Brands give us a sense of comfort and familiarity in a world where we’re constantly bombarded with new imagery, words and rhetoric. Whether we’re glancing at a billboard in our periphery vision along the highway, or perusing the aisles at our local grocery store, what catches our eye are the typeface, colours and slogans of brands that resonate with us.
Even the most celebrated visionaries and business mavens will see their brands evolve through several different iterations in their lifetime. When rebranding is thoughtfully executed, businesses transition seamlessly and reap the rewards in a marketplace that’s just as excited about their new look and feel as the boardroom executives and marketing team who toiled for months behind the scenes.
What is Rebranding?
Companies that rebrand are using a marketing strategy to change certain aspects of their brand in order to reposition and identify themselves to clients in a new way. This may involve a shift in their advertising themes, targeting a different market or niche, or distancing themselves from negative press. Typical markers for a rebrand include a change in design or concept, which leads to a new name, logo, or image.
Why Should I Rebrand?
The pursuit of rebranding is the same no matter what company - attract new customers while retaining your steadfast followers, and increase sales to not only pay for the (sometimes colossal) rebranding expense, but soar above that to dominate in your sector. The dream of any successful enterprise is to enrich brand equity. Increasing this crucial element means elevating the perceived social value of your service or product in the eyes of the general public.
Let’s take a look at some reasons why you may consider rebranding your business.
1. You've Grown
Due to hefty start-up costs, businesses often cut corners and call in favours when first cobbling together their image. Who can blame them? Many small businesses start as side hustles, with little time or money to be spent on elaborate design and marketing plans.
"My friend did my branding over a weekend" is what we hear all too often.
Once established with a stable revenue and growing client base, we often encounter companies that are looking to upgrade to a polished brand that represents their ideology with more accuracy.
2. Direction Of Your Business Has Changed
Over the course of early years, many businesses get it wrong, or at least, not completely right. Through constant client feedback on their product, and a clearer perspective of their market position, they may realize that they're a different type of business than what they started off as.
An interesting example of a business that changed direction is YouTube. In 2005, YouTube began as a video dating site called “Tune In Hook Up,” . For about a year they failed to attract the audience for this online service and simply focused on hosting videos.
3. The Market You Play In Has Shifted
With the culture of consumerism constantly shifting, companies must remain agile and ready to meet the demands of increasingly informed customers. Maple Leaf Foods, an established Canadian consumer protein company known for its kid-friendly bologna and classic hot dogs has recently made a significant marketing investment in their ‘Maple Leaf 50/50’ products. Recognizing the rising popularity of vegan, vegetarian and flexitarian lifestyles, as well as growing concerns about carbon emissions, it’s taking a creative approach to providing alternatives to their traditional meat-centric products. As their new taglines, “Raise the Good in Food '' and “We’re for Real” exemplify, rebranding is key to ensure your overall brand aligns with the new product.
4. You Need a Refresh, but Remain Timeless
It’s a delicate balance to remain in a consumer's psyche while not exhausting your marketing budget. A company’s worst case scenario is spending a considerable amount of cash conceptualizing a refreshed brand, only to have the majority of consumers echo across social media: ‘I liked the old version better’.
Yes, change is hard, but without it, you run the risk of buyers becoming blasé about your product or service. Ultimately the aim is to keep your image recognizable, attractive in both print and digital formats, with a classic aesthetic that stays true to the heritage of your brand. Before you take the plunge and hit the “Publish” button on a brand refresh, try a few social media polls or seek out professional feedback.
5. Negative Press & Legalities
If you find yourself in the midst of a PR nightmare and your brand is a detriment to sales, we recommend owning up to transgressions. Though our attention spans are shorter than ever (did you make it to the end of this blog post?!), our appetite for negative press is never satiated and customers need to feel that your approach is authentic. Once you’ve owned up and taken responsibility for a misstep, a rebrand is a viable pivot opportunity. Circle back to your core values, ensure your messaging is clear, and view your new brand through your client’s eyes.
Beyond the typical warnings about trademark rights (local basketball fans are keenly aware due to a long-running logo fiasco between the Toronto Raptors and Monster Energy), there’s definitely advantages to seeking out an experienced lawyer who’s knowledgeable about intellectual property rights. The upfront cost of protecting yourself before a launch is worthwhile to avoid lawsuit hassles and being forced to hastily rebrand due to a legal dispute.
Need more insider intel on rebranding? Reach out to our team at Crow & Pitcher for insightful guidance on how rebranding might be a great step for your business.