A strong brand is a key element for any business. It will help you shape customers’ perception of your organization and distinguish your products from competitors. Additionally, branding will attract a new audience, build loyalty, and inspire employees. However, a brand can become outdated over time, prompting you to refresh your company image.
Companies rebrand when they want to keep up with the competition or establish themselves as stronger industry players. While big brands like Apple, BP, and Starbucks have learned the power of rebranding, smaller businesses can also drive up their sales through a unique brand strategy. Rebranding often involves rethinking your name, logo, color palettes, imagery, typeface, and advertising or marketing strategies.
Why Rebrand A Company?
Below are some reasons to consider a rebrand:
Large corporations like Coca-Cola, Shell, and PepsiCo have long dominated global markets. However, the internet has empowered mid-sized and small firms to reach international customers as well. When venturing into new, global markets, it is crucial to re-examine your brand or product names.
Product names must make sense to overseas customers, and you should not rely on computer translations. Instead, consult with a local to help you communicate effectively. For example, Lay’s uses different brand names in various markets, including Walkers in the UK and Smith’s in Australia.
LG electronics is another company that changed its name to conquer overseas markets. The Korean brand was formerly known as Luck and GoldStar. It began using the name LG in 1995 to appeal to western customers. If you use a new logo, ensure it is not offensive or culturally-sensitive.
2. Acquisitions, Mergers, and Spin-offs
Branding often accompanies a merger or acquisition as firms evaluate any overlaps in markets, geography, or product set. If you are part of a merger, you will need to study the old brands and determine which branding aspects to keep. Likewise, companies involved in an acquisition need to choose a visual identity that will reflect company changes. Mergers have birthed strong brand names like PricewaterhouseCoopers and Verizon, which resulted from the Bell Atlantic and GTE merger.
3. Changing Markets
Customers are increasingly moving online, forcing companies with only physical stores to rethink their operations. This trend has hit fashion retailers the hardest, prompting many of them to close thousands of stores across the country. Amazon.com is among the firms that have benefitted from astronomical sales despite being a primarily online departmental store.
It is essential to rebrand if you want to demonstrate your company’s flexibility. Online customers demand convenience, and you can show your commitment to digital solutions by rebranding your company.
4. Change of Leadership
CEOs are part of a brand’s image. A new CEO not only breathes new life into a company but also reflects a new identity. For example, one of the significant changes that Steve Jobs did upon his return to Apple in 1997 was changing the logo. The company was no longer represented by a rainbow-colored logo but a metallic version that is among the world’s most famous logos.
Once leadership changes hands, there is an undeniable shift that affects all levels of an organization. Rebranding will give you a chance to illustrate this change and eliminate any confusion among customers and stakeholders. Companies may also need to rebrand if a founder dies to reaffirm their commitment to the core values.
For businesses to remain relevant, they need brands that are contemporary and exciting. Repositioning will help you illustrate your company’s evolution and embrace change. If your business has become different from what it was when it began operations, it is time to consider a new corporate identity.
For example, Weight Watchers rebranded to WW to reflect a shifting focus from diets to wellness. While the company was previously focused on healthy eating for weight loss, it has been undergoing a brand overhaul towards overall health and wellness.
Another company that excels in rebranding is Target. The retailing industry is cut-throat, and Target has been heavily focused on differentiation to stand out. The firm’s repositioning efforts include store remodels, enhancing its online assets, and prioritizing core products.
Rebranding can help you place your company in a new light. Moreover, you can make changes to your company mission, HR policy, products or services, or brand promise visible to customers.
6. Outdated Image
Companies that have been in business for too long often have to rebrand to keep up with changing aesthetics. For example, if you are still using a 90s palette, you could be setting up your firm to look outdated and boring. Tech companies like IBM and Google have done brand redesign for their logos over time to communicate their identity. It is crucial to modernize your firm’s image to stand out among professionally-designed companies.
During your rebranding process, consider if your brand image reflects any changes that have taken place in the company. You should also evaluate your brand’s logo, brand name, font, and associated elements to decide if they support your brand identity. If not, your organization may be due for a brand change.
7. Distinguish Yourself from Competition
If you operate in a saturated industry, you will need a strong brand to stand out. For example, Slack abandoned their hashtag logo to set it apart from other social media brands like Facebook. Another example is seen in the purple palette used by Twitch to differentiate it from the red, black, and white colors used by YouTube.
Modern customers not only care about the products they buy but also the companies they interact with. You can shape customer perception through a brand story that illustrates your company’s identity, values, and mission.
8. Disassociate from a Bad Reputation
In 1996, a ValuJet aircraft crashed in the Everglades National Park, killing 110 passengers. The airline’s reputation was severely damaged, prompting the company to rebrand in 1997. Consequently, it bought AirTran Airways and adopted its name. The company was later bought by Southwest and moved farther away from any association with the ValuJet crash. Therefore, rebranding can help your company separate itself from a negative event.
Faced with a history of environmental disasters, BP has continuously rebranded its image to reaffirm its commitment to clean energy. Even a simple name change can help you rebrand after negative attention. For example, the Lance Armstrong Foundation became the Livestrong Foundation after its founder was found to have used performance-enhancing drugs throughout his career.
9. You Want to Target New Markets
Rebranding can help you appeal to new demographics and boost business growth. Firstly, you will need to research the potential market and identify gaps and opportunities. Secondly, you should focus on refining your messaging to attract the attention of new customers.
For example, Michael Kors has long been associated with affordable handbags, but it also wants to tap into the luxury market. The company rebranded to Capri Holdings as it continues to buy luxury brands like Jimmy Choo and Gianni Versace Fashion House. A unique rebranding project can help you redefine your position in the marketplace and improve your bottom line.
Is It Time to Rebrand?
Does your brand embody your values or changing perspectives? Is it fresh, exciting, and contemporary? Over time, a brand image can become outdated and irrelevant, prompting companies to rebrand themselves to remain competitive. Additionally, rebranding can help you keep up with design trends, attract new local and global markets, and reposition yourself in the industry. Keep in mind that most rebranding efforts fail, and you should prioritize research and invest sufficient resources in any rebranding project.
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