Is rebranding a good business decision? Everything needs to evolve – including brands. Changing with the times is a necessity which brands shouldn’t ignore out of fear.
Evolving a brand means rebranding. This is when elements of an existing, established brand are altered or totally changed. This term doesn’t apply to businesses starting up and creating their brand for the first time.
Your brand represents the identity of your company and every brand has a distinct story to tell. Brands that connect with people will earn their trust and loyalty. A brand has to have some humanity and human characteristics.
Possible reasons to rebrand?
- Don’t be out of touch. Design trends go through phases and what looked good twenty years ago will probably look outdated today.
- Naturally, a rebrand can benefit a brand that has had bad press. A new look and message can help customers to forget a bad reputation and give a second chance.
- Often when two companies merge or an acquisition occurs, a new logo is created to represent the change.
- A rebranding can show that your business is capable of adapting to the changing market and audience. If customers are changing (in age, interests, etc.), it benefits businesses to change with them.
- Has your product selection/services changed or expanded? A rebrand can create a professional and clarified image for your company.
- A rebrand may stimulate business growth if your business is in an economic rut or if your look isn’t dynamic. People pay more for strong brands they can trust and identify with. Think Nike, Apple, Coca Cola, or Louis Vuitton.
Potential benefits of a rebrand?
- A rebrand can help to differentiate in a competitive market or against direct competitors.
- It can be that a visual change often comes with a change in reputation and messaging. A new look for a brand can revitalize interest.
- It can help to make your brand relevant again and appeal to a broader audience. It can give you the chance to attract a wider audience outside of your typical demographic. A well-done brand design can appeal to those even outside of your niche, unique customer base.
- A thoughtful rebrand won’t alienate your existing audience. In fact, it will likely garner more engagement from your loyal customer base.
What does a rebrand include?
Rebranding can involve a superficial logo tweak or an elaborate redo of multiple elements of the brand such as product design/packaging, tagline, messaging, voice, brand values, and website.
Rebranding can involve rolling out new products/services and changing other aspects of the original brand look or slogan.
It can also involve introducing a new website. Whether a complete redo or just particular elements like website copy, design, layout, or pages and sections added. Companies with outdated websites would benefit from a new site that is mobile responsive with a modern design. Being mobile responsive is an absolute necessity for businesses in 2017 as the majority of people are searching locally on mobile.
Examples of successful rebrands:
- CVS changed its name to CVS Health and discontinued selling all tobacco products, pulling them from stores for good. They also launched a tobacco cessation program at the same time. These moves strategically positioned the company as more health care focused. The rebrand was announced at the New York Stock Exchange with a large banner.
- Old Spice kicked off a new campaign in 2008 with the creative savvy of Wieden + Kennedy. The company was in a rut and wanted to compete with the brand Axe to sell products to young men. This Swagger campaign helped Old Spice reinvent itself in the eyes of old and new customers. The momentum of that rebrand has helped the brand remain successful and current nearly ten years later.
- In 2014 Pabst Blue Ribbon (PBR) was purchased by Eugene Kashper, a businessman who had already made millions rebranding European breweries. While PBR was an established brand, it was stuck in a bit of a rut. Their share of the beer market had been hovering in the low single digits. Although it did have previous success with a clever repackaging that positioned “Blue Ribbon 1844” as an expensive luxury beer in China, a foreign market. For the American market, Kashper has been in the midst of revitalization efforts since purchasing the company. Most notably, he released an alcoholic soda which increased PBR sales by 20% for the whole of 2015. He has also opened a tasting room and microbrewery for the brand. In the future, he plans to sell more of the 77 beer recipes the company owns to take advantage of the current craft beer craze.
Examples of rebrands gone wrong:
Sometimes rebrands go wrong. Let’s learn from some big brands who made a mistake.
- There was major backlash when GAP changed their logo. They underestimated how attached their audience was to the classic look. In under a week, they went back to the original logo.
- The London 2012 Olympics also faced fierce public opposition when they tried altering the classic logo of the games.
- Tropicana customers were unhappy with a new package design introduced in 2009. Customers clamored to let the company know that they much preferred the previous packaging. The criticism was heard loud and clear as the original look returned within a few short months.
Tips for a successful rebrand:
- Don’t compromise your quality or reliability with customers.
- It’s not a decision to take lightly as rebranding can have a big impact on business. Be sure to do your research before deciding on a rebrand and the details of it. Think about the reasons behind why your business is considering a rebrand and anticipate how your customer base and fans might react to it. Consider insights into your industry, the current market, your customer base, your core values as a business, and so on. Let these insights guide you into the right decision for your brand.
- Think about how different elements of your brand align or the possibilities for them to align.
- Of course there are market changes but don’t forget that your brand should keep up with cultural changes as well. For example, people of all ages are on social media on a daily basis now. So your brand should be online too. Even big brands that are a hundred years old make an effort to be modern and keep up with the new trends and technology.
- Color can have a much bigger impact than you might guess. Different hues evoke different emotions so think about the feelings you want people to associate with your brand when picking a color scheme.
- You want a smooth transition by unveiling or releasing all aspects of your rebrand at once.
- Create buzz and announce when you launch your new branding.
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