Rebranding – How Can Brands Successfully Rebrand?
Changes are a part of business strategy. Rebranding is an important strategic decision for any business to remain relevant in an ever-changing landscape. As a business grows, rebranding can be a good thing which allows a company to reposition itself in the marketplace and reach new goals. A good brand creates a wholesome customer experience that delivers consistent and reliable results while building trust and credibility with its customers.
From startups to Fortune 500 companies, there are plenty of examples of successful rebranding. Rebranding doesn’t stop at logo redesign, it can extend to brand philosophy, company’s vision, overall business strategy, and customer experience. While consistent branding can help a business to establish itself in the market, inconsistent branding can create mistrust and lead to customer churn.
Brand makeovers are common but it can fall flat if executed improperly. An example of this is the 2010 rebranding of the GAP logo which had such huge backlash that the company had to change back to the old logo within a week of the relaunch. For a successful rebranding, a company must take into account the evolving market trends and consumer behaviour while effectively communicating with the target audience about anticipated changes to ensure a smooth transition.
What is rebranding?
Rebranding is defined as the process of the reimagining of the corporate and public image of a company. It is a marketing strategy that involves the changing of the company logo, tagline, and other visual assets to create a different brand identity, which is distinguishable from the competitors.
Brand identity is the collection of all visual elements that a company creates to invoke a particular public image. Brand identity is what makes a company instantly recognisable to its customers. Customers associate the brand identity with the products and services that the company sells, which ultimately helps them to foster trust and relationship with their customers.
When should a company consider rebranding?
The right rebranding strategy can help companies to reinvigorate their business and gain market share. Companies overhaul their branding for multiple reasons- evolving target audience, disruptive technology, acquisition and merger, business expansion etc. As time progresses, it makes sense for companies to refresh their visual elements to reflect the contemporary aesthetics of the ongoing decade. For instance, Microsoft and Google logos have changed over time, becoming sleeker and modern each time. Although the changes are relatively minor, they are aimed at refreshing the brand.
Here are some scenarios where you should consider rebranding:
A company mergers with another company
A merger is an amalgamation of two organizations to form a new company. In such a scenario, the company may decide to rebrand itself to showcase the best of each organization. The new brand identity is created to build trust, new brand recognition, and a new target audience. An example of this is when Price Waterhouse and Coopers & Lybrand merged in 1998 and they joined their names into one new name, PriceWaterhouseCoopers. This rebrand underwent another modification in 2010 and became widely known as PwC.
A company undergoes an acquisition
Acquisition is the process of acquiring a company by another. In such situations, the company that gets acquired undergoes rebranding to reflect the mission and vision of its parent company. An example of this is the acquisition of Instagram by Facebook. The original analog polaroid camera logo was replaced by a digital pink and orange version.
A company wants to reach a new audience
When companies grow their reach and expand their target market, they may consider rebranding to resonate with their new prospects and customers. An example of this is the rebranding of MTV over the course of the last few decades. MTV News was popular in the 80s and 90s as the go-to channel for teens and young adults, but as their target audience grew old, they revamped their image to target their new audience- the millennials.
A company has grown out of its original mission
A mission statement is a part of a company’s branding identity. However, over time it is susceptible to change. As a company grows, it might consider rebranding to reflect its new mission and vision. An example of this explosive growth of Airbnb wherein they rebranded their logo in 2014 to embody the 4 new principles of the company; People, Places, Love and Airbnb.
A company needs to stay relevant and competitive
When businesses are around for a long time, they need to evolve to keep up with changing trends and consumer needs. Brands like Apple and Starbucks have successfully rebranded to stay relevant in their domain despite increasing competition. Their logos and brand identity have changed to consistently reflect the changing times.
A company needs to overcome an image crisis
A rebranding is a common strategy used by companies to overcome a PR crisis. A new brand identity is a way for companies to shed their old tarnished image and embrace a new start. An example of this is Uber and Burberry. Uber changed their logo and image after being barraged with negative criticism for its management and operations. Similarly, Burberry underwent an image overhaul in the 2000s after the brand became associated with obnoxious, loud people who love wearing designer brands. They rebranded themselves to become a high-end fashion label.
How to rebrand a company?
Reestablish the company’s mission and vision statement
Any rebranding strategy should start with the mission and vision statement. You must clearly spell out what the business is trying to achieve with the rebranding. The new statements must reflect the company’s core beliefs.
Reestablish the company’s audience and market
The company must conduct extensive research to anticipate how your customers and stakeholders will react to the new brand identity. Focus groups and surveys with your existing and potential customers will help your team analyse their perception. You can integrate this data into your rebranding strategy. Analysing your competitors will also help create differentiation that will set you apart from them and stay relevant to your customers.
Reimagine the visual elements of the company
Changing the company’s name, logo, fonts, colour scheme etc needs serious consideration. When going back to the drawing board, it’s important to remember that these elements must align with the company’s value, vision, and mission. Redesign the logo, slogan, colour palette, imagery, marketing materials, website, apps, brand guidelines, and other elements to meet your new business goals.
Collaborate with the creative team
When it comes to rebranding, you must consider inputs from all departments and stakeholders to ensure that it’s a success. This is an opportunity to strengthen company culture. Customers and employees can participate in the creative process. Feedbacks from them can be valuable.
Relaunch the brand
Once all the details are worked out, it’s time to go live with your new brand identity. To reduce risks of failure, it’s important to ensure that your customers know why you rebranded and the story behind the transformation. Giving your customers a narrative about the rebranding process will help prevent confusion and maintain customer loyalty.
Whether a company needs some minor changes or a complete overhaul, rebranding is an extensive and risky initiative. But, it’s a necessary evil to grow your business and bottom line. At Alkye, we help clients to develop effective business strategy to navigate the market and understand how they can further grow themselves.