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Today, we welcome Natalie Lane to the set of Grow Live! Natalie is our Director of Marketing and Product Development and the newest member of the Spinstak team. If you’re in the process of rebranding your company or are thinking about it, you won’t want to miss this episode. Natalie and Matt Johnson spill the beans on our recent rebranding experience.

Watch, listen or read now and learn more about:
  • When is the time to refresh my brand or rebrand entirely?
  • Why your value proposition must remain the core of everything.
  • How branding goes beyond the logo.
  • When it comes to rebranding, planning is the key.
  • Keeping it consistent across all channels.

“Create a brand story that resonates with your audience,” — Matt Johnson, CMO & Managing Partner at Spinstak (formerly Safety Marketing Services).

Check out these additional resources:

Today’s call to action:  If you’re an industrial distributor or supplier and would like some help freshening up your brand, just let us know! Go to www.spinstak.com or call us at 866-270-0810. 


Check out our awesome new Spinstak Hype video on iTunes. Leave us a review and we’ll send you some swag!


Don’t miss next week’s follow up show! Renia is back and talks seasonal campaigns and buyer behavior.

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Matt:

In this episode of Grow Live, we're going to talk about the top five things to remember when rebranding or launching a new brand.

Natalie:

Do you have any tips on rebranding? Share in the comments below.

Matt:

Hey guys. Welcome back to Grow Live. I'm your host Matt Johnson, CMO and managing partner here at Spinstak, formerly Safety Marketing Services and I am here with my good friend and new guest on the show today, Natalie Lane.

Natalie:

How's it growing folks? It's Natalie Lane. I'm the new director of marketing and product development here at the agency and I'm really happy to be here. It's my first time on the show. Filling in some big shoes.

Matt:

Very excited to have you here Natalie. I'm excited about our topic today. Today guys we're going to be talking about five things to remember when launching a brand or a rebrand and we're going to give you some real practical advice that relates to marketing. Of course it's going to relate to your industry as well. So we just went through a rebrand ourselves. Natalie was a big part of that and she'll be able to share some of her thoughts with us today. I'm really looking forward to picking her brain and maybe sharing some thoughts of my own.

 

That being said, I want to remind everybody that you can engage with Grow Live in a myriad of ways. We are good at leveraging content and one of the ways that we do that is we put our podcast, we put this show and we make it a podcast so you can actually find that podcast by going to letsgrowpodcast.com. That's one place to find it. You can also go back and view past episodes of Grow Live on YouTube. That's the binge-able HD content if you want to watch the videos that way. And of course you can always read the transcripts in show notes at spinstack.com.

 

That being said, I do want to remind everybody that we would really appreciate your feedback. Share this episode with your friends and colleagues. Like it on social and of course leaving us a review on iTunes is always super helpful and would be appreciative of that. I might even send you some cool swag. So go ahead and go do that after the show if you find it helpful in any way. But for now, Natalie, let's turn it over to you and let's talk about what we did last night.

Natalie:

Yeah. I think that today's show's feeling a little bit revitalized, wouldn't you say?

Matt:

Oh yeah. I am pumped. I'm so energized from last night. Why don't you tell them what we did?

Natalie:

We actually had the pleasure of seeing Gary Vaynerchuk speak live in Tampa last night which was fantastic. We've been fans for years. Matt actually got to meet him in person which makes me super jealous.

Matt:

We actually got invited to a small VIP gathering before he was speaking in downtown Tampa at the historic Tampa Theater. It was just an amazing venue and was actually fortunate enough to get to meet Gary and we actually I had him going to do a selfie with me. And he thought it was just a selfie video but little did he know that he was on Facebook Live with our whole team. And so it was really cool. We caught a cool video of him saying hi to the Spinstak team and maybe calling out one or two folks here in the office. That was exciting. His passion and his energy is infectious. And that's I why I feel so revitalized today. I'm pumped about what we're doing. It was just very confirming Natalie to have him talk about the very things that we're doing on a day to day basis as a growing business in the digital marketing world and it was just again evidence to why it is so important for us to be able to adapt to this digital landscape.

 

He's saying things like "this is the land grab of the millennia". You have to be aware that there is an opportunity for you to put a stake in the ground and have a brand presence online for years to come but if you don't do it now you're going to miss your opportunity. And that's that'll kind of go along with what we're talking about with branding today. Overall I was just very pumped and excited about sharing with you guys today.

Natalie:

Yeah, hopefully we can take some of that information and bridge the gap between the industries that we serve and today's best practices. And we're very much looking forward to doing that for everyone.

Matt:

So branding.

Natalie:

That's the topic.

Matt:

Branding and why it's important. We have to first understand that your brand there's at least 10 definitions of what a brand even is. We won't go into that study. I encourage you guys to go research that. It's actually fascinating rabbit trail to go down. What is a brand and what are the different assets that make it up? But for today's conversation we'll talk about how it is that you're communicating who you are as a business. Specifically in your collateral, your presence online as well the way that you represent your company face to face with customers, at trade shows and events. We have to understand that your brand is one of the most valuable assets that you own as a business owner.

 

For me, from my perspective, one of the things that I did when I came over to Safety Marketing Services was I revitalized the brand because I wanted to make it clear that this wasn't the same old operations. Any time that you go through a change in management philosophy, it's going to go through a change in services, fundamental operations. These are all good opportunities to rebrand and start fresh. Of course we talk a lot about not overdoing that but you do need to be strategic in the way that you do rebranding and this also goes far beyond just the logo. I think a lot of people when they think of brand Natalie, they think it's just my logo, it's my tagline. Oh that means I have to order new shirts. Which by the way, I'm waiting on my new shirts to come in.

 

It's way more than that. It's this idea of your position. It's the way that you describe yourself and your services and so we need to discuss a little bit about the holistic view of branding. And I guess I'll just start with my first question Natalie, and that is how do I know when is the right time to refresh my brand?

Natalie:

When you need to shake things up. When you need to establish your position like you said earlier. And the perception and the values of your company, they change over time and as that happens you as an entrepreneur, I'm just speaking to the entrepreneurs out there and the people leading marketing departments, you know in your gut when it's time. You don't want to do the typical entrepreneur thing where it's like every time you have a brand new idea, it's time to rebrand the company. So you got to scale it back a little bit but in your gut you know.

 

So that's the important thing is to trust your instincts and say, "Hey this is the time to rebrand because our values have changed. We have a brand new staff. We're offering new products and services." Those are key elements that I would think about when it's time to restructure your company and rebrand it. Would you agree?

Matt:

Absolutely. Yeah, I think it's just a matter of saying, "I want you to forget what I was doing before and embrace the future. And embrace the new vision." I think it starts with that new vision and having that clearly communicated. It's more than just rallying your troops and saying, "Here's our vision." There's an outward communication of that as well and that happens most specifically through the branding.

Natalie:

Absolutely. When you're asking yourself these questions you want to keep it to a small group of trusted people because the more influences that you have, the more directions there are to go in and it can be hard to rein in. But you definitely want to ask yourself some questions that would establish whether you want to rebrand or not. And some of those questions might be like, what image or message does my brand give off to other people? That's very important. Am I letting people have the perception value that I'm not with the times? Or am I giving off the wrong message? Am I not displaying the correct products and services that I offer?

Matt:

Do I look like the cheap option? I saw on your notes. I'm going to force you to say that because that actually a very interesting point. Sometimes you do look like the cheap option when you're not. When you're the value based resource. And sometimes you actually do want to look like the value based company where you do have the lower price point. 'Cause if that's how you go to market, that's your value prop, then you want it to communicate that.

Natalie:

Yeah, absolutely. The value prop has to be the core focus and center of everything I think we learned that not just last night which was reiterated but over time and as marketers we know that the value proposition is the core center of everything. If you see that changing, that could be an indicator that it's time to rebrand.

Matt:

Makes perfect sense. Rebranding doesn't always have to mean you have to entirely overhaul your company's look and feel. It doesn't have to be scrap everything start over. Case in point, like what we just went through. Just to give you a little bit of background on what we just did. We kept our icon the graphical representation of the brand. The classic pinwheel, the multicolor pinwheel. That we did very on purpose because we did not want it to be too much of a jarring rebranding because the name was changing pretty significantly and we have done a good job of marketing ourselves the last couple years and trying to establish that brand presence in the industry. So we didn't want to lose everything that we built over that time. Sometimes you need to purposely lose that but for our situation it was important to at least maintain the look and feel a little bit.

 

A lot of companies pair this stuff up with the launch of a new website or perhaps launching a product to the marketplace. Course we could always talk about there's all kinds of sub-branding that comes along with product creation as well, especially if you're a manufacturer you'll have to deal with that as well. Now there's lots of things that go into this and I think one of the key points we have to point out is that it can be expensive and requires a lot of hard and soft costs that you may not expect. Case in point, all of the shirts I just had to order, a $1,000 worth of shirts. That's an example of these little areas where you may not realize what's involved. We need to have some very clear guidelines.

 

Here's the top five that I think we want to have you guys remember when it comes rebranding a product. So learn from our mistakes. Learn from the things that we did well and hopefully these things can help you guys.

 

Natalie, number one, is plan, plan and then have a plan for your plan.

Natalie:

Yeah, right. Exactly.

Matt:

Taking inventory of all of your marketing assets. Budgeting for the redesigns or the updates if you may not have an in house team. If you do have an in house team, remember that there's costs associated with pulling your in house team together. You may not be able to work on other projects because you're going to be working on the rebranding. You may not realize that but when you create a logo and I have been a graphic designer in a former life, but when you recreate a logo there it's not just as simple as oh here's one design. There's our brand guidelines have probably 60 different logo variations for different backgrounds, different applications, different mediums. So all of these things you have to take into account. Make sure that you plan enough time out to do that. You do not want to stress out your creative team and have them create something at the last minute. That certainly would be a no-no.

 

And you obviously need people to be involved but keep the idea creation and the high level processes to a small group. I am a huge believer in this. I am not a fan of too many cooks being in the kitchen. When I'm cooking at my house, all the kids and everybody have to get out of the kitchen 'cause I can't concentrate. I can't produce that delicious dish with you guys all distracting me and offering your input. I don't care that you want chicken nuggets again, I'm creating this delicious meal for us. When you're a designer, when you're a brander, you want to be able to put a few people, you get a few people to come in and offer insight that's going to be helpful and those may be a couple of other executives. Perhaps you have a small branding team of leadership that's involved in this. But then once those decisions have been consulted with they need to be made by one person, in my opinion.

Natalie:

Absolutely. Absolutely.

Matt:

All right so that's my first point here but I think number two here will help us flesh this out a little bit. So what's number two Natalie?

Natalie:

All right, so you want to create a brand story that resonates with your audience and that needs to be clear, concise and clearly communicated. Everyone needs to understand where you're coming from in terms of rebranding. They need to know your history and why you've gotten to where you've gotten today. You need to make sure everyone internally buys into this story and everybody is growing. You're growing your company from the inside out because it will resonate with everyone in that way. Your employees will be able to tell your customers the story and they'll be able to buy in as well. Like I said, from the inside out, that's very important. Understanding your brand story. And everybody understanding the elevator pitch. They know the elevator pitch. What's that five second explanation of your company or description of your company? That's a big one.

Matt:

Absolutely. It was important when you do it, especially when you do a name change, it was important to have a very clear explanation. Not just for the sake of the website and the blog and everything but that our team knew how to communicate that when somebody asked them. I tried to make it simple. In our situation I said, "We're more than safety, we're more than marketing, we're more than services." So that way they could just remember, oh it's the name, just go through the name. You'll be able to explain why we did the name change. So yeah, building out a story that people can remember is important.

 

Number three is to make it consistent. That your brand you understand what your brand represents but that's not the challenge. It's making sure that everyone else understands what that means as well. That goes back to the story that we just talked about but ensure that you're representing your brand across all of the channels. There's a lot to take into consideration here guys. Take it from us. What we did was we created a list, an epic to do list of all of the different places where our logo was used and where our brand name was present online and also offline.

 

I would suggest creating that inventory of different places where your logo's used and then making sure that however you’re communicating that it's consistent. Knowing that it does change a little bit from platform to platform. The way that you set up your Facebook profile page is going to be different than the way that you set up your Instagram et cetera. But making sure that much as it's possible to you, that you are creating a consistent look and feel across the board. And then this also helps drive the answer to the question, why are you rebranding to your customers. And that'll help create that buy in for the brand to be successful.

Natalie:

Correct. Number four.

Matt:

Number four.

Natalie:

Number four, keeping your people informed. Having a good communication strategy from day one. This correlates with steps one, two and three. They all are related. But having a clear communication strategy from day one is very important. The prelaunch, the launch and the post launch which could last for up to six months to year depending on how drastic that change is. Keeping your people informed internally, letting everyone know, making a big splash about it and making the time and also budgeting for that is really important. The communication strategy's important, not too much, but keep it in every piece of marketing material that you have and just make sure everybody knows about it.

Matt:

You can overdo it I think, it's possible. But I don't think many people do. I think most people, most companies under do the rebranding launch. I was actually very happy with the amount of communication that we did for our own brand launch. I felt like it was just right. We had the blog, we had a video, we had emails, multiple emails, the show and of course social. So we covered all of our bases. The idea here is that you want to make it as hard as possible for people to not know what's going on. People don't always check their emails, people aren't always checking in on social. People aren't always visiting your website so let's cover all of our bases and as long as you do that you can be sure that you’re at least covering the minimum requirements for communication.

Natalie:

It goes even beyond that. How is your billing? What do your invoices look like? Making sure everybody knows what your new name is and how it's going to appear on different pieces of communication so that they're not confused.

Matt:

Absolutely.

 

All right so number five and as we wrap up this is a very important one. Something that I'm a big believer in, at least in terms of design. I think this is very important for everyone who's out there who might be touching your brand. That is less is more. We want to remember that the last thing that we want is to create something that's over complicated. Adding elements to enhance the brand, sticking to the basics and remembering to stick to the value proposition. That's obviously the most important thing here is that we don't want to get lost in the pretty colors and the, we don't want to get lost in the design elements because remember that design is really just communicating ideas visually and I think a lot of times we can get a little too creative, if you ask me about our branding. It's important that it looks good. That it's up to date. But it's also important that it's clear. In fact that's the most important thing.

Natalie:

Absolutely. I would agree.

Matt:

So making sure that it's clear. Making sure that it's not overcomplicated. By the way, I'll just do a little side tangent here because I do have experience in branding, at least from a manufacturer's perspective. We created lots of brands for our manufacturer company that I was working and they were sub brands so they needed to stand alone so that people could recognize them and request them by name. That's very important if you're a manufacturer, you want your end users to request your brand or your product's brand name to the distributor. When it comes to our industry in particular, it's important to create a consistent and simple memorable way to doing sub brands and product branding.

 

Because there are so many gloves, hardhats, safety glasses, clothing options out there and it can become very confusing and so I would highly recommend creating a branding process where you are consistent with the way that you're using words, consistent with the design so that it's not like a completely different company. So that your brands don't look like a completely different companies under one umbrella. That I've seen done very poorly and it can get messy and I don't think it has the effect that you're looking for. Keeping it simple, memorable and not every one of your sub brands, if it's a product especially, not every one of them needs a logo per se. It doesn't always need a symbol or specific design; it can be just the name and convention.

Natalie:

Absolutely.

Matt:

And sometimes that's most effective.

Natalie:

Limit the number of fonts you use.

Matt:

I told them to never mow the lawn during Grow Live. Never, ever, ever again. They forgot. All right cool. Well we made it through our five strategies for the rebrand or branding. As we close up here Natalie I just want to say we have gone through this ourselves. We've gone through it with other companies. We've traded branding campaigns and launches and we've done this for lots of other brands in the industry. So if you are in our industry, if you're safety or industrial manufacturer or distributor and you're looking to maybe rebrand or refresh your brand, let us know if we can help. You can do that simply just by going to our website spinstak.com. That's Spinstak, S-T-A-K.com. Or do the old fashioned thing, give me a call at 866 270-0810. Love to hear from you. Of course we'll enjoy talking about branding. We can nerd out on that together.

Natalie:

So thank you for joining us on Grow Live today. And we hope you got a lot out of today's conversation. Next week we will be discussing seasonal campaigns and buyer behavior and how that applies to our industry. And Renia will be back in the seat.

Matt:

Seasonal campaigns this is a really big topic so excited to talk about that.

Natalie:

Yeah, awesome. Thank you.

Matt:

Thanks guys, thanks for joining us.

Natalie:

Bye.

Matt:

Take care.

Speaker 3:

Hey everybody. Thanks for joining us. If you're just getting started with us on Grow Live be sure to check out some of our favorite episodes in the show notes.

Matt:

And don't forget that you can see us live on Facebook every Wednesday at noon or you can find us on YouTube and binge past episodes in full HD.

Speaker 3:

If you found this helpful and you want to see more, leave us a review and we'll enter you for a chance to win some Grow Live swag. Thanks again everybody.

 

 

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Topics: Grow Live, digital marketing, resources, industrial marketing, marketing tips, marketing tools

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