Rebranding - Why you need a strategy

Considering rebranding or have you already begun the process? Do you have a strategy?  Moving forward with rebranding can be overwhelming if not properly planned and researched!  Setting up a strategy before work begins can reveal weaknesses, blind spots and additional resources needed to make rebranding successful. Without a strategy any rebranding effort could fall flat, leading to higher cost and additional changes before turning a brand around. A rebrand is more than just creating a new logo and flooding social media with pretty pictures and hoping for the best.  First, begin outlining why a rebrand is needed and what the final goal is. The strategy will be complex, thought-provoking and unique to every company or product. Without a strategy and proper research, it is impossible to know why or how extensive the rebranding needs to be and what steps need to be taken first. 

Have a Purpose

Knowing when and why rebranding is needed is the first step for any strategy.  The reasons for undertaking a rebranding can vary drastically A partial rebrand to revamp a website or updating an outdated logo might be the simplest solution in many scenarios for your business.  A full rebranding can lead to a name change, new messaging, new logo, imagery and much more.  However big the rebranding campaign is, a strategy needs to be in place to begin researching and identifying which steps need to be taken and the resources involved. Simply put, have a strategy, know where to start, and identify the objective. Rebranding needs to be done for the right reasons and never an impulse reaction. Rebrand due to slow sales or bad marketing isn’t a reason to burn down the old and start new.


Know Your Market & Target Audience

Knowing the market and target audience is more than just identifying location and age of the audience. Or, knowing if the market is growing or shrinking. Extensive audience research will be needed to reveal important demographics, income, education, home ownership, employment status, occupation, and digital presence. Using this research in a rebranding strategy is imperative to begin understanding how consumers interact with your brand and allow adjustment to keep consumers engaged. Focus groups, surveys/questionnaires, and data analysis are all techniques that should be part of a strategy to begin identifying audience trends. Pinpointing the best way to reach your audience is far more valuable than casting a wide net a hoping your message hits the right people.

A poorly thought out strategy and rebrand can alienate loyal customers, allowing competitors a window to capitalize on your mistake. However, a strong strategy and continually monitoring audiences could lead to a rebranding effort that won’t fall flat or isn’t just marginally more successful. 

Research Your Competition

Researching your competition is just as important as knowing your own audience. How you feel about your competition and how many competitors there are will give an additional perspective on how consumer feel about your own brand. Understanding competition within an industry and similar industries could begin revealing weaknesses and blind spots with your branding. A proper strategy will begin capitalizing and addressing these issues. However, a rebranding should not just mimic the rest of the field. The more competition you have the more unique your strategy will need to be. Unique meaning, not just in the look and feel but in the message, but what it stands for and represents. Try not to fall into an industry norm, look outward and know what is happening far beyond the brand's own industry as well.

Avoid Short Term Changes

Have a strategy and stick to it. Rebranding is not something that is done every few years, the most successful brands have been around for decades, they may not be static, but every change is part of a large strategy. Successful brands generally don’t have extensive changes they adapt slowly by understanding their market, audience and reevaluating their message and what they stand for. Short term changes if not well planned or part of the strategy can begin hurt the brand's overall growth and recognition. A proper rebranding strategy could take an extensive amount of time to complete and to see significant growth. Understand what the brand's message is and what it stands for; a strong strategy will prevent continual impulse changes that could hurt a brands reputation.

Stay Consistent But Flexible

Staying consistent can be the hardest part during and for years following rebranding. A strategy will set up brand guidelines that should be followed strictly in order to keep every aspect of a rebrand consistent for years or even decades. Keeping your messaging and branding relevant, recognizable and having a positive brand presence is key in any strategy. Even the most rigid strategy should leave room for adjustment, there are many factors that could bring about brand changes, market fluctuations, changing audience demographics, or poor pr. Changes to any brand due to these fluctuations should be minor and never a reason for a large rebrand. Continual monitoring of the competition is needed to push a brand forward and match market trends, the best rebrand strategy needs to be flexible for long term success.

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