Rebranding your business is a serious and complex undertaking. It’s not something that should be taken lightly, especially if your business has been around for a while. Businesses that rebrand too often or for the wrong reasons often find themselves adrift, caught between identities that neither they nor their customers can understand. Rebranding at the right time, however, can increase your brand recognition and improve the impression you give to customers. Below I’ve listed five excellent reasons for you to rebrand your business’ identity.
1. A Shift In Business Priorities
Successful businesses never stay stagnant. Instead, they regularly improve their existing products, introduce new product lines, and enter new markets. Sometimes the changes take the business to a place that doesn’t properly fit its current brand identity. Switching core products, for example, or changing your target market to an entirely different demographic. In these cases, a rebrand would not only make perfect sense, it would be vital to the business’ success.
2. Staying Relevant
Every so often a brand, particularly an older one, will sometimes need a jump-start to bring new life into a dated image. But rebranding for relevancy doesn’t just involve creating a new logoand adding splashy colors to your brochures. A business has to examine its core products, company values, and corporate image and see how it is perceived in today’s market.
3. Mergers And Acquisitions
When one business merges with another, the results can be somewhat muddled. Before the new company can reintroduce itself to consumers, it has to undergo a thorough internal review to decide which of its products and offerings can be merged and retained, and which have to be dropped because it was made redundant.
Brand image has to go through this same process. Is one business name going to be dropped in favor of the other? Will both brands stay separate, retaining their existing identity and consumer base? Or will both brands combine and form a third brand with an entirely new personality?
4. Competitive Pressure
No market ever stays still, and this is especially true in the case of competitors. Competing businesses are shifting tactics and changing strategies just as much as you are, and there are times when they hit the marketing sweet spot and begin to pull away. In this case, a competitive rebrand would examine what the competition did right, see how their strategy could be adapted to your business, and adapt in order to stay on an even playing field.
5. Damage Control
Every business is bound to make a mistake, whether through their own action or through the action of one of their employees. Most of the time a business can survive the hit to its reputation and move on. But there are times when the damage done to the company image is so severe that it’s best to sever your ties with your previous identity and do a total rebrand. Hopefully, customers will disassociate your new identity from its previously negative image, and resume business as usual (after addressing what brought the fiasco about in the first place).
Do you believe in the theory of evolution? If you do, great! Even if you don’t, when it comes to your business and your brand, evolution plays a critical role in not only surviving but also thriving in this competitive world.
The dawn of each new year is a good time to conduct a brand audit and answer the following questions about your business and your brand:
You can listen to the audio podcast of this article or simply continue reading below:
1) Customer Profile Changes
Is your customer changing? Customers change frequently and in this hyperactive world with the internet running rampant on mobile devices, they are changing rapidly. Their buying habits and their preferences are changing.
You have to evaluate if this change has an impact on your business. Is your product or service relevant to the changing customer base? Are you still in tune with the buyer personas and understand fully what they expect from your business and your brand?
2) Market Segment Changes
Every market changes too. Depending on hoard of factors, these changes can be subtle or they could be fundamental. Government legislation can have an impact. Global events can be the cause. Economic crises could be at play. It is time to evaluate your market segment and see what kind of changes are happening.
Are new technologies on the horizon or already at play? How do they impact your market segment? How relevant is your product or service in context of such technological advances? Do you have to make changes to your product or service to ensure your business remains relevant?
3) Competitor Changes
What are your competitors doing? Chances are that this is one aspect you may be fully aware since you may have been keeping an eye on your competition and their marketing. But the important thing to evaluate is not just the tactics that your competitors are using or improving but the strategies that they are crafting and implementing.
Strategic developments in your competitors camps is one killer you need to be fully aware of. It is not easy but if you study your main competitors, you may be able to glean the marks of a strategy being implemented. Things to look out for include:
New branding initiatives – Are any of your competitors going for a brand overhaul? Do you see a new logo or a new and better website? Do you see new graphics and style – a visual language – emerging from their marketing?
New mission statements – Is any one changing their mission or vision statement? What kind of change is it? Do they seem to be positioning themselves differently? Do they seem to be changing their target audience?
New messaging on their website or in their marketing – Do you see a marked difference in the way a competitor may be
Reframing their services or product offerings? Do you see an increase in their content or social media activity?
Pricing tactics that deviate extremely – Is any of your competitors changing their pricing structure in an unusual way? For example, are they changing from hourly to value based pricing or perhaps increasing their prices significantly or decreasing them extremely?
How do you evolve your brand?
Wether you notice the above changes or not, it is great practice to periodically evaluate your brand strategy and make any necessary adjustments. Here are a few things to work out:
1) Brand Strategy – make sure your brand strategy aligns with current market conditions and target market. Ask yourself how your strategy stands up to any changes that you may be seeing or changes that you suspect may take place in the near future. How is your messaging doing? Are your marketing campaigns, your website and your social media channels having the right tone? Are they creating any engagement? If you do not have a brand strategy or a positioning strategy in place, may be it is time to start looking into it!
2) Brand Identity – make sure your brand identity is up to date and fresh. If your logo design is a few years old, take a critical look at it to determine if it needs to be refreshed. If there have been fundamental changes to your business, your service or product offerings or your philosophy, then a complete new brand mark may be ideal. Also ensure your corporate identity items such as your business cards and invoices are all up to date in terms of how they look. If you have an unprofessional logo design that you probably got from a crowd sourcing website when you were launching your business and were trying to keep the costs low, then it is surely time to up the game and get a professionally designed unique logo that creates the right kind of impression!
3) Website Design – make sure your website is fresh and relevant. Does it encourage trust and loyalty or does it look dated and tired. The website says a lot about your brand and you should be willing to invest in keeping it in shape all the time. The opportunity cost of a poor looking website could be serious to your bottomline. If you have been using a free template based website or had it designed by an offshore company when you were starting out, then it is time to invest in a professional website that will add positively to your revenues!
4) Business Blog – make sure your business blog is full of fresh content. Do you post content that is useful to your target audience regularly or do you just use your blog to post about promotions and company news now and then? How often do you update your blog? Are you using your blog to ensure you are considered an authority in your segment? If you do not know what I am talking about and do not have a business blog then it is time for you to educate yourself on the fantastic benefits of it and invest in getting one started right away. By this time next year you will be thanking yourself for having done that!
5) Social Media Channels – make sure your social media channels branding is consistent and of high quality. Pay particular attention to how fresh they are. There is nothing worse than having a social media channel with entries from a few months ago! Your target audience is watching you all the time and such neglected social media pages would hurt your brand severely. If you do not have any social media presence and are still of the school of thought that social media is fad, then think again!
Rebranding could mean different things to different businesses and brands. What does it mean to you? If you are not clear and need to pick my brain, go ahead and email me from our contact page and I will try and answer your questions.
Does Your Company Brand Need A Reboot?
Is your brand thought of by consumers in the same way that you think? Brand influence changes, but those closest to a brand will not necessarily notice. Susan Gunelius of brandcurve asked readers to say what first descriptive word popped into their heads about 5 well-known brands: Coca-Cola, Dell, Ford, Nike, and Budweiser. She didn’t state the sample size of participants, but the results may surprise you for some of these brands.
If you’re a startup/ small business, creating a brand identity system is something that may be even more important to you than to an established company. A lot of new entrepreneurs, especially those working online, may not have much familiarity with branding and identity. It goes beyond logo design and corporate identity design. Take a closer look at the difference between branding and corporate identity.
If you are in fact just starting out and do not have much of a brand, you can control your brand destiny.
- What thoughts, ideas, descriptions do you want your brand to be associated with?
- Who is your target market? If you don’t know, you’d better decide.
- Are you targeting the right demographic with your advertising and promotions? Gimmicks are useless unless your target market is associating your brand with the specific ideas you want.
- What is your brand’s benefits to your target consumers, as far as you are concerned? Are you saying that in your marketing campaigns, your website design?
- Is your logo unique and memorable, without drawing any negative connotations?
This list barely touches the scope of building a brand, though it’s a start. If your business is small, you probably do not not have a full-time agency to promote you. Being aware of some of these points helps you be prepared for that time when you do hire an agency. In the meantime, you can do some business self-promotion.