Rebranding for Managed Service Providers

Why would somebody even care about the brand of a managed service provider? Do customers remember “the IT guy that comes, then things don’t work”?

It may not make much sense when the “IT guy” is the brand. People know the person, rely on what they can do, and sign up for their services. Yet, it may be necessary if a company is established, has a name and reputation, and tries to change its direction.

Various market studies from IT Glue and Acronis show that over 70% of MSP businesses are over six years old. This means the companies have some history, established reputation and customer base. And for many, customer referral is the most effective way of acquiring new business. However, for the established customers, there is a clear connection between what the MSP does and what services they receive, and they talk about their experience with their peers. When an MSP tries to offer new services — for example, managed security practice, it may be brushed aside by the existing customers, who may not be willing to increase their bills or don’t believe they need the service, and MSPs have to revert to marketing to promote their services to new customers.

And here, it may be the time to consider rebranding, to disassociate the old knowledge about their business from the new things they are trying to build. There is usually a negligible risk, as existing customers won’t go away just because of the name change. Referral is still the primary channel, yet there is an opportunity to get those who knew the old brand and associated it with a set of services to consider new services — just because they will hear a different name. Not to mention, buying security services from “Your Neighborhood Backup Guy” may not look like a great idea. At the same time, “The Security Expert in Your Town” may sound more appropriate to potential customers. Another example is if an MSP changes focus from dental clinics to retail, the name “Dentists’ Favorite IT Guy” may not be the best anymore.

Rebranding may be a good idea if there is a strategy change or an opportunity to expand the services offered to another market segment or provide new types of services. If the answer to the question “Will it bring value to the business?” is a definite “yes,” it makes sense.

However, for many business owners, even considering rebranding is a daunting task — not clear what to do, how to do it, and the old brand is so dear to their heart, and they still have that first t-shirt they made with the company name somewhere around the house.

Checklist for rebranding

It is easier than it seems, and only some things should be addressed immediately. Below is the checklist of the simple steps to plan and execute a rebranding:

  • Come us with a new name. ChatGPT can be of help here to brainstorm and research with you.
  • Register a domain for the new name. One of the criteria for the name is the availability of a domain name. Searching for domain zones may be an option to get the domain name you like.
  • Hire a designer or use an online service to design the new logo, business card and website template (or color guide). With this minimum set of material, the next steps can be executed.
  • Brief employees about the rebranding and that they should look for all mentions of the old brand and implement the new one every time they see the old logo. It is hard for some internal systems, external services, and social media to cover everything at once, so updates will be gradual. TSA’s “See something, say something” phrase works well here. When employees see the old logo or name, they replace it.
  • Build a website and host it with the new domain. A website builder is a simple and cost-efficient solution. Picking a template and adjusting the color scheme to match the brand may be enough for the initial launch.
  • Create new content for the website. ChatGPT is again helpful in creating and editing drafts of the pages.
  • Configure email and helpdesk for both old and new domains or set up forwarding.
  • Update email signatures. It is a step easy to overlook, yet it is something that many customers will see.
  • Optionally, print t-shirts, capsand cups with the new logo. The easiest way to get the new logo out there is to brand the team — giving them wearables.
  • Update the logo on the vehicles used. If you don’t have a logo on the cars you use, consider adding it, especially if you have long drives to customers.
  • Create new social media accounts or rename existing ones, referencing the old name in the brackets, so old users won’t be surprised when they see the new name in their social media feed.
  • Send an email and a nice postcard to your customers and partners, informing them about the name change and sharing a few words about what you did with your strategy or product portfolio.

Rebranding may seem scary, yet it is a simple procedure. A bit of patience and a bit of time spent on replacing the old logo and name, and it is done.

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