A rebrand and the fresh new start it promises can seem like a tantalising prospect. After all, you upgrade your phone, redecorate your home and update your wardrobe, and your brand, as a key asset in your business, deserves attention to ensure it keeps on doing its job for you.
But coming up with the right brand, one that is right for now and as future-proof as it can be, is a time-consuming exercise and nowhere near as easy as many of the more routine updates you undertake. So, if you’re thinking that staying as you are is no longer the right thing to do but you’re not convinced you’re ready for a rebrand, answering ‘yes’ to any of these five reasons should help you decide to take the plunge.
And just to be extra helpful, we’ve added in three scenarios where it might be better to hold off for now.
Yes, go ahead with a rebrand if…
1. You’ve changed your offer
You’ve grown, expanded into new markets, introduced new products and services, taken a different direction or now have a new client base. The branding that fitted your business so well when you first started out feels past its ‘best before’ date and you’re starting to feel a niggling embarrassment about the look and feel of say, your business cards and website.
One of the key roles of branding is helping people understand and navigate your offering, and all of those positive business growth and development markers may mean that your branding has been left behind. Quite simply, it no longer reflects what your business is all about.
2. The world around you has changed
You haven’t kept up with changes in your marketplace and the wider business landscape. Perhaps your original branding fell into the trap of following the trends of its time too closely and now looks dated and clichéd. Or maybe you recognise that you’re not making full use of more recent thinking on how people relate to branding – where a more personal and emotional element can be introduced to better communicate the values and vision behind your business – where you focus on the ‘why’ and not just the ‘what’.
3. Your visual and verbal identity is all over the place
Maybe getting the branding right wasn’t that much of a priority first time round and your branding isn’t clearly defined or aligned with your business. If there was a concept behind the creative, it’s been long forgotten. With everyone on the team piling in and producing customer-facing materials, branding is inconsistently applied and the results look far from professional.
4. The pieces of the puzzle don’t fit any more
You’ve bought other companies or merged, and even though it’s been good for the bottom line, you’ve been left with a culture mismatch. Perhaps you’ve shifted your positioning and are now looking to raise your prices to match your redefined offering. Or maybe, with new entrants in your marketplace, you’re beginning to look a little like everyone else and your branding is no longer helping differentiate you from the competition.
We were a mess and Sue and the team sorted us out. They took the time to understand what we wanted and built the correct team who could focus our branding and our customer offering.
(Simon Scott, Owner Push Entertainment)
5. You don’t have an up-to-date brand strategy
You already know that some things in your business need to change. You might be about to embark on a major overhaul of key touchpoints, commission a new website or begin implementing a new marketing plan. You’re not sure however that this marketing plan truly reflects your vision, values and positioning, and you can’t help thinking that it all feels too tactical, without a top-level strategy behind it, pulling everything together.
How a rebrand gave this tech firm the edge in its category
KTSL had fallen into the trap, so many tech companies do, they focused on the awe and wonder of tech, not the people who delivered it or the people who used it. Worse still, they defaulted to the category cliches of ‘mystical’ tech images – techie interfaces floating over dark layered backgrounds – Tokyo-style nighttime skylines. We showed them what SaaS challenger brands were doing and the marketing of big tech brands like Google. We shifted the focus to the individual, speaking in clear everyday language. Full project case story here.
Woah, stop! Don’t do it, because:
1. You recently rebranded but maybe haven’t seen the results yet
(Also reads as: You love shiny new things!) Ask yourself if you’ve given it long enough to see the impact of your new brand identity. Rebrands aren’t necessarily quick fixes. What already feels familiar to you may not have percolated through in your marketplace and your new branding may need more time to become recognised and established. As the saying goes, you have to throw enough water at people before they get wet! Stay firm for a little longer and arrange to conduct a structured review at a more reasonable point in the future.
2. You get new business referrals all the time from your loyal community
In brand-speak this is gold dust: you have great brand equity. Your audience understands who you are and why you’re special so don’t mess with your branding. But don’t become complacent either. Keep an eye on your brand. Have conversations with your existing clients and your target audience. (An independent consultant can help you by asking the right questions to uncover whether your brand identity resonates.) Brands are not fixed in time and space, they can be affected by external factors too (see, The world around you has changed, above).
3. You have big plans, you just can’t reveal them yet
You’re planning radical changes that will impact your value proposition. Stop. Don’t rebrand yet. By all means scope out the impact of those changes with a brand design consultant but don’t launch into a full rebranding process until you’re clear on everything. You don’t want to fall into the trap of having to rebrand twice – the cost to your business will be more than financial. Think of the confusion two rebrands in quick succession could cause your customers, prospects, team and suppliers!
If you think you’re ready to start rebranding, here’s what you might be thinking and what you can do next: So you’ve decided to rebrand? Myths, misconceptions and what to expect when you’re rebranding