A strong brand is the key to success and sustainable growth for your business. However, brands are not static, unchanging identities – the most successful brands live and breathe, evolving along with changing shifts in market tastes, trends and demands.
Rebranding or brand revitalisation, when properly planned and implemented, can be a powerfully effective strategy for rescuing or reinventing a failing brand, jump-starting a stagnant brand, expanding your markets, or initiating substantial business growth. A rebrand may be subtle or evolutionary in nature, or it may involve radically transforming a product, service, or entire brand.
Regardless of the extent of your rebrand, a thorough brand revitalisation strategy is a must in order to be successful. Here are the top tips on surviving a rebrand of any scale, and emerging as a stronger and more profitable organisation.
Understand Rebranding: It’s Much More Than Just Changing Your Logo
Even for those brands undergoing a subtle rebrand as an evolutionary step forward, there is much more to a successful rebrand than changing your company or product logo. Rebranding always results in shifted audience perceptions of your brand, no matter how large or small the changes – and this strategy should not be engaged lightly.
Approaching a rebrand without strategic planning, market insights and customer engagement can be disastrous to your brand, often resulting in storms of negative social media, if your brand is very high profile with an engaged audience.
Airbnb, an online accommodations rental platform whose logo changed in July this year brought a flood of social chatter comparing the new logo to parts of the human anatomy. BBC News reported on the backlash, including a roundup of Twitter comments where it became the top trending item for a time. Others on the other hand praised the US home-rental services new look. Airbnb calls its new logo Belo, and says it represents “the universal symbol of belonging”.
Also earlier this year, the long-established candy brand Hershey’s caused a similar internet controversy when the company changed their logo from the traditional silver foil-wrapped Hershey’s kiss to a solid brown graphic with a gray curlicue to represent the iconic brand.
Image via www.mashable.com
Customers and commentators alike were also divided in their opinions with some having a field day online pointing out the shortcomings, as they saw them, with some very unfavourable comments compared to those who thought it fresh, demonstrative and sleek.
Image via www.mashable.com
Regardless of what your views are in relation to both these brands, simply launching a new logo is not the right way to approach a rebrand. You need a solid brand strategy based on a brand audit coupled with research, market testing, and an honest analysis of your current brand performance before making any changes that will impact your brand.
Make Sure Rebranding is Really the Answer
Prior to a rebrand, the most important consideration is knowing why you’re rebranding, what your goals are in making changes, and whether a rebrand is the right solution.
Some of the most common situations where it makes sense to undergo a rebrand include:
- Relevance: In order to thrive, brands must stay relevant to their target market and keep up with evolving customer needs and desires
- Competition: If a brand encounters aggressive competition that damages sales, rebranding can help to push back and restore a competitive edge
- Innovation: In industries where rapid change is common and expected, such as technology, rebranding can help you preserve relevance to new markets and remain competitive
- Globalisation: Market demographics can vary from region to region. A brand that is looking to expand into new global markets can benefit from rebranding to suit a wider audience
- Repositioning: Rebranding is required for a brand seeking to change its market position, such as moving from an economy level to a premium brand with higher pricing
- Mergers and Acquisitions: If two brands merge, or one brand acquires another, rebranding is essential to establish the new, single identity of the separate brands
On the other hand, there are some situations where rebranding or revitalisation is not the correct strategy. These can include:
- Young Brands: Unless the existing brand solution is highly flawed, brands that have been on the market for a short time, such as 3 years or less, should not rebrand. Young brands would be better served to adjust marketing strategies or roll out new campaigns
- Change for Change’s Sake: Rebranding should not be engaged simply because you feel like changing. There should be a compelling commercial reason to rebrand, since changing “just because” results in failure more often than not
Rebranding the Right Way: 4 Top Tips for Pulling it off Successfully
Once you’ve established that a rebrand or revitalisation is what your brand needs, how do you effectively plan a rebrand? Here’s how to build an effective rebranding strategy and make it through with a stronger and more compelling brand.
1. Assess Your Current Brand Perception Honestly
If you’re undergoing a rebrand, there’s a reason your brand is struggling. You need to know exactly what that reason is, and how your rebranding strategy will address it. This means there is no room for light observations or wishful thinking – you need to know the brutally honest reality of where your brand currently stands.
The best way to accomplish this honest assessment is through a comprehensive brand audit. A brand audit involves thorough examination of your market position, your brand’s performance relevant to the competition, its strengths and weaknesses, and a full view of both internal and external perceptions of your brand. Through this process, you may uncover surprising information about your target audience – and you may even discover new audience demographics that will be suitable for your brand with effective rebranding.
2. Obtain Organisational Buy-in
A successful rebranding relies not only on effectively changing customer perceptions, but also ensuring that everyone in your company participates in the rebrand programme. Each of your customer touch points must reflect the new brand collateral and brand values – which means your entire company, from sales personnel to general staff to CEO, top down, must understand the goals of the rebrand.
3. Ensure Seamless Consistency
Maintaining consistency is a primary key to an effective brand. When undergoing a rebrand, make sure that every piece of your brand collateral reflects the changes and the new brand vision – from product packaging and logo design to website, sales material, office and retail locations, staff uniforms, trade stands, presentation tools, in short all your brand collateral, and even email signatures.
4. Communicate the Rebrand Externally
Naturally, your new brand will be rolled out to customers but it’s important to get their feedback with some test research initially before you fully implement and launch to market. But don’t forget to involve stakeholders, shareholders, and media outlets with news of your rebranding. Awareness of a rebrand is crucial to its success.
Whether your rebrand is evolutionary or comprehensive, whether your reasons are to maintain relevance, beat out the competition, or reposition your brand to increase profits, surviving the rebranding process involves careful planning and strategisation – and a willingness to ensure both internal and external consistency.
Your brand is much more than just your logo. Brands represent the total customer experience, and rebranding must be approached with care and forethought. But when implemented properly, a rebrand can deliver a wider audience, a strengthened brand platform, and higher profits for your business.
So, what do you think?
• Has your company undergone a rebrand in the past?
• What are the reasons you are considering rebranding now?
• Could your brand benefit from a brand audit, regardless of whether you’re rebranding?
• What would you change about your brand, and how do you think it would impact your target audience?
• How can you rebrand to improve your brand’s relevance?
• Could you raise prices and increase profits through brand repositioning?
Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments. We’d love to hear from you!