In case you hadn’t noticed, The Edwards Company has recently undergone quite the snazzy makeover – gone are our old colour palettes, the previous logo is no more, and our content has been revamped to match our new look.
Almost starting from scratch when it comes to company branding sounds like a lot of effort (and we can confirm, it definitely is!), but it’s also a vital process you must go through as your business continues to grow. Think of it like this – ten years ago, what did you look like? If you’re anything like us, the answer is probably not anything like how you look now. You’ve changed – your priorities have shifted, your life circumstances are different, and the way you look will reflect that.
It’s the same for your online branding. Like so many other small businesses out there, our business has been up and running for almost a decade. Our team is larger than it was when we started out, as is our office, our services have expanded and evolved, and our old branding no longer fits the company we’ve become. Hence, makeover!
Here at The Edwards Company, many of our clients are small business owners, and we know their businesses are likely heading in the same direction as ours – growing and getting ready to shed their skin – so we thought we’d share our rebranding journey, as well as our top tips and tricks for getting it right.
Before we even thought about colours or logos, we went back to basics. We reviewed our current website, logo and social media and pulled them apart. Literally. We selected bits that we liked and thought would work for our new branding, and we disregarded other bits that were outdated, no longer fit for purpose, or no longer represented our business in the way we wanted it to.
Take our website copy, for example – the previous version was extensive and represented a plethora of services that, in all honesty, weren’t really being utilised to their full potential. With this in mind, we refined our services. Why offer something we’re no longer interested in offering, just because? When you’re undergoing a rebrand, it’s these basics that will make all the difference. Ensure everything you’re keeping is going to be valuable to you and your business, as well as your customers.
We won’t lie. This process took us a while. There was lots of back and forth – what if we need this? Could this work if we rejigged it a little? How will this add value to our business? All valid questions and all ones that needed to be answered in order for our rebranding to be successful. The last thing we wanted was to end up with our old website in new colours – but we persevered and got there in the end!
With that comes our first top tip: rebranding takes time. There’s no quick fix, no magic wand you can wave, but if you’re prepared to put the work and the hours in, it will always be worth it.
Once we’d established the bones of our rebranding (i.e. the basics that needed to be built upon), it was time to think about aesthetics. How did we want our company to look physically? And, let us tell you, there’s a lot more to it than just picking a pretty colour palette!
The first thing (and perhaps the most important thing) you need to do when selecting colours and a design for your new branding – whether that be your website, social media posts or logo – is get into the minds of your target audience. What will they want to see? What will grab their attention? What will make them feel that this is the company for them?
Your demographic analysis doesn’t have to be overly in-depth here (although creating some company personas would be incredibly valuable if you’ve got the time), but here are a few things you should focus on to help determine your branding design:
- Gender – certain designs appeal to certain genders. Here at The Edwards Company, the majority of our clients are male. While our design works for anyone and everyone who may stumble across our site, we made sure to avoid designs that we knew would deter our primary client base. Use your analytics to determine exactly who is looking at your company website or social media and choose a design in accordance with this information.
- Age – determining the age of the people who are interested in your company is another indicator of what your design should be. Ensure that the design you choose appeals to the age groups you’re targeting. Our company, for example, is geared towards those who are between 35 – 45. Therefore, we avoided designs that would appeal to a younger audience and focused on clear and straightforward designs.
- Niche – determining your niche is vital to producing a rebrand that works. Pinpoint a sector, industry or a particular group of people and use a design that you know will grab their attention specifically.
This leads us to our second top tip: be specific. The more specific you can be about those you’re targeting, the easier it will be to find a design that appeals directly to them.
Our colour palette was a big decision for us – we’d been through a few in recent years that hadn’t stuck, and we wanted something that we’d be able to carry with us as our business continues to grow. We also knew it needed to not only represent the essence of our business but also that of the clients we were trying to target.
A great hack for picking the right colour palette for you is to start with some keywords. Jot down a list of words that you want your business to be known as. What vibe do you want it to give off? What is the purpose of your business overall? How do you want customers to feel when they see your website, logo or social media posts?
Here’s the list we came up with:
The core purpose of our business as a Virtual Assistant Service is to provide support for other businesses. Therefore, we needed a colour palette that would portray us as a company that encompassed all of the words on our list. This is where good old Google comes in.
Colour psychology is incredibly insightful and links colours to words and emotions – take a few words from your list and ask Google for a colour palette that represents them. It may take a bit of searching through and some trial and error, but you’ll be presented with some colours that are representative of your business and what you’d like it to portray. Have a play around with them and see what works!
After much deliberation, we decided on a sophisticated deep blue, coupled with a neutral pearl for backgrounds and mustard and red accents. These colours have connotations of sophistication and organisation, mixed with a bit of familiarity (thanks to the blue! We’re sure plenty of blue-hued social media platforms spring to mind…), and the red and yellow add some depth and dimension and are great for highlighting all the essential bits.
Top tip three, anyone? Pick a colour palette that will appeal to your customers, not necessarily to you (did we secretly want an all-pink site? Maybe. Would that have sent our target customers running for the hills? Absolutely.)
Once you’ve established the design and colours that will be the bread and butter of your company rebrand, it’s time to focus on the filling. For us, and most likely for you, that will be your content or your copy. The bits that actually tell potential customers what it is you do, how you do it, and how they can benefit from whatever it is you’re offering.
As copywriters ourselves, we’ve picked up plenty of tips and tricks for optimising your copy to appeal directly to your target customers, but these are some of our favourites:
- Speak their language – your demographic research from earlier will determine who your target customers are. Ensure you’re using a tone, words and phrases that they will be able to relate to. i.e. if you’re not trying to appeal to teenagers, slang words won’t be necessary!
- Keep it simple – your target customers are busy people. Ensure the content on your website and in your social media posts is fed to them in bite-sized chunks so that the information is easily digestible and not too overwhelming or full-on.
- Consistency is key – your target customers will learn to associate you with your new branding – ensure the language and tone you decide to use is consistent across all platforms to build familiarity that leads to trust.
Copywriting top tip: writing copy is hard. If you’re unsure about giving it a go, there are specialists out there (hello!) who can take care of it for you.
Tying it Together
While we’re experts at knowing our company and how best to represent it via our social media and website copy, what we’re not experts in (yet!) is website building. To help us bring our new branding to life, we enlisted the support of Alison Rothwell and the team at WP Fiddly Bits, a fantastic service that essentially does what it says on the tin – deals with all the fiddly bits of website building.
We passed our ideas onto Alison, and she and the team came up with a fantastic, dynamic website that made full use of all our new branding elements: the copy we had provided, our new colour palette, our in-house photography and, of course, our brand-new logo. Since Alison did such an amazing job, we wanted to ask her a few questions about her role:
How do you go about coming up with ideas for building a new website?
We use a best practice layout for sites that we recommend to clients to use as it’s logical and gives the website flow, making it a great experience for website visitors – and one which improves conversions.
We’re very aware of Google’s E-A-T algorithm – Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness – so we make sure our websites reflect this.
The style is always really collaborative with the client. Although we want a website that’s easy to use, it’s really important to make sure it has a personality too which resonates with the client’s brand. With The Edwards Company, for example, it was really important to showcase their expertise and qualifications.
Branding, of course, needs to be interpreted and integrated well – not just logos and colour palettes but typography too. All the elements need to work well together.
Were our own ideas useful to you?
Very much so, it’s so important to be on the same page. What was particularly helpful with this project was being able to make full use of The Edwards Company’s copywriting expertise! The team were never stuck for something to say – in plain English with creative flair!
What do you think really makes a company’s website stand out?
Personality! Also some industries (my own, very much so) don’t maximise the potential of a website being part of the marketing team. After taking a look at your website, a potential client will have been able to get to know the team they’d be working with, they’ll have a good idea of the skills and services on offer, and they’ll be reassured that you are a professional business that is trustworthy and reliable.
This is all heavy-lifting that the website has done to warm up the prospect and help that initial call go smoothly.
How does what you do help businesses to maximise their online exposure?
The website is the first port of call for your clients – potential and current. It needs to be built to be found easily in the search engines and has to be versatile enough to complement marketing initiatives. For example, there’s little point having a social media campaign if this messaging directs people to a messy, unattractive website, looks 20 years out of date etc.
We also offer managed website hosting, which means we not only look after the website for our clients, making sure it’s safe and secure etc but we also keep it updated and fix any niggles, leaving our clients to get on with what they do best!
I think having a great website gives an organisation confidence – it creates a great first impression, markets the business and can even manage tasks on your behalf such as taking payments online, saving time AND money!
A huge thank you to Alison and the team for our website – we love it! If you’re undergoing a rebrand and are looking for a reliable, talented team of website builders, we can highly recommend WP Fiddly Bits!
The brilliant Alison from FiddlyBits WP.
The Finished Product
And there you have it! In a nutshell, that is. We’ve left out the details of the many, many hours of meetings we had, both with our in-house team, our website designers, logo designers, photographs – you name it, we’ve had a meeting about it! We’ve also spared you the details of just how long it takes to rebrand your business and go about it in the right way (it feels like we’ve been working on it forever!)
Now the transformation is complete, however, we can already see its worth. Our website and social media finally feel like they truly represent us as a business (and our insights confirm that our target customers think so, too!), and we couldn’t be happier with the end result.
If you’re a small business thinking about undergoing a rebrand, do it! The rewards you’ll reap will be worth it.
One more top tip for the road: rebranding is a big undertaking, but you definitely don’t have to do it all yourself (we certainly didn’t!). Outsource to professionals who know how to get the job done.