An outdated business name or brand identity can cause real confusion and even result in lost business. Make sure you’re covering all the bases!

Here at Spotzer , we manage the brand identity of thousands of small businesses across the globe. Change is an integrated aspect of our day-to-day work, so you can imagine the lessons we’ve learned while updating business information across the web.

When you make a change to your brand – whether it’s a shifted pixel in your logo or a completely new name – it’s critical that this is communicated quickly and effectively. Web users are fickle and easily confused. Why give them a reason to doubt the integrity of your business upon first impression when fixing it is (theoretically) so easy?

1.       Analyze

In this stage, you’re going to do two things:

  • Determine the extent of the required changes.
  • Hunt down every place your old name or logo might be hiding.

Sound simple? It can be a surprisingly deceptive process.

Determining the gravity of the changes requires some critical thinking. In this stage, you need to gain an understanding of how much work will be required in the transition.

Think about all the possible ripple effects; for example, a logo change to a darker color may look great on the company website, but the hero image on your Facebook page may clash. That means you’ll need to choose a new hero image as well.

Don’t be afraid to write things down and draw arrows. Really dig into it. You’ll want to perform the changes quickly, so it’s ideal to have all your tasks lined up before starting.

Once you’ve determined the extent of the ripple, you need to find out where it’s traveled. Brands tend to spread wide (and rarely clean up after themselves), so there are going to be some surprises along the way (“We have a YouTube channel?”).

The first place to start would be company records (you’re keeping detailed lists of all your social media profiles and outward-facing communication, right?), but that’s not a luxury every company enjoys. Chances are good that Google will drive much of your searching. Crawl through everything directly linked first, searching for clues as to where else your brand is being shared. Then start digging with “site:” Google searches and direct searches on major social media sites.

A few places you may have forgotten:

  • Your Google My Business listing, which you have plenty of control over once claimed.
  • Your Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest or other social media platform that your business may only update sporadically
  • All of your web pages, including dynamic and hidden ones
  • Proprietary reporting documents, web portals or other materials you don’t see (but your clients do)

Do your best to collect them all, but don’t worry. We’ll use a few tricks at the end to ensure everything has been cleaned up nicely.

2.       Update (or delete)

The process will vary depending on the platform and situation. You may need to reclaim an old Facebook page or update information on Google. Most will be easy, but be prepared to send physical proof if needed; Facebook, for example, may request proof of ownership in the form of a utility bill or similar formal communication.

Don’t just update blindly , though. Rebranding offers a great opportunity to consider the value of every situation in which you’ve shared your business with the public. Apply a critical lens and ask:

  • Is this profile / page / blog / community (still) relevant to my business?
  • Am I willing to put the effort into maintaining it well into the future?
  • Is the effort I’ve put into maintaining it paying off?

If the answer is “no” to any of these questions, it may be smart to stop short. An outdated or poorly performing page may do more to hurt your business than help it , and you can redouble that effort on areas that bring more value to your business.

When it comes to action time, you want to schedule the updates and warn your followers in advance . You can even make a big event out of it – it’s a great opportunity to generate some buzz and get a few shares. Consider holding a contest or other engagement activity.

Whatever you do, make sure it’s done relatively quickly. Few things destroy confidence as quickly as a social profile that screams “disorganized mess” from first glance.

3.       Review

Once you’ve updated everything, you should listen to feedback from your audience (particularly top influencers in your community) and respond to any questions they have about your motivation behind the change. Be open and honest, but try not to trash the old – and under no circumstance should you insult anyone (or even hint at it) involved in the creation of the old brand or name.

Updating your brand is about making a strong step forward , not escaping whatever is behind you. That should be clear to anyone paying attention to your transition.

Once you’re happy with the way your major profiles look, it’s time to start finding loose ends. You probably got most of them in the first step, but the rest should stick out.

  • Take advantage of reverse image search tools like TinyEye to find places your old logo might be hiding. There might be more outdated references under that rock.
  • Try using creative searches with Google operators – for example, a “site:” search will limit results to one page. Searching your old brand name or logo with a “site:yourdomain.com” query will quickly pick out any stubborn mentions.
  • Hold a contest to challenge followers or employees to find old mentions. The reward doesn’t need to be huge, but it should be enough to get people interested. This is also a great way to convince otherwise dormant followers to look through all your latest content!

Each brand transition will be different, and your methods might vary slightly, but these should be a great starting point!

If you’ve got a trick up your sleeve that’s been working well for you, we’d love to hear it. Drop a comment below or send us a message on Twitter!