Rebranding is a challenging and exciting point in a brand’s lifetime. It signals the beginning of a new chapter for the brand, but if not properly handled, can lead to damaging effects. Customers might believe the brand has simply gone out of business, or may not trust the new brand, as new management may be included with the rebranding process possibly resulting in changes to their favorite products. A rebrand is when a brand changes core elements of their messaging, imagery or core assets that made up the old brand, and introduces new or refreshed core elements.
Start from Within
Most companies focus their rebranding efforts on winning over customers, the media, and the public at large. However, companies should begin their rebranding efforts internally. Don’t allow employees – even contracted janitors – to find out about the change in the news. Prepare everyone involved with the company to ensure the process is smooth and is supported by employees and partners.
Just like customers who mistrust new names from new management, many employees may prepare to jump ship or nervously await pink slips under the same premise. Companies must reassure employees. Reassured and confident employees also reduce the likelihood of projecting any uncertainty on customers.
Don’t Give up Everything
After working hard to build up familiarity for one brand, trying to start from scratch with another can intimidate even the most seasoned businessman. One of the best ways to ensure the process runs smoothly is to not give up everything at once.
For instance, when Xerox bought ACS to take advantage of the business process services market, it branded its acquisition as ‘ACS, a Xerox Company’. While Xerox was a much bigger brand than ACS, Xerox knew that ACS held more sway in its field and did not want to cut existing ties the brand had with suppliers, clients, and partners.
Another way to keep the continuity flowing is to retain certain colors, fonts, images, or other memorable pieces of the logo or any other visual piece usually associated with the former brand. Some companies may opt to keep the slogan if the mission remains the same.
Get Creative Juices Flowing
While continuity is important, people don’t rebrand a company to stay the same, even when they recently acquired it. Rebranding is the perfect opportunity to get more creative, and bring something new and improved to the table. It should create the perception for internal and external customers that the change is not just different, but better.
To do this, the brand may benefit from hiring a new creative team, or a few people on a contract basis to stir things up and get creative juices flowing.
Rebranding is a great time for a company to do everything it always wanted to do under a new name and image. However, companies should take care not to deviate too much from their original image, as this may cause both customers and employees to jump ship. Brands should consider the possibility of rebranding in stages, allowing all parties involved to grow with the company as it evolves into something new.
Creating a Successful Rebranding Campaign
The marketing strategy that includes changing a brand’s corporate image by creating a new name, logo, symbol, and any other visual assets and marketing materials is what rebranding entails. The goal of such a type of campaign is to create a new and different identity in the minds of the target audience, prospects, employees, investors, competitors, and the general public.
Since companies understand how essential a brand’s identity is, and that businesses can only become strong brands if they have consistent brandings, they tend to invest a lot in branding. However, a strong brand doesn’t only rely on its logo or name, as the entirety of a brand also entails how the prospective and the loyal customers experience the company itself.
As companies evolve, they also have to evolve their branding to stay competitive. Whether the brand has evolved enough that the aesthetic no longer speaks to the company’s products or values, or it’s looking to expand its business scope, there are plenty of reasons why companies pursue rebranding campaigns.
Mission, Values, and Vision
The first three steps in a successful rebranding campaign are to look at the company’s old mission, vision, and values. This is because the business first has to understand what sets it apart in the market, the unique values it brings to consumers, and the type of messages it’s been promoting to consumers.
These three elements are foundational when companies are looking to pursue rebranding campaigns, and they’re a great starting point for building the new brand.
The next step is to create a strategy that aligns with the company’s old branding. Although things might seem a lot simpler to simply remove everything from the existing branding and start from scratch, many companies can’t afford to do that. That’s why most of the time, companies prefer to pursue partial rebranding, where the existing brand assets can be incorporated into the foundation of the new brand strategy.
Being consistent in updating the branding will help the company increase its overall value simply by reinforcing its market position. That will, in turn, attract more customers and create higher retention rates, while also increasing the perceived value of the company’s products or services.
A successful rebranding campaign also involves a lot of research. The business needs to look into the market competitors and what they’re doing, and figure out what sets the company apart. It should also research the overall market as well as the target audience.
This is essential because companies that skip this step often lose out on their market share. While researching, the business can also test out some, or even all, of the new branding assets with the target audience and customer base through focus groups. That way, the company will be sure of what will work, and what won’t when pursuing the rebranding campaign.