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Why Should You Rebrand?

Angeline Rast
17 January 2020

From startups to fortune 500 companies, both online and offline businesses, there comes a time when a brand has evolved and outlived its previous identity; and therefore it needs to rebrand. Rebranding is the creation of a new look and feel for an established product or company. The usual goal of rebranding is to influence a customer’s perception about a product or service or the company overall by revitalizing the brand and making it seem more modern and relevant to the customer’s needs. Through rebranding, companies can take advantage of more significant opportunities to strengthen the company’s image and presence in the eyes of its customers.

And that’s why companies such as DHL, IBM, American Express, etc. are successful. DHL, for instance, in its current form, is the result of a series of strategic acquisitions made by Deutsche Post to expand its footprint from national mail to global logistics. In a historic effort to fortify the new brand and ensure global consistency, DHL touched all bases of rebranding – from tangible assets to the minds and hearts of employees. They started, quite literally, by painting the company yellow. More than a hundred planes, tens of thousands of trucks, and countless uniforms were repainted or replaced to boost the brand’s visibility. In a second step, DHL initiated an internal activation program, using various training formats and a brand book to help employees become brand ambassadors. The program opened the eyes of the workforce to the fact that every customer interaction plays a part in the perception of the brand as a whole. Additionally, a system of common standards for external communication was put in place. Today, all campaigns and materials are governed by a set of binding rules regarding corporate identity and corporate design. As a result, the company has been able to grow its brand value substantially. A multi-billion dollar asset, DHL is now one of the world’s top business brands – as befits a leading global logistics provider.   

Rebranding carries all such advantages, it is an effort-intensive program. No company should take the rebranding path unless they are sure of ‘why’ and ‘how’ they intend to go about rebranding.

Why should a company rebrand

A child who begins to learn the piano starts with one song. Perhaps your company or organization started the same way. But the marketplace has changed and you have changed with it. You are no longer a one-trick pony. It is not the company that you need to change. It is the public’s perception of it. As a result, it is crucial for every company considering rebranding to know why they are rebranding. This will ensure that the rebranding yields greater returns on investment. If the situations outlined below do not define the reason for your rebranding, then you may have to rethink your move. Probably there is something running deeper in the company (like a gap in the product-market fit) which cannot be fixed by rebranding.

Here is a look at some of the reasons for a rebrand:

1. The target market niche has changed

As your company grows, it may try to appeal to a broader audience. For instance, a company which operates locally in a given country could be trying to reach a global audience. And given the specifics of the national audience would vary from the global audience, such a company would have to rebrand to appeal to the global brand. A good example is Adidas. In the recent past, Adidas rebranded because its market share had enlarged considerably compared to Nike’s and Under Armour among others.

2. Change in taste trends, new competition, technological shifts

Technology today is a significant force to be reckoned with, especially when it disrupts a particular industry. If technology disrupts your industry, it could necessitate rebranding. Rebranding would be necessary to help keep up with the competition and also position the company as a market leader. A great example is Mastercard. For the last 20 years, Mastercard had the same logo. It did not have a reason to change; it was ubiquitous and globally, the bottom line is that it was a strong brand. However, due to technological disruption brought about by technology, fintech, and mobile, Mastercard had to rebrand. They had to remain true to their roots while at the same time bring their brand into the digital age.

3. The business has significantly changed

There are times when businesses pivot, expand into new lines, merge with other companies or acquire other businesses, or penetrate to international markets. All these cases call for rebranding. An example is Yahoo’s merger with AOL to form Oath. This represent the next chapter in Yahoo’s journey from cornerstone of the early internet to aged Verizon subsidiary which is a bold rebranding. You can bet that with this merger, Oath promises to be one of the most disruptive brand companies in digital.

4. There has not been a cohesive branding effort yet

More often when companies start out, they sometimes are scrappy with their branding strategies. Maybe due to lack of funds, less clarity with vision among other reasons, a company may get a little scrappy with the logo and its elements. But with time, companies get to have a better focus and a solid business strategy in place. This, therefore, calls for rebranding so that the company appears more professional and in touch with their customers.

5. Timing

Businesses need to move with seasons. For instance, the best branding for the 1990s may be outdated in the current age. Once you have determined that the brand is set to benefit if it undergoes a rebranding process, then you need to consider the strategy for rebranding and the scope for rebranding. A company may decide either to do a refreshing touch for the branding or do an entire rebrand. This will be determined by the reason for rebranding and the desired outcome.

The rebranding process

Your reason for rebranding should guide your rebranding process. Your mind is now focused on telling a story worthy of your brand online, and at the same time, one that resonates well with your customers. This will require a high-level strategy, careful planning, team-wide collaboration, and research. So here is the rebranding process:

  1. Revise your vision, mission, and values to reflect the new identity of your company. This would be an excellent opportunity for companies that do not have a vision, mission, and values to work on these important aspects. Be sure to have everyone on board so that they own up the vision, mission, and values of the organization.

  2. Rebranding must be holistic and collaborative. Rebrand your logo and timeline to appeal to your new market target. Rebrand your stationery and style guide. It must cut across a new logo, the packaging, the documentation to reflect in the company’s culture, practice and way of doing business.

  3. Analyze what needs to be retained, what needs to be developed and what needs to be discarded.

  4. Do a market analysis of your competition, threats, strengths, and opportunities so that you take advantage of your strengths and opportunities.

  5. Update your brand accordingly and make sure it looks great online.

  6. Be sure to project manage your rebranding so that you achieve your objectives for rebranding within the specified timelines and the specified budgets.

  7. Review the outcomes of any changes and update accordingly. Do not forget to tell the whole world about the new changes.

  8. Review continuously and make the most of the rebrand.

The Bottom Line

No matter the service or the industry, maintaining the status quo is not a viable solution, it is indeed a problem of its own in a business world that increasingly demands leading-edge products, technologies and care. Changing direction may be prompted by the passage of time. If you need to blow the dust off your brand every time you pick it up, it is time for a reinvention. If yours is a longtime organization that is still enjoying success, but not as big a slice of the marketplace as you feel is attainable, it is time to find out why your loyal customers stay loyal and why your new customers chose you. From that information, discover how the industry has changed and the role you play in it. Determine what core competence keeps you a player and how it can be expressed in today’s language. Those building blocks are marvelous foundation for a rebrand.

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