Even the best event rental website can’t stay static. New technologies, trends, and tactics require you to step back to re-assess and re-brand. Depending on your business model, this will happen every 3-5 years. A strong signal for a rebrand is when you sense you are not sharing your evolved strengths with your customers, thus missing connections that lead to eventual sales.
Recently, we found ourselves in need of a rebrand. Since last year’s strategic meeting, we realized our focus on constantly improving our software took away from communicating our changes with current and potential customers. The first thing we did was to hire a marketing coordinator and, eventually, a web and graphic designer. Both truly love the strategy and design process, allowing us to continue to focus on creating better software for our customers.
Our marketing coordinator interviewed customers and researching competitors websites. Then during this year’s annual strategic meeting, we placed it on the agenda as a top team priority. Along with this came a call for a new logo and clarifying our current brand messaging.
Next, we went through a process that most businesses go through.
Setting a strategic timeline
In our world, we can’t waste time lost in development. Innovation comes quickly, yet we still create concrete plans based on a shared launch timeline. Our timeline included:
Setting standards for our website, discussing and crafting a clear message, visualizing our brand promise and then development.
Before diving into any recreation you should back up your current website. If you’re cloud-based software, but you may also want to save screenshots of important aspects of your website that you’d want to keep.
Setting Website and Project Standards
What do you want from your website?
You must be able to answer this question clearly in order to measure your success.
For us, setting standards took two steps. We needed to agree on goals for our website, a general timeline, and finally the message we wanted to communicate.
We set goals to better communicate our exceptional service with our customers on the web. We reviewed our strengths and what set us apart from other companies. Then we moved to the next phase of visualizing the results we wanted.
We sat down with Jeremy, our web, and graphics designer, who was pivotal in communicating our ideas visually. When he presented his idea for our new logo and look we were amazed at how clearly he projected what we were looking for. So we asked:
How do designers align brand standards to visual design?
Good design is really just good communication. Some designers start with a visual idea and communicate through that. I like to start with what the brand is and to understand that we have to define a brand. A brand is a promise. It is a promise of what your product or service delivers. So if good design is communication and a brand is a promise then as a designer my job is to communicate a brand’s promise visually, with clarity, relevance, and context.
What are your top three essentials for brand standards?
Honesty: In our world, we are starved for honesty. Politics and journalism are trusted less now than they have been in our world’s recent history, so when a company is honest with their faults and they are able to correct them with transparency it is like an oasis of truth in a desert of dishonesty. Think Domino's rebrand or Heineken’s answer to the disingenuous Pepsi ad.
Consistency: This is obvious. If Target printed an ad using orange instead of red as the main color we would all be very confused.
Emotional Connection: We should remember that a brand can transcend what it is if there is emotion connected to it. Think of the outrage when Coke changed their formula, causing them to go back and create Coca-Cola Classic. Or the way that Harley-Davidson can charge more for their motorcycles than any other brand and yet still is seen as a blue-collar brand. If you can capture the emotion of your customer you own them for life.
How do you communicate keywords using the visual design?
Don’t let anything get in the way of your subject. Allow the design to communicate on its own, then get out of its way.
In our redesign phase, we made sure to align ourselves with the very tenets Jeremy shared above. We communicated often and quickly on changes needed, and we had a team who all fiercely defended the InflatableOffice brand promise to deliver the best to our customers.
Four Tips For Managing Your Event Rental Website Refresh
Assign a team leader
Taking on a website development project is a huge undertaking. During your project kick off assign or introduce the team leader who will manage project deadlines. Tip: Use our CRM module to assign a task to a team member.
Set realistic yet strategic deadlines
When setting deadlines give you enough time out for contingencies. Taking time to discuss the details of your brand and website will switch you from cookie-cutter to quality.
Monitor and communicate progress often
We use bi-weekly team meetings to touch base with each other and connect on progress. Use the notes in the CRM system to keep track of changes.