The decision to rebrand is not a light one. While rebranding may give a boost to a company whose sales are lagging, rebranding has the potential to confuse, annoy, and distance customers. Ask Gap about their rebranding fiasco…
So when is it time to rebrand? Rebranding can help solve a problem only if your current branding is part of the problem. And certainly if your branding isn’t the problem, it is good to remember the old saying: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
Typically, a rebrand is not the end-all solution to a company’s problems, but rather, when needed, it’s part of an overall strategy of change and improvement and forward thinking within the business.
The first thing you must do is determine the nature of whatever problem you perceive with your business and then decide if rebranding will help solve that problem. Here are a few questions to ask:
1) Does your brand correctly represent your business?
You may have started with a brand that was perfect, but your company’s products, philosophy, or personality may have grown or changed over time. The brand identity no longer is aligned with your company culture, values, or personality. Maybe your current branding is no longer consistent across your audience touch points.
This is where a rebranding effort may be necessary to keep your business moving forward. The key is knowing exactly what your brand personality, promise, and values are.
2) Has the market changed?
You may have been clearly aligned with your audience when you started, but your audience demographics may have changed over time. You must always remain crystal clear about who your ideal customer is. What does your audience value? Has that changed?
If your ideal customers no longer respond to your brand, rebranding may be necessary to recapture them.
3) Has your audience lost interest?
You were the new kid on the block. You brought something fresh, something exciting, something novel. You were different, unique. Your audience was intrigued by your offer. But now, the audience is bored. They want something new again. They are looking for the next big thing, a spark. Excitement.
Do you need to rebrand in this scenario?
Rebranding may potentially help (especially when it is combined with one or more other issues), but it may not be the brand that has a problem. It may be the execution of the current brand that is lacking and that needs revamping. Your current brand may be just fine. It is the other parts of your business that may need attention.
4) Have your competitors changed?
You used to be the market leader, but competition is getting fierce and you are losing ground. Looking at what your competitors are doing right with their brands can often bring to light what you may be doing wrong with yours—and may highlight problems that can be resolved by rebranding.
A competitive analysis also may show you there is nothing wrong with your branding—you just need better execution.
5) Do you love your brand?
Let’s be clear. Rebranding is a serious endeavor and should not be done on a whim. You shouldn’t rebrand just to rebrand, or if YOU are bored with your brand, or if you just feel like you need something new.
But there is something to be said for rebranding when you—the human being behind your business—do not love your brand.
Because if you are not 100% behind your brand, it will show. Your customers will feel your detachment. Maybe you started off with a brand you didn’t love. It was good enough at the time. Maybe you didn’t want to invest in your brand and just went with a cheap logo from Fiver. Or maybe you designed a logo yourself, not really knowing much about design or branding. Or perhaps you didn’t develop and understand your brand personality, brand promise, brand voice, or brand values.
Now that you are scaling up your business, you realize it’s time to get serious about your brand—a brand that is distinctive, engaging, authoritative, and credible. A brand you will love to share with the world. A brand that your ideal customers will know, like, and trust.
Rebranding—the right way—may be exactly what you need.
6) Are the visual aspects of your brand outdated?
Your font, colors, and other aspects of your visual brand elements may need refreshing. Colors or graphics that may have looked cutting edge 5-10 years ago may be outdated today. Customers like modern and fresh.
But… remember the lesson of Gap’s rebranding debacle. The Gap went with fresh and modern (if not completely uninspired) for its rebranding—which was the wrong thing to do. Turns out customers don’t always want change.
And companies are right to remember that. Think Coca-Cola. Even though Coca-Cola has been around for over 100 years—it has barely changed its logo. Consider its logo from the late 1880’s:
Coca-Cola understands the power of its classic logo. But even the smart folks at Coca-Cola lost their way when they changed the formula of the company’s Coke product to New Coke. Businesses should always remember the power of nostalgia. We certainly believe that if you are planning to rebrand, you should always look to the past to inspire the future.
Working with a branding company can help you understand if you need to rebrand, why you need to rebrand, when you need to rebrand, and how you need to rebrand. You can work one-on-one to develop and execute a rebranding strategy, or you can learn how to develop your own branding skills so you can DIY a rebranding campaign.
We want you to have a distinctive brand that your customers will know, like, and trust. Corey and Steve at Chapter 2 Creative are available to work with you 1:1 to help you wrap your arms around the branding and rebranding needs for your business or blog. And in 2019, we will be offering The Brand Course, an online branding course that will take you step-by-step through our three-step branding process. At the end of the course, you will have a complete brand identity, visual brand elements, and a branded website—all created by YOU with our guidance and support.