Every brand goes through it. When you start a business, you come up with a name, possibly a logo and can’t imagine a more suitable representation for what you do. It serves its purpose and you establish faithful service and brand confidence within your customer base and capitalize on brand recognition.
As time goes on, though, your business needs to keep up with the times. You may not change a thing about your product but the packaging, your logo and your company perception needs to show a connection with the here and now. Sometimes it’s just updates on a color palate. Other times, it’s a change to a shape or a font – regardless, changes are needed to make sure a brand stays true to itself and relevant to the times.
The decision to rebrand is a choice taking many factors into consideration. It doesn’t begin with a CEO walking into a room saying, ‘I think we need to rebrand our business. I’m tired of looking at our logo.’ In fact, if your boss DOES walk into a room and kick off a rebrand that way, RUN and don’t let the door hit you on the way out.
A rebrand is a careful, deliberate decision taking into account your brand sales, your position in the marketplace over the last few years and also trending. Some brand marketers see value in holding product perception panels and focus groups as well.
Whether or not you need these customer touch points depends on how in tune you are with your audience. A company floundering and needing to completely retool would benefit greatly from these exercises. A growing brand with a changing market needing to stay relevant might already have the info these customer insights would bring.
Here are some key things to remember when you’re working towards a rebrand:
Know Why You Need One. The answer to ‘why do we need a rebrand?’ should never be ‘just because.’ As with most things in business, there needs to be a strategic reason behind it and careful considerations need to be taken note of. Being deliberate in rebranding shows business maturity and an acumen well-tuned into business needs. Anything less when going into such a huge endeavor won’t get a good job done.
Know What You Currently Mean To Your Customers. Do you really know what your brand perception is? When marketers start moving outside the office, out into the world and observing how users and customers interact with their brand, one of two things will happen: They’re understanding of the brand in the marketplace will be reinforced (which is what we hope happens) or the brand will be knocked off the white unicorn flying around fairytale land … because brand perception didn’t even resemble reality.
Know What A Big Job It Is. I can’t tell you how many rebranding exercises I have been through where the marketing team had no idea what was affected by the decision to change. Think of every single place your logo touches. Not just your website, stationary and business cards – but signage, TV spots, print media, pens at the reception desk and magnets sent out in the welcome packs, not to mention the welcome packs. Then think about the other people who use your logo – affiliates, people who sell your products, etc.
Identify The Elements You Like and Don’t Like. Your brand perception exercises may tell you what the market likes and doesn’t like about your brand. But it is also important to identify what you like and don’t like. Rebranding exercises are the perfect time to refocus things you were working towards but veered from in the fury of everyday business. Get your people retuned in to what the brand is about and the nuances that were inadvertently brushed under the rug in previous campaigns. Get focused again on what makes your brand fantastic and if it is possible, get your people to discover it as well.
Likewise, give everyone the chance to identify what doesn’t work with your brand positioning and look. It could be a color or a small nuance – but figure out what those items are and omit them from the new look.
Get Everyone Involved. The decision to change a brand is not just one person’s decision. If it was left to the people up top, then most brands would be so disconnected with the public there wouldn’t be much of a competitive field out there. You will find the top brands, when deciding to make a change, involve people from all walks of their business and their customer base. Brand identity is emotional. It hits home. So to create a good one, you have to have a wide range of people with varying emotions, needs and creativity taking part.
It’s Not Just a Job For a Fancy Branding Firm. Many brands have been led astray by the ideas and abilities of large branding agencies. Think of it this way: A branding firm can create you a fantastic, cutting edge identity. But once they’re done, they’re done. YOU and YOUR EMPLOYEES have to live, breathe and sell the brand. If you do bring in a firm, be actively involved and go with your gut! Listen to suggestions, but your business and your brand experts should guide the effort.
Don’t Let The Excitement Wear Down. It is a difficult process, but it is super important to keep momentum going well after your brand launches. For instance, we launched our Build.Automate rebranding in May – but just last week we received our new business cards and it was like Christmas in our offices. We are still so excited in regards to what the rebrand means for us and our futures. If you can build on the excitement and transfer it into higher productivity, then everyone wins.
Regardless of whether you are redesigning to update your image or if you’re trying to revive a brand that’s losing pulse, know your reasons and know what you want to accomplish. A redesign to just redesign won’t do anything for you except cost you money and set you back with your consumers.
We all know change for change sake doesn’t usually have a positive impact. And a well-executed rebranding plan will not only make you look smart to your consumers, it’ll prove to your employees their business is being led by people who believe in the brand and all it can accomplish.