Sometimes it’s obvious when a banding strategy is tired. Other times the reasons to consider rebranding may be more subtle. And in a few instances rebranding may be borne out of necessity, because a brand has outgrown its origins or has incurred a negative reputation.
Regardless of why, rebranding takes careful consideration and a big picture approach. Here’s an insight into when rebranding should be considered and the golden rules to follow to ensure your new strategy is a success.
When to rebrand
When the mind turns to branding often people just look to the logo, company name and slogan. While these are essential indicators of a brand, the concept of branding is much more complex than just pictures and words.
Branding is an interplay of the brand identity, customer expectation and customer experience, as Entrepreneur magazine explains:
“Your company’s own brand is the sum total of the experiences your customers and prospects have with your company. A good brand communicates what your company does and how it does it. A good brand also establishes trust and credibility with your prospects and customers. And because a brand evolves over time, many companies, including some of the most successful ones, rebrand.”
They go on to highlight four instances when a business may consider rebranding:
To differentiate from the competition
Branding is a vehicle to tell your company story – to offer a clear reason why a consumer would pick you above someone else. And in a sea of brands that all offer similar products, rebranding can help you define that difference.
To give new life to tired branding
Just as interior decorating styles come and go, and fashion alters over time, so too does visual imagery and graphic design. Tired branding makes your business feel dated. Although it may come down to tiny things like colour, font choice or graphics, these add up to root your business in a bygone era, which consumers may consider irrelevant or antiquated.
Many of the world’s most successful companies rebrand for that reason alone – to bring the visual prompts and message that consumers associate with them into the here and now.
To overcome a poor reputation
Rebranding is one of the most effective ways to draw a line under the negative association consumers may have with a business. It indicates the brand itself is looking at their operation differently, which in turn, through rebranding, gives consumers a fresh perspective.
When a business evolves
If your business has expanded, merged or evolved beyond its original offering, rebranding can help you tell the consumer of your widened services and products. Meanwhile, rebranding can help you connect with a wider target market.
How to approach rebranding
Rebranding comes with a unique set of challenges. Not only are you looking to appeal to a wider new audience, you are also looking to ensure the fresh brand strategy still retains your existing loyal clientele.
So how do you go about it?
Mission and Vision
Your mission and vision are an essential element of any branding strategy. They define who you are, what you stand for and what you hope to achieve.
This is the first place to start with any rebranding move, because the likelihood is, defining the widened parameters or shifted focus in your vision and mission will be core to your new brand look and feel.
Incorporate existing branding
Rebranding isn’t about throwing the baby out with the bathwater, it’s about taking the best elements of your current brand proposition and modernising or refining them.
By incorporating elements or references to your existing brand, you allow the consumer to retain their association with your history and reputation, but with fresh, reinvigorated appeal.
And chances are you have invested a great deal of time and energy building that reputation, authority and trust. Now it’s a matter of translating that into a more appealing look, feel and ethos that reflects your current position in the market.
Consider your competition and the market
Early in the business process you likely conducted a whole host of due diligence, mapping out who you are, what differentiated you from the rest of the market, and who your ideal customer was. A rebrand requires you to do this again.
Your aim is to position yourself well within your market, allowing the rebrand to tell the story of who you are now, why you are unique, and why they should connect with and select you.
Manage the rebrand carefully
Rebranding takes time. It also requires a financial outlay. And this process will need to be managed carefully. There is no point rushing a rebrand only to have to repeat the process again as this may see your consumer become confused about who you are and disconnect.
Bear in mind the intricacies of rebranding. It will affect everything from your letterhead to email signatures, websites, corporate newsletters and so much more.
So, prepare a timeline for what’s involved and who is responsible for implementing the change.
Involve your team
By the time a business reaches the point of rebranding, they probably have a team of workers and employees on board. These people should be involved in the rebranding process to varying extents as they will be your new brand ambassadors.
Importantly, employees are uniquely placed to understand the evolving ethos of the brand and the customer’s perception of it.
Tell the world
Once you have worked through the process of rebranding and have crossed the I’s and dotted the t’s in how the change will be implemented, tell the world – not just that you have rebranded, but why. The why is essential to bringing the consumer into your world and having them associate favourably with your brand.
Great examples of rebranding
Although it is a brand with immeasurable success and consumer trust, by the early noughties Old Spice was old news.
Perhaps a victim of its own marketing success, the brand had become a staple for the older generation, that, as Forbes reflects: “wasn’t especially bad or especially good”.
In 2010, they launched a massive rebranding campaign including an advertisement and series featuring athlete Isaiah Mustafa in a strange, funny, “random” video that implied the deodorant was sexy, surprising, fun, and youthful.
“The rebranding effort was a success, in part, because it helped a new demographic access a traditional product. It capitalised on new trends, like non-sequitur-based humour and online videos, and ended up being a massive boon for the brand,” Forbes explains.
These days Apple might seem a company that can do no wrong, but that wasn’t always the case. As we’ve mentioned before 1997 saw the tech-co on the verge of disaster.
The company was close to bankruptcy and many of its products had flopped when Microsoft injected some much-needed cash and Steve Jobs resumed the helm.
Prior to Jobs’ return, the brand didn’t stand for much, the association consumers had with it was tarnished and quite frankly the imagery was outdated.
With refocus and renewed energy came a rebrand, which saw the coloured apple logo peeled back to the sleek grey motto it is now.
“With an image of minimalism and modernity, a host of innovative new products, and a series of marketing and advertising campaigns that focused on ideas and experience more than products or purchases, Apple was able to attract a new, diversified customer base, and cement itself as a thought leader in the tech industry. It’s still riding the momentum of that dramatic shift today,” Forbes notes.
Right about the time that the documentary Supersize Me came out, fast food retailer McDonald’s was losing traction.
Associated with unhealthy eating, fast cheap, food and capitalism, McDonald’s desperately needed to rethink its product offering and branding strategy.
It did. Rather than continue beating the same old drum, the company began taking some major gambles both in their branding and in the products it believed a new-age consumer desired.
The new brand image was about fresh, affordable and open, with imagery, ordering and products which all reflected this theme.
Established in 2009, Uber is famous around the globe as accomplishing for the ride share industry what Google did for search engines. Now its common parlance to “Uber” it just as you “Google” it.
But recent years haven’t been ideal for the company in terms of publicity. The company became embroiled in bad press relating to their business practices and culture.
It also became a global entity. A rebrand was required. In 2018 Uber issued new branding that seeks to capitalise on its name recognition. Sleek, minimalist and simple, the rebrand exemplifies everything the company hopes to portray.
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