to contact us at the Severn Agency – we’d be happy to offer advice.

Branding / Graphic Design / Logo Design / Rebranding

Branding – it’s more than just a logo

Some people think that when they start a business, they just need a simple logo, a half decent website, and customers will come in droves. However, there’s so much more to it than that – these days, competition between businesses is sharp, and in order to stand out, and to succeed, your branding needs to be strong.

Since starting the Severn Agency, I’ve seen my fair share of branding, and in fact, when I’ve had the opportunity to work with new businesses in creating their branding as a whole, that’s when I’ve been able to create some of my best work. I talked about this a bit in my last article, where I told you about how I came to create the branding for a local wine bar.

So, let’s think about this in a slightly wider sense – how, as a small business, or a start-up, do you begin with creating a brand?

What branding isn’t

People often mistake the logo for a brand. They believe that by designing a simple logo, choosing some pretty colours and an image that vaguely represents what they’re about, their work is done, and they can sit back and wait for the customers to come.

Sorry to say, that won’t cut it. Your logo is just one tiny element in the whole branding process – and even that is so easy to get wrong.

I’ve seen so many mistakes made by companies who have put their logo on the top of a website, their social media outlets, and their printed material, and then have failed to recognise that the rest of their image is so shoddy and inconsistent that it just ends up falling flat – and when it does, any potential customers are turned off and take their money elsewhere.

Branding takes thought. It needs to reflect who you are, what you do, and what you stand for. And all of those things need to be apparent to anyone who reads your content online, sees your social media posts, or receives an email or brochure from you. If they visit your premises, they should immediately know where they are, because they recognise your branding.

What branding is

If I had to sum up what branding is in one word: consistency. Your brand should be instantly recognisable, whether you’re seen online, in print, or on the high street.

As a branding agency, I consider the whole business. What do I mean by that? Well, I mean that learning about the personality of the business, who you are, and what you represent, is always my first priority. Because without that, I can’t imagine what your brand will be.

I need to know the essence of what your company is, and only then can I start to put together what your branding should look like.

So, what do I mean by branding? The logo, although it’s an element, is not necessarily where I begin. Branding encapsulates the entire image – and that includes many elements, from the colours that you use, the fonts and image styles, the tone and voice portrayed in all of your content. It’s all of the visual elements, the corporate style, even the materials you use for your printed content.

Branding and design

Design is more than just an image – it’s the ambassador of your brand. As such, your branding should communicate your message, and that’s really where a branding designer comes in.

A good branding agency will be able to establish your brand personality, and pull everything together to make it visually beautiful, appealing, and most importantly, consistent.

And in doing so, no matter what medium your customers choose to find you, it will be immediately obvious by your branding who you are.

© SEVERN AGENCY LTD