Why Rebrand or Relaunch?
The reasons for rebranding and or relaunching a company, product or service are numerous and should not be taken on lightly without sound strategic reasons for engaging in the process.
Brands are constantly evolving to ensure they keep abreast of changing needs in the market place. It’s the level of change required that is the critical issue. A brand audit and market research will help assess the rate of change required amongst other things.
Even some of the greatest brands in the world need rejuvenation. Brands like Guinness, Coca-Cola and Kellogg’s are iconic, global in their status. Yet when you look at their market leadership over the decades, they have all changed even if it has been in a more evolutionary sense over time, rather then radical overhauls. However some branding does require an extensive change in order for the business to achieve the required regeneration for growth and profitable returns.
Revitalisation maintains and celebrates the history and heritage of the brand but shows its target audience (current and future) that you are adaptive to change. Change is necessary to stay relevant to the times in which a brand exists and to ensure its future success.
Some of the reasons for rebranding, relaunching and revitalising a brand include the following:
Brands need to stay relevant to their target market, to keep up with the times and keep pace with changing customer needs (e.g. services, accessibility, convenience, choice, changing trends, technology). A brand that has become old-fashioned in the eyes of its audience is in danger of stagnation if not already in a state of erosion and loss of market share.
In a fast moving environment with aggressive competition, rebranding may be required to change the offering to the market in order to create a more compelling reason to buy in the minds of the target audience. Rebranding can be used as a means of blocking or outmanoeuvring competitors or a way of handling increased price competitiveness.
Sometimes rebranding is required because of globalisation where the same product sold across multiple markets is inconsistent or different e.g. Marathon’s change to Snickers, Opal Fruits change to Starburst, Jif’s change to Cif.
4. Mergers & Acquisitions
When two entities combine there are typically two unique audiences left to communicate with. Sometimes this can require a rebrand or relaunch in a way that will appeal to both. In other cases one of the brands may be more dominant requiring more of a revitalisation or refresh with it becoming the sole dominant player.
Technology is constantly evolving and the rate of change often exponential. If a brand is technology related e.g. internet, software, hardware and the product offering constantly innovating then a rebrand frequently follows the natural and fast rate of change. Rebranding or revitalisation becomes an outward expression of the companies evolution and ensures the brand’s change hungry customers keep coming back to see “what’s new”.
Taking a brand to a new position is an involved process e.g. from an economy price fighter to premium position, and invariably requires a rebrand to signal a change in direction, focus, attitude or strategy to its target market. Also again rebranding used as a means of blocking or outmanoeuvring competitors or a way of handling increased price competitiveness.
Rebranding can be used to decrease business development and operational costs, or a way of countering declining profitability or consumer confidence. It can also be used where there are complex and sometimes confusing mixes of product portfolios which frequently undermine the brands impact, (along with considerable advertising, branding clutter and media proliferation) all of which causes brand incongruence and audience fragmentation and consequently badly needs consolidation through rebranding to achieve brand impact and strong growth again.
When small companies grow into bigger entities they and/or their products frequently require a rebrand or revitalisation to meet the needs of the bigger business. Typically smaller companies start with more modest brand offering, due to budget restrictions, which are inadequate to meet the needs of a bigger more sophisticated business and a rebrand is required.
9. Legal Requirements
Occasionally legal issues may arise that require a company to make changes to their branding such as copyright issues or bankruptcy e.g. similarities between naming and designs. For example The Jelly Bean Factory became The Jelly Bean Planet in Ireland to ensure differentiation from the USA brand Jelly Belly.
10. Morale & Reputation
If a company brand has demoralised employees or confused customers then a rebrand may required. A thorough rebrand process will work to unearth the issues that need addressing and could be solved through key changes, including a completely new look and feel to the organisation. A rebrand in this instance can improve a brand’s competitiveness by creating a common sense of purpose and unified identity, building staff morale and pride, as well as a way of attracting new customers, enhancing relationships with existing customers and attracting the best talent to the business.
Different Aspects of Rebranding
Rebranding and brand revitalisation can be as small scale as some subtle changes to the company or product graphics e.g. brand identity, packaging tweaks, sales literature updates, vehicle livery, staff uniforms and website refresh or as major as a full blown name and culture change affecting both the intangible and tangible aspects of the brand.
Rebranding can be categorised to include one or a combination of all the items listed:
a) new brand name
b) brand identity, brand logo, trademark, tagline or slogans
c) graphics, brand imagery, online presence i.e. website, Facebook pages etc.
d) company or product livery, uniforms, stationery, digital presentations
f) product displays, exhibition stands, signage & wayfinding systems
g) exterior and interior design
h) advertising, on and offline
i) movies, video and show reels
j) new product launches, differentiations, extensions or enhancements
k) a change in brand profile, values, mission, goals, story, message, promise, offerings, personality, emotion, behaviours, tone of voice, culture, brand experience, customer care and so forth
l) potential change in target market, brand positioning, brand architecture
What’s Involved in the Rebrand Process?
When considering a rebrand you typically need to include:
1. Rebrand planning, a brand audit, research and recommendations
2. Application design for all touch points
3. Brand implementation, launch and rollout
4. External communications of rebrand to all relevant stakeholders; customers, media and shareholders
5. Measure of impact and commercial return
Reasons Not to Rebrand
While the debate, in term of pros and cons, on whether to rebrand or not can be as complex as the process itself, the following reasons not to are largely worth reflection too.
1. A young brand
If a brand has only been on the market a short time e.g. 3 years, bearing in mind time can be measured differently depending on your market/industry, then it’s probably premature to rebrand. It takes time to build a brand and evolve it into something authentic and meaningful to its target audience. Rebranding to “sell” more in such instances might be better served by a different approach to marketing or a new campaign unless the existing brand solution is very flawed.
2. Change for the sake of change
It’s not a good idea to rebrand just because “you want to” or because somebody wants to stake their next career move on a rebrand. If there is no compelling commercial reason e.g. new innovation, behaviours, culture and all the other reasons mentioned above, then the target audience will be left with an empty experience. On top of that you’ve wasted a lot of money !