Starting a business takes a lot of time and effort. Growing one to be efficient, profitable, and well-liked requires even more discipline on your part as the business owner. For the sake of growth, we sacrifice much to achieve a particular vision for our brand. As such, it is extremely frustrating when we don’t get the results we expect.
But don’t panic; don’t throw away years of sweat, tears, and dedication just yet. You may just have the next million dollar idea – or at least a business model that provides enough value to your customers – but the brand strategy serving the business execution may need some refinement. And the most effective way to get your brand strategy – and thus your business’s effectiveness in the marketplace – back on track is to evolve and refine your brand with a rebrand.
For those unfamiliar with what a rebrand may include, or aren’t certain what encompasses a brand in general – read on.
What is a Brand?
A brand is how & why you connect with your audience. It consists of your actual message and how it’s communicated, as well as your audience’s experience or perspective of your product/organization/etc..
So, whether we like it or not, consumers dictate the market. To add complexity to this matter, their preferences evolve over time. As a brand, you must evolve with your target market or risk losing out to the competition.
All brands, large or small, have or will experience a rebrand at some point in the course of their life. We’ve all seen well-known companies such as Google and Pandora Music, and more evolve their brand positioning & identities to continue staying relevant.
What Is Rebranding?
Rebranding is a marketing strategy in which a business changes its image – either by developing a new name, logo, organizational structure, or a combination of these elements in order to create a new brand identity in the minds of its consumers, competitors, and the organization itself.
Whatever the cause is for rebranding, the strategy re-positions a brand to communicate a new message to its audience. However, it takes careful consideration for all elements of your marketing strategy to pull off a successful rebrand.
Should I Consider a Rebrand?
Considering to rebrand depends on the extent of your company’s need. Lots of businesses commonly focus too much of their energy into creating a business, not a brand. Here’s a list of the most common triggers that lead to rebranding:
1. Need to Reassess Your Target Market
As mentioned, consumer preferences are always changing. There’s such a wide variety of alternative products/services available, that your brand can become obsolete in a matter of a year if you aren’t staying relevant to what your audience wants. However, be mindful not to alienate your current customers in your search to redefine yourself. The best approach is to refine your identity to appeal to both new and existing customers. Be proactive in your approach to understand your customer’s wants and needs or risk losing out to the competition.
2. Brand Feels Outdated
This is probably the most common and most important reason to consider a rebrand. You never want your brand’s image or messaging to be stale for too long. If you don’t take action to correct this quickly (and accurately), you run the risk of becoming obsolete in the minds of your audience, allowing competition to come swoop them up – think back to companies like BlockBuster, Toys-R-Us, and Kodak.
Your logo and messaging must resonate with the market. Remember, preferences change; be the brand who stays on top of current trends or be an innovator.
3. Change in Leadership
Many smaller businesses are generational and are passed down every decade or so to the next generation in command. A healthy transition welcomes someone with a whole new identity to the organization, and inevitably leads to a change in the way the organization is run.
When this occurs, it’s important that the messaging is correct. If a complete 180 in the strategy is required, it’s important the overall messaging remains relatable; not only for your audience but your organization as a whole.
4. Your Core Values No Longer Align
While crafting a brand strategy, you’re going to focus on making sure all aspects (values, vision, purpose, motivation) are aligned with your overall strategy. As with any changes to your organization, core values can be lost or misinterpreted by both employees and customers if careful consideration isn’t maintained throughout the process. These are essential to your brand’s identity and should be revisited when needed to ensure all messaging is on target.
5. Merger or Acquisition
As with changes to leadership, a merger or acquisition adds another identity (specifically another organization’s) to an already established brand. Two very distinct cultures and identities can clash if not done properly, resulting in a lack of resonation with customers and the potential for a loss of market share. This can present a lot of new problems (think back to the Quaker Oats and Snapple acquisition, or Sprint and Nextel Communications), and is not to be taken lightly.
Understand Your Core Values and Purpose
Our Core Values Exercise does a great job to get clients to think about what’s important about their brand. We facilitate this process to allow the business owner to prioritize their vision, while providing examples of what motivates them to do what they do every day. At a surface level, this exercise is quite simple. It calls for a variety of cards, each with adjectives written on them, to be spread out in front of the business owner. They are tasked to sort through the cards, and to choose the ones that most resonate with their vision of the brand and the cards that do not. While doing this the business owner is asked to explain why each card does or does not relate to their perception of their brand and vision. We will often ask the client to do this again, but this time with a particular target market’s perception in mind.
Often, we will find there is a gap in how the business owner and their ideal markets perceive their brand strategy.
This exercise preps business owners, such as yourself, to have an open, honest look into their brand – who you are, how do you want to be known by your audience, and why do you do what you do for your brand?
This process allows us to see what is working and is not working for a brand, and to focus on key strategies for the brand. Consider a core values exercise such as this for your own brand assessment – it will prove invaluable to surfacing priorities and opportunities for your rebrand process.
Consider Your Audience and Industry
Utilize the values exercise along with in-depth research into your target audience and your competitor’s products and services.
Why does your audience choose you over the competition? What makes you stand out?
Don’t stop there. Also take the time to understand how your own employees perceive the brand. For a rebrand to be successful, everyone involved must be on-board, otherwise your company’s identity will be split and your messaging will be lost.
Implement Changes and Monitor Progress
As you develop and refine the messaging and markets for your rebrand, keep in mind that this is an on-going process. It is good to consider the 5 points above as triggers to periodically revisit your rebranding strategy to ensure you stay on track. Everything from website design/copy, promotional offerings, products/services, and content will need to remain in harmony.
Is a Rebrand Right For You?
Schedule an initial free consultation today and discover what a rebrand can do for you.