Published on HuffingtonPost
The term rebrand is a terrifying word in marketing circles. Maybe that’s because we know it is probably the most challenging initiative we’ll put our hands on as marketers. And worse, there is no guarantee it will work the way we think. It’s like having multiple doors to walk through for rebrand options only you don’t know which one leads to success or failure. Yikes, knowing that, why would anyone want to do such a thing?
If your business needs to rebrand because a culture shift has occurred – okay, that’s normal. I didn’t say it would be easy. Make sure wherever the rebrand is focused; it must be able to capture the interest of the lost customer or the new customer. Make sure the rebrand has solid foundational research behind it with a focused plan of attack to follow.
Some think a rebrand is only choosing a new name, new logo, or a new corporate identity. However, what is totally missed here is lost brand expression, the lost emotional attachment by your customers and all the variations of how this plays out on the web, social, advertising and additional brand narratives throughout your entire marketing ecosystem. And don’t forget the all-important lost brand equity and momentum that goes with it. Any missing combination of those is a problem, but all of them can be dreadful.
“A frequent lesson that we see during the rebrand experience is the lack of preplanning with focus groups of different stakeholder perspectives prior to determining the positioning, taglines and brand identity. These findings and concepts must then be socialized with stakeholders before going to market with the new brand and identity” – Kevin Hourigan, President and CEO Bayshore Solutions
When the business fails to assess the pulse of the brand, industry and the customer completely and the rebrand is based on the company executive’s assessment and feelings, you’re in for a big surprise. This is a chancy method especially since internal management emotions and feelings are not a good representation of what the market needs and where it’s going. Here’s a simple way to look at a rebrand. The outcome should not focus on where the business is currently, but where your business needs to be positioned for the future.
9 Questions You Most Likely Failed to Ask
You’ve heard of nine lives? The expression is not just for felines but also for brands. Pay careful attention to the questions below, they just may save your brand from extinction.
- In what ways has the market shifted that warrants a rebrand?
- Is your brand broken or are you just tired of it? Believe it or not, the tired factor is a real one and should be vetted thoroughly before rebrand action is taken. Find out what the problems are first before you rebrand.
- Is the business prepared for and willing to embark on a lengthy rebrand process? If not, think about another way to accomplish what it’s going to take to reach the end goal because a rebrand may not be the best solution.
- What brand equity measurement strategies did your team put in place to determine what the current brand equity is in the market? A rebrand can compromise existing brand equity once it is launched and may create even bigger challenges.
- Is the rebrand in response to the emotions or feelings of company executives and internal employees? This is a dangerous path to follow if you’re headed this way, especially since employees are not a comprehensive representation of what the market needs and where the company should be headed for long-term sustainability.
- What if your business alienates your most valued consumers once the rebrand has occurred? What do you do now? The rebrand just may have caused them to “rethink” why they should continue to purchase from your business – oh, oh.
- What parts of the marketing will be tweaked during rebrand? Certain elements…or everything? This needs to be thought about very carefully to determine why brand elements are changed and for what reason. Remember, if they are changed, what will they be changed to and how will they be measured?
- What dollar amount was allocated for the rebrand over a 2-year period — Not just the rebrand project itself? Whatever that number is, add more. There will always be numerous brand iterations, especially when it comes to digital properties that will need more time, attention and resources to make sure the rebrand is on-target. Also, I guarantee you will forget about something and will have to add it later.
- Did your competition rebrand or did they make subtle changes periodically over time to their products so a full rebrand was not needed?
“Rebranding can be a powerful but tricky tool to execute. When done properly, a rebranding effort can help your business realign with your target audience, embrace a new direction, build consumer buy-in and drive sales.” –CrowdSpring.com
Let’s face it, if your business needs a rebrand, there is a sense the ground under foot has shifted thus a rebrand is needed to stay viable. That shift can be the industry, the company’s poorly managed reputation, bad customer service, R&D, negative public relations, customer behavior, or maybe a competitor is stealing vast quantities of your market share. Whatever it is, the issue must be addressed. The fact is… unless the business is rebranding for a specific reason that will accomplish specific goals… don’t do it; otherwise you can do a lot a damage that will be very difficult and costly to repair. Find out what the problems are first before you go and change the entire brand. Think about it this way. If your car had a flat tire would you start repairing everything on the car until it was all new? Of course not. You would fix the flat tire.
Scott MacFarland is a career marketer with a passion for digital. His perspective is firmly rooted in digital content marketing and social strategies that nurture and convert prospective customers. YourBrandExposed.com is a digital content marketing and strategy consultancy that helps businesses big and small solve their most difficult questions surrounding digital.
Scott MacFarland – Chief Content Marketer, Digital Strategist
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