When it comes to business assets, your brand is one of the most valuable ones you have. Your reputation with customers and what you stand for is the key component that sets up apart from your competitors and gives loyal advocates a chance to spread the word about what you do.
However, even the strongest brands need revisiting from time to time, as market conditions and the needs of consumers shift. It can really pay to make sure your messaging is still aligned correctly and that it resonates out in the world.
Rebranding can range from a complete overhaul to a subtle freshening up. It all depends on doing a strong evaluation, understanding your customer and identifying exactly what - if anything- needs to change. So, should your business be rebranding in 2018? Read on to find out…
You want to: tap into new markets
If you’re planning a shift in the demographic you target, it could well be time to reconsider if your branding is still fit for purpose. This should only be undertaken if you’ve done extensive research - firstly, to make sure that you have a product of service offer that speaks to your new target market, and secondly to consider the branding that will best resonate with them and with your new aims. Sometimes a business evolves over time, discovering more about the best fit for them after they’ve launched and been active for a while. Sometimes a new audience comes along and takes an existing product to their heart, or shifting macroeconomic conditions drive a change that shifts the centre of the business. In this case a rebrand is a worthy investment. It can help to reposition your offer and redefine what you stand for, achieving stand out in a crowded marketplace.
You want to: get rid of an old image
Brands may be created by companies, but they are also shaped by audience and customer perception. So it’s entirely possible to wake up one day and realise that the perception of your brand has shifted over time, or perhaps no longer aligns with your original intentions. Sometimes groups do people adopt a brand and create negative associations with it - this happened to British luxury fashion house Burberry during the 1990s and it took a long time and a lot of reinvention to bring back the elevated status, focus on heritage and reputation for modern design after it had been claimed by football hooligans. Sales can be lost due to negative associations, so not all publicity is good publicity! In a case such as this, a brand repositioning is a delicate but very necessary operation in order to secure the long term future of the company.
You want to: Change your raison d’etre
Every company has a reason for being, a vision of what it wants to achieve. And if that changes, for a variety of reasons, then you will undoubtedly be left with a brand that doesn’t quite fit anymore. Your brand is your currency, and your main means of staying relevant. And that is not a static picture- it needs to evolve over time. Keeping one step ahead is important in order to create a company with a legacy. Knowing when it’s time to redevelop the message is absolutely key. As long as customers are at the heart of the decision you make, you can’t go too far wrong by redefining who you are and what you stand for, and communicating that through the various brand assets you have - logo, language, imagery, typography, audio - can be a powerful way to make a change statement.
You want to: keep up with a changing market
The interesting part of running a business is that factors are always changing, both internally and externally. In an evolving market, you need to constantly have one eye on remaining competitive, and a huge part of that is having brand currency. Your product offer or service might be amazing, but if you’re not communicating that effectively, then you’ll end up losing out anyway. Your brand needs to be associated with new innovations, especially if you happen to work in any field remotely influenced by technology. Branding is about creating trust and consumer confidence, so you need to embody expert knowledge in your field.
You want to: develop beyond the name
Because rebranding covers so many routes - from a complete change of name, to freshening up assets and tweaking your existing brand, sometimes you can find that your company name is well known but it is hindering your progress. If other components of your product mix are missing, you may find you have something that doesn’t live up to the image. In that case, you must first address the root cause of the issue and work to correct it. After that, it’s a case of adjusting your branding and messaging to communicate that change - so it could be that you have a renewed emphasis on quality, and you now need your brand to tell that story for you. The past work of making customers familiar with your brand needs to be backed up with the execution to warrant the name. Sometimes it’s necessary to go through a period of rebalancing.
Rebrands are always a risk, but a necessary one. How to avoid failure? Make sure it’s all about your customers, that you have clearly articulated goals that the rebrand is designed to bring about, build a credible strategy for how to get from where you are to where you need to be, and follow it carefully.
Don’t compromise your brand equity by straying too far from what customers know and like about you. Take your strengths and build on them- a rebrand should be a catapult to bigger things. Most of all, if it ain’t broke, don’t try to fix it. There’s no point in rebranding for the sake of it- there must be a carefully thought- out strategy. Follow those simple rules, and you’ll be on the other to success.