Rebranding can be an excellent idea, particularly as the brand that you are stewarding comes of age, or if there is little visible brand traction taking place amongst customers.
However, before you embark on a rebrand, there has to be what we call a “season of birthing”, where deep-diving into the brand and its identity/attributes is necessary. The last thing that you want as a brand communicator, is to be in a scenario where you throw the baby out with the bathwater. One of the classic cases of a rebrand mishap would be Gap’s logo redesign in 2010 (http://adage.com/article/news/branding-gap-s-logo-change-disaster/146525/) that only lasted a week before reversion. AdAge reviewed how Gap went from “safe territory to danger zone in its quest for change” and how its logo redesign became a disaster.
Before you undertake a rebrand, here are 5 things you might want to look into that to decide if it is time for the company do embark on this course of action.
First – shift in target market.
In the evolution of your company strategy to engage customers, if the target audience profile changes because of a new suite of products, but your brand is still locked into appealing to the existing target audience profile, then it is time to quickly take a shift in branding so that your brand can connect with the new target audience. Remember that brand values and identity rub off quickly and are elemental in capturing the attention of the target audience. A rebrand would be needed to resonate with the new profile of customers.
Second – brand expansion.
If your brand has expanded to include newer customers, then you will need take a look at how the current identity is able to speak to those new customers. If your brand identity does not reflect your brand strategy, your brand will end up getting constrained. The end result? Elements that are force-fed uncomfortably that will be reflected visually and will not resonate with your customers.
Third – brand staleness has set in.
For industries that undergo rapid innovation and evolution, it would be necessary for the brand to keep up. Just looking at Google itself, it had a total of six redesign/rebrand of its logo. To observe its evolution, do visit https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google_logo. Sometimes, it may be that the brand image has been around for a while and as part of the brand strategy, giving the brand a fresh new look to kickstart a brand revival might be necessary.
Fourth – brand recovery.
At times, a brand crisis can come about because of bad publicity, and the brand can be in the doldrums if it is unable to shake off a past image. Despite the best PR efforts in recovering its lost ground, the brand recovery efforts may encompass a rebrand. It may be important to note that rebranding because of such a crisis cannot be “patchwork”, where the company glosses over with “brand paint” hoping to cover internal cracks. This is a recipe for failure. If the failure is at the top – i.e. a scandal, or a management failure, then internal efforts will need to be looked at to target and change the DNA or culture before embarking on rebranding. Rebranding is not the solution for poor behaviour.
Fifth – M&A.
Once a brand is acquired or merged with another, a rebrand would be necessary to reflect the culture of the new entity. Nearly a decade of study of 100 companies taken by Landor in 2017, it showed that nearly 3 in 4 companies rebranded acquired companies within the first seven years of the acquisition exercise. This could mean that the rebrand would include restructuring efforts and addressing of the internal culture of the newly acquired company in alignment with the new owners – before the actual rebranding exercise.