How do I implement a rebranding program?
Rebranding means changing the image of a company or an organization for reasons such as after a merger, a shift in the company’s target demographic or a change in business strategies.
There are many ways in which a company can rebrand itself, and that is what we will be covering here.
Reasons that should not lead you to rebrand.
Before we dive into the reasons why you as a business owner should rebrand, let’s look at circumstances where you’d think you should buy, you shouldn’t.
Firstly, if you want to rebrand because of boredom, then you shouldn’t. Some business owners tend to get tired of their logo or company colours and feel the need to change it. This may not be a good idea because most customers already know that they like your brand, and they may not be as tired as you are of seeing it all the time. So changing your brand because of boredom is never a good idea.
Secondly, if you’re planning on rebranding so that you can get attention, then don’t! There are times when a company’s branding efforts are not working. And the product sales are low. This can lead to the owners wanting to make a brand change to see if it will create enough buzz to get the selling numbers high. This strategy may work for a short while, but after people get tired of the buzz, the sales will go back to the same way it was before, and this time you may not have the marketing strategies to save yourself.
Thirdly, if you’re seeking to rebrand after a major crisis, it might not be a good idea since people might see through that.
Lastly, when new people are hired, such as managers or even new CEOs, the first thought they have is how they are going to change up the place so that it reflects more of them than the people they took over from. This leads to some of them getting the idea of rebranding to give the place a mark of who they are. In most cases, when they rebrand, they don’t pay attention to what rebranding strategies will best suit the whole business. Their ideas only cover their personal viewpoints. This is why, in cases like these, the rebranding becomes a failure.
If these are the reasons you want to rebrand, I’ll advise against it.
How do you know it’s time to rebrand?
When your company merges with another, either to save it or to increase its output, a rebrand is necessary. This is because each company had its own identity before the merger. So it’s only logical for both companies to create a brand that represents them as one. Problems of what the logo and the new name for the company should be are most likely to arise. To solve such an issue, the companies should either merge their names and keep one logo or look for a completely new name and logo for the newly merged company.
Another reason for rebranding could be if your company is bought out by another one. In such a case, the new company might decide to change everything about the old one or change only a few things. Take, for example, how Facebook bought Instagram back in 2012. After a few years, Facebook did a complete rebrand of Instagram, taking it from the analogue to the digital age.
When your company gets a new CEO, a rebrand is most likely to happen. When a new CEO steps in, their first objective is to showcase there has been a change in authority in the company. This could lead to the change of a company’s logo or even the name. Take, for example, how when Yahoo was bought, they changed its old logo to a new one to showcase the change. When Arriana Huffington left the Huffington Post, the new CEO changed its name to the HuffPost. The main reason for this rebranding usually is to show that there is a new authority.
A rebrand may also be necessary if your company wants to reach a different and bigger market. When you have been in business for a very long time, and you have had success and it all of a sudden comes to an end. You realize that the only way to keep going is to do a rebrand.
Sometimes it happens that your audience either grow up or go to a brand that seems more digital and more suited to their needs right now. The Best way to get back on track is to do a complete rebrand that attracts newer and a bigger market reach than the one you had before. Take, for example, MTV, which was a very successful news network back in the ’80s and 90’s, when they realized that their viewership was going low because teenagers nowadays don’t watch television and spend most of their time on their phones. They did a complete rebrand that now appeals to teens in this day and age. They, however, did not change their logo since it is what made them recognizable, and it still works for them today.
A rebrand may also be necessary if you have outgrown your initial mission and vision as a company. Sometimes a business might end up being bigger and better than the developer had anticipated. When this happens, rebranding begins to merge the company’s brand to its success. Airbnb is an example of a well-known company that completely rebranded itself because it keeps getting bigger and better with each year that passes. They have come from someone renting a couch in someone else’s apartment for a night to people being able to rent a full luxury apartment for a week.
Rebranding is also done when a company needs to keep its products relevant. Times are changing quickly nowadays, and for a business to keep up, they must come up with strategies that appeal to their customers even as times change. Companies like Apple have been able to keep up with changes and are still relevant despite being in business for all these years. What they do is they keep the same logo on their products, but they make small changes to it that may not seem that impactful, but they are. They also constantly upgrade their gadgets with newer features as soon as they come into the market, and this is what has been able to keep their customers hooked. Sometimes a little rebranding is all is needed to keep a company relevant.
Steps to follow when rebranding.
For a plan for rebranding to be successful, a company has to be clear on the reason why they’re rebranding. It could be you’re launching a new product; your former brand doesn’t reflect who you are as a company now, or something as simple as wanting to elevate your company’s name in the industry. For a rebrand to be successful;
You need to be clear on the exact goal you want to achieve
After determining what your reason for rebranding is,
Do thorough research of the target audience and the new market
Without thorough research, your rebranding might end up being a flop.
Once you’ve learnt the market, you’re venturing into,
Make it clear the kind of service you’re bringing to the table
Find the niche in the market and be the one to fill it and excel at it. Whatever space you take up should align with your company’s brand. This is where you put in more effort because it carries the message of your brand. Now,
Develop the visual elements that will represent your brand
This includes your company logo, colours, tagline and your business card designs. These are what we call your brand identity. They are not your brand, a lot of people tend to confuse the two, but your brand is your reputation and the way you are viewed in the industry. Next,
establish a website and create an online presence
In this day and age, having a website and a strong online presence is the most important tool when it comes to creating a strong business brand. This is where people get to see the service you’re offering, so how you structure your website and other online platforms should be easy for any potential clients to easily access and navigate through. Make it appealing so that they can just as easily share their experience on your website or social media platforms with their friends. Next,
Create marketing strategies
This includes all the materials you’ll use to market what your new brand is, be it brochures, trade shows or proposal templates. These are the tools you will use to communicate your message. Lastly,
Develop a plan that strengthens and promotes your new brand the way you want it to
For this to happen, you have to get your employees to embrace your new brand first. This ensures they make sure it is well represented in all the work they do. Make sure the new brand upholds your company’s reputation and expertise. Most rebrands fail because not much emphasis is put on making sure all these steps are followed.
How to implement a rebrand
After learning the do’s and don’ts of rebranding, it is now time to learn how to appropriately implement a rebrand. Whether you’re looking to go all-in on the rebrand or you want to do a low-key rebrand that only concentrates on minute details of the company brand. Factors such as the budget allocated for the rebrand, the audience your new brand seeks to appeal to, and the size of your company play very vital roles.
Depending on the objectives you want to meet when doing your rebrand, two methods are highly recommended.
“Day one” approach where everything that has been included in the rebrand is launched on the same day to get attention and reactions from the audiences. The slow and gradual approach is where small parts of the strategies are implemented at a time.
For a rebrand to be successful, the top dogs of the company must support it. Otherwise, you may put a lot of work into it, and due to lack of support, the rebrand ends up failing. A fully realized plan and great leadership support go a long way in making any type of rebrand successful. Let’s take a look at the two approaches to the successful implementation of a rebrand.
The day one approach works great for a company that is looking to make a statement of complete transformation. This type of rebrand must be well planned and executed as it is very easy for the customers and the media to notice any errors made. This is why the branding team must be ready for either praise or controversy from both their customers and the media. They should, however, hold their ground in front of both because this one-day buzz sets the tone for them to rebrand.
The transitional implementation plan, on the other hand, is aimed at companies that want to keep their rebrand low-key to avoid controversy. This makes it easier for the company to insert changes and make them stick before the public notices, and by the time they notice, it would have become the new normal. For nonprofits and smaller companies, this approach may work best since it doesn’t require a lot of money to make small changes over a long period.
So whether you want a onetime reveal of your rebrand or you want small changes over a long period, the rebrand implementation method to use is all up to you.
Rebranding can be brought about for several reasons. For instance, mergers, take-overs, change of the line of production, industry overhaul, etc. While commissioning this project, it is recommended that you keep your customers in the loop, so you don’t lose points on the market.
Rebranding may also be subject to state and industry regulations. For a successful migration, you need to follow these to the latter. Lastly, refer to our step-by-step guide above for more insight.