As markets evolve and consumer attitudes shift, sometimes it’s necessary for businesses to rebrand themselves. Rebranding can give companies a fresh face, a statement proclaiming that they are ready to embrace whatever internal or external changes they are facing. The process is not black-and-white, though, and sometimes you may not even need to. If you are wondering if you should rebrand—or if you are already planning to—there are some questions you should ask yourself before you begin.
Why am I rebranding?
This question is bo, but it is the most important. Are you revamping your image because your old one feels outdated? Are customers not buying from you anymore, so you are attempting to approach them with a new style? Are there changes in technology and customer attitudes that you are adapting to? Perhaps your reasons are more internal—are you offering new products or services you want to let audiences know about?
It is vital that you do not rebrand for the sake of it. The clothing retailer Gap, for instance, tried to depart from its recognizable all-capital logo several years ago, touting a more reserved version with two lower-case letters and a small blue square on the right. Customers hated it. Gap changed back to its original logo within two weeks. While the concept of a brand extends far beyond a logo, Gap’s logo was such an integral part of its image that shoppers lashed out. There was nothing wrong with the original, so if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
What will a rebrand offer my customers?
Do not convince yourself that you know precisely what your customers want to hear from you, even if they do not. It’s too risky if you assume incorrectly. What customers do want are reliable, ethical, and trustworthy brands, so unwarranted or unsolicited alterations may make you appear flaky. If consumer behaviors denote unique patterns and attitudes, though, it is wise for your brand to reflect them.
Brands play an important role in how people present themselves. Someone who loves animals will undoubtedly avoid products from companies known for abusive animal testing. Meggan Wood from Innate Motion says:
“Brands play a fundamental role in reinforcing the identities people construct for themselves—multidimensional identities. By decoding what motivates people to build a particular identity and understanding of your brand’s role in supporting it, you can build brands that become, in some small way, part of how someone defines themselves, and ultimately, part of the cultural fabric.”
Are you prepared to rebrand yourself in such a way that people will loudly and proudly do business with you? Do you offer something that no other company does? You do not merely want your customers’ money; you want their loyalty, so you need to be someone worth being loyal to.
Will rebranding negate your reputation?
Rebranding is often a beneficial way of starting over—but sometimes, starting from square one is confusing for consumers. If you do it poorly, you might lose your built-up reputation. Redo yourself completely if you need to build a new reputation from scratch, and make sure you are recognizable if you are only altering certain aspects of your business.
Look at IHOP as a potential role model. Its original logo was its name in white letters over blue background, with the word “restaurant” displayed underneath with a red banner. The problem was that the red banner resembled a frown, so IHOP opted for a minimalist logo with only its name and a red smile beneath the O and P (which now resembles a face, so the new design is modern and conveys a message of contentment). Everyone knows the restaurant is still the same reliable IHOP—it’s just prepared for a new age.
How will you rebrand?
Remember to focus on your own identity, not just your customers’. Boomm notes that whatever your company’s individual essence is, “it needs to be a centerpiece of your new brand. Without a sense of what makes your brand unique, you run the risk of a rebranding that makes you seem like every other company in your market.” It’s okay to appeal to a niche audience, so if you have so much as one element that no one else possesses, leverage it.
Also, consider the logistics of rebranding. Do you have the budget for it? Will you change your logo, operations, services, or marketing strategy? You may be prepared to do all the work with Photoshop and design in-house, but it may be beneficial to partner with firms like 180fusion to help you tackle SEO and social media strategies to reinforce your new identity.
Rebranding can be detrimental—or it can be revitalizing. Whatever your reasons are, put some careful thought into it, and then begin the process assured that you know what you are doing.