Is It Time for a Makeover for Your Business (A Lesson from BusinessWeek)

Posted on by in Branding/Differentiation, Business, Change, Communication, Design, Entreprenuership, Growth, Leadership, Marketing, Remarkability, Strategy

When was the last time you did a website makeover? Or changed the interior design of your workspace/office/store? Or more importantly, changed the way you do business? Or changed the way you market what you offer? Or even changed what you offer?

Most leaders underestimate the power of a makeover–and the speed at which they ought to be undertaken these days. It’s not unusual for someone to be surfing the web these days and think, “Wow! That site looks so … 2009,” and we’re only four months into 2010 (as of the writing of this post).

Next week (starting April 26th) marks the public makeover of a business icon–BusinessWeek (which was bought by Bloomberg back on December 1, 2009). They’ve even created a section on their website describing all the changes.

Now, I haven’t seen the new remade version, but I do love what they’ve done to prep readers about the makeover. So, here are four lessons worth learning from them about creating a makeover.

1. Teaser campaigns still work. The Bloomberg team has done a great job of promoting the change. If you’re a reader of BusinessWeek, then you know they’ve been talking about “change is coming,” for awhile. And while it’s nothing more than an old school teaser campaign–it’s working. I’ve been reading BusinessWeek for years–and I haven’t been this interested/excited in years.

2. Use video to tell the story of the change. If you go to their website, you’ll see a series of videos from the editor describing the change. Vision casting is usually done best with video (actually it’s best done live, but that’s not an option here). So having Josh Tyrangiel share his vision that, “We take people on journeys … and introduce them to concepts and people that will impact their lives for years, even decades …” was the right decision.

3. Use powerful, short image building phrases to describe the changes. Rather than impress us with their vast vocabulary skills, the design team has done a great job of picking up key phrases we can all understand immediately.

* Reinvented. Redesigned. Reimagined (the tagline for the change)
* More Clarity. More Energy. More Impact (each with four short sub-points defining the changes)

4. Remember that “Look and Feel”/Design matters. While story will always be first and foremost (and should be for a magazine), the Bloomberg team understands that the look and feel of a site or magazine (or whatever you’re producing for the public) does matter. The vast majority of people bring their eyes with them. And whether they want to admit it or not, within seconds, they’ve “judged the book by its cover.” Within seconds they’ve either decided, “culture current” or “old school,” or …

So, as you look at what you and your company are producing and offering, are you in need of a makeover? Is your website or are your other marketing materials in need of a makeover? Is your business model in need of a makeover?

If so, then you may want to take a page from the Bloomberg BusinessWeek playbook in order to make sure that your makeover works for you and your purposes.

To your accelerated success!

P.S. When was the last time your website had a new design. If it’s been more than 12 months, chances are it’s time for a face lift. One of the reasons I’m such a huge fan of WordPress (besides the fact it’s free and that it’s easy to edit) is that WordPress separates out the content and the theme/skin/template. So with one click of a button, you can change the whole “look and feel” of a site without having to change any of the content. In around five seconds you can have a whole new look. Then, you can update the content and layout when you have time.

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