September 30, 2019
By Katie Lundin
Rebranding is not a Band-Aid and is not a one-size-fits-all solution.
Your valuable brand equity takes time to accrue and it should not be squandered lightly and without good reason.
So, why rebrand your company?
Rebranding may be the key to getting your business back on track.
Rebranding is rarely a sign of weakness. It is more often a sign of a company in tune with its customers and its market.
Most successful companies, from Fortune 500 to startups, rebrand.
As we explained previously:
A brand is much more than the name and logo of a business.
Your company’s brand is the sum total of the experience 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.
Some businesses fail to make conscious, intentional choices about their branding and live to regret it later. Others make intentional branding choices, but over time, for one reason or another, those choices no longer serve the business well.
Brands get off track. It happens.
But when your brand and your actual business do not align, that is bad news.
So, when your brand fails to live up to your expectations and you are losing to the competition, a rebrand could help you turn things around.
What is a rebrand?
A rebrand involves changing the brand identity – business or corporate image – of a company or organization.
Here is a more thorough overview of what rebranding is and how to pull it off successfully, for those interested in a deeper analysis.
But in a nutshell, rebranding involves developing a new brand identity to replace an existing one.
When is rebranding a good idea?
If you find your business in one of the following situations, read on for strategic and tactical insights that will help you assess whether your existing business brand is hurting you and steps to rebrand.
1. Your brand does not communicate what you do
Does your brand make it clear what your business actually does?
In today’s crowded market, it can be hard to find a strong business name that is not already taken. So, many businesses compromise on clarity in favor of availability.
And, when your name does not immediately communicate anything relevant about your business you have two options:
If your brand does not successfully communicate what your business does, that is a major problem. Your audience needs to easily see how you can benefit them. If they do not, they will walk on by without a second glance.
If this sounds like your business, then rebranding may be the right tool for setting your business back on the right path.
2. Your brand is not aligned with your actions
Your brand consists of more than your business name, logo and brand colors.
As we mentioned above, your brand is also defined by what your business says and does, and your customers’ experiences and perceptions.
If your actions and your brand identity do not match – such as Chipotle serving GMO foods when its brand is built around “food with integrity” – then your prospects and customers will notice.
And, when your brand does not seem to line up, it sets off red flags for consumers.
People trust things that can be relied on. And an inconsistent business cannot be relied upon. Sending conflicting or mixed messages is a great way to drive away customers and prospects.
If your business’s actions and brand identity do not align, then rebranding can be your business’s saving grace.
3. You need to overcome a poor reputation
A poor reputation – deserved or not – can be an anchor dragging your business down.
Whether your business is embroiled in a social or political scandal, questionable business practices, or simple financial struggles, revenue is bound to fall.
A business ignores a bad brand reputation at its peril. Something must be done to remedy the issue and turn the tides.
But, as mentioned before, rebranding is not a Band-Aid. And rebranding to “pave over” a bad reputation is never really truly successful. However, rebranding can play an important role as part of an overall strategy committing to positive change.
If your business is dogged by a nasty reputation, rebranding can be a life preserver.
4. You are focused on the wrong audience
Businesses occasionally find that their audience is not who they thought it was.
Sometimes there is a misunderstanding of the appropriate consumer audience from the get-go. Or for older, established businesses, their audience evolves over time and it becomes necessary for the brand to evolve with them.
But whatever the reason, if your brand does not resonate with your appropriate audience, your business will suffer.
So, if you find that your business is struggling because your brand was designed to communicate with an audience that is no longer relevant, it is time to remove that friction. Correct course and rebrand.
5. You need to adjust to new technology or disruptions in your industry
The world around us is evolving faster than ever before.
The Internet redefined the way we do business. Then mobile wireless devices revolutionized the world yet again. It is only a matter of time before the next big shift.
When the reality in which your business functions fundamentally changes, your business must respond in kind. And these reality-shaping disruptions are happening more and more frequently as technology and your competitors evolve.
If your brand is perceived as inflexible or ill equipped to survive in its new landscape, then it will likely fail.
For instance, IBM started life as the Computing-Tabulating-Recording Company. It rebranded as International Business Machines shortly after. The name IBM has proven more flexible as technology has grown than the ultra-specific “Computing-Tabulating-Recording Company.”
If you want to survive like IBM, be smart and rebrand when a changing landscape calls for it.
And remember that rebranding can occur on a spectrum.
At one end, there is the mild visual tweak to an existing brand logo – think Google’s 2015 sans serif logo update.
Rebranding is not an all-or-nothing proposition. Different situations may call for a more or less-involved rebranding strategy.
6. You are made invisible by a generic brand
Is your business forgettable?
Is your brand name generic? Your logo a meaningless icon?
The best brands are grounded in an authentic identity and unique value proposition. If your brand does not tell your audience anything about who your business is or what you stand for, that is a major handicap for your business to overcome.
Businesses without a strong brand identity are utterly forgettable. And they have a much harder path forward than a strongly branded business because consumers simply will not remember or care about them.
If your business does not come to mind when consumers need your product or service, you will not get their business.
So, if your business has a great product and a strong team, but you are still failing, look hard at your brand and consider trying a new direction. A more unique and authentic brand is key to saving your business.
REBRANDING IS NOT a cure-all.
But when wisely applied in the right situations, it may just save your business.