04 Jan 2021 By: Jessica Wise
There comes a time when everything needs an update. Whether it’s a hairstyle…
A home that needs a facelift…
Or a brand that wants to remain fresh and recognizable.
Towards the end of 2020, we found ourselves in the latter situation. So, our team set out on a journey to reinvent our look.
We learned a lot along the way. But, the most important thing we discovered is that whether you’re treating yourself to a makeover, breathing new life into old architecture, or giving your brand a fresh look, the process of reinvention is about creating a better version of the original.
For us, a rebrand meant better representing who we are. We hope we can help other small businesses do the same.
This is how we rebranded a B2B business in 90 days.
How You Know It’s Time to Rebrand a B2B Business
“The only constant in life is change”
If that isn’t the truth.
In my lifetime, society has gone from rotary phones to touch-tone phones to flip phones. Musical formatting has changed from cassette tapes to CDs to MP3’s. Now, we have smartphones and Spotify.
But, phones still connect people. Music still makes people dance and touches their souls. It’s only the presentation and functionality of these cultural staples that has changed.
The above examples have simply evolved due to technological advancements, the never-ending demand for convenience and a need to stay relevant in competitive markets.
Typically, a rebrand is completed for the same reasons. When a company undergoes a rebrand, it maintains the same values, mission and purpose. The intention is merely to represent these elements in a more accurate and relevant way.
But, as a business, how do you know when it’s time to undergo this type of transformation?
HelpSquad’s CEO and founder, Michael Kansky, shares his insights.
“Generally speaking, in a B2B world, whenever you have a website for your brand you want to refresh it every 5 years…at least once. The reason for that is that it allows people to see that this company is really active and maintained well. It’s similar to how brick-and-mortar stores change their window display. People see a refreshed look and think, ‘Oh, what’s new there? Let me check it out. Let me walk in and see.’”
“It’s similar to how brick-and-mortar stores change their window display. People see a refreshed look and think, ‘Oh, what’s new there? Let me check it out. Let me walk in and see.’”
– Michael Kansky, HelpSquad CEO
So, if you’re at a point where your branding feels lackluster or outdated, read on. Before this article is over, we’ll show you how we made our brand fresh to death.
Getting the Rebrand Ball Rolling
Once our team realized it was time to rebrand HelpSquad, we knew the first step would be to sit down with an experienced web and graphic designer to nail down our vision. Though many small businesses would need to outsource this type of project, we are lucky enough to have an extremely talented designer in house named Magnus Sepp. Magnus just so happens to be the Managing Partner at our sister company, Insane Lab, a product, web, and mobile development company.
With 25+ years of experience, Magnus knows it’s imperative to intimately understand a client’s needs before beginning any project. Thus, he began by meeting with Michael and Janna Kline, HelpSquad’s Director of Operations & Accounts Manager.
“Initially we got together (Michael, Janna and myself) to discuss HelpSquad overall, and it was fairly apparent early on that a rebrand was — not necessarily required — but in need in order to stay relevant. So, our goal became to build something fresh around a new brand,” he explained.
Pro-tip: If you are hiring an outside company to conduct your re-brand, choose one that’s interested in knowing your company and what you’re about. That’s how you’ll get the best results.
“So, a client brief was established up front, which is a questionnaire that InsaneLab sends out to the client with thoughts, ideas, requirements, and references around the new project. The questionnaire was provided back to us, and at that point I did a follow-up with both Janna and Michael where we further discussed and clarified some of the responses we received from both of them,” he continued.
You can check out some of Michael and Janna’s questionnaire responses below.
These early steps sound simple, but they are crucial. Without them, it will be virtually impossible to transform your brand in any meaningful way.
What we learned:
- Sit down with your team and nail down your vision for your rebrand. Ideally, if you’re outsourcing the project, you’ll want to have an idea of what you want to accomplish before you choose a web/graphic designer.
- Choose a web/graphic agency that cares about intimately understanding you and what you do. They should be asking lots of questions before presenting you with any mock-ups. This process should be all about getting to know you and your business!
Early Discovery and Design: Who Are You?
After sitting down with Michael and Janna, Magnus and his team at Insane Lab had developed a thorough understanding of HelpSquad’s future direction.
It was clear that a successful rebrand would highlight three of the company’s most important qualities.
- HelpSquad’s focus on forging a personal, human connection with customers
- The company’s diverse, team-focused culture
- Our desire to be seen as innovative and relevant
With these findings in mind, Insane Lab’s design team was ready to put pen to paper.
Pro-tip: Determine the 3 most important qualities your company exemplifies before you begin the actual design process. The purpose of your redesign will be to showcase and communicate these qualities to your audience.
“At that point, we went into early discovery and design composition. I think we had up to four candidates of the actual logotype and alongside that the suggested company brand colors in various palettes. This was just to hone in on the exact direction they wanted to go in. The theme we chose needed to speak to the client clearly before they could sell it to their customers. The goal behind all 4 design candidates was to express that the team, people and diversity behind HelpSquad needed to be uplifted and brought to the forefront. Just the terms “team” and “squad” were played around with a lot with all four candidates,“ Magnus explains.
Note that Insane Lab developed FOUR different rebrand “candidates” for HelpSquad’s team to choose from.
Why is this important? It’s best explained with an analogy. A buyer doesn’t typically buy the first car he or she test drives, right? No. A buyer weighs his or her options, test drives other vehicles and ensures that the choice they make matches their lifestyle. The process of selecting a rebranded look should happen in much the same way.
Whether you’re conducting the project in-house or outsourcing the work, it is imperative that your team have several logotype and color palette combinations to consider.
This will allow you to narrow down a look that best represents YOU. Just like we did…
“We were then able to narrow it down to the quite colorful palette we have today and the logotype. This was a strong step in a slightly different direction than HelpSquad was in before. We went from expected to slightly unexpected…and more modern and in-time…slightly more youthful yet still maintaining professionalism,” Magnus reflects.
What we learned:
- Take note of your company’s most important values and qualities. Make sure these are kept at the forefront of the designer’s mind as they develop mock-ups.
- You should have more than one candidate (logotype and color palette) to choose from. This will help you hone in on the perfect look.
Bringing a B2B Business’s Personality to Life
Once a logo and color palette has been solidified, you must determine the type of corporate identity that these new elements will represent. (i.e. Ask yourself: What type of theme will my website and marketing collateral have?)
Pro-tip: When developing your corporate identity, you will once again refer back to your brand’s three most important values. Your website’s theme and marketing collateral should also reflect these qualities.
During their initial meeting with Insane Lab, Michael and Janna had emphasized the importance of “building a personal, human connection with customers.” In the past, HelpSquad’s website and marketing visuals had always been generic and impersonal. Everyone involved in the creative process agreed that it was time to emphasize how important our agents are to HelpSquad and to our customers.
“HelpSquad had been quite anonymous in the past, so we thought let’s put faces to it,” explains Magnus.
This creative decision would kill three birds with one stone by also bringing the relevancy of our brand and diversity of our team-focused culture into the spotlight.
“Overall the purpose of this rebrand was for the end user to understand that HelpSquad is in-time. They’re active. They’re diverse. There’s people behind it. There’s a human touch to it,” Magnus points out.
Everyone at HelpSquad was thrilled to see how perfectly Insane Lab’s finished product communicates who we are, especially Michael.
“The biggest thing a company like ours has to achieve to secure business is to build trust between the prospective customers and us. They have to trust us enough to give us the reins on their customer support…for us to talk to their customers. So, the most exciting part for me is that now we have images of real agents as the cornerstone of our branding. We’ve given our website a face….brought humanity and a personal touch to our brand. We’ve shown that we aren’t robots and we are real people and you can trust us with your customers,” Michael reflects.
What we learned:
- The values and culture behind your brand should not only be reflected in your logo and color palette, but it should also be reflected in the visual imagery you choose for your website and marketing collateral.
- Your rebrand should be uniquely you. Don’t mimic the competition. Blaze your own path.
Parting Expert Advice for Anyone Considering Rebranding a B2B Business
If your team is considering a rebrand, we thought it would be best to leave you with some parting advice from the experts that successfully made us who we are today.
Michael, HelpSquad’s CEO, believes that a business entering this process should take chances and blaze their own path.
“My advice is that if you rebrand, go radical. Do something that is completely different from your competition. Look at all the competitors within your space. Look at their websites. And try to come up with something completely different,” he advises.
Our lead Insane Lab designer, Magnus, urges anyone who is considering a rebrand to choose carefully if they plan on hiring an outside agency.
“Hiring an agency that truly listens to you is of great importance. Someone that A. listens and then B. takes action….not the opposite. They shouldn’t be trying to fold you into their agenda. That resource, agency or vendor truly has to be vested in you and understand your culture.”
He also offers advice for anyone planning on completing the process in-house.
“Can it be done in-house? Of course it can. But for smaller to medium sized companies it might be useful to have a resource externally that can see it from an outsiders point of view, if you will, to be objective. If you want to do it yourself then clearly, of course, you have to have the references and have a study group that will give you the pertinent feedback that you need based on the visuals that they are being provided with.” Magnus explains.
80s Hair-do’s: https://www.vintag.es
House Reno: https://www.thisoldhouse.com/21018579/31-scary-houses-turned-into-spectacular-homes
Apple Logos: https://www.businessinsider.com/shocking-drastic-logo-changes-2013-4