What to Know Before Rebranding Your Firm

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If you’re reading this, it means our team survived The Great Berbay Rebrand of 2023 – a complete redesign of our logo and website. Now that we made it to the other side, we decided to share all the lessons we learned along the way. So, if you’re considering biting the bullet and redesigning your logo and/or website, you are in the right place.

Before we dive into the highs and lows of our rebranding process, it’s important to note that the decision to rebrand is a pivotal moment in a firm’s history. Rebranding is not just changing a logo, or revamping a color scheme; it is a comprehensive overhaul of your brand identity. Most importantly, rebranding is a strategic business decision that requires careful consideration, but it can come with a host of benefits, such as propelling your business objectives, positively impacting your market position and supporting expansion opportunities. For Berbay, it had been well over a decade since our last rebranding effort, we had a recent ownership change and felt that it was essential for our future.

As we lift the veil on our successes and missteps, we hope our lessons translate into your own rebranding success.

Planning Ahead

The best thing we did for our rebrand was spend a significant amount of time preparing, long before we hired vendors. We created a comprehensive, strategic and well-defined plan that undoubtedly helped make our rebrand successful. This plan was also key in selecting the right vendors. Here is what we included:

  • Defined goals: We clearly articulated both the big-picture and specific goals for our rebranding. We identified who we are trying to reach and outlined our firm values.
  • Target audience: We mapped out exactly who our target audience is. Not only industries, but demographics, sociographies and more.
  • Brand audit: We did a comprehensive evaluation of our current brand, assessed what we liked/disliked about it, how our clients perceived our brand, etc.
  • Market research: We did a deep dive to see what our competitors were doing and identified market trends.
  • Messaging: We created a succinct outline of what we wanted our new brand to convey, highlighting our differentiators, visual identity and the key elements we wanted in a rebrand.
  • Budget: This is often overlooked, but we not only considered the costs associated with the rebrand but also committed to a specific budget. You may want to address what happens if there are delays or other unforeseeable issues that cause the project to go over budget.
  • Design identity: We provided detailed preferences for our design, this included color schemes, typography and other design elements.
  • Timeline: We established an expected timeline, which included what we were internally capable of as well as the rollout plan.
  • Website structure: We included specifics on the website navigation, asking ourselves questions such as: Will the navigation look the same? Will the number of pages and copy stay the same or change?
  • Images: We established our image requirements. This covered questions such as: Are you providing new team/group photos? Will you use stock images? Are you OK with using AI-generated graphics?
  • Fonts! It requires an exclamation point because there is so much more to this than meets the eye. In fact, we spent almost as much time selecting and tweaking the perfect font as we did landing on the logo design. Understanding the difference between a serif and sans-serif font, and what you like the most, is a start. We highly recommend browsing font types using dafont.com. Keep in mind that depending on the font you choose, you may need to purchase a license.

The creation of this plan was laborious, but critical, and our vendor partners thanked us for this.

Hiring the Right Cooks (For Your Kitchen)

As a boutique agency, selecting our internal rebrand team of two staff members was easy. However, depending on the structure of your firm, this decision may be more complex. Since design and creative choices are personal and subjective, it is crucial to select the right internal team for the success of your rebrand. When helping clients with their rebrands and selecting their internal teams, we suggest the following key considerations:

  • Cross-functional. Bring together individuals with diverse skills and expertise to provide a more well-rounded perspective.
  • Expertise/experience. Team members should have relevant experience in brand strategy, communications and project management. Consider those who have genuine passion for the firm.
  • Leadership. The ability to make decisions is vital, or your rebrand will take years to complete. Those with strong leadership and decision-making skills will ensure that the work gets done.
  • Clear roles. Whoever you select should have clear roles and responsibilities; this also maintains accountability.

Ultimately, there is a lot that goes into selecting the right team, but careful selection of this team will increase the likelihood of a successful rebrand.

Choosing the Right Vendor Partners (Designers, Programmers, etc.)

Designers and programmers are in abundance. In fact, that is what makes choosing one so difficult – with so many options, it is difficult to determine who is the best fit for your needs. Here are a few tips that helped us land on the right designer for our rebrand.

  • Ask for examples of past work and references. Work samples are worth a lot. It can highlight a designer’s strengths, weaknesses and technical capabilities.
  • Select a team that is skilled in communication. While it’s important for your firm to communicate what you want, it’s equally important for the designer to be able to explain their methods and process. The onus shouldn’t be on your firm to figure it out.
  • Select a diverse group. Similar to selecting an internal cross-functional team, diverse designers present invaluable diversity of thinking. This diverse group will understand the importance of striking a balance between what they want and what your clients want.
  • Hire a design team or company. This isn’t to say an individual designer can’t get the job done, but it can be limiting. Having multiple eyes ensures you’re getting a variety of input and a full spectrum of resources.
  • Understand their revision process. Understanding their revision process gives you clear expectations. There is nothing worse than asking the person you hired where things stand or how it works in the middle of the process.
  • The website platform. Many designers only design in one platform. For example, one designer we considered used a platform we were unfamiliar with. We didn’t choose them because we didn’t want to rely on a third-party for future changes. Our website is on WordPress because we are well-versed with WordPress and it was important to us to easily access the backend. Depending on your needs, consider a more intuitive platform versus one that requires extensive coding or higher-level technical knowledge.
  • Custom or template. Depending on your design vision, budget and functionality needs, you need to ask if the website will be custom or based on a template. As a creative agency, we wanted a fully customized, original design.

Giving Feedback

We’d be remiss if we didn’t emphasize that the feedback process is one thing that can put a wrench in your rebrand. Once you start working with your selected designer, be as specific as possible with your feedback. Now is not the time to be shy or vague. Instead of saying you don’t like it, be as specific as possible – you don’t like harsh angles of the triangle shapes they used in their design; you find the colors to be off-putting; the font is too difficult to read. It benefits everyone involved to get your magnifying glass, thesaurus and screenshot tool when you’re in feedback mode. Provide examples of other designs that more closely match what you’re envisioning. Designers are not mind readers, so the more specific feedback you can give, the better the next iteration will be.

Also critical to an effective working relationship with your designer is being clear about how serious you are about certain changes. You don’t want your designer to be an order taker, but there will likely be edits you’re firm on and some you would consider alternative ideas. If the design team disagrees with your perspective, hear them out, but go with your gut. In the end, this is your firm and your website.

Budget Considerations

According to Hubspot, the cost of working with an agency to redesign your website ranges from $15,000 to $30,000 or more. For large, complicated websites, plan on spending between $40,000 and $75,000. Could you save money and do the website yourself? Possibly, but this is what it takes to outsource a website, which we recommend given the complex nature of a redesign.

Our website was nearly ten years old and while it had undergone a few “facelifts” in that time, it was due for a full redesign. The lifespan of a website depends on several factors, but the general consensus is that it should be redesigned every two to five years to keep up with technology, design trends and search engine algorithms.

Final Tips and Takeaways

Once your site is live, it might be tempting to throw all rebrand thoughts into the trash forever, but the work is not done once you’ve launched! It’s inevitable there will be technical bugs and tweaks that need to be made, and knowing this ahead of time helps with prior planning.

Embarking on a firm rebrand is like riding a roller coaster. A year-long roller coaster for us, but  we made it out alive with a website and brand we love.

Partner with a Trusted Los Angeles Marketing and PR Firm

Berbay Marketing & Public Relations has nearly three decades of experience providing law, real estate and financial firms with marketing and public relations services that propel your business forward. Berbay’s dedicated team has demonstrated success securing media placements, achieving nominations and rankings, revitalizing websites and social media, obtaining speaking engagements and more.

Looking to grow your firm with Los Angeles’ proven Marketing and PR team? Contact Berbay at 310-499-2584 or info@berbay.com.

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