I’ve worked in the tech industry for a while, and like everybody else armed with at least a passing working knowledge of web design, a dream of gainful self-employment, and well-saturated by a few ounces of pure, distilled gumption, I’ve wanted to start my own web-based company. The dream itself is simple enough—to be a self-employed, web-based provider of services and administration protocols for much bigger companies.
I wanted to shape an independent career; one that encouraged my creativity and adaptability, while also allowing me to structure my own schedule for a healthier work-life balance than I’d ever had before. After years of working in a dispiriting office setting for supervisors who valued micromanagement more than innovation, I decided that it was time to make a break for it. But, as the day of reckoning came nigh, I realized more and more that my nerves weren’t just nerves.
I wasn’t just afraid that striking forth on my own would lead me down an uncertain path: I realized that I had grown so tired of the company I’d worked for—tired of the community, the leadership, the product, and even its image and branding—without ever having asked myself why.
Why was I so disconnected from a major company’s place in the world, and its overall image? What about its culture had pushed me out? What were its weaknesses, and how had that message choked out its strengths? If I was going to be embarking on my own journey of branding my own company and establishing its core values and image, then I’d better understand why some companies are desperately in need of a rebranding.
When you offer a product or a service, you first need to understand your market, by analyzing your potential clients. Sometimes, an existing company is forced to change its brand because itscustomers’ needs have evolved. Tech innovation drives changing market habits, forcing a business to either adapt or get left behind, and rebranding is a way for a company to keep open communication with the current consumer base.
To maintain a healthy dividend, you need to know how and why your markets function. With that in mind, for my business to thrive I need to understand my content’s potential readership—and unlike my old employer, adapt to them—andturn each and every one of them into a returning customer.
Is my Logo a No-go?
Next in my phase of development is creating the perfect image for myself. When a customer sees my logo, are they connecting it to the best that my services have to offer? When they see my banners in an advertisement online, are they seeing an outdated message consisting of old news or irrelevant facts, or a relevant service provider with the latest techniques to help them achieve their financial goals?
And furthermore: is it a logo that can easily inundate a market, and spread my company’s message? During my rebranding research, I was surprised to discover that some major companies’ logos—even some that have already been entrenched into our cultural zeitgeist—have undergone an extensive redesign.
The “collaboration-hub” software company “Slack,” for example, underwent a logo redesign in order to better utilize broader platforms of advertisement and exposure. A risky move, for sure; taking the leap and changing their design, however, allowed Slack to utilize it on a broader range of materials, and thereby reach new potential clients. I need to keep in mind what sort of designs will work best on shirts and hats before I plan to advertise on anything as big as a blimp.
Crafting my company’s ultimate image is something that I’ll need to put the most thought into, orelse I’ll be changing it on a regular basis. As I grow as a programmer, business owner, and person, so too will my business, but in order to capitalize on my own innovations and better practices, I’ll need an identifiable company image and consistent messaging to remain relevant to potential clients.
If my market is flooded with companies offering similar services and product packages with messaging that’s too similar to my own, then I’ve set myself up for failure before I’ve even designed my homepage: it will be impossible for me to stand out to the potential clients I need the most. To send my clients consistent messaging across a broad range of platforms, I’ll need to hone in on my image and stick to my branding plan. If that means spending some more time in pre-production or even consulting with a professional marketing firm, it’ll be worth it—unlike the company I once worked for, I won’t be satisfied with a middling status-quo.
If that branding goes right the first time, I might be lucky enough to head the sort of company that lasts long enough to even need a rebranding: but if and ever that time comes, I will be sure to adapt my future market’s needs.