Thinking in Rebranding your Brand?
Almost every company that stayed in business long enough understands that at some point in time, a rebrand will be in the cards. And it could be ushered in by varying reasons. Be it a changing business landscape, an evolving clientele, a shift in company vision, or an attempt at PR damage control – rebranding is a strategy that will eventually pop up during a company’s life cycle.
Below is a guide to help you approach rebranding the right way—from assessing if you need one, and what you need to know before rebranding; to how to go about it, up to launching the new brand.
Let’s get started.
Do you need to rebrand?
Companies need to tread cautiously when considering the bold move of rebranding, as it affects a multitude of facets that may not be evident at the onset.
This means that apart from taking careful consideration, a prospective rebrand needs to be purposeful and deliberate, while being able to communicate a message aligned with specific goals. And this is why you have to be sure that you’re rebranding for the right reasons.
The wrong reasons
Rebranding should never be a decision brought about by a panic reaction to things like subpar sales, poor brand awareness, or ineffective marketing efforts. If the concern stems from things like these, the real issues (like lack of effective marketing efforts) should be addressed rather than undertaking a total rebrand, which would only take you away from coming up with tangible solutions.
Make sure you exhaust all necessary measures to address specific issues, before even beginning to consider rebranding.
Signs you need to rebrand
● You developed a bad image/reputation
This isn’t always going to be your fault, and isn’t limited to being the result of a PR faux pas. A popular case of this was what Burberry went through in England. The British fashion brand once became a status symbol for gangs across the country.
The association became such a PR problem for the brand, as a number of pubs banned Burberry clothing from being sported in their establishments. As you might expect, the negative association drove away potential customers.
To combat the issue, Burberry aggressively rebranded itself as a high-end, luxury clothing brand, tapping A-list celebrities like Emma Watson for its ad campaigns. The move worked, as Burberry shortly began attracting a different customer base.
It’s important to note, though, that Burberry didn’t completely rebrand. They shifted the brand’s positioning, while maintaining its look and prices.
● You’ve outgrown your brand mission/vision
If you’re doing things right, chances are, at some point in time, your business would evolve from how you originally envisioned it to be. Be it the brand’s name (or even just the logo’s font), what might’ve perfectly encapsulated what you’re trying to accomplish may not be as applicable to how you, or the landscape is 10 years later.
You could be expanding geographical reach, or pushing new services – if you feel like you’re undergoing significant developments to your core business, take time to consider if your brand still works with the positioning and personality it needs to keep pace with its growth.
● You’re targeting a new market
Speaking of growth, it’s not always about offering new services – sometimes, it’s just about tapping into a new demographic to boost sales. For example, growing companies have long kept an eye on the lucrative Chinese market as a target for expansion.
But if you’re core business is, say based in the US, the branding strategies that worked for you, may not be as effective with the cultural differences you’re going to encounter in this new market. As such, a tweak in branding may be in the offing. Carefully consider the market you want to tap into, and assess what changes your branding might need.
● You’re not standing out from the crowd
Forbes points out that competitive differentiation is one of the primary goals of branding. As such, if you find that your branding isn’t doing enough to separate you from a saturated market, rebranding may be necessary.
One way to reassess how you can make your brand stand out is conducting a brand audit. Determine what exactly it is that only your brand can offer? Then, take a look at your branding collaterals as compared to your competitors. Is your unique offering being communicated, or do they all look the same?
There are subtle ways like a change in color scheme, messaging, or use of visuals where opportunities to differentiate can be found. Take a close look at these, and it may just lead to a big boost for your brand.
● Your branding has become too complicated
Another key element of branding is that it has to communicate a brand narrative in the simplest, most focused way possible. So if you find that your branding cannot be understood without an accompanying elevator pitch, then you need to clarify your brand messaging. The goal is to not only be recognizable, but instantly understandable.
● You’ve become outdated
As we’ve alluded to earlier, the business landscape is one that’s constantly changing, and sometimes – a rebrand becomes a necessity to keep pace with the changing times. Apple was great at this during the computer wars. It dropped “Computers” from its name, and repositioned itself as a lifestyle brand (initially with the iPod, then the iPhone) that everybody, and not just the techy crowd, uses.
As generations come of age and become of increasing economic importance, your brand needs to be able to attract them – as Apple did spectacularly with millennials.
What you need to know before rebranding
Types of rebrand
● Partial Rebrand
There have been a number of partial rebranding examples cited in the points above. Essentially, this is the type of rebrand you use when you’re pushing new services, tapping into a new marketplace, or are looking for a refreshed identity. This entails tweaking certain parts of an established brand, so that it’s able to reflect a new focal point.
As noted in a case study, for the longest time, Old Spice was a brand for older generations of men. Its rebranding turned to humorous ad campaigns that was able to engage and entertain a new demographic.
● Total Rebrand
this type of rebrand is one that entails a complete transformation of a brand. Frequently, a total rebrand is necessitated when a merger between two companies takes place.
For example, two companies that offer distinct services may opt for a total rebrand to allow them to operate as one company under one brand. Such was the case with Cocke, Finkelstein Inc, and CFLane, which rebranded as CF Real Estate Services LLC.
The rebrand allowed the organization to enjoy success across two platforms (investments and multifamily services) under a single, refocused brand.
Difference of Rebranding and Repositioning
In many of the cases cited above, brands used repositioning as a strategy to address specific business concerns. Repositioning could range from upgrading a logo, or messaging that allows a brand to fit a new area or demographic. Normally, repositioning entails maintaining the same products and services, but perhaps packaged differently, or in new formats.
As explained by Geoff Colon of the Branding Strategy Insider Team, in rebranding, the brand is often offering new solutions, products and services that no longer fit their previous identity. Rebranding is necessitated when the new offerings or territory doesn’t resonate with the original brand.
When deliberating the matter of rebranding, it’s important to take note of these differences to be able to decide which course of action to take.
How to go about rebranding
Planning and Preparation
Identify the reasons
One of the first points of this article is the most important when considering rebranding, and that’s determining the reasons behind it. Once you’ve determined that you’re doing it for the right reasons, you can ask the following questions to give you a clearer idea of what it is exactly that you want from your rebranding:
- What story do I want my brand to tell?
- Who is my audience?
- What is my long-term goal, and how does my brand identity fit into it?
As a business, you must keep in mind that your brand is not about what you think your business is about, but what your customers actually think.
This is part of why it’s necessary to conduct an audience research to get insights from your prospective customers, the general public, your stakeholders, and your employees. Some of the ways you can accomplish this is thru surveys, focus groups, and conducting interviews.
Not only will these insights give you an idea of which parts of your brand works with your customers, you’ll also get a handle of the kind of language your customers use to describe your brand. This part of the process may take valuable time and research, but it’s always better to talk to them rather than assume what they’ll like, want, and buy.
Identify what to change and retain
Even when you’re undertaking a total rebrand, there will still be certain elements that you’d be better served retaining. Establishing clear goals and objectives for the rebrand will help you determine those that needs updating, and those you can retain.
You can also plot points on why the previous rebrand didn’t last, as well as what worked and what didn’t to ensure that you’re next rebranding will last.
Set a timeline, and delegate tasks and responsibilities
There’s a lot of work entailed in a rebrand, but setting up a comprehensive timeline that maps out major milestones, while having realistic deadlines will make the workload seem more manageable.
You can use apps like Smartdraw to provide timeline templates that you can easily share and transfer to Microsoft Office Suites. You also need to keep track of delegated responsibilities by using tools like Google Sheets or One Note, which can help you monitor everyone’s to-do lists.
Meanwhile, time-tracking tools like Everhour helps stay within your time budget for all the rebranding projects, and team members.
Inform those that need to be informed
Communication is key in any business, and this fact is only further heightened when it comes to the critical task of rebranding. As such, you need to talk to everyone involved—from your employees, and stakeholders, to your partners and suppliers, as well as your current and future customers.
It’s crucial for a rebranding to have a great narrative. That means, communicating it should explain:
- The need for a rebrand
- What it represents for your brand
- What value it adds
- Why people should care
Don’t let anybody get caught off guard by not communicating your intentions. A successful rebrand is one where everyone is prepared to embrace a fresh identity.
Total rebrands normally entails designing a new logo (often with a new color scheme and font pairing), which should also translate to an updated web design. Get the help of a design studio to help you choose the best colors, typography that reflects your rebranded image.
If you’re a smaller company and want to try your hand at doing it yourself, Namify came up with some rebranding guidelines focused on design for beginners.
Once you come up with a new identity for your brand, you need to ensure that it’s reflected on all platforms across the web (website, social media, third party sites). While that may sound like a lot, this simple checklist should help you get started:
- Create a list of old URLs and redirect them to new content pages
- Send updated logos, descriptions, taglines, etc. to affiliated partners who link to, or mention your site
- Update social media profiles (handles, URLs, logos, etc.)
- Update SEO terms and keywords
If you change domains, it’s best to keep your old site running for more than 24 hours. This allows servers time to recognize your new IP address. It’s also recommended to preserve, or replicate content where possible to help preserve your search engine rankings.
If you’re afraid of Google penalizing your site for duplicate content from your former website, it is advisable to keep your new website out of public access before launch.
While updating your digital presence if crucial for any rebrand, there are certain elements of offline implementation that’s even more important. These include:
- Government records, and necessary permits
- Business accounts (utilities, banks, etc.)
As well, any physical collateral that identifies your business should also be updated. These could include:
- Business cards
- Signages, displays
- Media kits
Of course, you can get by with just implementing your new branding externally, but leaving traces of your old identity on internal materials will, at the very least, make you look disorganized and unprofessional, and at worst, be confusing to current and incoming staff.
Apart from general office stuff like envelopes, folders, return address labels, etc. – documents and templates need to be updated as well.
Overall rebrand analysis
This is essentially a last minute check-up to know if your rebranding is aligned with the objectives you set, and if it answers the reason why you rebranded in the first place. To help you with this, you can ask the following questions:
- Is it recognizable at a glance?
- Does it reflect what your company does, as well as its updated mission/vision?
- Is it unique?
- Does it tell your refreshed story?
- Is everyone involved on the same page with the rebranding?
- Can your target customers relate to your new brand?
By its nature, rebranding is disruptive. But the disruption can be either good or bad – both to your target customers, and your stakeholders. Asking the above questions can help determine whether your decision to rebrand was the right one.
Now that the tedious groundwork has been done, launching your rebrand should be seen as an opportunity to celebrate – both the company’s past, and the bright future that lies ahead.
One way to immediately foster a connection with your refreshed brand is by humanizing the process. By pushing out authentic content that explains your brand transition, what it means to your company, and how it improves your brand overall, customers can see beyond the imagery change, and connect to the messaging behind it.
Of course, you should push all content related to the above across all marketing channels to ensure that you communicate your rebrand to as wide an audience as possible. Additionally, you can also organize events and launch parties connected to your rebranding to further ramp up interest.
As you may have gleaned, rebranding entails a tedious process. As such, it should never be a knee-jerk reaction to business issues that could otherwise be addressed through other means. Rebranding takes careful thought, and should only be done for the right reasons.
Are you considering undertaking a rebrand? What issues prompted you to consider the strategy? Make sure you put enough thought into the matter, and exhaust other available means before deciding to embark on this significant journey.
Author Bio: Jolina Landicho is a marketing strategist working with various brands online, and the content marketing manager of Avenew Media. She is devoted in helping businesses bridge relationship gaps by providing in-depth, actionable advice on online marketing, business development, and growth hacking.