Time to Break Up? 5 Signs Your Company Needs to Rebrand and Move On
There's no escaping it - break ups can be messy, awkward and painful.
But sometimes they're necessary - and when handled in the right way, they can be a chance for real growth.
ReBranding is kind of like breaking up with your old company image. Just like a bad relationship, a bad Brand can damage your company's reputation, relationships with other businesses and financial stability.
For a lot of major corporations, reBranding is something that happens every few years - a way to evolve the company and anticipate changes in their target markets. But reBranding isn't just for the big players - companies can and should evolve as they establish themselves in their field.
Brand evolution doesn't have to be in-your-face or over-the-top - it can be subtle. You can implement small tweaks to an already-winning formula or you can completely overhaul your company's Brand if it simply isn't working anymore.
ReBranding is incredibly common in the business world and a necessary part of staying relevant in your industry. But how do you know if it's time to reBrand? How do you know it's time to make that break from your current company image?
Here are five reasons it just might be time for your company to break free and spread its wings into a new Branding era.
You've outgrown your original mission/No one knows why you do what you do
This could be anything from your moral stance to an outdated technological concept.
If your pushing something that 1) isn't relevant anymore or 2) you don't believe in, it's worth considering a reBranding. A company's mission naturally evolves as it grows - a stagnant company withers and dies.
Your company's Branding needs to communicate exactly what you're about - for staff, for your partners and for your customers.
If your message has got lost somewhere along the way, a reBranding will help you define what your company is about - right now and for the foreseeable future.
A company who recently reBranded due to their original mission no longer being suitable/visible is Airbnb.
Brian Chesky (the co-founder and CEO of Airbnb) wanted to re-engage the company's employees with its original mission: a global community of personal experiences, showcasing the reality of popular travel destinations.
To get to the core of Airbnb's mission and share it with the rest of the world, Chesky asked: “Why does Airbnb exist? What’s its purpose? What’s its role in the world?”
With the help of a new chief marketing office (Jonathan Mildenhall), the focus on shifted from 'cheap places to stay' to promoting the internal mission statement 'Belong anywhere' as the company's official tagline.
Next came the Bélo logo - a simple design so memorable anyone could draw it. Combining a heart, a location pin and the “A” in Airbnb, it reflects the basic principles of the company. The entire Brand now stands for four things: people, places, love and Airbnb.
You need to shake off an old image/You don't want the customers you're attracting
Sometimes companies can attract the wrong kind of attention, bad press or an unwanted group of followers.
You've probably heard of Burberry, the luxury clothing Brand - but did you know they had a serious problem with gang associations in the UK market? Throughout the 2000s, the high-end Brand was the status symbol of choice for violent thugs across all of England. The situation got so dire, Burberry saw many pubs and clubs banning anyone wearing their clothing or accessories from their premises in a bid to avoid gang violence. As a result, Burberry saw a lot of their ideal customers driven away in the UK - and a huge drop in sales followed.
If you find your company getting unwanted attention, you should consider an approach similar to Burberry's: an aggressive reBranding to address the disparity between the company's UK and US images. Pushing the high-end luxury aspect of their work, Burberry roped in noteworthy fashion-forward celebrities for their advert campaigns and focused on promoting prestige over anything else. They didn't change their prices, they didn't change their look and they didn't change their products.
Burberry's reBranding highlights the power of public perception on a company's status and profit - maybe your company needs to follow Burberry's path to maximize your reach.
Everyone knows your name.... but no one's buying
Even the biggest household names can suffer flagging sales. To stay relevant (and to outsell your competitors), you need to make sure every aspect of your Brand is up to scratch. Remember, Branding isn't just your logo! You have to walk the walk and talk the talk.
Let's take a look at Harley Davidson circa 1985. Despite being a well-respected, American classic motorcycle manufacturer, their sales were so bad they were going out of business.
For their reBrand, they went back to basics and looked at their product. They studied their competitors. What did they change? They cut dead-weight within the business and overhauled their bikes to be more affordable, more manageable and more enjoyable to ride.
The result? Harley Davidson reclaimed their position as one of the leaders in international motorcycle sales.
If your company is established with a high degree of familiarity, but has fallen behind in execution, follow this model. People will only buy from you if they're getting their needs seen to.
You want to attract fresh faces
To keep your business moving forward, you'll eventually need to expand into a new demographic.
Attracting a new audience can feel daunting, but take your time, do plenty of research and you'll reap the rewards.
Take a step back from your current business strategy - what's working with your current customer base? Look at how your company will appear to this new type of customer.
Hopefully, there's a lot of crossover appeal. If not, you'll have to put in more effort and invest in tweaking your Brand to speak to this new clientele. If you've got a pretty wide appeal already, you might find a targeted messaging, advertising and PR/community outreach campaign will help you reach your new audience.
You're getting left behind/Your market is evolving quickly
If your industry is particularly fast-paced, you could find your company getting left behind because it's not seen as 'cutting edge'. Good examples of companies constantly evolving their Branding to suit a fast-paced industry are Apple, Amazon and eBay.
Remember when eBay started up? They focused on online auctions for cheap second-hand goods. Now they've refined their Brand message and focus on offering new unique items or designer merchandise by big Brands.
Amazon’s story is incredibly similar - they started out as an online bookseller and slowly evolved their Brand messaging to convey the speed and convenience of their service bringing you everything and anything you could possibly need.
So, how does your Brand measure up?
If any of these companies' stories sound uncomfortably familiar, it might be time to break up with your current Brand - but make sure you are doing it for the right reasons. A new logo or edgy messaging can't solve problems at your business' core. Look hard at the health of your company before you reBrand.
Effective branding must start from the inside out. Let's see what's best for your company - get in touch today.