Rebranding is vital to the success of any business, even the strongest and most established brands have a shelf life. Due to the unpredictability of the market, the shifting priorities of customers, and a million otherworldly forces beyond the control of any company, a brand is only fresh and relevant for five to ten years.
Rebranding is a concept that is bound to come up at a point in the life cycle of every brand, it is the systematic process of reshaping the perception and identity of a brand to reposition it in the marketplace. During a rebrand, changes are made to the key identifiers of a brand like its name, logo, colors, tagline, or website.
The decision to kick off the process of a rebrand is one that usually precedes hours of careful planning and strategic deliberation. Data from the research informs the strategy or brand positioning, where a brand is repositioned according to customer needs and marketplace opportunities.
The most effective rebrands start with research into current brand perceptions to ascertain that of both internal and external stakeholders. Building and maintaining a strong brand helps attract more customers who are willing to pay more thereby improving the capacity to attract and retain your business’s next most valuable asset: your employees. Only after research and strategy does a rebrand proceed to the identity phase, where the visual and verbal identities of a brand are reimagined. Visual identity includes logos, colors, typography, and photography. Verbal identity includes names, taglines, and messaging.
So, how do you know when it’s time to rebrand? While the timing differs for every business, there are a few telltale signs a rebrand is necessary.
- When consumers find it hard to differentiate you from the competition.
Differentiating your brand from the competition is all about being unique and memorable while presenting yourself to potential customers. Difficulty in differentiating brands occur quite a lot in the marketplace due to similarities in brand identifiers and or service/product delivery methods. Most consumers may find it hard to differentiate a brand from another when brand identifiers are alike. This is an indication that a rebrand is due and it is followed by strategic efforts to be unique and stand out to be easily identifiable from the crowd.
Some ways that you can set yourself apart from the competition include –
- Change brand visual and verbal identifiers
- Improve product quality and service delivery level and be the absolute best at what you do.
- Change Packaging of products and mode of service delivery.
- Change customer interaction approach.
- Incorporate different variations of the same product by being more creative and flexible.
- Be adaptive and attentive to customer behavior and needs in order to adjust quickly and position favorably.
- When you feel like your brand Identifiers like logos, business cards or websites are out of touch.
As a brand ages, public perception of the trending designs change according to emerging and recent technologies. If not kept in check, customers will lose the connections they had to such a brand and you will be left with an out-of-touch brand with stale identifiers. To reconnect with the target audience, steps that can be taken include but are not limited to the following-
- Revamp the Website and create new media files with a modern state-of-the-art touch.
- Design business cards that incorporate quality design and provide needed information relevant to access you and your brand.
- Adopt modern interaction methods like encouraging feedback and correspondence between yourself and loyal/potential customers.
- When your brand vision is not streamlined or focused on a unifying mandate.
Your brand’s vision is a clear statement of intent that outlines what your company wants to achieve and helps define your future strategy by ensuring that a common mandate is being worked towards by team members in order to achieve a common goal. When such a statement is not defined, it harms a brand in the long run because various members of the team will begin to work on different targets instead of aggregating efforts towards a common goal, this is counterproductive and detrimental to the forward trajectory of growth.
Ways to ensure that vision is streamlined towards a unifying mandate include –
- Rebrand to create a clear and defined Vision statement and share it with every brand stakeholder to ascertain a common awareness of it.
- Hold stakeholders’ meetings to make said intentions known and enforce compliance.
- When there’s a drastic change in business model or strategy.
As stated earlier, the world is changing, and with it comes the requirement that brands change to adapt to today’s volatile market. However, changes do not necessarily require that brands launch a new product or begin to render new services. Sometimes, all that is needed is just to adopt a new business model or strategic approach to position your brand in the best position to maximize opportunities associated with the new technologies and maximize profit. Rebranding at this point makes it possible to incorporate the new methods in your brand identifiers and allow the public to become aware of your new and improved mode of operation.
An example that has successfully changed its business model to match technological advances in the marketplace is Netflix which has over the years transitioned from an online DVD rental service to a streaming platform, then to a content provider. This great feat could only be achieved because of a total overhaul in business model and strategy, and complete awareness of technological advances and how best to incorporate them to maximize profits.
Reasons why brands change strategy or business models include-
- Unpreceded market movements bring up a need to change with the changing market.
- Changes in consumer taste and behavior.
- Technological innovations and advancements require corresponding adjustments.
- Attempting to appeal to a new population.
- When there’s a significant transition in management and business structure such as a merger or an acquisition.
In the event of significant changes in management or leadership, a rebrand becomes imperative to allow the new administration to assert their views and methodologies to the general stakeholders and the general public. This cuts across all aspects of business because it encompasses the creation of a new vision and mission statement which may not be far off from that of the previous management. It sets the atmosphere so that members of the team are aware of a common mandate that new management is working towards and consumers also feel connected, and kept in the loop.
- When expansion or relocation to another geographical location occurs
Relocating from one geographical location to another may occur for different reasons, it could be for search of a more favourable market base, better access to factors that influence production of goods and service delivery, or just a change in scenery to have a sense of fresh beginnings. However, for whichever reason you relocate, it is important to reshape brand image to create awareness and make a “buzz” to alert new potential customers that you are now within reach and are quite competent to provide to needs within the niche you specialize.
- When making efforts to disassociate from former acquaintances that are bad for business.
Rebranding offers an opportunity to rewrite the narrative and set the tone of how a brand is perceived from that moment on. When a scandal ensues and it has the potential to harm the reputation and public image of your brand, that might be the perfect time to rebrand. This makes it possible to clear the air and begin on a new slate with your loyal customers. It also sends a clear message to stakeholders that the brand is focused on what’s important and is intent on staying profitable in the long run.
- When trying to connect to a new audience.
We all know that in recent years mobile browing has consistently grown to become the greater share of internet traffic, the younger generation has become more influential on the internet and is becoming the key demographic of businesses. As a result, responsive and adaptive design have become key prerequisites of design in the digital sphere to make the mobile experience as hitch-free as possible. This means that you have to periodically optimize your web platforms and digital outlets to integrate the latest trends and accommodate the younger population while appealing to their nature. Rebranding in this case is paramount to make it known to the target demographic that your brand is now more accessible to them and it serves as a great avenue to sell to them the new and improved additional benefits that they stand to gain by interacting with your brand.
The decision to rebrand is never an easy one to make. However, to compete and survive in the modern, ever-changing global market, there is a need to keep a constant eye out for emerging trends and essential pointers that indicate that a new approach has to be taken to achieve company goals. At first, this may be inconvenient, but in the long run, it yields the best possible outcome. All this article does is just highlight a few of those tell signs that indicate that your brand is due for a rebrand.