Effective rebranding can keep a business relevant with its target audiences and give it an edge over competitors. But it requires substantial investments in upfront strategy, planning and execution.
Here are a few of the factors and conditions that warrant a rebrand.
When to Consider Rebranding
- Acquisition or Merger
Rebranding often follows when one company acquires or merges with another. The first considerations:
- Do you build on existing market perception and bolster both brands, to retain the brand equity of each organization?
- Does one brand absorb the other and, if so, does the dominant brand absorb the other instantly or over time?
- Or do the two brands combine into a new entity with a new brand strategy?
- New Leadership
Turnover at the top of the organization often drives rebrands, whether it’s a new CEO or a brand new leadership team. In the latter case, the new team might want to establish a new or fresh brand identity that reflects the change, especially if they’re pursuing a significantly different business strategy.
- Competitors Catch Up to You
Sometimes competitors that have historically positioned themselves differently in the market change strategy to compete more directly. When this happens, it's a good idea to reevaluate your positioning to ensure it's still the most effective, not only as it relates to the competitor, but also in light of your overall business strategy.
Any change in positioning will impact your visual brand identity and company voice – or at the very minimum require a refresh of your brand identity to help you continue to stand out in the market.
- Outdated Visual Brand Identity
Over time, it’s easy to lose sight of visual brand identity and focus on other pressing priorities. Your visual brand identity can become stale and outdated as design preferences change, competitors revamp their identities, and the market becomes more sophisticated.
When your brand identity no longer represents your organization's mission, business model or services – or even impedes your ability to attract your target audience – it’s time to rebrand. (Find out how our own rebrand helped define our identity and position us better for long-term success.)
- Poor Reputation
Mishandled crises, poor online reviews, recurring bad PR, and leadership scandals can result in negative perceptions and bad reputations. In some cases, especially if multiple crises or negative experiences build over time, a brand isn’t able to recover. Then, rebrands are unavoidable and urgent to turn around sluggish or declining sales or even to head off bankruptcy. A new name and a completely revamped brand strategy might be the only way to shed poor brand perception and start fresh.
Start with Brand Strategy Before Developing Brand Identity
Resist the temptation to jump right into creating a new visual brand identity – logo, colors, fonts, imagery, i.e., your visual personality – before doing the upfront research that should guide it.
Your visual identity should grow organically from your overall brand strategy. Only then will you be able to develop a memorable, persuasive look and feel that lead to increased sales, greater brand affinity, and long-term growth. (Read more about the importance of taking a strategic approach to visual brand identity development.)
A rebrand is a huge undertaking, but is sometimes necessary to effectively compete in the market and achieve long-term growth. Just don’t kick off your rebrand by defining your visual identity; a thoughtful brand strategy should always come first.
If your company is considering a rebrand for these or other reasons, Northwoods can help! Learn more about our brand strategy services or contact us today.