A marketers guide to rebranding

A rebranding is often described as a powerful way to get where you want to be with what you currently have. It is not a light decision to make and should only be taken when your brand cannot go on the way that it was, or when that brand has gone negative with no way of salvaging it. In this instance, making a clear break between the old company and the new company with a rebrand will be the best step forward.

Over the last couple of years there are many companies who have chosen to rebrand to help bring their company in line with their future ambitions. Examples of these include…

  • Microsoft
  • McDonald’s
  • Tesco Value / Tesco Everyday Value range

Psychologically, rebranding your company, product and brand allows you to signal to your customers that you want another shot.


Why Rebrand?

From a marketing point of view, a rebrand of a company or product allows you to refocus your marketing activities and goals to make them align with your overall company aim.

Time should therefore be taken at the start of any rebranding project to…

  • Re-evaluate the market you are in, and perhaps even the market that you want to enter if they are not the same.
  • Re-evaluate the product/services that you offer to ensure that the product is fit for a rebrand and meets the need for your new target market.
  • Re-evaluate the way in which your company operates to ensure that old habits don’t get in the way of your rebrand.
  • Re-evaluate the appearance of your company visually via logos, strap lines and, of course, online and offline marketing tools such as brochures and websites.
  • Consider what you want to achieve as the result of this rebrand, that you haven’t been able to achieve within your current brand.
  • Consider just how far you are willing to go to rebrand. New product and new customers?

More importantly, consider what bold steps you can make to help your rebrand and newly rebranded products stand out in your chosen marketplace.


Why do some Rebrands Fail?

Some rebrands do fail, but why? A rebrand may fail for one or many of the following reasons…

  • Businesses not considering their customers in their rebrand.
  • Making their rebrand too confusing, which alienates an otherwise interested audience.
  • Not being willing to adapt your rebranding plans to ensure successful rebranding.
  • Trying to make the company name and product fit a completely unrelated market without matching it to the brand and public opinion.
  • Clinging to history and failing to evolve when rebranding.
  • Rebranding when the market is not ready for the rebrand.
  • Failing to deliver on the rebrand, often due to overhyped rebranding.
  • Not consulting front line staff, who often have vital information which can help turn your rebranding dud into a success.

Examples of rebrands that have failed are MasterCard, Tropicana, GAP, Netflix and Best Buy.

In fact, all of these rebrands were so disastrous that the brands were then reverted back to the iconic brands that we know today.

So, learn from their mistakes, ensure that you are reading this list of reasons why some rebrands fail and check the actions that you are taking with your rebrand.

When should you Not Rebrand?

Rebranding should not be your go-to mode when you are looking to improve your marketing. If it is, you could be walking straight into a marketing disaster.

There are steps you can take to refresh your brand, instead of rebranding, that will be far better for your brand and company goals in the long run.

An example of when you should refresh and not rebrand is when you have a brand that is robust, has a strong engagement and good loyalty from customers, but is still lagging behind competitors, or needs to change to enter or meet a new market place.

A refresh in this instance, to change the core market position and values of the company, will be far simpler and beneficial for your company than throwing away years of hard work.

Examples of successful brand refreshes are…

  • Burberry – moved away from its gangland associations without losing its history or traditions.
  • Old Spice – targeted a new generation with a refresh of marketing ideas and activities to change the perception of the brand without changing the brand itself.

Finishing your Rebrand?

There is no such thing as a finished rebrand!

Rebranding is not an easy task and should never be seen as something you can do and then tick off. It is an activity that requires a lot of work, dedication, investment, vision and testing.

Once you have begun your rebrand it is likely that you will be tweaking it and adjusting it for years to come. It is a continuous cycle and something that you need to be prepared for.

A rebrand done well will help you better establish your company in your chosen marketplace. You will see an increase in market share, sales and profit. Along with this, customers perception of your brand should improve, and with it their loyalty and engagement with the brand.

A final element to rebranding that you should be aware of is the need to listen to what your customers are saying. Be prepared for harsh criticism on your rebranding efforts and ideas, but ensure that you use it productively to improve your company brand.

After all, they are your customers and they should be at the forefront of any rebranding activities.

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