Rebranding can be a very good cause, especially when its aim is to tone up some grey areas in the business. Especially as brands can go off-message, or find their message no longer resonates with their target audiences.
You may want to go for a new name, term, symbol, design, or combination thereof with the intention of developing a new, differentiated identity in the minds of your consumers, investors, competitors, and other stakeholders. However, embarking on a company rebranding takes a careful hand and plenty of thought into what customers you are targeting.
If done right, aligning your business with these qualities can certainly have the desired effect and earn you a loyal customer base. On the other hand, an incorrectly done rebranding may be a total disaster.
It can cost you not only the customers you’re hoping to reach but a segment of established clients as well. This Vincent Tan discovered when he tried to rebrand Cardiff City’s Premier League football team the “Bluebirds” by changing the blue kit to red.
Vincent Tan had to plow an estimated £100 million into the football team’s rebrand. Along with the monetary cost, the rebrand also cost Cardiff City the faith and trust of a selection of their newly confused fans.
Another example of rebranding that went sour was the attempt to change the design of Tropicana Orange juice cartons that led customers to feel that like their brand equity and trust were compromised. Expectedly, sales fell over 20 percent.
There are, however, rebrandings that have soared the company’s revenue. Through 1998, Subway’s sale in the U.S. are estimated to have been $3 billion, since the company came up with Subway’s Jared Campaign, they have made over $11 billion.
2018, is gradually winding up and you must have gone through your records using all available metrics and KPIs to access how far you fared in the year. You are also getting ready for 2019 marketing year and rebranding may be one of the options you are contemplating.
However, before you plunge headlong into it, you need to have the right strategy. And this sure comes in handy.
- The business reason
Any rebranding strategy should start with a thorough understanding of the business reason behind the rebranding. What do you desire to achieve?
Do you need to accelerate growth? Does your firm need to compete with larger, more established competitors?
The basic, fundamental, primary or crucial component for rebranding is understanding the business case, or the “why,” and focusing on telling your story. This will go a long way in helping your company identify whether to partially rebrand to clarify its story, or completely rebrand to tell a different story or take a completely new approach.
You need to start the rebranding project with the end in mind. Understand why the rebrand is necessary, then establish a clear vision and goals for it before considering tactical changes (like revitalizing to broaden your appeal).
Ultimately, the success of a brand is determined by how well the brand’s story resonates with the target audience, so take an outside-in approach to the rebranding process. If you are attempting to move into a new market, that research should include your new target clients as well. The goal is to have an objective understanding of your current brand perception and competencies.
- There must be a connection
The aim of rebranding is to enhance your existing brand to engage with your target audience while capitalizing on the brand equity as well as the identity you’ve built to date. You are not completely new in the market so don’t discard everything that will connect you to the former brand.
You must endeavor to retain some semblance. Don’t fix what is not broken.
For that reason, it’s imperative that you at least give a nod to your original brand in some way — be it keeping your elements (logo, packaging, signage, flyers, ads, etc.) and channels of your brand (digital, social, brick-and-mortar presence, etc.) — so you can connect with a new audience and still resonate with your existing brand ambassadors in the way of recognizing the brand they’ve come to know and associate with.
- Get buy-in from all quarters
Your rebranding project must be comprehensive. You can’t do a half-baked job. Ensure that it occurs at all levels of the company simultaneously.
A rebrand will only be successful if every single member of the organization understands and stands behind the new company direction. Not knowing what is happening in the C-Suite, will lead to guesses, with estimations and imaginations running wild.
This can result in needless anxiousness, worry, and unnecessary loss of productivity. Communicate clearly the reasons behind the change so that everyone involved can work off the same script when describing your brand to others, both inside and outside the organization.
Communication is the key in this time of transition.
- Risks assessment
This may be the most important factor to consider before embarking on any form of rebranding. Do you have the resources and budget? Have you quantified all of the costs associated with your rebranding? What type of return do you think it will produce?
A rebrand, especially one that completely overhauls your look-and-feel, can be a very effort- and time-intensive process. This is why project management is essential to completing a successful rebrand within the deadline and budget.
Project management can be as simple as a spreadsheet that documents projections of timelines, deliverables, risks (with mitigation plans), and team responsibilities for each work-package.
- Launch your plan
Before you finally launch your rebranding plan which is of the ultimate essence, there are a few things you’ll still need to sort out.
How will you unveil your brand to the market? What promotional activities will you use? Think about your website launch, digital and social media promotion, events – live and online, customer notices, media/press/bloggers/social influencers.
Once you’ve been able to strengthen all these out, build excitement by letting your audience know that something new and exciting is coming. The culmination of all of the hard work of your rebranding project is your launch – perhaps the most exciting (and nerve-wracking) event for any marketer.
Execution is all about the details, so carefully plan your activities on the calendar, give clear instructions to your team, measure all feedback and metrics and adjust and refine when required. Not everything will always go according to plan, so stay flexible and adjust when needed!
Give rebranding the attention it deserves and the rewards will follow. A well-positioned firm that clearly communicates its brand is a formidable competitor indeed.
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