Why Rebranding Online is Harder Than You Think

Collation of office workers around a table scattered with information and REBRAND in large letters.

There’s a (relatively new) saying that “the internet never forgets.” While this is proving problematic for the most recent generation of adults as they get confronted with the stupid things they did on the internet in their youth, it’s also a problem for businesses. When it comes to rebranding online, you’re not only fighting against the physical and sales side of changing your brand identity, but you’re also fighting against your old brand online. And depending on how well you’ve done SEO in the past, that’s a fight you very well might lose.

Understanding Your Business’s Online Presence

Your brand, whether a decade or a year old, leaves fingerprints on the internet – that’s by design so that people can find your products and services. However, that also means it can be hard to manage a rebranding unless you find and control all these locations. In broad (very broad) terms, the four major online presence groups are:

  • Your Website: For better or for worse, your website is your SEO castle. You will need to scour not only text and images, but image alt-text, metadata, and more. Changing a website during a rebrand will also fundamentally change traffic to it.
  • Your Social Media: If you’ve got a presence on social media, expect people to take notice and tag you if you rebrand. Depending on why you’re rebranding (see below), this could be good or bad. Remember that on specific platforms, you can’t change your name with a rebrand.
  • Business Listings and Reviews: Simply by existing, your business has already generated several business listings, starting with Google Business. BBB, Yelp, and other business reputation sites will also have some results – sometimes none too flattering.
  • Search Engine Results: All the above and more will factor into how you appear in search results. Some of these results you can control, some you cannot. When rebranding, the tallest order is keeping your good search results with your new brand identity.

To learn more about your online presence, check out our blog, Your Business’s Online Presence (and How to Improve It).

The Reasons Behind Your Rebranding Can Affect Your Chances

There are only a handful of reasons you should be rebranding your company, and depending upon which of them this is, you may have an easier or harder time of it. While the positive reasons to rebrand, like expanding your company or updating your look, can have positive or at least neutral responses, you can face backlash if you’re rebranding to escape scandal or a bad reputation. And this backlash can include news articles, social media, or even false websites that will make it harder to have that clean break rebranding and will haunt your search results.

Steps to Take When Rebranding

Hopefully, at this point, you understand that rebranding isn’t as easy as you think. The internet never forgets, and people on the internet are often not kind to businesses or change. Think of the steps below as a checklist to go through when you’re thinking about rebranding:

  • Locate – and when possible claim – any listing and reputation pages – especially Google Business.
  • Make sure you’ve got access to all your social media platforms.
  • Build up to your rebrand and explain your rebranding. Most bad launches fail on these two steps.
  • Back up your website and go over your rebrand draft with a fine-toothed comb.
  • Brace for a drop in search traffic and help ease it with a Google Ads campaign and blogs explaining the shift.
  • On social media and in email marketing to current clients, explain the shift and honestly answer questions people may have.

Rebranding is a tall order, but you don’t have to do it alone. Vision Advertising provides marketing consultations to guide you through a rebranding campaign and, as a full-service marketing agency, can help you manage your website, social media, search results, and more both during and after such a rebrand. Contact us today to start the discussion and find out how to best tackle your brand issues of both brand management and brand development.

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About the author : Alex Geyer

Alex wears many hats, and not just because he’s bald. A writer by background, Alex writes “content” for Vision – anything from social media statuses to blogs to website copy and beyond. In addition, as Senior Brand Strategist, he builds and maintains all search engine advertising for Vision, manages multiple client projects, and herds many meetings. In his free time, he starts and stops writing novels, reads a copious amount of fiction, plays video games, and an enthusiastic chef at home. He’s trying to become a better plant daddy.

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