What Considerations Should Drive a Rebranding Initiative?
Our firm seems to be more involved than ever in helping our clients rebrand themselves these days. There are numerous reasons to consider doing this (or not), but changing or refreshing your brand should only take place after you have weighed all the advantages, disadvantages and next steps.
It is particularly difficult to recognize the need and the benefits of rebranding your organization if the changes in your business are slow and steady, as opposed to dramatic. Some companies experience a “moment in time” where they drastically alter the way they do business or change the products they offer. Others simply move in a steady direction of introducing new services or focusing on different/additional competencies over the course of several years.
The important factors to consider in a rebranding initiative include the existing equity value of your name and brand, current brand awareness, market differentiation needs, and how accurately your brand reflects your current corporate personality and focus.
It is also important to understand how your customers and prospects view not only your company, but also the industry sector in which you operate. Rebranding, when done correctly and thoughtfully, can actually improve your customer relationships by introducing more clarity into your company’s value proposition.
Additionally, rebranding can have a rejuvenating effect on the internal culture of your organization. It is just as important to involve your team in the creation of your new brand as it is to successfully roll it out to the external world. Change can be difficult for people, so companies who embark upon rebranding programs need to lay the groundwork within their own walls regarding why it is a good idea, how people can embrace it and utilize it effectively, and how it can contribute to the long-term sustainability of the business.
As with any marketing/outreach initiative, it is critical to begin with research – not only examining your marketplace and how it may be evolving, but also assessing your own strengths, weaknesses and future ambitions. Will your current branding effectively carry your firm into the ideal future you envision, or is it holding you back by not accurately telling your most complete and compelling story?
In the early stages of a rebranding effort, it is important to look beyond pretty new logos and focus initially on the emotions that your new identity will evoke in your most critical audiences. Does your proposed new identity reflect who you really are, and does it do this in a way that drives positive decisions and actions within your customer base? It can be constructive to actually ask a few of your trusted key influencers what they resonate to relative to any new brand identity options you are considering.
The reasons for rebranding can include the following:
· Businesses can gain competitive advantages and increase marketshare through an updated image and clearer messaging about who you are and what you do best.
· Particularly for companies which operate in crowded markets and/or who have complex product portfolios and fragmented audiences, rebranding can cause new customers to notice you and old customers to think of you in a more interesting light.
· A rebrand can become the public expression of a company’s identity, among other things. While we are not in favor of changing names and logos every few years, we do believe that an organization can benefit from studying its brand equity and its evolving marketplace periodically, in order to determine if it needs to refresh its brand identity in order to better reflect who it is or what it has become.