Successful companies will often say that the key to staying ahead of the competition is constant innovation. It motivates staff, it drives interest in an evolving marketplace, and it boosts media attention.
Rebranding your business can play a big part in this, but the road to success is littered with the failures of others. Big-name brands like Tropicana and Gap have learned the hard way that rebranding can be very risky business.
Here’s some advice on how you should go about it:
1. Why Rebrand?
You must be sure that you are going about this for the right reasons. Assuming your company has been around for a while, your brand carries with it a lot of history and credibility. Do you need a complete rebrand or would a few refreshing tweaks do the job of keeping your look up to date while retaining an existing structure that works well?
Successful rebrands often coincide with a different philosophy or way of doing things, a new direction. Just changing the name of the company or the look of your logo while keeping everything else the same is a little pointless. Is it to broaden your audience? Be sure, then, who it is that’s buying your products and what will appeal to them – for inspiration, look at the way Steve Jobs radically repositioned Apple, focusing on why people cared about the brand rather than looking outward at what competitors were doing.
2. New Domain Names?
If your current website is not living up to its potential then you might be looking to upgrade it, and this can also be a good time to consider switching to a new, more memorable domain name. A new domain can be a tricky proposition, and if handled badly it can have a negative effect on your SEO, but there are ways to avoid that. Do your research and remember there are big advantages to a new domain beyond memorability.
3. What’s The Story?
If you don’t have one already, find your brand’s story. What is it that makes your brand stand out from the crowd? Whatever your story is, make sure that it’s clear, compelling, and shared consistently across all of your platforms from your website to your brochures to your social media.
4. What’s The Rush?
When Gap introduced a new logo back in 2010, it suffered a humiliating failure. Reaction was so intense and negative that just a week or so later it scrapped the idea and reverted to the original. This is not the first time a brand has made such an error and it almost certainly won’t be the last.
Suddenly changing a recognized logo or company name can confuse your customers, and cause an instant backlash. So test things out on a smaller scale first – baby steps. By moving slowly, and keeping a close eye on feedback, you can judge whether a rebrand is likely to be a hit or a failure, and if it’s not going to fly with people, you can switch back relatively easily without it being too embarrassing. You might even find it worthwhile to crowdsource opinion, getting your customers involved in the process by asking for votes on a couple of different logo designs This can build vital engagement with the new brand and boost the chances of success.
5. Who Should Do It?
Many companies, when considering a rebrand, will consider hiring an external rebranding expert to assist them. This can be expensive but unfortunately money spent is no guarantee of success. The massive failure that was the Post Office’s attempt to rebrand itself as Consignia is testament to that. Remember that no-one knows your company, or your customers, better than you. The basics of rebranding can be learned. However, it’s more difficult for someone from the outside to come in and guess how your market will react to an idea if they haven’t had years of experience operating within it.