When is it Time to Rebrand?

By Chris Wadsworth

Published in The Source issue 13

All companies should have periodic brand reviews to ensure their branding remains relevant for their business. The key is recognising when it is time for a rebrand.

Companies that are actively growing and changing will need to rebrand at some stage. Different factors will dictate the reason for this and it’s important to be aware of what they are.

Is your brand keeping up with growth?

As companies grow many add new products and services. Depending on how (or if) brand architecture has been planned, these new additions are either individually branded, become sub brands or use the parent brand. With the addition of new products and services and the removal of less successful ones over time, it can be easy for branding to become disjointed and confused. When this happens it is recommended you review your brand architecture and redefine the rules that ensure all components of your brand come together coherently. This may be enough to restructure your offering into something consistent or you may need to rebrand in order to implement a new brand strategy for everything to work.

Is your brand still relevant?

As markets change, companies face new challenges and new opportunities arise. These can take a business in new directions that their existing branding no longer represents. When creating new branding there should be an awareness of future direction and branding should be flexible enough to evolve over time. However some changes can be extreme or unforeseen. At these times a rebrand is essential to avoid miscommunication and inhibiting growth in the new direction. When reviewing branding ask yourself whether your existing branding represents what your business offers and whether it is appropriate for your target market.

Is your branding in need of rejuvenation?

Establishing a brand should provide a consistent position for your company’s strategy and communications. There should, however, be opportunities for branding to evolve in a considered and planned way. Over time all branding risks looking tired and when this happens a rebrand can be an emotional exercise for some companies, especially if the brand has been successful.

Remember that a rebrand doesn’t have to lead to something completely new and sometimes a review of brand equity will advise against this. Whether a rebrand is an evolution or revolution it is best to thoroughly review existing branding and measure its success. At this stage an objective decision can be made about the direction of future branding.

Is your branding adequate?

Not all brands are created equal. A lack of funding or insight can result in branding that is inadequate or nonexistent. Branding is much more than just a logo. It is how all the tangible and intangible attributes that differentiate a business and its products and services are communicated in a unique and consistent way. Any company that has given little thought or investment into their brand should consider a review in order to get their brand working for their business.

Mergers and acquisitions

Two companies coming together in a merger or acquisition is an obvious time for rebranding, however, in the complexity of this process branding can sometimes be an afterthought. In some instances one of the existing brands becomes the brand for both entities or in others multiple brands are maintained. Rebranding is an important process that is needed to communicate clearly to the external marketplace that a positive change has occurred and to build morale and confidence internally for staff and suppliers.

Another interesting exercise is to search twitter feeds for mentions of your brand to see how widely it is being discussed and whether comments are positive or negative.

What’s in a name?

Anyone who has named a business will understand how difficult it can be. It is often the first step that people take for the brand of their business. With this in mind if it is decided to change the company name it often reflects a need to rebrand. It is important to realise though that the two don’t always go hand in hand. To maintain brand equity existing branding is sometimes still used when implementing a name change.

When a name change is part of a rebrand and brand equity needs to be maintained it is possible to implement a bridging strategy where the new name and new branding are implemented at different stages, thus allowing time for customers to follow the changes.

Posted 13 August 2012

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