Rebranding 101: 10 Tips for Success

Rebranding 101: 10 Tips for Success
Posted on 08/27/2018
CivicLive Blog - Rebranding 101: 10 Tips for Success

A comprehensive municipal rebrand campaign must include website modernization. In this digital era, a municipality attempting to rebrand or refresh its image with a dated website void of well-rounded digital solutions will not succeed. Modern citizens expect easy access to their government, including online access through any mobile device. If your website lacks mobile optimization, runs on an outdated CMS and is limited in functionality—it’s time to consider a website rebrand.

Whatever your reasons for updating your website, knowing the basics of website rebranding is the first step toward a successful rebrand.

Below are West's top 10 tips for successful website rebranding:

1. Use Your Site as a User Would

Before you begin a website rebrand, you need to know how your current site functions from the outside. What do users encounter when they come to your city’s website? Is it easy to navigate? How quickly can you find contact information? Is the site informative? These are all questions you’ll want to answer before your rebrand begins.

Knowing how your website users navigate and access your website will help you determine what’s working and what needs to be changed and updated.

2. Know Why You're Rebranding

What is the goal of your website rebrand? What changes are you hoping to make? Is the goal to achieve a modern digital government? Are you hoping to build citizen engagement? Or is the aim to entice more visitors to your municipality? Whatever the reason(s) be sure you know what they are. Once you’re aware of why you’re rebranding the “how” becomes clearer.

3. Have a Vision for Your Rebrand

A municipal website is a great way to express what your city, town or borough represents. Your website should reflect your municipality’s personality, the people who live in it and its history. Each of these elements should be incorporated into your rebrand, but in fresh, modern ways.

4. Complete a Content Audit

A content audit is a process that enables you to review all of the existing content on your website and Content Management System (CMS). The audit is done by taking inventory of every content asset (pages, blog posts, images, links etc.) and assessing each piece’s continued value. A content audit is the best way to remove clutter on your website and to update valuable information that may be out of date.

5. Simplify Your Website

Working with your team, research and brainstorm the best ways to make your website easy for your citizens to use. Consider what additions you can add to your site that simplify and streamline processes (such as adding a Citizen Request System). Does your current site allow for online bill payments? Can users apply for grants or permits online? What types of digital experiences does your website provide? Keep in mind that the more processes citizens can accomplish online the less foot traffic and phone calls your government agencies have to field, saving both staff and citizens time.

6. Boost Your Brand Message with Strong Visuals and Media

A website’s visuals have a major impact on how visitors view a site. When rebranding your municipal website pay attention to the design elements you incorporate, including fonts and colors. Incorporate images and multimedia (videos, podcasts, and sound bytes) that show off your municipality’s personality. Your website’s design should tell a story. Use additional media to add depth to the story you’re telling.

7. Design for Accessibility

We at West frequently talk about accessibility, because it’s one of the most important forms of modernization a website can offer. An accessible website is one that adheres to ADA compliancy. Incorporate the W3C Accessibility Principles into your initial design to ensure you’re meeting accessibility requirements from the very beginning.

When designing for accessibility be certain you’re incorporating the latest accessibility updates. If you're not sure where to start with website accessibility, read West's blog post, Making Accessibility More Achievable.

8. Make Your Social Media Accounts Visible

What’s the one constant challenge facing local governments? Citizen engagement. Social media is one of the best ways to encourage citizen participation. Use your website to promote your social media accounts, this makes it easy for site users to access and share updates and breaking news. Social media also makes it easy for people to reach out and ask questions.

9. Include Your Citizens in the Process

Find out what your citizens want to see in a rebrand. You can use polls and survey’s to help you determine what kinds of applications residents are clamouring for. By incorporating your citizens in your rebrand process you not only provide a platform for their needs and concerns to be heard, you’re also ensuring your rebrand focuses on meeting those needs.

10. Promote Your Rebrand

This is the final step in the rebrand process. Once you have a brand new, modern website that highlights your municipality—let people know about it. Share through newsletters, social media and any other means that your new website is up and running. Highlight what’s changed, what new elements and processes you’ve incorporated, how to use the new site, and how the rebrand will benefit your citizens, businesses and visitors alike.

West knows a thing or two about website rebranding; we build and design websites for local governments of all different sizes. Contact us today and discover how we can make your rebrand a success.

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