Rebranding a 30-year-old business in three months
Lauren Peterson, the Director of Sales & Marketing at B:Side Capital and B:Side Fund, believes that strategic branding and thoughtful outreach are essential for the success of any organization. Her background lies in creative storytelling, and customer engagement, and she’s committed to using unique marketing and sales strategies to build trust and expand B:Side’s client base. She also recognizes the importance of developing strong partnerships, planning engaging events, and creating meaningful campaigns to help build brand value.
Aligning brand with business strategy
Lauren shares her experience rebranding Colorado Lending Source to B:Side Capital and B:Side Fund in 2021. “We’d been around for over 30 years, and we were pretty established in the community, yet we had a new CEO come on board with a strategic plan to expand into new states and move beyond Colorado. With that, our name no longer described the nature of our business and would be out-of-place once we entered Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico,” said Lauren. “Another key reason for rebranding was to separate our 501c3 non-profit entity from the parent brand so we could properly highlight what the organization was trying to accomplish. This would enable more effective fundraising and allow us to better target key audiences.”
“We were conscious during the rebranding process to create unity between our different markets and felt that two organizations under one unifying brand would help us accomplish this. It allowed us to more strategically target lenders and small business owners in a way we hadn’t done before, which is why we decided on B:Side Capital and B:Side Fund.,” said Lauren. She indicated that naming was one of the most difficult parts of their rebranding journey since they were establishing a national presence and wanted to secure an ownable .org domain. The name “B:Side” was brought forward by one of their employees, and the meaning behind the name fit the company vision perfectly. As they shared their rebrand story, they gave clear definition to their new name.
The B:Side Brand Story
Some of us are old enough to remember the days before streaming music or even CDs. Yes, we're talking about the age of vinyl records and cassette tapes….
The A-side always featured the popular radio-friendly hits that we all knew and loved.
THE B-SIDE, HOWEVER, WAS WHERE THE DEEP CUTS RESIDED. THESE WERE THE SONGS WRITTEN FOR TRUE FANS WHO HAD THE PATIENCE AND DEDICATION TO LOOK A LITTLE DEEPER.
We like to think of ourselves as true fans of small business. We relish the opportunity to look at the B-sides of the business world, those companies that might not always be the bank-friendly slam dunk. We go deeper and find those hidden gems who would otherwise be overlooked and unable to access traditional bank lending. That's why we call ourselves B:Side.
Diving in and getting things done
Beyond naming, Lauren’s team remained scrappy when it came to defining other brand elements. They used a Squarespace web design agency, called Knapsack Creative Co., to help with the website buildout, graphics, and SEO logistics. They quickly outsourced the logo design and came forward with brand colors that created a balance of seriousness and fun. “We had a $20,000 budget and three months to get the rebrand launched in time to enter new states. While this wasn’t ideal, I knew I had to get team buy-in quickly, prioritize what needed to be done, and generate communications that would get everyone excited and rowing in the same direction,” said Lauren.
“As Colorado Lending Source, we had some quirky design elements, like gnomes, that didn't really speak to our community of lenders or business owners. However, we did like having a fun element that made us unique in the lending space and we wanted to carry that into our new brand identity, which is why we chose hot pink as an accent color,” Lauren continued. “In general, change can be scary, especially after 30 years. That’s why we clearly communicated that we would be keeping the company mission as our grounding point but transitioning our visual identity and name to be more relevant to future growth and expansion. This allowed us to tell a better story and elevate our legacy.”
Focusing on progress over perfection
With just three months from internal announcement to external launch date, the team had to move quicky. “There was no time to get caught up in all the little details, and that was a mind shift for me. Our previous leadership liked everything to be buttoned up and perfect before going to launch, yet our new CEO had more of a start-up mentality where he wanted to take significant action immediately and continue to make changes and adjustments over time,” said Lauren. “This was also a juxtaposition to working with the Small Business Administration, who is slower moving and more methodical – so that dynamic was interesting as well.”
“To establish timelines and execution priorities, we worked back from launch day. We compiled a list of every single document where our name and logo would need to be updated, which is quite a lot given we are an SBA lender. We also planned for how we’d spread the word of the rebrand amidst the Covid-19 pandemic. We would have loved to have an in-person event for people to interact with the brand, but that just wasn’t possible. So, we executed a lot of individual outreach and short videos with a unified message, making it simple for our staff to share across physical and digital channels,” said Lauren. “About a year later, we decided to launch a multi-channel ad campaign and hosted a large in-person event to strengthen our brand awareness, and our reach was incredibly impactful as a small non-profit with limited resources. Looking back on everything, we had what we needed to launch, and the rest followed.” Like many brands, B:Side recognized that once the brand was launched, additional efforts could follow to strengthen the impact of the rebrand over time.
What it takes to succeed
When asked what advice Lauren would give to other leaders going through a rebrand, she said:
Tell us about your rebrand
We were excited to speak with Lauren and learn from her experience as a part of our Tell Us About Your Rebrand series. If you’ve recently gone through a rebrand, no matter what industry, we’d love to hear about it. Reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org to share your thoughts and stories.