Do You Need a New Website, a Rebrand, or Something Between the Two?

March 15, 2021

Finn Partners is grateful to receive a steady stream of inquiries and RFPs from B2B and professional services firms who need new websites and/or a rebrand. 

Often, we detect uncertainty about whether the firm needs one, the other, or something in between. So we set out to clarify some of the language and underlying needs around websites and rebrands. These three recent case studies illustrate our point of view and can help you frame which approach makes the most sense for you, your business and budget. 

A New Website

Richards, Layton & Finger is a Delaware law firm and among the leading counsellors in a state where more than 1 million business entities have made their legal home. The firm wanted a new website, and clearly articulated why: The site was tired, unimpressive, running on a rickety proprietary CMS, and not responsive (i.e., it did not work well or look right on all devices). Otherwise, it was fine. 

The new design and approach to content, as well as the new CMS and surrounding technology, are modern and fresh. This is the least expensive of the three examples shown here, because the scope was tighter: It was a website design and development project, period. The firm had a clear brand position and message, so this was not a rebrand, or a brand messaging project, or a brand refresh. 

This project included: 

  • Site planning, site architecture, site map, wireframing, new CMS (WordPress), new design, content migration, basic SEO best practices
  • New professional bio photography 

 It did not include: 

  • New logo, color palette, brand research, brand positioning, brand messaging, offline material design and integration 

New Website, Plus New Brand Messaging & Creative Differentiation

Prince Lobel, another fine law firm, is based in the Northeast, but works nationally. The firm had a website that was running on a good CMS (WordPress) and was connected to email and other MarTech platforms. But the design was clunky, with no theme, and the site did not show the firm’s positioning or points of differentiation. This gem of a law firm has attracted forward-thinking professionals from both large and boutique firms across the country, yet its story was unpolished — it was bland, not brand.

In our brand message discovery work (internal interviews, etc.), we learned the firm’s people seamlessly blend the highest-quality legal work with business advice to get clients from point A to point B in the most sensible way. This led FINN to craft an organizing theme for all communications: “The Best Way Forward.” It is a mantra that speaks to the guidance clients seek, and the solutions Prince Lobel delivers. The theme took shape in a thematic new web design.

This project included: 

  • Site planning, site architecture, UX, site map, wireframing, redevelopment on the existing WordPress platform, new design, content migration, basic SEO best practices
  • New professional bio photography
  • Consulting on strategic brand positioning and brand messaging, and consensus-building around what the brand should stand for, look like, and have to say 
  • A slightly modified logo

Creative expression work or brand message renderings occurred before a single page of the site was designed or coded. There was no full redo of the logo, color palette, or offline materials; there were tweaks, but this was not a full-on rebrand. The firm has plans to bring offline materials into line with the web messaging as a follow-on project, which is not uncommon in these situations for budgetary and other reasons.

A Full Rebrand, Including a New Website

Health Management Solutions came to FINN after marking 23 years in business as valuation experts in healthcare mergers and acquisitions. The company achieved this success with no formal marketing beyond taking great care of existing health care industry clients. To chart new growth, HMS engaged FINN to create a new brand that would achieve competitive differentiation and dress the firm for growth. 

The new brand began with a new name. Our research showed the name Health Management Solutions was so vague that it could mean anything from IT to HR solutions. We shortened the name to HMS (which is what clients already called them), added Valuation Partners (what they do), and created the HMS Valuation Partners logo.

The tagline we settled on, “Delivering Value Beyond the Numbers,” speaks to what HMS does and how the company cares for its busy, deal-driven clients. A new website builds on that theme and features key messages like accuracy, straight talk, seasoned experts, and the relief that comes from knowing valuations are done in compliance with healthcare fair market value and Stark Laws.

 

This project included: 

  • Site planning, site architecture, UX, site map, wireframing, redevelopment on WordPress, new design, content migration, basic SEO best practices
  • New professional bio photography
  • Consulting on strategic brand positioning and brand messaging, and consensus-building around what the brand should stand for, look like, and have to say  

It also involved creative expression work before a single page of the site was designed or coded. Then there was all the core identity work (color, fonts, stationery, imagery styles) and the application to all the offline marketing communication tools. Our work touched logo and identity design; e-marketing tools design; pitch and proposal-ware design; new bio photography; a tradeshow booth and collateral; and extensive copywriting. All in, the new look is fresh, engaging, and unlike any other branding efforts in HMS’ competitive field.

This was a full rebrand with a brand-new website, and was the most time-consuming and expensive of the three approaches.

Takeaway

Your firm can choose a new website, a full rebrand that includes a website, or something in between. Knowing and articulating what you need and value most will help those who receive your RFP align their response with what you really need — and make your decision-making process clearer and easier. 

 

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