Rebranding is one of the toughest choices a lot of businesses can make. And we get it. You may have spent years building your brand and all of its related parts to be recognisable, memorable and, in many cases, a household name for your customers.
So to tear it all up and start again can be daunting. Many brands have done it: Qantas, Guide Dogs Australia, GoDaddy, Microsoft, even the almighty BP. And all of them faced a stack of challenges and perceptions in doing so. So what do you need to consider before you embark on such a mission?
There are some key questions you need to ask yourself and your business partners to determine just what you need to do to make your brand work for your business.
Rebranding isn’t a black-and-white exercise. The scope of what it means to rebrand sits on an equilibrium of complete name and brand transformation right through to even the most minor of tweaks.
Odds are your needs sit somewhere in between. Experts can guide you through exactly why you should take certain actions in a rebrand project, but make sure you understand the ramifications of wholesale change versus bringing your existing brand along for a clean-up.
As with everything in business, a customer-centric approach is important. If your brand isn’t resonating with customers like it used to, it’s probably due to a combination of things. So ask them. What do you think of our brand? Why does our brand and offering not resonate with you like it used to? The answers will help you shape what your brand and your position needs to be to secure a sustainable business future.
You can take a few approaches to this. By running qualitative research such as focus groups and one-on-one interviews, you can get anecdotal feelings and emotions from your customers about your brand. You can also run quantitative surveys that can place your brand among your competitors to see which brands have been recalled and remembered during a certain period of time. Combining both gives you a lot of information and insights about how you should approach a rebrand.
Businesses change. Categories and customers shift. Technology transforms things quicker than ever. If your brand is a design of a time long past, you should definitely consult with an expert to determine how it can evolve with your business and your customers, without damaging your customer base.
Brands with strong recall and salience should be treated with a deft hand, whereas if your brand is running a strong last with customers and looking very dusty, an overhaul could change the game.
As your company evolves, expands, delves into new geographical territory and introduces new products and services, it’s often the case that your brand just doesn’t serve the customers and offering any more. This is where it’s important to consider brand architecture and lock in a structure that is sustainable and resourced correctly.
Take Coke, for example. The company has recently changed their brand architecture to be a Branded House structure. Coke is the master brand, and everything sits underneath it with simple terms: Coke Classic, Coke No Sugar, Diet Coke, Vanilla Coke. You know what you’re getting, and your master brand does the heavy lifting.
In contrast, a company such as beverage giant Lion Nathan is a House of Brands. Lion Nathan is the corporate brand, a bit quieter on the marketing front. But underneath them sits a huge portfolio of different brands: Stella Artois, Steinlager, Corona, Furphy, XXXX Gold, and the list goes on and on. But every time you add a brand, you have to manage and resource that brand correctly. So while it can create super popular and memorable experiences for customers, they require a lot of time and money to get there.
In between these are Endorser Brands (Residence Inn by Marriott) and Sub-Brand (Ford Fiesta) structures. It’s up to you to determine the best structure for your company and where it can take you as time rolls on and your business evolves. Again, experts can help you find the right balance.
Rebranding isn't just a new logo, it's going to touch everything from business cards, office signage and uniforms through to car wraps, websites, social media and more.
Make sure you're rebranding from a position of financial strength, which also allows you to get the rebrand done by a professional who will understand your business, not just a cheap logo maker on Fiverr.com.
It’s also vital because the point of a brand is to create an intangible value in the business – people and customers remember you, automatically think and feel something about you, and are driven to buy you because of a perception. If you rebrand, but then can’t afford to change all of your touchpoints, confusion reigns.
This can get pretty sticky for businesses because fickle things can cause big problems. One of the world’s biggest champagne brands nearly rebranded because the team was sick of the yellow colour of their product – a colour that customers knew instantly as that product. Thankfully it didn't happen.
But it does show how small, non-customer focused decisions can backfire. If you’ve recently acquired a company, or if you’ve recently rebranded but it’s not quite what you want, the desire to start afresh can be strong. But it does require some deep thought and challenging conversations to ensure you’re making the right decision. Those newly acquired customers can vote with their wallet pretty quickly if they don’t like what you’ve done. And that new brand might just need a bit of time to hit the market in a deeper way, so patience can be the best medicine. Again, experts can help you get to the right decision.
Ask yourself these questions before you dive into your rebrand and you will find deeper answers and better approaches to making your brand memorable for customers. And you just might find that new brand that changes the game for your business.
Chris brings over a decade of industry experience to Red Kite working at design agencies in both the UK and Australia. Over the years he has accumulated a wealth of graphic design, strategic identity design and marketing experience. Chris is a hugely passionate identity designer endeavouring to offer the highest quality branding and logo design Brisbane and Australia wide. Chat to Chris about your branding.