Branding is important; it’s how customers perceive your business. It isn’t just a logo either, it’s your entire customer experience. Logo, font, website, social media, even the way you interact with customers are all part of your brand. It can be a little overwhelming at times and that explains why so many companies from start-ups to established companies neglect their branding or fail to rebrand when necessary.
Fact: poor or outdated branding is costing you money. In today’s global and ‘digitalised’ market, becoming obsolete is easier than ever and you’re hurting your future prosperity by failing to keep up with the times or being too attached to a logo you drew 20 years ago.
If you’re thinking of a rebrand then it’s highly likely that you need one. Here are some common signs that it’s time for one.
Few brands have remained consistent throughout their history or withstood the test of time with aesthetics that always met with contemporary approval. In fact, even well-known brands like Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Apple, Nike and Volkswagen have gone through subtle or seismic change to appeal to modern standards.
Simply wanting to keep up to date is one of the biggest motivations for a rebrand. If your logo was designed in paint or you’re still using crappy fonts from the 90s then it’s likely the only visitors to your social pages are looking for a good laugh. No-one wants to be the guy everyone laughs at for being 20 years behind the times.
If your business is moving away from its flagship product or service, or you’re reinventing its core offerings, then it’s possible your current brand will not be consistent with your current and future vision for your company. Imagine how confusing you’d look to millennials if you run an online store selling DVDs and Blu-Rays but your company is called “Beta-Max’s Cheap Vidz” — that’s after they’ve Googled Betamax and stopped giggling. Don’t be like Max. Your name might have been cool 30 years ago but puns and ‘wordz’ spelt with zeds are not appealing and aren’t consistent with your modern services.
New direction is the primary reason for re-branding and as well as symbolising your evolution it can reenergise your brand internally and externally.
Businesses offer consider a rebrand when expanding to new territories. Consistent branding is paramount and it’s possible your new market already has a key player with a similar name or logo. On rare occasions a company’s name or logo can be considered offensive in a new market and a total rebrand can be more invigorating and unifying than separate branding. There’s also the trouble of regional names. If your business hopes to expand into a territory that has a historic rivalry with the region you’re named after you could find your business opportunities slightly hamstrung.
Let’s imagine this for second. You’re the biggest carpet company in Sydney; you’ve got stores all over NSW and decide you want to go nationwide. You set up shop in Melbourne down the road from another carpet store who you know sell inferior products at similar prices yet people keep walking past without coming in. So you stand in the window of “Sydney’s Superior Carpets & Flooring” and watch the locals walk past and lip read them all saying “superior my arse, I’m going to Melbourne Carpets”. The same can be said if you try to expand overseas.
Developing a new brand identity can send a message that your company is geared for geographical expansion and diversifying of cultures.
Sometimes the easiest way to launch a new product, create buzz and generate loyalty is to go niche. Once established in the marketplace, with a saturated audience, the next logical step is to broaden your appeal and expand your demographic.
A rebrand is often a good way to break into new markets without alienating your base audience. Your audience can be assured that the rebrand is a result of their loyalty to your product or service as you seek to leverage your market position to benefit a wider audience.
If your branding is niche or tailored to a certain audience a tweak won’t normally cut it and your brand will not reflect the expectations of your more diverse target market. Doing a find and replace on your website to change a few words to sound more inclusive will probably end up with you looking stupid as the new text makes little to no sense.
Mergers and acquisitions
When you merge or acquire businesses it’s important to appeal to your new, larger customer base. It’s possible that many of your new customers were customers of the company you acquired or merged with precisely because they didn’t want to use you. If you just absorb companies with a positive brand image as though they never existed you can disengage with a lot of customers.
It’s essential to understand how acquired brands fit into the overall brand architecture and alignment of the parent company. If this isn’t thought through then both brands can suffer and that’s why a rebrand can be useful.
A rebrand can help to reflect the new dynamic, retaining loyal customers, and can also be an effective marketing and PR strategy.
Sometimes your website could just do with a little TLC. Sometimes it needs completely gutting. If your focus or message has evolved significantly enough to gut your site then you might as well go the whole hog and rebrand. Your company’s branding needs to reflect who you are now and where you are going not just where you’ve come from.
Your branding isn’t just about your website though. Your message needs to be consistent across all of your collateral. Your fancy new website isn’t going to like being embarrassed by a business card or marketing email that looks like WordArt was sick on it.
Rebranding can often be essential to reflect the growth of your business but it needs to be done properly. A professional rebrand, performed by experts in brand strategy is a good idea and a solid investment with measurable benefits that are likely to return your investment multiple times over. You’ve probably realised it already but you need a rebrand. It’s time.
About the author
Maria Bellissimo-Magrin is the CEO of full-service creative marketing agency Belgrin.