In business, your brand is everything. It’s absolutely crucial that your business is sending out the right messages through its branding, and as time and society change, so must brands. If you’re getting that itching feeling that your brand may have lost the magic touch that it once had, then you’re probably right. Don’t stress though, rebranding is a process that all companies have to go through at some point, it’s just important to recognise when it’s time to push the rebrand button.
For some, the idea of rebranding seems risky, time-consuming. But in reality, if you find the right and creatives, refreshing your brand image can bring a whole range of benefits. For example, a success rebrand can allow you to:
- Bolster your marketing efforts
- Stand out from the crowd
- Reach new audiences and markets
- Enhance your brand value
- Attract top quality staff and clients
Recognizing the signs that your company needs to rebrand is not always easy, especially when you’re primarily focused on keeping your business running from day-to-day. Branding often gets forgotten about, and after a brand name, logo, and message is established, it’s often just left alone. But in reality, brands need to be far more dynamic and should constantly be evolving to meet the objectives of their business and the needs of their customers.
To do this, brands need to ensure that they implement a holistic brand strategy that sends out the right messages and effectively aligns communications with the elements of the marketing mix. This can be a bit of a challenge, granted - but the reward is unlimited brand growth.
The first step is spotting the signs for a rebrand, so let’s get into it.
As your brand undergoes expansion, it’s likely that your target audience will also expand and diversify from your original demographic. When this happens, and you start to adapt your products or services to appeal to a new audience, it’s important that your branding reflects this. It’s all about creating a universal brand that doesn’t exclude, but instead engages all different groups of consumers.
Example: In a move to appeal ‘cool’ to a younger, urban audience, the renowned high-end fashion brand, Burberry, recently launched a campaign which involved endorsement by popular UK urban rapper, Skepta.
Your value proposition is essentially the promise of value you intend to deliver and communicate to your customers. In the early days of your company, your value proposition may have been communicated to meet the demands of the market, but as market conditions and consumer needs change, your value proposition should too.
It could be something as simple as a development in technology that alters the direction and model of your business, but whatever it may be, the golden rule is: when your business changes, so must your brand.
Example: Amazon first started out as an online bookshop. Now, it’s one of the biggest retail companies in the world and has diversified into new areas such as technology (Amazon Echo) and entertainment (Amazon Prime). Amazon changed their branding to become a more universally accepted, household name.
Fighting against your competitors can seem like a never-ending battle. In order to win your battles, you need to ensure you stand out by achieving a genuine competitive advantage.
If you’re operating in a highly saturated marketplace, you’ll often find that most companies are doing the same thing. When you notice product offerings, promotional activity, and communications become standardized, that’s your cue to be bold and do something different. You need to really emphasize your USP and drive your marketing campaigns forward. Your weapon of choice? Rebranding!
Side note: When rebranding, make sure you don’t swerve away too far from your core identity, as this can disconnect your brand from your original customer base.
Example: M&Ms used their USP of ‘chocolate that melts in your mouth, not your hand’ to their advantage by rebranding with this as their core message.
Brand identity essentially refers to how you present your brand. Whether it be through your name, logo, use of colors, shapes, language and all whole range of other visual elements, these are all signals that communicate a certain message to your audience.
Brand image is how all of these signals are perceived in the mind of the consumer. Aligning these two concepts is a fundamental part of successful branding and so it should be a primary focus of your business. If how you intend to be perceived doesn’t match how you are actually perceived by the public, your brand communications are clearly not right. Rebranding can help you refocus the tone, voice, and overall appeal of your brand, so that it better bridges the gap between identity and image.
Example: In 1998, Apple famously replaced their colorful rainbow logo with a sleek grey/white apple design. This was a move by Apple to portray a new identity (in connection with their first ‘iMac’) and a distinct evolution from the past. This was the first real step Apple took to reshape brand perceptions in a positive way; setting them on a path towards enormous brand growth.
Following on from the concept of brand image, if your image becomes tarnished and suddenly takes a turn for the worse, rebranding might be the key to saving your business.
Nowadays, with the power of social media, a brand slip up can snowball into a in a matter of minutes. From a few negative reviews or minor moments, consumers can start to have bad perceptions of your brand and may even stop using your products or services. Reversing these preconceptions can be tricky and take time, but rebranding can be an easy way to start afresh and cut ties with your old image.
Example: Uber has recently been hit by a number of scandals that has created a bad brand image for consumers. In an attempt to repair the damage, new Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi has made it his mission to reinvent and reinstate the company culture; involving a new logo change that emphasizes the ‘U’ in the brand name.
As your brand grows and edges its way into new markets, it may cause a confusion amongst your consumers in terms of the overall vision and purpose of your brand. In this instance, it may be wise to consider a brand extension strategy; in which a series of sub-brands are created underneath the parent brand/company. This way, you’ll be able to associate your already-established brand name with new product categories or niches; increasing the likelihood of consumer trust and acceptance.
Example: Google started out as a search engine, but extended their brand into email hosting (Gmail) and a number of different other platforms/services.
If you’re operating in a crowded marketplace, prices can become very stagnant and fixed. If you’re finding that raising prices are yielding very little in terms of proportional sales, rebranding might be the way to go.
You won’t be able to transform into a premium brand overnight, but by gradually reshaping the perceptions your target consumers have of you, you’ll eventually be in a position to convey a unique brand value that people will naturally be more willing to pay more for.
Example: At a cafe or sandwich shop, a sandwich could either be sold as ‘Bacon Sandwich’ ‘Thick cut bacon on slices of freshly baked sourdough bread’. The latter is more likely to appeal as a premium product, and so you can charge a higher price for it despite it literally being a bacon sandwich.
For the most part, the best brands attract the best people. Whether it be employees, clients, or other brands wanting to collaborate, your company should be a magnet for quality personnel. Rebranding can inject a new lease of life into your brand and allow you to communicate new messages, both internally and externally, that may resonate with like-minded people and companies.
There are clearly many things that indicate it’s probably time your business rebrands itself, and whilst they are sometimes difficult to spot, it’s important you ensure you and your team are constantly on the lookout for these signs. Tracking your are a great way to do this!
If you’re reading this in search of guidance, then you’re obviously considering a rebrand. That in itself is a glaring sign that you should probably put the re-branding wheels in motion. We know this can be a hassle, so we suggest reaching out to a brand agency such as Champions (UK) plc who can offer creative marketing solutions to help revitalize your brand.