8 Tips for Rebranding your Small Business

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By April Neill, CEO/Founder April Neill Public Relations

As a small business owner, your brand image is important and if you’re thinking of reinventing your brand –its identity and personality —it’s important to first ask yourself why you’re doing it.  Do you have specific reasons and goals for giving your brand an overhaul? Rebranding may involve significant changes to your logo, your website, and your social media presence as well as your marketing and public relations strategies. Consider the following key points before rebranding.

  1. Review your existing brand. What are you saying about yourself as a business? What promises does your brand make and to whom? Focusing on your brand’s attributes and values and how your stakeholders perceive your brand will help you to develop new strategies to reach new customers and to ensure your message resonates with your current customer base.
  2. Discover your “Why?” What can you achieve by rebranding? What do you want your customer to think or know about you and how will you deliver their highest values and needs? Build your rebrand with a direction in mind and with the customer experience in mind.
  3. Evaluate brand communications and factors that make up your brand. A brand is the sum total of perceptions that leap into a person’s head when your brand name is mentioned, so look beyond print collateral, logo, and signage and perform a thorough audit of all your brand communications and channels.
  4. Involve and Evolve your Brand’s Mission. As you consider how your company mission lives within your brand, it’s important to consider how it will exist in a rebrand. What makes your brand uniquely and wonderfully you and how can its core evolve to reflect your new strategy?
  5. Look internally and externally for buy-in. With branding and rebranding, it’s important to consider how your brand lives internally and externally. What do your employees think about your brand? What does the public think about your brand? As you create new perceptions of your brand, it’s important to consider how your stakeholders feel and the promises that you will make with your rebrand. When planning your rebranding strategy, it’s important to consider the impact a rebrand will make on all your stakeholders and to get their buy-in.
  6. Utilize Social Media. When you release your new brand into the social media “wild” it’s important to monitor social media posts and respond when appropriate. People tend to resist change, so be ready for some resistance. Remember that taste is subjective and if you do get resistance, this is your chance to connect, interact, and engage with your audience.
  7. Synchronize, and Be Consistent. When taking on a rebranding initiative, do it whole-heartedly. It’s important to synchronize your rebrand launch across multiple platforms and to ensure that you have an integrated visual communications strategy for your new brand. The last thing you want to do is to rebrand on one platform, and have your old brand logo on your other platforms. It will make you look disorganized. Remember, consistency is key so take the time and use your resources to plan a synchronized launch.
  8. Utilize Publicity in your rebranding launch. By all means, construct a press release to announce your new brand. Launching a rebranding PR campaign can help you multiply your reach and results quickly and if submitted to online news services, boost your ranking on search engines.

April Neill Public Relations is passionate about working with small businesses to increase their brand awareness and help them find their voice. We offer a complimentary 30-minute in-person or phone consultation. Email AprilNeill@gmail.com to make your appointment today or call (312) 772-3832 for more information. Visit us online at AprilNeillPR.com. Follow ANPR on Facebook at Facebook.com/AprilNeillPR.

7 Tips for Selecting a Publicist or PR Firm

By April Neill, CEO/Founder April Neill Public Relations

 

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Publicity can be a powerful tool for small business owners looking to build their brand image and increase their customer base, however, if PR isn’t in your wheelhouse, finding a publicist or PR firm that’s right for you can be a daunting task.

As niche experts in the professional services, healthcare and not-for-profit sectors, we know that there are certain aspects of a PR firm or publicist that will increase your success in obtaining your goals and make the journey more enjoyable and more importantly, more profitable. Here are seven tips to consider before hiring an agency or freelance publicist for your company.

  1. Passion. Find a publicist who is passionate about what they do. The best publicist or PR firm for you is one that is passionate about PR and loves, loves, LOVES the process!
  2. Belief. Find a publicist who believes in you and your brand. Don’t compromise on this point. It’s imperative that your publicist believes in you, your service, your product, and believes in your message.
  3. Creativity. Does the publicist you’re evaluating have a vision for your brand and innovative, strategic ideas for driving the outcomes that are important to you? Find a publicist who is not only innovative, but also one whose creativity and ideas you can trust and believe in.
  4. Experience/Expertise. You’re on a mission to increase your brand awareness and grow your business. For those reasons alone you’re hiring a professional publicist to leverage their experience so you can achieve bigger and better results for you business than you could envision on you own. Ask yourself the following: Do they have the experience and proven track record that demonstrates they can produce the results you want? Do they have experience/expertise working in your industry?  Don’t be shy about asking to see their portfolio and past campaigns they’ve managed. You really need to evaluate their capabilities.
  5. Media Relations. Often, small businesses need a publicist or PR firm to work the media on their behalf. If you need a publicist to pitch journalists or disseminate press releases to targeted media outlets for you, ask them how they build their media lists. Do they have access to journalists in your industry? It’s always good to find a publicist who has access to the most up-to-date media contact lists and who has well-established media contacts in your space.
  6. Writing Skills. Today’s public relations are becoming more and more “content-driven” and it’s imperative that a publicist or PR firm represents you with good writing. It’s a good idea to look at samples of their work and ask your self if they can adapt their writing style to fit your brand image, target market and business goals. Also, do they have published clips to show of contributed articles they’ve written for other companies? It’s one thing to be a skilled writer; it’s another to have your articles actually picked up by the media.
  7. Free Consultation. A good PR firm will offer a free no-obligation consultation that will give you the opportunity to access their capabilities and discover if they’re a good fit for your business and your budget.

Special Offer: April Neill Public Relations is passionate about working with small businesses to increase their brand awareness and name recognition. We offer a complimentary 30-minute in-person or phone consultation. Email AprilNeill@gmail.com to make your appointment today or call (815) 651-0656 for more information. Visit us online at AprilNeillPR.com.

Brand Story, Brand Power

iStock_000012811129_SmallBy April Neill, CEO/Founder April Neill Public Relations

Branding is about storytelling and a strong brand message has incredible power. Not just on how it is perceived in the world, but also how it positions a brand and connects it with consumers, key influencers, and stakeholders.

Whether you are launching a new brand or re-branding your existing business, it’s important to consider what’s at the heart of your brand and what your brand stands for. You really need to know yourself before you start sharing your brand’s story with the world.

In today’s technologically advanced world with the explosion of social media, it’s more important than ever to have a clear vision for your brand, authentic brand communications, and an integrated brand communications strategy.

Let me introduce myself. I’m April Neill, president of April Neill Public Relations (ANPR), a full-service marketing and public relations consulting firm specializing in meeting the needs of small businesses in the corporate, healthcare, and not-for-profit sectors. ANPR takes a strategic, holistic approach to developing brand-centered, results-driven communications and has worked with hundreds of businesses in promoting and publicizing their brand.

ANPR believes that publicity alone isn’t enough for small businesses to gain market share and drive sales. ANPR works hard to make sure that all components are covered and integrates a combination of branding, PR, social media and other marketing components to create successful PR and Marketing campaigns to tell your Brand’s story effectively and strategically.

Our goal for our Blog is to offer a platform for our readers to gain insights into the latest trends and best practices for Branding, Marketing, PR, Reputation Management and Social Media and to start a conversation about what’s working out in the real world.

Do you have a question for our communications experts? A real-life marketing success story to share? We want to hear from you! Join the conversation and tell us about it!

What’s your Brand’s Story and how are you telling it?

April Neill, CEO/Founder April Neill Public Relations
April Neill, CEO of April Neill Public Relations

April Neill is the President & Founder of April Neill Public Relations, a subsidiary of April Neill & Associates, Inc. located in Plainfield, Illinois. April can be reached at (815) 651-0656 or via email at AprilNeill@gmail.com. Visit ANPR online at AprilNeillPR.com.