Don’t have a ton of money to rebrand (who does)? Here’s how one startup did it.
By Johanna Both (Co-founder & Growth Hacker, Tappointment)
After 10 days, 10 nights over which our team consumed an uncountable number of cups of coffee, bottles of Coke, bowls of ice cream and pizzas, our “rebranding sprint” was done. After some last-minute testing and finally catching up on sleep, I felt like other startups might be able to benefit from learning about our experience. There is no magic formula of course, but I also have some practical tips and tricks thrown in the mix ;)
Here we go step-by-step! Fasten your seatbelts.
1. Find a New Name = New Domain
Don’t waste time on finding the best name and realizing that you can’t use it online. Check them instantly for a free domain and also for a trademark if you need it. We made a brainstorming with the team and came up with more than 60 sparkling ideas (helped by some caffeine), but only those got onto the shortlist that had a domain available.
Bigger domain sites like Domain.com and Godaddy.com even give you some extra ideas. But be careful with them -- they are also suggesting the same ideas to other customers. So if you found something cool and it’s free, reserve it quickly, don’t let others get hold of it.
2. Outsource Your Logo Design
So you found the name of the century, but how to match it with a nice logo? If you have a designer of your own, you may still consider the possibility of outsourcing this job. Why? Your designer may be busy with more important things (like your website) or usually you just can get more ideas in less time with crowdsourcing the logo design.
We actually used Squadhelp, one of the biggest crowdsourcing platforms, where you can work with a lot of talented designers and paying for only one idea, which you like the best! We got more than 200 ideas and versions for our logo in just one week and found more than 15 different ones that we really liked. Actually we had a fight for the best one.
Be aware that this only works if you can really describe what you expect as a final work, basics like color or font preference, and also some ideas about the style. We even had a harder job with this, as we also needed something that looks good as a mobile App icon as well. And don’t forget, you also have to give them regular feedback about their work to be able to make better versions. If you are an active contest holder they will be more active and creative as well!
3. Plan for the Sprint*
With the name and logo ready, the hard work starts. You have all those stuff where you have to implement it – website(s), Apps, social sites – especially if you’re rebranding an old version and not just branding a newly started project.
Prepare a plan with tasks, deadlines and responsibilities of each team member. You can do this even in an Excel spreadsheet, but why not use something more effective like Trello. It’s a free tool for collaboration on bigger projects, really user-friendly and available on all the platforms u may need.
*I call this phase a Sprint as part of the SCRUM, a development methodology lately used frequently by application developer teams to be more effective in reaching their goal.
4. Give Your Landing Page Facelift
One of the biggest changes made in a rebranding sprint is usually the (re)new design of the website/landing page. With the new logo and colors you may need a huge facelift, or maybe you even have to start it from scratch.
Help your designer with wireframes, mockups and let him/her focus on the beautiful design. You can draw it on paper or be more effective with GoMockingbird – an online tool which is free up to one project and two collaborators. It has preloaded widgets to help you work fast and later you can modify it, and your designer will see these in real-time when preparing the design.
Check out our final result. How do you like it?
5. Map Out Your Social “Maze”
Yes it’s a maze, and to not get lost you have to follow some really basic rules to have a well-polished and efficient social presence. So maybe you’re “just rebranding,” which might only mean updating the logo and cover photo. But keep the following in mind:
Choose your social platforms wisely. Think of the target group you may need and what really works for that target. Be sure to have a strategy about when and what to post -- engagement and activity are the most important factors.
If you’re brave and want presence on all the platforms, use a publishing tool, like Buffer, which helps you to publish and schedule posts. Friends+me is also a great tool for Google Plus lovers (like me) to schedule reshares on all other platforms.
If you already have active company profiles, be aware that some of the social channels can have limitations on name changes. On Facebook, you can change it only twice and only if you have less than 100 active followers. LinkedIn will change the name, but not able to change the name in the URL!
Some tips from “social evangelist” to help you get started:
- You can learn almost everything about Google+ from PlusYourBusiness
- Here you can find some tips about how to set up a Facebook Business Page
- Here’s a great post about how to use Twitter for business and marketing.
6. Test, Implement and Test Again
And last but not least, implement all the above and test, test, test… and implement the tested versions. But I’ll let a real engineer write a separate post about this.
However in a small team like ours the testing process is made by all the members.
So happy planning, executing and “bugkilling” for everyone :)
Want to learn more about rebranding and growth hacking your startup? Attend our Women 2.0 “How To” Conference in San Francisco on September 30. Get your tickets now >
About the guest blogger: Johanna Both is the co-founder and growth hacker of Tappointment, a startup developing an appointment scheduling App for local businesses and their clients. She is a passionate online marketer in the world of IT, a gadget freak, addicted to mobile Apps and all social networks. She fell in love with the startup world 2 years ago and has been addicted to it since then.