Signs It’s Time To Rebrand

Signs It’s Time To Rebrand

How do you know when it’s time to undergo a rebranding effort? Let’s start by defining what it means to “rebrand.” Rebranding doesn’t simply mean updating your color pallet, logo, and website. If all you want to do is update your “look,” then you’re really just talking about a brand identity refresh.

Rebranding involves more than a face lift, it’s an ideological overhaul that will refocus the entire organization. It is the act of clarifying the emotional connection you want to create with your core target audiences so they are mentally predisposed to continuously choose and recommend your product or service.

Rebranding isn’t something that should be entered into lightly – you should have a really good reason for undertaking a rebranding effort. Here are four reasons this could make sense for your organization.

This is a common scenario: a company has been successful for years, but over time, the space has gotten crowded and the competition now offers the same product/service better, cheaper, faster. You are having trouble attracting and retaining talent and growth has stalled.

It’s clearly time to make a move and find a way to differentiate yourself and reinvigorate sales and energy around your brand. But wait, you don’t know what your brand is because leadership never took the time to clearly outline your Brand DNA, Brand Values and Target Audiences.

This is a clear sign that it’s time to rebrand the company, or rather brand it for the first time and make a compelling, emotional appeal to your target audiences that will help to move the needle for your business.

It’s time to evolve and you know it. Years ago, you created a successful brand that was highly unique and relevant to your core target audience. Now, you realize that your message is no longer unique or relevant, and your target audience has changed. The space has gotten crowded and the new competition is doing it better. This is a clear sign it’s time to reinvent your brand and make a new, more relevant emotional connection to a potentially new audience.

A great example of this is Old Spice. For years the deodorant brand was known as a scent for elderly gentleman and was losing market share to competitors targeting a younger demographic. In 2010, the company decided to relaunch its brand with a new focus on a much younger demographic with a more modern and culturally relevant message. The rebranding effort was a success and moved Old Spice back into the limelight where it has been able to take market share from other brands, such as Axe.

There are several ways to approach a merger from a branding perspective. Sometimes both entities maintain their individual identities and carry on, business as usual. Other times, the stronger brand absorbs the smaller brand, or the two companies combine to form a completely new entity. Regardless of the approach, a clearly articulated strategic position is needed to ensure you don’t alienate current or potential audiences.

The number one target audience during any type of M&A activity should be internal. Employees need to understand the implications of the changes and have a clear understanding of how the internal culture will change before communicating to external audiences.  For example, shortly after the Sprint and Nextel merged in 2005, it was reported that many employees left the organization because “the two cultures couldn’t get along.” There’s a chance that the talent would have stayed on if there was a clear brand strategy in place and everyone felt they were part of a shared value system.

These circumstances are typically rare and most marketing pros will tell you that the best way to recover from a crisis situation is to address it head on, take responsibility and make the changes needed to prevent a similar situation from happening in the future. However, there are some situations, when an organization is forced to reexamine what it stands for and how it can deliver on its brand promise. Sometimes, an organization has to rebrand itself in order to move forward.

An example of a subtle rebranding effort in the face of a crisis is LIVESTRONG. When Lance was outed for doping, the organization, which was very closely tied to his personal brand, had to take action and separate itself from Lance and focus on its mission. The organization changed its name to the LIVESTRONG Foundation, created a new logo and launched a marketing campaign to focus on its values and mission of helping people who have cancer. The effort received positive feedback, despite an initial decline in contributions.

For more information or to schedule a consultation to determine if a rebranding exercise is right for you, please contact us.