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Your Rebranding Action Plan

Companies rebrand for many reasons – being under new ownership, changing direction, merging with another company or to modernise their image. Whatever the reason, however, the basic principles of doing it successfully remains the same.

To rebrand in a manner that will see to it that existing customers are retained and new ones acquired, a project plan must be established. During this kick-off phase, key people from within the company must also become involved. The process moves from here to the final phases during which the look is updated and launched. These are the stages we’ll look at in more detail.

Build brand identity

A company’s brand identity comprises those elements that customers see during direct dealings with the business or in the media. Top of the list are the business’s name, its logo, colours and payoff line. These have to work together to establish the desired brand image within the minds of the customers. When everything is signed off, commission the redesign of business cards, notepads, stationery, vehicles and any other customer touch points.

Update the website

While the rebranded website can’t be launched before a company’s intentions have been made public, a new website must be developed and designed in the background. The importance is evident when one considers that many customers first make contact with a company online. This applies not only to the website, but social profiles on the web too. Be sure to also take these into consideration. Together, the parts must form a cohesive whole.

Change the face of the company

With extensive changes to a company logo and colours, the updates will have to be pulled through to the physical building. This could be as simple as contacting signage companies and wall cladding suppliers to replace the old logo with the new one, or it could be as extensive as getting interior decorators in to revamp the entire building. The first solution would be the most cost effective, but a proper business analysis must be completed before deciding on which route to take.

Strategise the launch

This phase is listed last, but should definitely not be left until the last minute. If the launch fails, it could jeopardise the future success of the company.

With that said, it’s vital to answer the following questions:

  • What do we want the customer to know, i.e. what is the message the customer should take away from it all?
  • Through which channels will the launch happen? Don’t pick any channel – go to where the customer is.
  • When will the launch happen? Too soon or too late could be equally harmful.

Perhaps the most important question to answer at every step of the rebranding process is “Have covered absolutely everything?” To make sure that nothing gets left out, double check and triple check. The extra effort will be worth it at the end of a successful rebranding project.

4 Really Good Reasons to Go Back to School

It can be daunting going back to school while you’re already in the working world. There are many things to consider: the costs of studying, the time and effort it takes, how to juggle school, work and family, and whether you have a good enough reason to go back to school.

As to that last consideration, here are some legitimate reasons why going back is definitely something to consider:

You need it for that promotion

Do you have your eye on a particular promotion, but need an additional qualification to bag it? Then studying is definitely for you. Perhaps, however, you would study further not for a particular promotion, but just to make you more eligible to be considered for a promotion in the future. Either way, before you enrol, sit down with your boss to discuss whether getting the qualification will indeed help you in getting promoted. It’s good to have an honest discussion about your future options. You might even find that your employee would be willing to help finance your studies.

You’ve reached the glass ceiling

If you’ve reached the glass ceiling at your job and know that you’ll have to look elsewhere to broaden your horizons, then it’s the right time to study further.

However, first ask yourself if you’ve gotten the hang of your job. Is there still a lot more you can learn just by showing up to work every day? Especially if your studies would still be in line with your current job, it’s worth it to learn everything you can on the job first. It’s basically like an education you’re being paid for, so why pay to go back to school and spend that extra time and energy studying? First concentrate on learning the ropes at work before you start looking elsewhere to get schooled.

You want to change careers

Sometimes people go back and study to be able to go further in their current line of careers. But sometimes they study further because they want to change careers. If you are planning on changing career directions, the earlier you do this the better. However, we find nowadays that people are diving into wholly new careers much later on in their lives as well. Are you a high-powered executive who has secretly always had the dream to be a journalist? Or do you daydream of getting your law diploma and being a paralegal like Rachel Zane from Suits? Remember, it’s never too late to go for your dreams.

You feel your skillset is lacking

You like your current career path, you’re doing well, but something’s missing. It’s not that you want to qualify for a specific promotion, but you know that upping your skillset could really make your career take off. This is particularly relevant if you’re self-employed – or want to be. Having a general business qualification, for instance, can really give you the confidence and the know-how to take your business further.

There are many legitimately good reasons to go back to studying. Whether you want to go further in your current profession, or you want to be able to hop across professions to land your dream job, studying further is the way to do it.

5 Things You Can Do Right Now to Help Your Career

You’re unhappy with the way your career is going and you want to fix it. You want to fast-track it, help it along and stand out from the crowd. But how to do it? There are many strategies, in fact, that you can apply right now. It’s not even necessary to get up from your desk.

Adjust your attitude

Complaining, criticizing and being lazy do you no favours. This is not the type of employee or colleague people want around. Come promotion time, you’re likely to be passed over in favour of someone with a positive attitude. Actively work on bettering your attitude by adjusting your thoughts and looking for the good things about your job.

Review your annual review

It’s easy to forget about your annual or quarterly review once it’s done, but dust it off from time to time to check how you’re doing. There might be problem areas that were highlighted that you forgot about or even opportunities that could be seized. It’ll improve your performance at work, making it more likely that your next review will be a stellar one.

Get organised

A desk that resembles a landfill site does not make for a productive day, because you spend a lot of time searching for misplaced files and documents. To get more productive, get an in-out tray and divide your work accordingly. Trash anything that you don’t need and file the rest. Do the same for your computer’s desktop and your documents folder.

Spend 30 minutes reading

The first thing you should do every morning is read – a blog post, a newsletter, an article; any piece of information that’s relevant to your industry that’ll help keep your knowledge current. It’s one of the best ways to ensure that you stay relevant and have information of value at hand during conversations. If you feel that you need more, look at short courses presented by business schools.

Get noticed

Sitting in your corner, not speaking up and not contributing, is not the way to get noticed. Speak up during meetings, propose a solution to a workplace problem and volunteer to help out. If you really want to make an impression on your manager, ask for more responsibility, then take it on and perform!

Need more quick ideas? Send a mail to someone you connected with at a conference, dress for the job you want, polish your online resume or have a chat to someone that you admire for inspiration.

Should I Translate my Business’s Website?

The question posed in the headline is one that should be considered carefully. The answer is not a simple yes or no, as there are many factors that should be taken into account.

Presumably, you’re asking yourself the question because you are expanding your business into foreign markets. This means, first and foremost, you have to carefully examine the online habits of your future target market. If you are looking to tap into the European market, a 2011 Eurobarometer report done by the European Commission might provide some initial insight.

Responses from European citizens to the questions put forward by the European Commission showed that 9 in 10 internet users in the EU always visited a website in their own language, provided they had a choice of languages. A slim majority of respondents (53%) would accept using an English version of a website if it was not available in their own language. More than 4 in 10 (44%) respondents agreed that they missed interesting information because websites were not available in a language they understood.

These finding were reported in the fourth section of the report, titled “Opinions about the availability of websites in several languages”, and is a clear indication of the fact European internet users, at least, would prefer to use a website in their own language.

Should you decide, following this and your own investigations, that you do in fact want to translate your website, you’d next want to consider whether it is financially feasible. Translating an entire website could be costly, and there is a chance that your business cannot afford it right now.

Don’t even consider doing the translation yourself or by using an online translation tool. That is unless you have an exceptional knowledge of the language you intend to use. Online translation tools are incredibly dangerous, because these tools have not been equipped with grammar rules, exceptions to those rules, nuances or accepted slang terms. It is highly likely that you will get an unintelligible mess back when you type a sentence into an online translation tool.

The best choice for your business and its reputation would be to use a professional translation agency. This type of agency would hand your website over to someone with expert knowledge of the language you want to translate your website to. This person will be aware of any vocabulary updates, slang or idioms, so the text you’ve used will contain its original meaning. The other advantage to this is that the text on your website would be in a language that’s up-to-date and readers will thus be able to relate to it. Use outdated forms of speech and people will be able to recognise that you are not familiar with them in an instant. This will tarnish your reputation.

Of course South Africa presents its own unique situation, because of our 11 official languages. So perhaps you don’t want to expand internationally, but do you want to target a wider audience base within the borders of the country. For instance, you could do a Sotho translation if you want to target the Free State, or a Zulu translation to take advantage of the KwaZulu-Natal market. The process would stay the same – familiarise yourself with how these target audiences browse the web and then look at whether you can afford to translate your entire website.

Whether the issue of expansion relates to international or local markets, it could be worth your while to investigate only translating parts of your online marketing strategy to start off with. Perhaps you can begin with your PPC ads or a monthly newsletter. It’s better to have something than nothing available in someone’s mother tongue if your research shows that is the language they prefer to be addressed in.

Make Your Product Packaging Standout

Product packaging has always played an important role in selling a product. If the packaging is dull, boring or ugly, no one would buy it. However, if the packaging is bright, colourful and obvious, people tend to gravitate towards it.

So how do you make your product packaging standout from your competition? Here are four ways:

Spy on the competition: The first thing you need to look at is your competition. What does your competition’s packaging design and labels look like? It is very likely that your competition is going to have very similar shapes and sizes, simply because that is what the customer wants.

Change the size: A simple way to make your product look bigger and better than the competition’s is by making your packaging bigger. For instance: if you are walking down the cold drinks isle on a hot day, and you are absolutely parched, what kind of drink are you looking for? You want the biggest and fastest thirst quencher that you can find. The truth is people are innately greedy and therefore, they want the biggest and best of everything. So by making a small change and making your product packaging just that little bit bigger, you can immediately change a consumer’s perspective of your product.

Taste the product: Imagine you are selling a simple hamburger. Your product is reasonably priced and you know your burger tastes pretty good. However, the consumer does not know that. You need to sell your product via the packaging. You need to make your customers hungry just by looking at your product. How do you do this? You make your packaging look tasty. The package design needs to showcase your product as the only brand to buy.

Do not neglect the label: So you have sussed out your competition, made your product bigger and created a more appealing packing cover, but are you finished? No, you still need to change the product label. Changing the label does not mean you need to redesign your entire logo or slogan. By simply changing the label’s position, you can make your product look completely different. For instance: imagine ten sports drinks lined up next to each other. All these drinks are exactly the same, except one with the label in a slightly different place. Will this not instantly catch your eye and make you choose that product? Just take note, as mentioned previously, humans are greedy, so positioning the label slightly higher will make your product seem larger and more superior to your competition’s product.

Packaging distributors take note, if you want your product to sell, you need to differentiate your packaging from your competitors’. Use these four tips to ensure that you stand out from the crowd.