Module 8: Rebranding
There often comes a time when a company needs to rebrand.
Maybe you’ve finally found yourself and discovered who you are, or perhaps after years of running a successful brand, it’s no longer resonating with the market.
Either way, there’s a right way and a ton of wrong ways to go about rebranding your business.
McDonalds begins augmenting its burgers and fries with healthy salad and yogurt. Innocent Disney star Hannah Montana transforms into the tongue-wagging Miley Cyrus. What McDonalds and Cyrus have done is rebranding (no matter what you think of the result).
Rebranding can be as simple as making a small change to your logo or name. Or it could be an attempt at reaching a whole new market or a new message you want to convey to your market. It doesn’t matter how big or small the change, rebranding should always be taken seriously. A rebrand gives you a fresh start, but you have to go about it carefully. It could also be disastrous.
Before you decide to rebrand, you need to make sure it’s absolutely necessary. Rebranding is not something you do without a good reason because of the risks involved.
The best way to know if you need to rebrand is to monitor your sales. If you’re losing customers to the competition, this is a sign that your brand is no longer resonating with them.
Changing market trends often force brands to rebrand. In the case of McDonalds, the company had to change its image from a burger shop to a restaurant with healthy options because a large enough portion of their target market wanted to eat healthier.
Market dilution is a reason many companies rebrand. What this means is that your original target market, which was very narrowly and specifically targeted, is no longer so narrow. Over time, your message has gone from appealing to a very specific segment of the market to no one specifically. In this case, it’s time to retune and work on your targeting.
Companies rebrand when they expand into new markets, merge with other companies or are acquired by other companies. There may be changes in target markets, products offered, or positioning that require rebranding.
You may rebrand in order to shift focus from negative to more positive aspects of your business. In recent years, oil companies have done this, rebranding themselves as providers of the energy of the future, rather than greedy polluters. Hopefully your image problems aren’t as severe as theirs.
Finally, there may be internal reasons. Your employees or associates may no longer believe in the brand and its vision.
In any case, something isn’t working or isn’t viable for the future, and this is why you need to rebrand.
The changes to your brand should reflect the current market environment. They should also reflect truly who you are now. Often, companies need to rebrand because their old brand isn’t relevant to what they’re doing now. Tell your current story, your current vision and your current message. Stay true to who you are today.
Don’t cling to the past. What worked in the past won’t work in the future, and that’s why you’re rebranding in the first place. Look at the current landscape and current market research to make your decisions. Learn to let the past go.
Start with small changes and move gradually to bigger ones. As you make changes, be careful to not alienate your current customers. Tell your customers about the changes before they go into effect.
Update all of your online and offline media to reflect your rebrand. Don’t forget to update your mobile site as well. During the rebranding process and afterward, pay close attention to analytics so that you can monitor your progress.