Having recently re-branded my own business, I thought that i would share some tips on what I learned during the process. Bear in mind that this is not a complete guide on rebranding, because every business is different, but I hope that the few thoughts I have learned here might help if you're trying to decide whether or not to change your business identity.
Rebranding your business could be for many different reasons. Most often it is to make your product or service more relatable to your target audience, or to create a fresh buzz on a range of new products or services that you're offering. Whatever the reason for your rebrand, find out what makes your product resonate with your customers and work with that to the best advantage.
If you have a product that is instantly recognisable by your customers and sales are steady, changing your product design could lead to disastrous results. Customers can often relate a particular product design with reliability or quality, and changing that could result in a backlash. Tropicana discovered this when they changed their orange juice container packaging which led to a drop in customer brand trust. When sales also dropped by 20%, Tropicana changed back to the original packaging a few weeks later.
The clutter of many different brand names can confuse your target audience. In the early 90's, Federal Express was struggling with having to juggle many different services each with different names. Their decision was to rebrand under the name FedEx with a new logo that is now one of the most recognisable brands out there.
Unless you have a valid reason to change your brand, it's best not to risk confusing your audience with a brand change. Even a simple logo change can lead to a lot of confusion with a well-established brand identity.
The key here could be to reach new target demographics and broaden your audience, or to refresh your image for your existing demographic - whatever the case may be, generating buzz always starts with something new and fresh. It doesn't necessarily have to be a brand change to get the ball rolling in the right direction, but perhaps a new perspective to challenge common conceptions or misconceptions about your brand. Some advertising campaigns capitalise on brand misconceptions by making fun of themselves - Old Spice and Hungry Jacks (Burger King) are famous for doing this and have had great success in reaching new customers by not taking themselves too seriously.
If done correctly humour can make your brand instantly relatable if your campaign is backed up by a good amount of solid market research. It can also make your company seem less rigid and corporate, and friendlier towards a wider audience.
Rebranding to increase your profits should be carefully considered. Take a few moments to search Google for the Netflix / Quikster fiasco where Netflix wanted to split into two companies to increase profits by up to 60%, and you'll find a tale of caution (and a loss of over 800,000 subscribers!). It's never wise to alienate your existing customers, especially when they are regularly investing in your products or services.
It is often best to stay the course and take measures to revitalise your brand. Find out what your weaknesses are and strategise and work hard to fix them.
Competition might force you to evolve or innovate to keep a market presence, and sometimes you might not be left with much of a choice but to take on the inherent risks with rebranding. If you have to rebrand, always let your customers know to ease them into the change. Collect feedback where you can, and if your current brand is already large, make an event of the rebrand with a new campaign, special offers or new services and products.