If you think that your company doesn’t have a strong enough brand to compete in the marketplace, you may just be right. Things change quickly, the internet has changed everything about the way people perceive businesses, and the more technology advances the easier it is for people with less money and experience but a great idea to compete with you and your established company.
But rebranding is a serious, and potentially disastrous, proposition. There is more to it than just slapping on a new logo and slogan, and a rebrand has the potential to alienate your customer base that already exists.
The important things to take into consideration before launching into a rebrand are equity measurement, differentiation in the market, accessibility to the market, brand awareness, relevance, and consumer attachment. If your company can improve the interaction with the customers in one or more of these areas, rebranding might be right for you.
Some reasons you might rebrand:
- Expereincing growth, predicting growth, or acquisition.
- New line of business or entering a new market.
- New audience. (A full rebrand isn’t always needed here. Think about McDonald’s calling itself “MickeyD’s” and adding the “I’m lovin’ it” jingle to the existing brand to appeal to younger markets.)
- Relevancy. Have you grown and evolved your company without bringing your brand along into the evolution? (Often brought about by new technology. Think of the Yellow Pages rebranding to YP and moving toward online information.)
- Legal issues or trademark.
- Competitiveness in the market. If the companies in your sector are all well established like yours, a preemptive rebranding can open your market up to new technology or younger customers and gain the advantage.
- Negative publicity.
From the website risingabovethenoise.com from DBD International, here are 19 questions to ask before you start rebranding:
- Why are we doing a rebrand?
- What problem are we attempting to solve?
- Has there been a change in the competitive landscape that is impacting our growth potential?
- Has our customer profile changed?
- Are we pigeonholed as something that we (and our customers) have outgrown?
- Does our brand tell the wrong (or outdated) story?
- What do we want to convey? To whom?
- Why should anyone care about our brand?
- Have we isolated exactly who should care about our brand?
- Have their needs, or the way they define them, changed?
- Are we asking our customer to care more about our brand — and what it means — than we do?
- Is our brand associated with something that is no longer meaningful?
- Is our brand out of step with the current needs and desires of our customers?
- Are we leading with our brand direction?
- Are we following with our brand direction?
- Is the goal of this rebrand a stepping stone (evolutionary) or a milestone (revolutionary) ?
- Will this solution work in 5, 10 and 15 years from now based on what we can anticipate?
- Have we assigned some committee to manage the project versus someone (or at most, two people) who is/are focused, inspired and can lead?
- If we were starting our business today, would this be the brand solution we would come up with?
Some things to remember as you start to build a new identity for your company:
Does your brand have a story? Is there a simple way to summarize and embody the reason that your company exists? Is there a story that makes your product resonate with your audience?
Customers often equate a consistent brand with reliability. Tropicana rebranded the juice packaging in 2009 and the response was immediate and intensely unfavorable. The company went back to the original packaging within weeks, but sales had already fallen over 20%. This breakdown of Coca-Cola versus Pepsi may have some hand in explaining why Coke and Diet Coke are the two top beverages sold in the United States.
Do you have too many branches? Are there too many brand names? Consider consolidating brand identity and company name at the same time. Take after FedEx, who in 1994 was Federal Express, and at the time they had separate names and business for every separate service. This made them unable to compete with UPS. Until the merged it all together under the FedEx brand.
Don’t think too much. If you have the consumer confidence, maybe consider keeping the logo the same in your rebranding. Don’t confuse your customer base. Keep it simple. Keep it in line with your concept. Logos and typeface and color schemes are not the time to get overly complex.
Have fun. Be true to your nature and have fun in your own way. That can be fun in the Jaguar way or fun in the Taco Bell way, but there are companies out there excelling specifically because they know that excitement and an honest approach will win the customers they want to be winning. Take Old Spice, for example. After a study in 2010 Old Spice discovered that 60% of men’s body washes were purchased by women. This led to an entirely new branding of the product to entice a female audience. The “Man Your Man Could Smell Like” campaign was fun, and goofy, and increased website traffic by 300% and doubled sales from the previous year.