Every business evolves. Your company probably provides more and different things now than it did at startup. You probably do things better than before. This evolution will continue if you are to succeed in a competitive world. Naturally, your sales and marketing messages must change over time to faithfully and accurately convey the value offered to your customers.
Does your brand only need refreshing?
Oftentimes as businesses grow and evolve, a brand “refresh” is what’s needed. For example, when product and service features are added or improved, they need to be promoted with the appropriate degree of novelty and excitement. Perhaps the company moves to a bigger location closer to it’s customer base, or hires a new CEO who wants to rejuvenate the company’s public image. These can be good reasons to consider adjustments in the visual identity and key word use. Maybe this includes using new colors and switching out marketing images with fresh, professional photography and video.
Rebranding is a big deal!
An appropriately sized investment is required to rebrand well. It calls for a modernized vision, new or revised logo, a fresh approach to the market and new marketing campaigns. If you’ve been thinking about rebranding your company, think about everything your brand touches, especially your current customers. How will both loyal and casual customers perceive the change message your rebranding effort will be sending them?
You can’t afford to rebrand according to market miscues or without a strong rationale. Any change in identity or image can raise questions. Your new brand communication efforts must convey growth and improvement. Expressing gratitude should be part of your message. This isn’t about boasting.
A company’s major expansion into new markets or brand new product applications can be situations in which you’ll benefit from a rebranding effort. Here you need to take a strategic look at your current brand identity from a 360 degree perspective: Company name and positioning, product names and product branding, divisions and subsidiaries… Who needs to understand your new rebranding messages? Employees, current customers, sales prospects, suppliers & service vendors, the public… How will you unveil your new branding to each audience or constituency?
Brand architecture defines how a company wants its organization, products and services to be perceived and understood. It’s particularly important for enterprise and large companies that serve different target markets with various products and services. It helps them to compete more successfully. Designing your brand architecture is a highly strategic exercise but remember, it is wise to strive for simplicity so it’s easily understood!
Most corporate brand hierarchies are no more complex than this:
Parent Company > Operational Divisions > Product/Service Categories > Product/Service Options
Integrating new branding into each subset may or may not include:
- Naming – an entire volume could be written on this!
- Positioning – clear and concise value differentiation
- Unique Value Proposition – an elevator pitch
- Slogan/tagline – the brand’s essence in very few words
- Logo – powerful, iconic, visual brand representation
- Photography – intentional and professional with defined style and tone
- Spokesperson – founder, owner, employee, customer, celebrity…?
- Culture – what it means to work here (should be company-wide)
Most small businesses have a simple brand hierarchy that consists of one company and their products/services. Each of the branding components listed above can focus on a singular identity and value proposition so the brand architecture process is more straightforward than for large, multifaceted organizations.
How different is your company today from 5 or 10 years ago?
If you serve the same customers the same products with the same people and do well in your niche, don’t rebrand but consider the areas where your brand might need some refreshment or perhaps reinvigorated advertising and enhanced images.
If you are providing different products and serving larger clients with expanded value services, or if your target audience demographics are significantly different now than in the past, you might need to undergo a rebranding effort to remain competitive and in congruence with the needs of your market.
Another good reason to rebrand is to help fulfill a major company goal such as expanding business nationally or globally and into completely new markets. But remember this. It’s vitally important to honor your current customers and brand loyalists as you include them in your rebranding strategy. These are the people who make your brand successful and the brand equity you enjoy now must be nurtured.
Better Branding Helps Everyone!
Branding and rebranding is, in reality, a service to the marketplace because done properly, it helps prospects and customers make better choices, saving them time and money. So give your market a clear, honest and distinguishable idea of who your organization is, why it exists and the kinds if folks it serves.
Strive continually to keep your brand and marketing messages fresh and up-to-date. When your products and services start looking a lot different than they did in years past, it’s probably a good time to rebrand!