A favorite question for celebrities and successful professional athletes is: “What advice would you give your younger self?” It is asked so frequently because most of us know that we are much different people today than we were in our high school or college days. We are wiser and more mature. We have gone through heartache and pain, trials and tribulations, successes and failures. And now we have different tastes, wants and desires. Some of us have outgrown the candy apple supercharged Corvette and will gladly settle for a sturdy crossover vehicle. Some of us have new friends and relationships, while leaving the less satisfying (or even toxic) ones behind. Drinking soda and consuming endless amounts of chocolate chip cookies has been replaced with a nice glass of Chianti and a little dark chocolate… And let’s face it, most of us can’t fit into our old high school jeans or uniforms anymore. We, as humans, are constantly rebranding and redefining ourselves. Sometimes because of need… but most times due to choice. Corporations and businesses are no different. Every company that has been in existence for more than 100 years has rebranded itself… some more than once. Coca-Cola alone (the fifth most valuable brand in the world) has rebranded itself more times than most of us even know. From a humble beginning of handing out coupons on the street corner to its first TV commercial in 1950… From the “New Coke” formula and the latest and greatest craze that is Orange Vanilla Coke… The company has never had a problem rebranding and evolving its brand. But most companies are not Coca-Cola, and most probably don’t have billions of dollars to just “try something new.” The question is: When does a company need to reevaluate its brand and perhaps undertake efforts of rebranding? Below are five good signs that you might need serious rebranding… And you can do it without spending billions of dollars.
1. Your Brand Is Outdated
Gone are the days where mom & pop shops kept the same brand and logo for the entire lifespan of a business. In today’s fast paced business world, a brand can become obsolete very quickly. Maybe you are attracting different customers, growing at an unbelievable pace, taking on different work or selling different services or products. Maybe you are taking on higher quality work. A brand that denotes low cost and efficiency might not resonate with a more sophisticated client base. And we can never discount the Millennial effect. Take a look at your brand… Is yours the company your brand says it is? An outdated brand is one of the most common reasons for rebranding.
2. Negative/Harmful Brand Association
A rebrand might be necessary to escape a negative history or incident. A great example of this is Papa Johns, which has decided to go with a new spokesperson: basketball all-star and NBA champion Shaquille O’Neal. The move to Shaq came after the owner and initial spokesperson was found to have used racial slurs, which clearly hurt the company’s image. Rebranding in an effort to redefine your company is a great message to your customers that you have indeed grown and learned and will not make the same mistake twice.
3. Differentiate Your Company From The Competition
Maybe your direct competitors are just a handful of companies in your immediate area… or maybe they number in the hundreds. How will you stand out in the crowd? There is a reason college and professional sports teams change their jerseys every year… It’s to try to stand above the competition. And we all know that some people pick the teams they like based upon the colors or design of the uniforms: The Dallas Cowboys signature star, the Anaheim Mighty Ducks, the Yankees pinstripes… and here in North Carolina, the shade of blue you choose matters—a lot. Branding not only helps to differentiate a company from its competition, it can also help in recruiting top talent. We recognize the naval officer walking down the street in a crowd because their white uniform differentiates them from the rest of us… How does your branding express how your company is different from your competitors?
4. When Your Business Has Changed
Sometimes your business has changed. Sometimes the world around it has changed. The evolution of the internet has forced many companies around the world to change their branding efforts. Today, companies can communicate directly to the consumer to make a sale. Going to a shopping mall, car dealership, bank, or supermarket in person is becoming a less attractive option for millennials and other next-gen consumers. On the flip side, perhaps your business has evolved. Maybe you are attracting different clients—or want to attract different clients. Alternatively, your company may wish to offer different services or justify an increase in prices. When your business changes, or the world around you does, rebranding is an option worth considering.
5. Merge/Acquisition/Name Change
Each of these business transitions requires a serious discussion about rebranding… and provides a perfect opportunity to do so.