Maintaining a brand is no easy task. It’s a complex, living, breathing eco-system comprised of promises, expectations, perceptions and personas. It’s also the foundation for all of your marketing and messaging strategies – and changing it will literally affect everything else in your company. A factor for a successful brand is consistency, so if you change it too often or at a bad moment in time, you could hurt existing loyalties to your company. If you’re looking at your brand lately and wondering if it’s time for a refresh, here are some reasons why it might be time to rebrand.
Your brand is datedIf your brand is dated, then it’s likely that you are being undersold. Perhaps your logo is one that was created for $20 by your brother in law’s niece’s best friend who learned how to photoshop? Or, perhaps at the time it was cool and modern but over the years it has lost its edge?Design trends are constantly changing. Over the course of a few years, fonts, colors & designs that seemed great at the time may lose their luster and appeal. But fret not – if this is the case, then the bulk of the brand doesn’t have to change – instead you can just address surface-level features: the logo, updating voice & tone, colors and typography.
There are discrepancies between what you offer and how you’re perceivedIf your brand promise doesn’t match up with people’s perception of what you offer, it may be time to address your branding. Do people understand your services and offerings? Have you expanded them recently and your audience isn’t catching on?If people have no idea who you are or what you do, your brand isn’t providing any value. You should be able to communicate what you do in a fast, easy and efficient way. Think of a brand as the visual & strategic version of the elevator speech. If your brand doesn’t connect with a customer and they don’t “get it” quickly, they might never ask or care to.
Negative or weak brand associationsIf your brand is struggling with bad press and negative associations, a brand refresh may be in order to revitalize public perception and dispel negative connotations.It’s important to note that if negative company behaviors are impacting your reputation, then the rebranding needs to address not only exterior changes (visual language, logo, colors, etc.) but also be implemented throughout all other aspects of the organization. Internal branding is important and drives worker morale, work ethic, and company values.
DifferentiationDoes your brand differentiate you from the competition? Are your name and logo memorable? Or does it get lost in the crowd of competitors? If it doesn’t stand out, it won’t get noticed.
Your brand is watered down or unclearDo customers know what to associate your brand with? Do they understand what you do and what you offer? Consider this: When you need a tissue, you think of Kleenex – an industry standard – not Kimberly-Clark. If your offerings are broad, then it becomes more difficult to create connections and associations for your customers. A brand should be targeted, focused, and clear.
Your brand has changed or needs room to growBrand building is typically developed around a company’s mission and values. If those values have changed, it may be time to update your branding. For example, if your company has decided to take a digital approach to its offering of formerly analog products and services, you can opt for a more modern, sleek look and conversational tone of voice.Perhaps you’ve expanded or changed your services or targeted demographic? It may be time to extend your brand to reach them as well. Design should include solid design choices chosen specifically to appeal to your targeted demographic. If you are expanding your targeting, your brand will need to grow and adjust accordingly. A change in audience may mean catering to a completely different set of needs and preferences.Customers will only know that you are doing something new with your services if you make them see and notice it.
So now what?Ultimately, some brands will manage to stay relatively consistent over the course of their lives. Others go through periods of quick iteration – and still others only update every few years when the needs arises. There’s no right or wrong answer in terms of deciding to rebrand – only what’s right for your unique company and appropriate for your audience.If you do decide to rebrand, here are some tips to help you along with your next steps:
- Identify your goals. Are you trying to rebuild a brand-image from scratch? Perhaps just a modest change to update colors, shapes, and typography? Are you trying to attract new demographics or re-energize existing customers?
- Hire a professional! There are some areas within a company budget that should not be skimped upon, and branding is one of them. Building a good brand is not just about designing a nice logo (a logo is only a part of the bigger picture). Brands are complex – they involve developing a visual language and require consistency in the process. Work with people who understand the weight of this and know what they are doing.
- Prepare your customers for the change. Don’t blindside them – be proactive by making announcements about the change in advance. Get users excited about it by celebrating, perhaps with a sale or promotion.