Rebranding is not something that businesses do often, but an image flop that requires the big flip deserves every step of the way.
So changing the face of a business isn’t an automatic solution to a brand problem, but taking a time to carefully articulate the underlining failures which led to the need for a change in the first place will chart the way to solutions.
Rebranding is an effort geared towards revamping a company’s identity, which means logo and color redesigning are just the side jobs, the real jobs would touch on the fabric of an organization at where it could be structurally administered.
A company could be facing a rebrand due to a perception problem, despite the revenue records still showing green. But the extent of the damage needs to be measured to justify its rebirth. Don’t fix what’s not broken, advises Steve Blue, CEO of Miller Ingenuity, a 60-year-old company that successfully implemented a corporate rebranding campaign. A mere misunderstanding about your business can be swiftly reversed by improving your brand messaging in the marketing process, or simply add more depth in your FAG page.
The social networking giant Twitter had a similar problem early on due to a less-than-explanatory interface. The early adopters complained of poor navigation on the platform with little (if any) provided in the way of on-site clues to utilize the social messaging tool for business. But after Twitter moved to revamp its platform to allow users to pull in their personal contacts to add to their Twitter following, coupled the algorithmic suggestions on “Who to Follow,” robust advertising ecosystems, millions of apps and more, that problem gradually became the past.
The first critical step in a rebrand is if you need to rebrand.
First, compare the present predicaments with the past challenges to see if you have to resort to rebranding to solve the problems. If you can’t come up with a better option, then you can create a rebrand that will resonate with your customers using the following tips.
Survey key customer groups
Have your key customer groups give their feedback on your current brand.
Ask them: How do you perceive the brand and what values would you recommend to others about it? What are the changes do you think are possible to improve the brand? And which aspects of the brand would you retain if a decision about rebrand is made?
Gather their views and analyze them to discover what expectations people have about your company. Then, use the insights to initiate the rebranding process for it. Remember, key customer groups can include your employees, suppliers, vendors, financiers, volunteers, customers etc.
Develop your brand messaging
After realizing the challenges you will face in the course of rebranding, through the survey and your research, you can now develop a communication process that is cohesive to install the new identity for your business.
It’s easier to say we can do this! And this!! And this!!! But saying too many things that your brand stands for would have you saying nothing in the end. Extract the essence of the value you offer to customers and inject that into the core message of the new identity.
Match the new identity to your company culture
Whether to get other decision makers informed or to push on the marketing team to spread the message, communication should be open in making the new identity become part of the existing culture in your organisation. From PR to marketing, there are bound to be a flurry of ideas on how to transition the sensation to outside public, the magic would be to build the momentum right from within. With an articulate change process, employees can play a role not too dissimilar from what they have been doing before.
Create a firm ground for brand usage
While people fancy the prospect of a fresh perspective, the mental and subconscious affinity to previous experience can be too compelling. Finding a way to break them free from old yokes can open the door to a new experience. Though, this requires a consistent and persistent use of the upcoming brand language in all communications. Measures must be put in place to enable a uniform adoption, particularly where the aura of the previous brand was the loudest.
Keep promoting and supporting your brand
As said, rebranding is not an once-and-for-all effort, it’s a process-based strategy. Though the roll-out needs a complete approach, the aftermaths could be decisive in keeping the big announcement fresh in people’s minds. From PR messaging to prints on the vehicles, brochures and the colors and fonts used in ads placement, every element should reflect the broader strategy in brand implementations. The use of social media can also be a boon to keep the momentum on-going: craft a unique hashtag that echoes the brand voice and include that as often as you can in your social posts, the cover images can also be useful to showcase the key promises in the new identity.
Allow people to transition themselves to the new identity
If designing and launching take on much of the work in a rebrand, then getting people to finally acclimatize with a new perpective is actually where the big pushes are done. It can become complicated, or at best confusing, if they still share an affinity with some parts of the previous brand that don’t seem to exist in the new one. Referring to your early survey will help you uncover the aspects that people still hold dear in their personal lives, then you should communicate better on those points about the promise of the new structure.
Further, your brand equity is an asset that needs to be preserved in the face of rebranding. The accumulated market impressions over the years can give a mileage to a new brand if properly harnnessed. Collating your brand logos, images and marketing artworks into a password-controlled online portal can serve as a direct resource for customers, third-party vendors, franchisees and external agencies to access your brand assets without having to contact you or brand management team, – saving on your time and resources, but more importantly giving a smooth assimilation of the rebrand to your important clients.
Javier Buron and Alfredo Artiles kept their brand equity intact when SocialBro was rebranded Audiense, they use a quick on-page explanation to tell their brand story and why they have taken a rebrand route. More importantly, visitors to their website can immediately see where the traffics are redirected from and read further about its antecedent.
Empower your brand advocates
Do you know who your brand advocates are? Perhaps you should know them by now, even if your business hasn’t gone a full moon. A brand ambassador program can help you uncover a loyal brand audience that your business needs to succeed. Give these people access to your new brand’s property to help you spread the good news further. The trick is to give them a sense of ownership of your brand and provide a space where ambassadors can easily interact with the brand and among themselves.
Think of brand advocacy as a way of giving your brand back to the people, (since they actually own the brand, not you!) – they can tell you what the brand is worth to them, and you can get invaluable insights on how to improve it.
Do you have any rebranding experience you want to share? What other tips would you add to this list? Please share your thoughts in the comment below