How to Rebrand Your Startup During the COVID-19 Pandemic

The brand image you project to the world communicates how relevant, impactful, authentic and credible your business is to consumers—and it’s much more than just a logo, font or color scheme.

As brand experts at Ignyte explain:

“More than simply a name, term, design or symbol, a brand is the recognizable feeling a product or business evokes. Brands, then, live in the mind. They live in the minds of everyone who experiences them: employees, investors, the media and, perhaps most importantly, customers.”

But here’s another crucial facet of your brand image: in order to stay competitive during the COVID-19 era, a time of constant evolution and learning, your startup’s brand cannot be static. It must evolve in response to your consumer’s changing wants and needs.

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Let’s look at how a national brand took these steps throughout the past few months, and what you as a startup business can learn from them in rebranding during the pandemic:

Identify goals for your company’s rebrand

Before you jump into the creative aspects of rebranding—such as fonts, colors and other visuals—set tangible and actionable goals for where you want to take your business during and after COVID-19.

Your brand and your goals should always be aligned, and it’s especially critical during times of struggle that you align where you’re going and what you need to get there. Concrete objectives will also help you to make intentional, strategic decisions when it comes to your rebrand.

For example, over the past few months, SERVPRO, a disaster restoration company, has continued to offer its more “common” services, but found that their customers’ greatest need required them to shift to providing restoration and deep cleaning services.

“We knew these were unique times that required our services and professionals more than ever. We had team members on the front lines at nursing homes, businesses, medical facilities, residences and everywhere in between, restoring and deep cleaning buildings to rid them of the virus and ultimately help businesses prepare to reopen,” Michael Stahl, CMO, said. “But we knew we could—and should—take it a step further, so we did.”

The company extended its ability to serve its customers, listening to what their clients said they needed as they continue adjusting to the “new normal.”

In order to better serve your customers, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Why are you rebranding your existing services?
  • What are the goals for your rebrand?
  • In rebranding, how will you better serve your existing customers?

Identify these answers before doing anything else.

Related: How These 4 Startups Pivoted to Secure Customer Loyalty During the Pandemic

Stick to your brand values

Just because the tone and image of your brand are in transition doesn’t mean you have to scrap the core values that customers identify with. In fact, you probably shouldn’t, since that’s clearly what your customers connect with.

Communicate to your existing customer base that all foundational tenets of your business will remain intact while you merely pivot to better serve them:

“Change doesn’t happen without trepidation, questioning and uncertainty, especially during times like these. Fortunately, our team was truly excited to take on the challenge and provide (these services) because we knew it would make a difference and help others,” Stahl said. “As a result, it didn’t take much to convince our various stakeholders that this was the right thing to do.”

Before executing the rebrand, make time to meet with any major stakeholders, top customers or important people within your organization to reconnect on the brand values that will continue to be the core of your business. Make sure everyone is on the same page about how these brand values will be incorporated into the rebrand.

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Prioritize community and connection

All consumer-facing channels, from your company’s website and social networks to any print materials, must emphasize your upgraded messaging. This is especially important as consumers value transparency during tough times.

Which platforms do your customers prefer and how can you use those platforms to ensure your community is kept in the loop during these changes?

Use customer feedback and surveys to get a clear picture of what ideal communication and connection looks like to your customers. With this information in mind, you can plan your messaging and announcements accordingly.

Key takeaways for rebranding your startup during a crisis

An estimated 48 percent of consumers are more inclined to be loyal to a brand when their first experience or interaction with that brand is a positive one, according to CrowdSpring.

Use the above guide to inspire your rebrand and remember: with the right goals, a strong connection to your brand values and a great communication plan, the rebrand can help you reconnect with past, present and future clients while better serving their evolving needs.

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