It happens to brands all the time — the business has evolved over time, and the original name, logo, website or other identifying assets just aren’t quite the fit they used to be. Or, while they may still be a fit, they’ve become dated and in need of a refresh. Yet another possibility to consider: Maybe the branding just doesn’t (and perhaps never really did) accurately reflect the business’s true corporate identity, its purpose or the unique offerings that set it apart from the competition.
Of course, a rebrand can involve a lot of work. To be as effective as possible, it may need to include an overhaul of all assets that reflect the business’s old branding, including the brand’s logo, website, website copy and more — maybe even up to and including the business name. But perhaps more important than all of these things, for the brand to truly flourish, a careful reexamination of its corporate strategy and ideal market position may also be needed.
We know — all of this sounds like a major undertaking, and it is certain to require a lot of collective thought and effort. But if all the effort leads to a better reflection of your brand, what it does and the value it can provide to consumers, it’s well worth the investment. And as one of only 24 certified brand strategists nationwide, The Brandon Agency is uniquely qualified to help your brand discover its true “WHY” and effectively align its business objectives with its brand strategy. In fact, our proprietary Convergence process is designed to do just that. (More on that later.)
So, just how do you know if your brand could use a refresh? Consider these eight telltale signs that your business could benefit from a rebrand:
1. Your brand lacks clarity
One of the most vital requirements of a brand is that it give consumers a clear impression of what a business is and does. If these things aren’t conveyed clearly, it can lead to confusion and, ultimately, a greatly reduced chance of conversion (or even initial investigation by the consumer). Because let’s face it — if consumers don’t understand a brand, most will simply walk (or turn, scroll, click, etc.) away without ever considering the purchase of a product or service. If your brand’s assets leave potential consumers scratching their heads, it’s time to consider an update.
Pro marketer tip:
The best way to ensure that consumers “get” your branding is user testing/surveys. Before deciding on a final logo, for example, ask a study group to review it and share their initial thoughts on it. If the answers aren’t hitting the mark regarding the products and/or serviced you actually offer, it’s likely best that you take another route. Further, brand clarity is an important part of developing a strong relationship with consumers. To become paying customers, consumers must first understand your brand’s meaning. As part of our Convergence process at The Brandon Agency, we evaluate the current state of your brand, seeking out consumers’ perspectives based on their behaviors, motivations, and experiences to develop a brand strategy that will help you thrive.
2. Your brand needs more differentiation
It’s not uncommon for different businesses in the same industry to share common branding characteristics. After all, when a company’s main undertaking is, let’s say, selling cars, when it comes to branding, the business has essentially the same well of creative possibilities to pull from as another business that’s selling cars. Business names that include “Auto,” “Drive,” “Car” and the like are bound to be common in the industry. And that’s OK, as businesses want the consumer to be able to recognize what they do (see the “clarity” entry above). But if your company’s name and branding become hard to distinguish from those of your competitors, you may want to consider a rebrand. Of course, differentiation goes beyond a brand’s name. To truly set itself apart from the competition, a business’s entire brand strategy should be uniquely geared toward communicating its strengths and its Unique Value Propositions (UVPs) — the things it provides to its consumers that the competition can’t or simply doesn’t. At the Brandon Agency, our Convergence process gathers input from all of a business’s key stakeholders to develop a strong list of facts, critical concepts, product/service benefits, consumer motivations, and more — ultimately leading to the development of three to five UVPs that, moving forward, will serve as the basis for the brand and marketing.
Pro marketer tip:
The need to differentiate from competitors, of course, applies at the highest levels like names and logos, where it’s essential to stand apart from your competition — but it’s also important at less prominent levels of your branding. For example, be careful to consider the art used in your marketing materials. If stock photography is used in your advertisements, etc., it could negatively impact your brand if a competitor uses the same stock photos in their marketing materials. Using professional photography taken just for your business, alternatively, puts a spotlight on your unique business and helps set it apart from the competition.
3. Your business has evolved, but your brand hasn’t
It’s not uncommon — and sometimes it’s even critical to success and survival — for a business to expand its offerings or target new markets over time. Maybe your original list of products and/or services has evolved in response to consumer demand. Or perhaps new developments related to your offerings — or, more broadly, to the market or even the global environment — have brought about a pivot in your business strategy. Whatever the reason for the business shift, if your branding no longer accurately reflects your offerings, it may be time for a rebrand — or, at the very least, an update to your existing branding to reflect the new realities of your business.
4. You’re targeting a new demographic
To foster company growth, businesses must sometimes target new consumers. Perhaps you originally had an older demographic in mind, but have come to realize that your products and/or services could be the perfect fit for a younger generation of consumers. Or maybe you’ve found that your offerings are particularly resonant with working moms or college students — and the promising demographic isn’t one that you originally had in mind. Whatever the newfound demographic for your brand might be, it might be worth considering a rebrand that takes this audience into consideration and effectively resonates with its members, especially if your original branding didn’t necessarily play to this group of consumers.
5. You need to shake off a bad reputation
A rebrand could be especially helpful if your company — deservingly or not — has struggled with a poor reputation for one reason or another. First and foremost, the critical step in such a case is to address the problem that has led to a souring of consumers’ impression of your brand. Once the factor(s) that led to the poor reputation have been overcome and remedied, a rebrand can offer a fresh start for your company and can help consumers see your brand in a new light.
Pro marketer tip:
This has been covered above, but it’s worth saying again — before rebranding, it’s vitally important to first resolve the issues that initially led to the bad reputation. Otherwise, the rebranding is likely to be a short-lived fix, and the bad reputation will in all likelihood take hold again — making a waste of all the time and effort put into the rebrand. Here at The Brandon Agency, our Convergence approach to brand development helps guide the way. Using it, we embark upon a collaborative info-gathering process with your business’s key stakeholders to synthesize the various thoughts, behaviors, motivations and actual experiences that shape the perception of your product/service/brand. The resulting insights can, in turn, help to identify any problems regarding consumer perceptions of your brand, which can directly inform the issue-resolution process moving forward.
6. You’re losing your competitive edge
If your company has seen competitors gradually cutting into its market share, the root of the problem likely runs deeper than your branding. This is a sign that your business might need to do a thorough self-examination to identify why competitors are gaining ground — and why your business is losing it. Part of the remedy, though, just might be a successful rebrand, especially if competitors have taken an advantage in marketing their offerings and their branding clearly outshines that of your company.
7. You’ve merged or changed ownership
A merger or acquisition doesn’t always necessitate a rebranding — especially if the company whose name will take the helm moving forward has a great reputation, and strong branding is already in place. Often, though, a merger or change in ownership presents an opportunity to create something new and special, and any new personnel or leadership that’s brought in with the changes can offer new eyes and insights for a rebranding effort. When a rebranding is called for, our Convergence process can help an evolving brand clearly understand the equity shifts created by a merger/acquisition, in addition to helping identify any potential concerns the changes may create among consumers. Further, the insights gained can help the brand clearly define to target audiences just who/what the new company persona is.
8. Your old branding is outdated/has lost its sizzle
Maybe that font you used for your original branding was the perfect fit for the era in which your company was founded, and the color palette you used for your logo was highly popular at the time. But times and popular opinions change, and just like that shag carpet that modern-day homeowners are pulling up in an effort to update their dated living rooms, your branding could use a refresh to bring it up to date. If elements of your brand are making your marketing efforts and creative assets look outdated, it may be time to consider a rebrand. The key here is ensuring that the updated brand resonates with target audiences — an undertaking that can be greatly informed by the research conducted during the Convergence process at The Brandon Agency. Consumers want a relationship/connection with the brands they choose to buy, necessitating that a brand continually evaluate just who it is and how consumers are perceiving it — which research can uncover.
6 tips for rebranding success
So you’ve decided the time is right for a rebrand, but you’re not sure just how to get started or what direction you should take things in. Be sure to keep these tips in mind as you move forward with creating your new and improved brand:
1. Keep your company’s mission and values front and center
The ultimate goal of your rebrand is to shine a light on what makes your company unique and special, and this usually starts with its core mission and values. Make sure you’re keeping these things in mind as you move forward so your new branding will accurately reflect who you are as a company and why you do what you do.
2. Use your current brand as a starting point
Especially if your company has been in business for a long time and has worked hard to earn and maintain a positive reputation, you might want to retain some of the original brand elements that your customers have come to know and recognize — and that still provide an accurate reflection of who you are as a company. Keeping at least some elements of your brand consistent and identifiable will help to reinforce the position you’ve earned in the marketplace, along with helping to retain the perceived value of your offerings. Alternatively, a rebranding that’s wholly inconsistent with your company’s former identity could lead to confusion and mistrust among consumers.
3. Keep an eye on the market/your competition
Before you dive too deep into your rebrand, take some time to research your competitors, what they’re doing, and how your company can differentiate itself. By doing your due diligence, you’ll be able to identify the things that make your company unique and shine a light on the value that you can deliver … and others can’t.
4. Make it a team effort
Your employees are invested in your company’s success, and they probably know better than anyone what your company is all about and what makes it special. Consider opening the brainstorming efforts around your rebranding to all of your workforce — your employees will appreciate having their voices heard, and you might get some of your best insights and ideas from departments and people you might not expect. Further, be sure to get input from your consumer audiences — and especially loyal customers — as they have a stake in your rebranding, too.
5. Don’t rush, but keep your efforts on track
Create a game plan going into your rebrand, complete with deadlines and to-dos for the prominent players involved. A rebrand can be a complicated process that requires a great deal of time and effort — and it’s easily side-tracked and even abandoned without careful planning and proper management. Along the way, be sure to follow a clearly defined strategy so that all of your efforts are working toward common strategic goals — which our Convergence process can help your brand map out.
6. Launch your new brand strategically
Once you’ve completed your rebrand, it’s important to get it out there and shine a light on it. Make plans to publicize your rebranding on all of your social and earned media channels, and be ready to explain why you chose to embark upon the rebrand in the first place. Further, find a way to let your customers know what any new elements of your brand might represent. Telling the story behind your rebrand and the efforts that went into it will help your company gain some welcome publicity at a time of company change, and informing your customers about the thoughts and reasoning behind your company’s new look will help to eliminate any potential for confusion. Finally, once the rebranding process is complete, the Convergence process stresses the importance of making the changes sink in with “enculturation,” which ensures that the brand is incorporated into every aspect of the organization, that each employee understands his or her role in the new brand, and that the UVPs are strategically used to advance the brand.
Could your business use expert help with a rebrand that hits the mark with your target audience? And beyond rebranding, would the deeper-dive Convergence process help your company to develop a single-minded platform from which your brand can flourish?
At The Brandon Agency, our fully integrated marketing firm boasts a team of seasoned specialists who can cover rebranding and much more — including web design, brand strategy, creative, interactive, social media, analytics, conversion rate optimization, SEO and more — all in one place. And as certified brand strategists, we can help you with the macro-level business evaluation and focus shifts that are sometimes needed put your brand on a course to success.
To get started with professional assistance ranging from a simple brand analysis to a comprehensive, Convergence-guided strategy tailored to boost your brand’s overall performance and identity, contact us today.