Redesigning Your Website While Rebranding
You did it! You convinced your boss that you need to rebrand the business. He gave you a budget to work with. Maybe it’s not exactly as much as you wanted, but you’ll take it! You are raring and ready to go. New logo, new color scheme, all new business cards and print materials and of course, a refresh to the website. But how should you think about your website as part of this process? Where does it fit in? When do you start it?
Here are 5 things to check off before you embark on designing the website.
1.) Competitive Research
If you’ve been in business long enough to rebrand, then you likely know who you are competing against. Likely, you are rebranding because of something you see changing in the market; maybe a competitor just rebranded or maybe that logo the CEO’s daughter did while taking design classes in college isn’t hitting the mark any longer. Hey, design styles change, right? Do your homework!
You have to know who you are competing against. The beauty of Google is that you can find anyone that is competing for your audience’s intentions. And, if they are showing up for the things you are searching for in Google, then they’re probably doing a pretty good job (at least on the SEO or PPC side).
Pro tip: Save the keywords you are searching for when trying to search for your competition. These are usually a reflection of where you want to see yourself and whether they make the final cut in your search terms or not. They will also help your agency understand how you see yourself.
2.) Persona development
Before even getting creative, it is super helpful to identify the new audience you’re after, specifically with “Personas” that try to give an example of each audience. For us, going through a revamp made us realize that we aren’t speaking to small, local businesses, but are now talking to larger companies with marketing directors and chief marketing officers. These personas inform every decision moving forward.
And, they will help a ton when you start to evaluate creatives (design, copy, ads) against not what you like, but how your audience may respond. Sometimes deep inside this, you’ll do focus groups to ask key questions to your audience to make sure you understand what makes them tick, especially relevant to your business, product and/or services.
Pro tip: Somewhere in here, you’ll start to really dissect what it is you sell. And once you do that competitive research, have the keywords, and do the persona development, if you’ve done this correctly, my guess is someone will raise the question “What do we do better/different than the competition?” You need to have this conversation and come to terms with the answer, which would be your “Unique Selling Proposition” (USP).
3.) New logo and branding
I bet you thought you should start here. Most people do. They associate rebranding with a new logo and branding, but like to dive into the creative stuff. Hey! We’re marketers, who are often creative types and think visually. Well, if you did 1 and 2, then this should be a bit easier when you see something and need to make a decision.
We start all of our projects with a Creative Brief that asks questions about the business, competition, audience, products and project goals. Armed with your competitive research, persona development and USP, any Creative Brief questions should be much easier to answer. And, you’d be much closer to being able to develop a logo.
Pro tip: Don’t miss colors and a style guide as part of your branding design. Just doing the logo will get you only so far, but thinking deeply about how those colors are used and rules for the business should come with this step. And, it will help your digital team and print designers with rules to follow on your brand image.
4.) Brand Voice and Editorial Guidelines
Ever hear the phrase “Content is King”? Of course you have… probably a million times. You’re sick of hearing it. But, content is so important. I’ve once heard that if the pages of your website make up your storefront, copy is what moves people through your storefront. What should the tone of your copy sound like? How will it read? Do you write in the first person or third person? Are you witty or wise? Figuring out your voice will help you get into writing the content for your print collateral and website.
Pro tip: Find examples! When you read something that has the tone and content structure that you like, save it. Voice is hard to nail down without reading examples.
5.) Digital / Content Strategy
With so much emphasis lately on SEO and inbound marketing, content (web pages, blog posts, video, photos) makes up a huge part of where you should be spending your time after the site is live. But, the way the site is built depends largely on this content and digital strategy. For example, how do you want people to subscribe to your mailing list? Is it by category? Maybe the content for your blog posts should be grouped into the same categories?
Pro tip: Don’t miss targeting specific devices as part of your digital strategy. You’d be surprised how many people use mobile devices nowadays. But, you can use the personas you’ve created to look at your analytics data in segments to try to derive at how much emphasis should be put on mobile vs. standard devices.
Successful Website Redesign
These 5 steps will lay the groundwork for a successful website redesign project. How deep you go on each one will depend on the agency you work with and your business/industry. But, giving any thought to this in advance will definitely help get you on the right track.
If you need help strategizing on any of the steps below, or would like to see examples for your own project, please email us to get samples. Many times our clients have given some thought to pieces of this before coming to the table ready to design. But, don’t feel you need to “go it alone”. We’d be happy to help get your project off the ground at any stage and all of these are often uncovered as part of our Digital Strategy and Discovery phase.