Many entrepreneurs and business owners believe that a company’s “brand” is simply the company’s name and logo. That’s not true, of course: A brand is more than just its underlying company’s name and logo.
Your company’s own brand is the sum total of the experiences your customers and prospects have with your company. A good brand communicates what your company does and how it does it. A good brand also establishes trust and credibility with your prospects and customers. And because a brand evolves over time, many companies, including some of the most successful ones, rebrand.
You may have noticed recent rebrands by Dunkin’ Donuts, Weight Watchers, Uber,Unilever and others. That’s why it’s worthwhile to look closely at why companies rebrand and what your own company should know to successfully rebrand your business. When should a company even consider rebranding? Here are ways you can know when the time is right.
Companies should rebrand to better differentiate from the competition.
If your company name is generic and similar to that of other businesses, you’re hurting your brand. A generic logo will similarly hurt your brand. A related problem occurs when you use stock art in your branding or marketing materials: You may be hurting your brand because everyone recognizes stock art when they see it; and those photos may turn up being used by your competitors.
This is where rebranding comes in: It can help your business stand out from your competitors’ by showcasing the things that make your company different and better.
Even the best companies change their brand identity. For example, did you know that Google started with the name “Backrub” or that Accenture started out as “Andersen Consulting”? It’s not unusual for a company to outgrow its name and look for a fresh, unique business name that can help grow its business. Maybe it’s time that your company do the same.
Companies should rebrand to give new life to outdated branding.
It’s possible that your Comic Sans font, flash-based website or 1990s color palette is dragging your brand down and making your business look outdated. What are you going to do? The answer is “rebrand,” something even the most successful businesses do, as seen from the various iterations of the Airbnb logo:
Smart companies rebrand because they know that good design can make or break a business, because they know they’ve outgrown their original mission. Maybe your business started off selling personalized t-shirts, but now you want to add customized coffee mugs. If your branding revolves around t-shirts, customers won’t know that they can look to you for mugs, too.
This is a common problem,. and we always advise clients to make sure their business name is not too narrow or literal.
Companies should rebrand to outgrow their poor reputation.
Uber’s recent brand overhaul was necessary to break ties with its bad reputation and visibly demonstrate a commitment to a new, improved culture. If your business is struggling to overcome a negative reputation, a rebrand can help consumers see you in a fresh new light.
Companies should rebrand when their business evolves.
Sometimes, a business gets the opportunity to expand or target a new market. When that happens, it’s important to ensure that your new customers and prospects can connect with your brand. That’s what happened with Pabst Blue Ribbon, a low-price U.S. beer popular with fraternities and hipsters. China’s version of PBR — the stately sounding Pabst Blue Ribbon 1844 — sells for $44 a bottle!
This happened because Pabst saw a chance to re-market itself to the Chinese craft beer market — a market unaware of its budget reputation in the United States. By doing its homework, Pabst expanded into a new demographic and significantly grew its business.
6 things your company needs to know to rebrand successfully
1. Start by understanding your mission and values. Before you rebrand, it’s crucial that you clearly understand your company’s mission and values. Consider and assess what makes your company special. Why does your company exist, and what values does it have that are essential?
2. Develop a rebranding strategy that works with your existing branding. Many companies don’t have the luxury of starting from a clean slate. If you’re doing a partial rebrand, make sure to take the existing brand assets into account. BrandExtract, a branding firm with over a century of experience, explained why consistent branding is important, saying:
A consistent brand helps increase the overall value of your company by reinforcing your position in the marketplace, attracting better quality customers with higher retention rates and raising the perceived value of your products or services …. In contrast, erratic,
inconsistent behavior quickly leads to confusion and mistrust.
3. Consider the market and your competition. Before you rebrand, do your due diligence. Research what your competition does. Determine how you stand apart from your competitors, and what your true value proposition is. It’s vital that your new brand be fresh and relevant, but not so of-the-moment that it ends up looking dated too quickly.
4. Collaborate with your team. Your brand may be one of your most important company assets, but just as valuable are the people that help grow your business every day. Include voices from across your company: Some of the best ideas and most valuable feedback come from departments you might not expect.
5. Manage the rebrand carefully. A rebrand is often a complex and lengthy endeavor. Without a careful plan of attack and a well-managed process, the rebrand can quickly go off the rails. Set deadlines and mitigate going down those pesky rabbit holes with a well thought-out project plan.
6. Launch your rebrand and tell the world. Even the most incredible rebrand is wasted if you never actually launch it. Make sure you plan your rebrand launch and be prepared to explain why you rebranded. Minimize the risk of customer confusion through a carefully planned launch that showcases the story behind the rebrand.
A rebrand is a declaration of your company’s commitment to upward growth. Change is never easy, but sometimes, as the song goes, a change will do you good.
by Amanda Bowman