As your company continues to grow you will need to rebrand, but will you be able to know when that is?

As businesses continue to evolve over time, they tend to change and develop into something completely different than when it originally started. They change their look and brand to match new aspects of their company’s everchanging direction. But it is more than playing with new fonts or colors, you need to think tactfully to build a new client base while keeping the loyal one
you have. With the risks involved, rebranding is a lot like walking across a tightrope…. step carefully or you may fall flat on your face.

How do you know if it’s time to rebrand?
Typically, consumers don’t notice or really pay attention to subtle changes maybe in a font or a slight change in color, but for the company it is a huge declaration of intent to move in a new direction to grow upwards and evolve. But more often companies rebrand to show progression or to shift consumers’ perception of the of the brand. Here some reasons a company might consider rebranding.

Tapping into a new consumer:
By taking the time to look into a new demographic and capitalizing on it can be key for your company. For example, the American beer company, Pabst Blue Ribbon, is often paired with cheap alcohol loved by broke college students. But in China, Pabst Blue
Ribbon 1844 is more of an upscale luxury beer sold for about $44 per bottle! Even though it isn’t the same formula, PBR already solidified their reputation in the American market and decided to capitalize on the growing Chinese craft brew scene.

Set yourself apart from competition:
When your business first started out there may have only been a few others doing what you were doing so it was easy to be at the top, but as the market becomes saturated more and more companies are figuring out how to do it better. For example, Old Spice
was just another company that produced men’s deodorants, body wash, hair care, etc. But in 2010 they released a new ad campaign with a former NFL player on a white horse delivering cheesy (but serious) pick-up lines and it was a viral sensation. In the first 12 months sales rose 11% and continued to gain momentum.

Shaking off an old reputation:
Through rebranding you can overcome a negative reputation to start rebuilding and give your consumers (and new consumers) something to trust in again. One of the most notable examples of this is Burberry. For a long, long time, Burberry was associated
with gangs and thugs, to the point where some places in England banned Burberry from being represented. With this brand image it was driving new and old customers away. The company took a very aggressive approach by selling themselves as a high-end label and recruited popular celebrities with good reputations for spokespeople like Emma Watson. Burberry didn’t have to change the clothing or the prices they just needed new faces to revamp their reputation.

Your business evolves past your original mission:
If your company changes their products or services and heads in a different or more expanded direction, then it might be a good idea to rebrand. By rebranding you are letting consumers know you have more to offer and that your company is continuously adapting to the changing market. In the 90s UPS was going head to head with FedEx who was able to do overnight deliveries and track packages via computers. By changing its slogan from “Moving at the speed of business” to “What can brown do for you?” UPS surpassed FedEx in 2001 by showing people they could offer more services than just for high level businesspeople. UPS is now a more personal and innovative shipping service for “regular” people compare to what it used to be.

Your business is using outdated branding
If your company is still using Comic Sans as their font or your website is still flash based, that could be what is dragging you down and you definitely need to change something. Everything needs to be simplistic now. Simple color schemes, simple shark fonts and easy to recognize logos. A recent example of this is the huge rebranding campaign for yahoo!. Originally the logo was red and the word Yahoo was a little chaotic (aka 90s font) and had a shadow on it. Recently they just released the new look; all lowercase
letters in a very simple font but with the famed exclamation point we recognize. The dot on the exclamation point is the same exact size as the dots in the middle of the ‘a’ and ‘o’s making it very symmetrical. It is a very clean new look that could revive the
brand.

When rebranding what are some crucial focal points?
Rebranding a whole company’s image, mission, goals is not an easy task and a lot of businesses don’t succeed because it requires more than just a pretty new logo. It demands a new vision that not only convinces consumers but also helps investors and your employees see it in a new light. If done properly a company can be revived and grow to be stronger than ever. So how do you make sure to do it the right way?

1. Reason: There should be a business reason to rebrand to accelerate growth for the company. So for example your goals changed, your mission has changed, you merged or split off, new service line, simplifying your focus, etc.

2. Research everything: Start off by researching your company and your current consumers. Figure out what is going well or what could go better and maybe what is missing. Then look at your competition and see what they might be doing differently that consumers are responding positively and negatively to. Think about what you can do to expand on all of that and not only get those consumer but gain a different demographic as well with improvements.

3. Communicate Changes: Make sure to communicate your rebranding with stakeholders. Figuring out how you are going to start announcing and marketing this transition could be a make or break outcome.

4. Creating your new brand identity: This is the visual shorthand for your brand, your name, logo, colors, fonts, design. Taking a look at competitors is helpful in the aspect of overall design but staying true to your company’s original feel is crucial for helping you stand out. A lot of college athletic departments have a primary logo and then they have a secondary or alternate logo. The primary logo is the main voice for the brand and will include the name of the college in it. An alternate log can be more relaxed and abstract in design and 9 times out of 10 does not have the full university name on it. By having 2 logos, universities can stay true to the original, but still getting innovative with the alternate.

5. Stick to it: Once your new brand has been rolled out it the most efficient way possible with tons of PR (if it’s a big overhaul), then make sure you stand behind it. You need to communicate your ‘why’ with public. Make sure they truly understand that the new brand is only going to better their experience with your company.

When you first started your business, you might have had a different vision for it than what it has now become. Don’t be afraid to rebrand especially if it is only going to benefit your consumer and their experience, but make sure you do it the right way. The main reason to rebrand should always be to make sure your goals and values align with your representation while keeping your target market in mind. Then if after taking a hard look at your business you see something that is stopping it from growing, then it’s time for a change. It won’t be easy or quick, and it is a long term investment but if done the right way (and maybe help from a
branding firm) it could pay off many times over.