Obviously, correctly branding your business from the beginning offers the best profitability, since a branding mistake means you fail to connect with your target audience. But, sometimes you have little choice but to rebrand your business to respond to changes in business strategy or cultural shifts among your target audience. In that case, you need a marketing rebranding strategy to make your rebrand as painless and effective as possible. For instance, as Starbucks continued its global expansion, it needed a logo that fit with its more diverse target markets. Hence, they dropped the words printed on cups and other branded products as well as reimagining the mermaid that remained. After some backlash among existing customers, the brand redesign gained traction with existing customers and approval from new customers who felt the brand more inclusive.
When to rebrand
No one wants to rebrand their business but, sometimes, you need a fresh approach. It’s easy for successful businesses to continue with the same branding year after year, afraid to make any change in their successful formula. We see corporations, such as Coca Cola, spend decades refining and offering the same tasty beverage, and efforts to change their brand meet strong resistance. In reality, Coke isn’t one monolithic brand, but a large number of different products marketed worldwide with subtle differences to accommodate the tastes in that particular region. The firm just doesn’t make these differences obvious, so consumers view the brand as the same all over. Hence, even corporations as seemingly rigid as this continually innovate to come up with something new and to appeal anew to the younger generations or global consumers. In this way, businesses rebrand every time they chase something new, as that changes their identity in some small, interesting way.
That being said, a full rebrand does require intensive dedication, careful planning, and flawless implementation. Getting everyone on board with the change ensures fewer internal conflicts that might otherwise derail the process but consider involving other stakeholders, most importantly, customers, in the process. For instance, a regional Mexican quick-serve restaurant posted alternate logos on their Facebook page and invited the community to vote on their favorite as part of their marketing rebranding strategy.
Below, we curated some excellent advice to help you make formulate your marketing relaunching strategy with an eye toward success.
Marketing rebranding strategy
Rebranding involves more than just changes to existing products and branded elements, like your logo. Here are some other examples of changes when a rebranding effort might bring success.
- A major expansion into a new product line
- A highly-anticipated expansion within a product line, such as when Playstation Mobile, Sony’s handheld gaming arm, began publishing games for the PC.
- Mergers and acquisitions that expand the nature of your existing business
Find a strong brand image
One benefit of rebranding your business is that you can reimagine your creative again. For many, developing your creative elements is one of the most exciting and interesting parts of branding. However, rebranding adds pressure for you to get it right this time, to fully encompass your brand’s intent in meaningful imagery, a name, and a style. After all, you won’t have a chance to rebrand again, at least not for some time, and so it’s worth taking time to review and re-review your creative package.
Changing your company name is the most dramatic change to make as part of a marketing rebranding strategy and, as such, deserves very serious consideration. I once worked with a Fortune 50 client who, years after the name change, still struggled with listings in various areas around the country since individual stores still retained the older name in some cities. That said, circumstances might require a name change, especially if you’re merging companies or something in the name is offensive. Recently the Washington (DC) football team made the difficult decision to drop its name since the name is offensive to indigenous people.
As you consider your marketing rebranding strategy, inventory products sold under the brand and list the ideals and values you want to be associated with your brand to develop a brand name that’s suitable and memorable. For instance, a company dealing with IT managed services deserves an entirely different name with an entirely different feel than a brand whose main business involves party planning and entertainment for children. The IT company needs a name that sounds professional and reinforces imagery of security while the party company needs to project fun.
Words have meaning, power, and serve as bundles for meaning. Think of how Google managed to make much of its interesting and odd name, devoid of preconceived notions of what the business was to allow for the brand to expand beyond its search engine business.
Develop & analyze your advertising program
A rebrand is nothing without strong marketing to support the change, although, as in the case of Coca Cola, rebranding under the radar works best. For most brands, developing a marketing rebranding strategy is critical for success, just as you built a marketing strategy for the original brand. Hiding behind a new brand name or change in other branding elements like your logo may work in some situations but, in many situations, you’ll face a serious backlash from customers unless you promote the new branding effectively.
But advertising campaigns of this nature should never shoot blindly in the dark. Instead, back your advertising efforts with the best possible ad tracking, allowing you to customize, optimize, and review results from your campaign 24/7. Monitoring key metrics on a consistent basis helps gauge the best places to advertise for your target audience as well as which messages resonate best with this group.
Generate excitement & buzz
Generating excitement and buzz for your new brand is essential. You can rebrand cold, simply jumping out of the gate with powerful marketing, but this isn’t as powerful as a more thoughtful approach that builds excitement. Ideally, you want to pre-empt this marketing push with something akin to mystery or excitement, as if rolling out the red carpet before your premiere.
How do you build excitement and buzz for your rebranding efforts? Well, cryptic marketing, such as the ‘something is coming’ approach often brings focus to your launch event, and may even net some positive or interested press from business blogs or those covering business in your niche.
Excitement and buzz serve as free advertising, expanding the reach of your messaging into new markets while adding an air of impartiality to claims about the brand.
Resolve prior issues
You shouldn’t consider rebranding a clean break with the past, but rather a renewed effort at building the new brand based on its past success and what you’ve learned since the initial branding effort. This requires you spend time reflecting on issues that motivated the rebrand. You now have an opportunity to reimagine the future of the business and craft a new brand that positions the business to succeed in that future.
Do you hope your rebranding effort will ensure a better workplace culture? How does your new branding improve your approach to customer service? Will your pricing structure change with the new branding? These questions are more than worth your time to answer, and will ultimately help you move toward a better, more integrated relaunch.
With this advice, we hope you’ll enjoy much better success in your relaunch/rebrand.
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