Re-branding is an inevitable step in the continued success of any long-lived company. So how can you make sure your re-brand is successful and effective?
Re-branding isn't just for the vain. It is an essential exercise if a business is to embrace external and change in order to survive in the long term. If the brand falls behind its applications, the firm's proposition or market expectations, it will start to detract from performance. Furthermore your brand applies to your employees too, not just your products or services. A strong brand increases the likelihood that employees will feel pride in and evangelise about their employer - effectively becoming an extension of the sales force.
Re-branding is a delicate process however. One with many stakeholders and much at stake. So learn from our experience and follow our five tips to ensure a successful and effective re-brand for your business.
1. Ask yourself 'why?'
It's vital that you know exactly why you are re-branding before you commence the process. Define what you are hoping to achieve and what perceptions you are trying to change or create.
You should also identify which aspects of your current brand hold the most value and which do not so that you can determine which elements are worth retaining while others can be updated or replaced.
Also, make time for the process and tell stakeholders from whom you will later seek opinions from what is expected of them. Timely, constructive and decisive feedback is essential for successful re-branding and can prevent any build of fatigue, frustration and apathy later on.
2. Focus on specific markets
Which markets should you really be going after? Are they really markets, defined by groups of buyers with similar needs? Or are they in fact industries, too big to be influenced with your marketing budget, or inventions of yours created to avoid real focus?
Too many marketing managers and business owners fail to segment their markets or focus their strategies out of fear that they will be turning away revenue. The result is broad and dilute marketing that resonates with no one and does away with any chance to taking a real market share.
Be specific about what makes your company different too. What do you do differently that means a particular type of customer should buy from you, over your competitors? If you can't put your finger on an answer to this question then you have to look harder. But remember, potential sources of differentiation can be found in many different areas of the business, not just in the product or service.
3. Be honest about your vision and values
Hand on heart kind of honest - what does your business really stand for? What are the true vision and values at the heart of your company. These are the elements that can make the difference between a closed deal and a deal lost narrowly on price. Or the difference between a one-off and a loyal, repeat customer. Unless you are extremely fortunate, your customer can obtain your product or service from a number of sources and may be able to play you against them. Vision and values form the essence of your brand and the essence is what customers form a relationship with.
4. Put yourself in your customer shoes
Hard as it may be, you've got to balance your personal tastes with an objective assessment of any branding work you are presented with. Try not to instantly dismiss work you don’t immediately like. First, look at it from the perspective of the customer and in the required applications. After, your brand has to function in modern mediums and needs to appeal to your target audience and not solely to you. Of course you have to love whatever brand you finally put in place, but you should find it easy to love a brand that perfectly positions your business in the mind of the customer.
5. Be ready to fight for consistency
Plan for and enforce consistent use. Without consistent use there no such thing as brand. So allow time after choosing your new brand for your agency to produce all the necessary artwork files (not just logos) and at least simple brand guidelines - in a many cases a one page document will do.
Thereafter, police its use and encourage others to do the same. Small transgressions may seem trivial on their own but they send a message to others and can lead to widespread abuse, so nip it in the bud.
Your re-brand is going to cost you time, money and maybe a little sleep. So give the re-branding process the respect it deserves and follow these five tips.