Importance of Strong Brand Identity
When you are a business owner, you know that a strong brand identity is vital for success. The recognisable and influential brand will create a deep connection with existing customers, attract new ones and differentiate you from competitors.
It is very wise now and then to think about your brand’s identity and see if it still represents all that your business offers. Of course, there is no need to change it as often as you change your socks, but, take constant care of it. When the time comes, when internal or external shifts require it – conduct rebranding properly!
Making the Old New Again
Rebranding is a process of changing the corporate image for some already-established product or company.
The goal of rebranding is to influence a customer’s perception about that product or company by revitalising the brand, making it more modern, fresh and relevant to customer’s needs.
When rebranding, several key elements such as brand name, logo, visuals, marketing materials or any other defining aspect of a brand’s consumer connectivity can change.
The process of rebranding can be complete or partial. Sometimes everything will need a change, and sometimes changing only a few elements will bring significant, necessary and positive refreshment.
Just remember that brand always needs to stay true to itself, be meaningful so people care about it, and be powerful enough to make difference everyone is expecting.
Time to Rebrand?
If you decide to rebrand, you should always have a strong business reason for it.
There are many reasons why some business would want rebranding. Some of them are:
- Customer’s needs have changed.
- There were mistakes in original branding strategy (lack of resources, wrong audience targeting etc.).
- The brand is not perceived in the manner that the owner would wish.
- To make differentiation from competitors.
- Changing the businesses focus that new brand identity should reflect.
- Expanding the business scope.
- Expanding global, when some brand’s aspects are associated with negativity or inappropriateness in different cultures.
- After the process of merging or acquisition.
- If a brand needs to recover from past negative reputation.
- When exploring the popularity of some current trend.
- Moving into a new market to compete with more established companies.
At some point, every company will come to that rebranding moment. Need for rebranding can arise at any time, for any business, for any reason. For some, it will happen earlier, and for some later. It is a question of time when the change will be unavoidable.
Invest your time, attention and enough resources in face lifting of your business, because that’s the first thing people will see when they look for you.
What to Ask Yourself Before Rebranding?
Before you dive deep into this rebranding project, it is important to ask yourself few questions.
Which problems do I want to solve by doing rebranding? What’s my goal? Is my business connected with something that is no more meaningful? Did my business outgrow its current identity? Is my brand story outdated? Did my customer profile change? If did, how? What kind of clients do I want to attract? Have competitors changed, and did they with that influenced my growth? Will this solution work in 5 or 10 years from now? If I am starting my business today, would this be the branding strategy I would choose?
It’s a lot to think, yes. But, if you are investing quite a money, then you don’t want to go into rebranding process without thorough research. If you see that rebranding will help your business, then take a risk and go for it.
Risk, because there is no guarantee that rebranding will be successful. We all have witnessed some poorly conducted rebranding campaigns, but also few excellent ones. You need to know that there is always the possibility that people will not like your new brand face, and that whole process could be a massive undertaking. There is always danger of losing money, time and market share.
But, with setting a good rebranding strategy, you will be able to sleep peacefully and dream of picking the sweet fruits of success.
Never Too Small to Dream Big
Many businesses live in misapprehension that only giant companies like Apple, Coca Cola or McDonald’s acquire and retain customers based on their brand alone.
No, no and no. Don’t overlook the value of building a stable and consistent brand, even if you are a startup. Your limited resources or size of the business doesn’t matter. Of course, initially, you can grow without any brand strategy at all. But, after some time, you will realise that poor branding strategy or lack of it, is holding your business back. Please, do not let that be the case.
So, further in the text we will discuss how to set an effective rebranding strategy step by step. Follow it and watch your business grow and become recognisable to the world.
Don’t be afraid; it’s easy almost as hosting dinner! And we all have done it already, right?
Cooking the Rebranding Strategy
Phase One: Think What You Want to Cook
The process of cooking doesn’t start in the kitchen. It starts far before, in the head of the chef who knows upfront how to do the magic.
To make sure that magic of rebranding will be successful, it is necessary to do a research and determine what do you want to achieve. Setting goals will guide setting rebranding strategy. Conduct research to validate the need for a rebranding, determine consumer wants, needs and perceptions. Determine your budget. Create a plan in case of negative backlash a new brand can cause. And all of this is just a start.
Phase Two: Does Everybody Like the Meal You are About to Cook?
If one of your guests usually doesn’t like lasagnas, it’s clear that you shouldn’t cook that. No matter if you are world’s champion in lasagna making, he will still hate it.
It’s the same in business – your brand is not what you say it is. It is what customers say it is. Decide on your targeted audience and do research. Conduct interviews, ask questions through surveys and focus groups. Include key stakeholders and loyal customers to gather insights about what specific elements of your brand needs change. Without objective examination, you will build a brand on a false assumption. Don’t let that happen.
This phase of rebranding strategy can take a significant amount of time and resources, but when summarizing it up – it is less expensive that blindly assume what people might like, want, and buy.
Phase Three: Compare Existing Recipes and Collect the Best From All
To nail that dinner, study all recipes that interest you, choose what is the best from each and combine it with ultimate one.
Examine what strategies your competitors use to connect with the audience and what makes customers excited about their brand. Is it their products, services, a method of delivery, business model, great advertising campaigns? Also, don’t stuck only in your industry domene. Go wider. Check some other branches.
This research will help you to follow some good and fruitful examples and maybe move from some old and unsuccessful methodologies you were conducting in the past.
Phase Four: It’s All About Secret Ingredient
The meal is just a meal without putting some secret ingredient in it. What’s there to like if hundred other chefs cook that meal in the same exact way?
In some way, you need to mobilise consumers to choose your brand over a competitor’s. If there is no clear differentiation for the consumer, there’s no reason why your brand should be preferred choice. Identify and communicate that differentiation point of your brand and amplify it to gain leverage in the market.
Phase Five: Start Cooking
The time has come. Pull out all necessary groceries and start peeling, chopping, cutting, mixing, combining, tasting. And of course, enjoy it.
In this phase of rebranding, develop the visual elements that will communicate your brand (firm name, logo, colours, tagline, business card design, brochures, pitch decks, proposal templates etc.). Be sure in your choice and don’t change your opinion.
Phase Six: Communicate Before Serving
Sometimes in restaurants, you find yourself staring in a plate full of something that is impossible to identify. Familiar? Would you be more relaxed if knowing what’s actually the thing you are about to eat? Tell people what have you cooked. Always.
In rebranding strategy, arguably the most important thing is to communicate about it clearly with your audience. Inform your customers that changes are coming, explain to them how will those changes influence their experience and when to expect them. Host an event, set a countdown clock on your web, post video which will explain all the changes. Possibilities are numerous.
If you skip this step, there will be a lot of confusion or anger among your clients, which could end up in losing them permanently.
Take Gap for example. They made a big mistake and released new brand identity without announcing it advanced to their clients. Their audience was less than pleased with the new logo design. Their losses were estimated to $100 million, and after only six days, they reverted to their original design. All of this could evade if Gap’s brand management team talked to their audience before the re-design.
When is done effectively, communication about rebranding can create excitement and defuse confusion, and ease period after revealing rebranding.
Phase Seven: Serving
It’s time for serving the dinner. Do it by the rules, elegant and unobtrusively.
When launching new brand identity, do it internally first. Train and educate your employees to make them understand, advocate and support the new brand. After that, roll out the new brand externally.
Phase Eight: Be at the Service and Observe
During the dinner, check if everything is ok, if your guests need something, are they satisfied with the meal, etc. Be there for them, jump in if anything is needed. Just, be a good host.
When rebranding starts, commit yourself to it. Monitor consumer reaction. Start ongoing research to ensure the brand identity is working. Communicate with clients and stakeholders, be there for any questions or requests. Don’t launch the brand and forget about it. Become that new brand, and people will follow.
When planning and conducting rebranding strategy, there are few crucial things to know. First, your customers are the most important component. And second, rebranding is a complex process.
No matter what reason stands behind the rebranding, it is important to know your existing customers, targeted audience and market. Rebranding any aspect of the business, even just a couple of details, or entire identity, requires strategy, careful planning and sharp execution.
In this process, it is irrelevant how long some company has been established or how big the team is. Good rebranding strategy is the ultimate tool for ensuring that your rebranding will build a strong bridge between you and customers, whether you are a business giant or a startup.
Be smooth in conducting rebranding, make audience abandon their former ideas about your business, and adopt newer ones you delivered.
Rebranding should be a collaborative effort, and it should be communicated to everyone involved.
I hope that this article has helped to understand the whole process of rebranding better. Feel free to comment and share your rebranding experience.