If you’re currently rebranding your company, the one area you’re likely questioning whether or not to change is your existing business logo. Redesigning a company logo is a bigger undertaking than it looks. A fresh logo can breathe life into a brand and usher it into a modern era, broadening its appeal with consumers. However, logos are also representative of your business. They make up a big piece of your brand identity. If you venture too far outside of the box, you risk confusing, even alienating, customers and muddling your message. And if the new logo is too far out of left field for anyone to embrace, you might even wind up switching back to your previous design.
Much like changing the name of a business or drafting up a new mission statement, it’s important that a logo redesign is done with careful thought and consideration. Here’s what you need to know in order to get started.
1. First, decide if you need to change it at all.
It’s not uncommon for an entrepreneur to feel restless with their aesthetic, especially when surrounded by so many creative ideas from other entrepreneurs. However, your decision to change a logo shouldn’t be based on keeping up with the Joneses. If a considerable amount of time has passed and your design looks obviously outdated, talk it over with your team. Determine if they think it’s worth it to invest in an update. Share any ideas you have for a revamp and encourage their thoughts on what they’re looking for too. After all, a logo change is a huge decision and everyone on your team should be in favor of it.
On the flip side, if you’ve only been in business for a few months and want to refresh your logo because you’re bored with it, think it over and decide if the change in branding is worth it in the long run. If you think it is, consider your audience and your message when shaping a new design.
2. File a trademark application to register the new logo.
Remember when you conducted a search and filed a trademark application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to register and protect your first logo? This is your friendly reminder that your new logo will not be covered under the existing mark. You’ll need to conduct a search to ensure your mark is unique and file a brand-new application for the updated mark. As a quick pro tip, it’s a good idea use a “TM” until the mark is fully registered. This gives people notice that you are claiming ownership to the logo while undergoing the trademark registration process.
Even though there’s a bit of paperwork and time involved in registering a trademark, there are plenty of benefits for getting it done. Your logo’s new identity will be protected in connection with the goods and/or services you offer, helping to identify your offerings in the marketplace. And hey, since you’re technically going to be “new” on account of your logo makeover, it’s a good thing to quickly regain recognition!
3. From print to digital, update all marketing materials.
Think about everything within your small business that uses your logo. Now, update it. Your new logo should be reflected in all print and digital marketing materials associated with your business in order to build that brand. A few items to check off your print checklist include stationery materials like business cards, packaging, employee communication materials, invoices and checks, business licenses and certificates of incorporation, to name a few.
On the digital side of things, make sure that your site has an updated logo, you have switched out your email signature, and your brand’s social media handles and pages are revised to reflect the change.
4. Keep your customers in the loop before the rebranding actually happens.
You may also want to alert your customer base about the change in advance especially if you run a fairly large business. Even if it’s a subtle rebrand, it’s still something different from what individuals have come to expect from you. Keep everyone in the loop by creating a strategy for your announcement.
Decide on the platform that you want to share the news on, whether it’s a newsletter, social media post, or formal press release. Your announcement should include the expected date that the new logo will be live, what influenced the decision to rebrand and how this change will affect your customer base for the better. Encourage fans to drop you a line about what they like or don’t like about the new logo too, so they know that you’re listening and appreciate their opinions.
5. Keep your bottom line, and message, in mind.
Ultimately, choosing to redesign your logo should be about more than switching to a cool new look. If you truly believe a new logo will have a substantial return on investment or can share its message in a much more authentic, meaningful way, then it’s worth making the change. When you tap into how the logo redesign reinforces the mission and values of your business and how the change will carry your brand into the future, then you’ve made a substantial update that you can be proud to stick by for years to come.
Deborah Sweeney is the CEO of MyCorporation.com which provides online legal filing services for entrepreneurs and businesses, startup bundles that include corporation and LLC formation, registered agent services, DBAs, and trademark and copyright filing services. You can find MyCorporation on Twitter at @MyCorporation.