To rebrand or not to rebrand? Your brand should never be something you wake up one day and decide to change on a whim because you hate everything…
Rebranding your business (or yourself) should be a carefully thought out process that takes preparation and strategic thinking before you even think about changing any of your public-facing properties. Once you have done all of the work in the back end – messaging, positioning, audience targeting, etc – then you can plan for the visual rebrand as a coordinated launch. This will allow you to build some hype and expectation for the new brand.
But how do you know when it’s a good time to rebrand? While this answer can differ for everyone, here are some good reasons to take on a rebranding project:
- Sales have plateaued or decreased: Obviously if you aren’t bringing in any new business or selling product, or you can’t seem to grow your revenues, something isn’t working. That can become even more painfully obvious if your target audience is going to the competition. There has to be a reason why. More often than not it’s because your brand is no longer relevant. You have to take a step back and review what is causing the disconnect.
- The needs of your audience have changed: Without customers, you wouldn’t be in business. Technology is often a driving factor of changing needs because it acts as a catalyst for change. Do the products/services you offer fulfill what your customers need? If not, you need to decide whether you are able to make that change.
- Your visual representation is outdated: Visual appeal changes over time. You can have a classic logo such as Coca-Cola and still have to tweak it over time. Another issue that could come up is that your initial logo could have been designed based on current design trends. Trends are often fleeting, so you may become out of style.
- Your values and positioning have changed over time: It’s one thing if your customer needs have changed over time, but often business owners will find that the brand itself has shifted slowly over time organically. It’s important to realign yourself at the foundation of your brand as well as on the public-facing side of the brand. If your current messaging doesn’t match what you are actually offering, then you can create confusion among your target audience.
- You don’t feel an emotional connection to your brand: While you shouldn’t make decisions based on emotion alone, you also need to realize that your business is fueled by your passion to make it succeed. If you really just aren’t “feeling it” anymore, it will come across in everything you do. It’s important in these situations not to make knee jerk decisions, but to still take a structured process to ensure you get on the right track once the rebrand is carried through.
- You don’t stand out – too close to competitors: It’s easy to get sucked into what your competitor is doing without realizing it. Before you know it, there are 5 businesses within your geographical area in the same industry that have a teal circle as the main design component of their logo. And perhaps you all use the same “differentiator” messaging to say why you are the “premier” brand in the industry. Don’t be afraid to step outside of the industry norm. Really take a look at what your audience is attracted to and that will help you to form branding that stands out visually and characteristically.
- You’ve expanded past your geographical name: It’s not a bad problem to have. Your business has expanded beyond what you thought it would when you first started. The problem? You used your city name as part of the brand. This is a great time to drop the geographical labeling and use a more global brand name. Your messaging will also take a more broad focus, but you can still talk about your grassroots, local mindset, which many customers appreciate.
- You’re boring: No one likes to be told they are boring. But the reality is that there are brands out there who just fade into the background. You don’t have to go crazy, but a little bit of spice will attract more of an audience.
- Negative association: Often-times negative press will run its course and things will get back to “normal” but there are other times where your brand will forever be associated with something terrible. Perhaps the pronunciation is just too similar to a terrorist group name, or you had a massive crisis that you just couldn’t overcome. In any case, you need to decide what the negative association is and how best to cut those ties to start fresh. It could be a name change, a tag line change, or even just the core messaging of the outreach you are putting out there.
Whatever your reasoning, rebranding should never be taken lightly. If you think you are having branding issues, but you don’t know where to start, start with a call to a third party expert who can point you in the right direction. SongBird might just be that expert for you, so be sure to give us a call!