We’re a creative agency. We spend all day every day thinking about our clients’ brands, dreaming up new brands, and making sure things are on brand. But this year, we did something that even agencies often backburner: we took a fresh look at our own brand.
Of course, Trekk has been through a handful of rebrands in our 22 years, as tempting as it was to keep this brilliant original site:
Because we guide clients through this process all the time, we’ve learned a few best practices that helped us implement our new look seamlessly. But before you can think about how to rebrand, you’ve got to know when to rebrand. What are the telltale signs that your brand might need a little help, whether it’s a minor facelift or a whole new look, whether you update your messaging or overhaul it completely? These are the clues we look for when thinking about branding for clients — and for ourselves.
1. Your content needs cleanup.
When was the last time you performed a content audit? And I don’t mean a cursory glance through your website to remind yourself what’s there. We’re talking a comprehensive look at your website, social media profiles, and any content files you keep on local or shared drives, including articles, images, and videos. Auditing your content is the process of documenting an inventory and recording notes on the whereabouts and performance of your individual pieces of content. During the process, it will likely become clear that some of your content needs to be archived. You might have blog posts that are no longer relevant or entire pages of your site that are performing poorly. It will also jump out at you that certain pieces of content are being underused, or you might notice relationships between pieces of content that you hadn’t seen before. This is why we love content audits so much; they’re all about streamlining down to what is essential and then making the most of those essential pieces. We recommend conducting an audit at least annually, and more often if you produce a lot of time-sensitive content.
The last thing you want is to have the tools and experience to solve your customers’ problems today, while your website speaks to problems they faced two years ago.
2. You're no longer speaking to your target audience.
Industries evolve, and the last thing you want is to have the tools and experience to solve your customers’ problems today, while your website speaks to problems they faced two years ago. We’ve been through this ourselves. When we started Trekk, social media didn’t exist. We had our hands full trying to convince companies they needed a web presence at all! As social platforms grew in influence, our approach to digital marketing changed, and so did our brand. Along with an annual content audit, we recommend revisiting your target audience regularly. What are your customers’ challenges right now, in the next year, in the next five years? What are the questions they’re asking? Does your current brand answer them? Would you want to do business with you?
3. Your design looks dated.
Design standards change. We remember the days when having a website full of flash signaled to the world that you were cutting-edge, that you really knew your tech. We’ve seen design trends swing from maximalist to minimalist and everywhere in between. The design of your website tells your visitors something about who you are and what you care about. No matter what your industry, if you want it to say that you’re an expert on the latest happenings in that industry, then you’ve got to keep your design current. We took a look at our own site and saw that it was image-heavy — something we definitely would have recommended when we designed it in 2015. But in the world of 2017 and 2018, video rules, and we needed a way to feature it more prominently. We also wanted to simplify our design for the sake of our mobile viewers, since we know they make up the majority of visitors to our site.
4. You’re feeling a little lost.
You don’t know what it is, but your standard messaging doesn’t feel quite right. Looking at your website overwhelms you because you know it needs to be updated but you’re not sure where to start. In these moments, it really helps to have a map... but it’s hard to create a map when you’re in the middle of the woods. This is where agencies come in, guides who care about your brand feeling right and who take the time to understand your goals and make sure you have a strategy. Sometimes it’s just helpful to have an outsider’s honest perspective on your brand! We were able to get this effect ourselves by asking our three most recent hires — myself on content, Quentin Oliver on design, and Robby Broach on development — to collaborate on Trekk’s brand refresh.
You’ll notice I’ve been calling our new look and feel a “brand refresh.” There are many levels of rebrand, from simply changing up your signature colors and logo to coming up with new product positioning and a whole new business plan. What we did this year was somewhere in the middle: we updated our website and brand attributes, and we also revisited our target audience and changed up our messaging. We’ve still got the same services and capabilities, but now how we talk about them better represents what we’re actually doing these days.
In my next post, I’ll dive into the nitty-gritty: how we went about the brand refresh and how long each step took.
Think you might be due for a rebrand? Drop us a line and we’ll give you our honest assessment.