SEO

The Most Common and Costly Rebranding Mistake

Let’s say you’re the digital marketing lead for an American furniture retailer. In your opinion, your brand needs to update its image. It’s time people saw your brand as more current, and of course, more expensive.

You update your website to one of those trendy minimalist templates, reshoot your stock photos, and even revamp your company language.

You’re not selling couches anymore, you tell your register clerks and website writers. You’re selling sofas. Your focus group and market research clearly show that word has an attractive je ne sais quoi.

It’s a fine plan. So long as you don’t mind cutting your online audience roughly in half. twitter-icon

Hang on, what?

Speak on Your Customers’ (Search) Terms

That’s right: switch over solely to “sofa,” and you lose around 40,000 potential customers who are actively looking for your product.

Results in the U.S.

Your idea to switch terms isn’t entirely unfounded. Drill down into longer-tail keywords, and you do see that the term “sofas” is associated with more expensive items. When consumers dream about that high-end leather sectional for their living room, for example, they think in terms of sofas.

What this research tells me — research that took seconds, but can save millions of dollars — is that this furniture store should strategically switch from sofa to couch depending on the item. At the very least, it would be a costly mistake to scrub “couch” from their content strategy.

Results in the U.S.

Don’t Be a Statistic! Integrate Search in Your Marketing Strategies

I know this isn’t a novel concept. It’s not rocket science. But what does surprise me is how often this comes up, even at the large and seasoned companies I work with at Conductor (I spent one memorable meeting talking a Fortune 100 Health and Beauty provider out of switching all of their “makeup” product listing to “color.” Trendy as it sounds, this would have been an enormous misstep. They would have missed out on so many new customers!).

It may not please your corporate marketing team to base your online branding on search terms, but they’ll reconsider when you can prove you’ll be getting your products in front of literally thousands more qualified buyers.

It’s worth it: frame your web presence in the language of natural search, and more importantly, your audience’s. twitter-icon

Learn more about Stephan’s work and the professional services team here!

  • Anittah Patrick

    Truth. It can be seductive to gussy up words to align with the brand vector, but reality is, “you gotta keep it real” and align with the real words your real customers use, so that the spiders and robots can “hook a searcher up”… with a new sofa, _couched_ in the language of the person who searched for it in the first place.

    • Charity

      I see what you did there 😉

      • Anittah Patrick

        Busted!