Are you contemplating a rebrand? Perhaps your company doesn’t inspire you anymore? Maybe you feel like the aesthetics don’t reflect your values, or you’re branching into new territories – such as new products or locations.
But whether you are merging two companies or just shifting your target market, a rebrand usually means that you have outgrown your old image and are ready to evolve the business to reach new heights. Most companies undergo a rebrand at some point. Long-established businesses refresh their image fairly frequently to prevent stagnation. Eley Hawk have recently rebranded – not for the first time – having celebrated their 190th anniversary.
Hull Cartridge and Hawke Optics have also undergone recent changes. Some changes can be subtle, such as outgrowing your image, but it is vital that you identify your needs before you attempt any updates. If you are not clear about the business reasons driving the effort you may risk wasting time, effort and money. So when is rebranding a good idea?
The short answer is: when your business is ready. This can be because your business no longer represents what it used to; you have a new marketing team; you are moving away from a bankruptcy or scandal; you are celebrating an event or simply because your brand needs some TLC.
To be clear about why you are choosing to rebrand; the next step is to conduct independent research on your firm. Ask your employees for a varied perspective on how your brand is perceived and what they will feel will benefit in changing. And if you are attempting to move into a new market, include new target clients as well.
Most firms only have an internal perspective which can distort how the marketplace sees them. Without objective research you might build a brand on false assumptions. One of the worst things you can do is confuse your customer base, both old and new.
If you have added services or products into your company, then make sure that this is obvious, while on the other hand if you no longer provide a particular service then this should also be stated. Brand loyalty can be tough but as you redevelop your marketing position you will continue to uncover the essence of your brand strategy and your market position.
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If done correctly a brand will still be able to retain their old customers, but hopefully also entice in some new ones by giving the business a new lease of life,especially if it was starting to come across as old-fashioned. After many years in business, your branding many not feel as contemporary as it should but this doesn’t mean you have to change every single part of your brand outlook.
You should identify the parts of your brand that no longer represent what your brand does; the parts that don’t communicate with your audience very well. If there are parts of your company that still work well, they might not be be worth changing. Not only will this be a waste of money and time but there is no point upsetting your current customers in the hope of pressuring some new ones.
In the world that we live in today, social media can be the heart of any company from a simple communication tool to content marketing and customer care. Ofcourse, the social media channels that accompany your brand strategy will also have to change along with everything else, and this may mean that you have to change the way that your brand interacts on social media.
A website and social media presence are the core of a modern professional firm; all rebranding strategies therefore involve your website which, along with social media, represents your positioning in the market.
Rebranding strategy also requires a development of visual elements that will communicate the brands message. This will cover the firm name, logo, tagline, colours, business card design, stationary, and more. These are the elements that most people associate with branding, but while they do represent what your customers can see they do not represent your reputation. Your brand is your reputation and visibility not your firms logo. Brand identity is more like a visual cue for your brand.
To see what you want to get out of rebranding a company, you should compare your brand to that of your rivals. This way it is easy to see what stands out about your brand and will allow you to identify where it will be possible to stand out in the future. If there is an opportunity to differentiation, then you should seize it while you can.As you develop marketing materials you will need to communicate your brand and service messages, through online channels, brochures and trade show booths. But remember that rebranding can take the form of simple tweaks, like changing the colour of your logo to improving what the company stands for as a whole, so projected costs and timelines can vary significantly.
Not only should you be looking to stand out from your competitors, but you also need to be careful not to make your branding too complicated. If possible you should be looking for opportunities to focus your brand. Unifying elements can be beneficial in the long run. People are much more likely to recall a straightforward logo design than one that is more complex.
Just because your brand is relatively modern now, it does not guarantee that it will be in the long run. You also need to be thinking about the future of your brand, will it still be relevant in 10 or 20 years? If not, consider what can you do make it more relevant and start spreading the word about your rebrand.
Of course you are not tied to the same branding for life, and you always have the option to change. However you will want to strike a balance between longevity and establishing a stable brand and refreshing your image to prevent going out of fashion. The average company goes through some form of rebrand every seven to ten years.
The stage after a rebrand can be just as critical as the lead up to it, so it is important for companies not to forget about it. You need to commit yourself to the rebrand and stand with it every step of the way, even if there are problems or down times. Everything from the pens in the office, to company vehicles should express your new brand.
If your company simply needed a facelift, or a completely new brand identity to reflect its evolution, rebranding with an eye on the future helps mould the right perceptions and shows that you are prepared to take risks. There’s value in the process as well as in the end result; so take stock and use the rebrand as an opportunity to strengthen and reaffirm your companies identity and values. This will improve your new brand both internally with your employee base and externally with your customers.