Rebranding your product takes time and money, 2 things often in short supply in a business. Moreover, rebranding may piss off your existing market. Consider the case Starbucks when they simply changed its logo to remove the brand name. The backlash was intense [source]. Rebranding, regardless of the extent of change envisioned, is a big decision and not one you should take lightly. When you do implement your rebrand, do it properly. Rebranding is a minefield! But, sometimes, its the right decision for the health of the brand in the long-run. For instance, as I sit here writing this post, the Washington Redskins are down the street debating rebranding to remove the potentially offensive slur to Indigenous people in today’s climate of inclusiveness. As statues to confederate generals and others who enslaved, exterminated, or otherwise subjugated people based on race, color, religion, or national origin, retaining the brand brings more trouble than it’s worth.
If you’re rebranding, this guide raises 16 important questions to ask before you make the final decision and offers tips on how to do the rebranding right the first time. Read on to learn more!
1. Who is your target market?
Every aspect of marketing from product to promotion builds on a deep understanding of your target market. Start by defining your target market in terms of demographics, geographics, and, most importantly, psychographics that determine how your target audience views the world around them.
- What’s important to them? What do they value?
- How do they view the world they live in?
- What factors are used to construct meaning in their world?
Really get into creating customer profiles, personas, to create prototypical customer groups. The more detail you include in your personas, the better!
You then use this information to inform and shape every element involved in the task of rebranding your product to ensure the new branding resonates and motivates your target market. Ask questions of your target market to ensure you understand as much as possible about your target market(s), developing an understanding of their pain points and what matters to them. What images resonate with your market and what words have meaning to them.
Developing robust personas helps identify when your branding stops working and helps you create a better brand image overall; one that appeals to the very people you target for your brand.
2. What pain points do you solve?
While not strictly confined to efforts at rebranding your product, you must define the pain points solved by your product and convey these as clearly as possible to your target market(s). After all, consumers don’t buy products, they buy solutions to their problems. Clearly articulating the fit between problem and solution offered by your brand boosts sales.
Your brand identity must communicate exactly how you solve their problems so that your audience knows exactly why they should buy your brand. Your ability to solve their problems is at the core of your brand image, so ensure you can clearly articulate this to consumers in your target market.
3. What is your brand personality?
A brand personality is defined as a human set of characteristics connected to your brand. Above you see an image outlining 10 different brand personalities along with brands that epitomize that brand personality.
Just as human personalities are multi-faceted, brand personalities should be too. A brand without a brand personality is one that consumers struggle to identify as distinct and “for them”, which is critical for driving purchase. A strong and clearly defined brand personality allows your audience to relate to you on a more personal level, to drive both purchase and loyalty. Think of Apple products as exemplars of brands with a strong brand personality, as compared with PCs that lack a definitive personality and are thus, lumped together, as in this image from the Apple commercial.
The brand personality created by Apple carries through to all their individual product lines and enables both high growth (before the pandemic, Apple was valued at over $1 trillion), and a higher price compared to competitors.
4. What is your competition like?
Speaking of your competition, competitive analysis is essential for all businesses. Conducting a thorough competitive analysis identifies possibilities to differentiate your product from those offered by the competition.
Study your competition and determine what they are doing right and ways they might improve, then consider capitalizing on their vulnerabilities. Just remember that you must differentiate your business – don’t be a carbon copy!
5. How do you make your clients/customers feel?
Knowing how you make your clients feel most of the time can be a great selling point. Think of what your satisfied clients say about your business and then use that in your marketing to emphasize what you mean to other consumers.
For example, your satisfied clients might say that they feel inspired or relieved by working with you. You should treat the most frequent positive emotion as crucial information when you piece together your new brand identity, so make sure you pay attention. If you’re unsure, then ask.
6. What makes your business different?
Knowing what makes your business different is crucial if you want to stand out in a sea of competitors. Check out this perceptual map (product positioning map) to see how consumers view car brands based on 2 criteria. Newer, computerized techniques allow positioning across multiple dimensions.
Find a way to communicate what makes your business different and display this prominently in your brand messaging, using tools like this perceptual mapping tool. Just remember, positioning your brand as identical to another brand, especially if that brand is larger and/ or more established, is a recipe for disaster.
7. Why do your clients/customers trust you?
Can you think of all of the reasons your clients trust you? Make sure you use them in your rebranding. Being a trustworthy business is so important, and knowing why your current clients already trust you helps to further market your business.
8. What’s your brand story?
Using a solid brand story helps build a much stronger overall image for your brand.
According to Hubspot, storytelling works because:
The human brain is wired to respond to well-crafted narrative — neuroscience proves that storytelling is the best way to capture people’s attention, bake information into their memories, and forge close, personal bonds. Your audience is programmed to crave and seek out great stories — that’ll never change.
A brand story recounts the series of events that sparked your company’s inception and expresses how that narrative still drives your mission today. Just like your favorite books and movies’ characters, if you can craft a compelling brand story, your audience will remember who you are, develop empathy for you, and, ultimately, care about you.
Crafting a well-designed brand story that resonates with your target market gives consumers a reason to buy your brand. Feel free to use humor or other elements to enliven your story.
9. What are 5 words used to describe your brand?
Come up with 5 words consumers might use to describe your brand. This is so helpful when rebranding your business as it gives you a good idea of the points you need to emphasize in your fonts, colors, copy, and other messaging elements. For example, consumers might use words like:
- Customer service
- Environmentally friendly
Take advantage of these words in your messaging or, if you feel significant words are missing from consumers’ descriptions, rebranding your product to include these characteristics will improve market performance.
10. What needs to change about your existing brand image?
Before embarking on rebranding your product, consider what must change with your existing brand image to capitalize on attributes in your target marketing. Perhaps you have drastically changed your culture, or the culture around you changed, as is the case with the Washington Redskins in the days of Black Lives Matter. Maybe your existing brand is poorly defined. Whatever needs to change, ensure you detail changes so rebranding your product is successful.
11. What brands do you admire?
Make a list of the brands you look up to and why these brands hold a special place in your heart since it’s the heart that drives purchase, not the head.
Any brand might form your list of most admired brands, and they often aren’t in the same industry. Also, check out lists of the most admired brands you find on Google.
What do these admired brands have in common? What are factors none of them possess? Now you have a starting point in rebranding your product based on what makes other brands among those most admired.
12. Testing brand perceptions?
Once you developed some alternative for rebranding your product, you must test brand perceptions for the change with your target market(s). This requires a test drive of the rebranding in front of a group of existing customers with techniques such as A/B testing. Use the technique to understand how colors, fonts, and other aspects of the new brand image are perceived by the public (since A/B testing doesn’t imply you can only test 2 versions, you can test multiple combinations factors as options for rebranding your product).
13. Does your brand make a memorable impression?
One of the best things that can happen when rebranding your product is you make your brand so memorable that you stand out in the minds of your audience. When they remember you, they are more likely to buy from you and recommend your brand.
If you don’t believe your brand is currently that memorable or have evidence from consumer studies that your target market doesn’t remember your brand, figure out why your brand isn’t memorable and develop ways to improve your brand image to make it more memorable.
Could you incorporate more color? Perhaps you could make your imagery more fun?
14. What are your brand colors and why?
Your brand colors say a lot about your brand without using words. Many people instantly get an idea about your brand from the color palette you choose. Choose brand colors carefully by first researching the moods and feelings generated by certain colors to help pick the right ones for your brand. To give you an idea of what certain colors represent, look at the following:
- Black: Elegance, Drama, Strength
- Purple: Royalty, Spirituality, Luxury
- Blue: Integrity, Trust, Tranquility, Loyalty, Intelligence
Of course, certain colors have different meanings in different contexts. Red can signify an emergency, as well as urgency, and certainly draws your eye to the color. Hence the reason many firms use red to highlight important information. Green implies environmental concern but in some Asian countries, green, especially a green hat, signifies infidelity and should be avoided.
15. Is this the ideal brand image?
Think about your business as if you were starting it today. Would you develop the same solutions to customer’s problems, or would you potentially come up with something new? How would you change what you do now to improve your service and make everything better in the view of your target market? Consumer needs change so quickly, as do trends. Staying on top of what people want is so important. You can’t afford to get too attached to the way you do things, or too stuck in your ways. Be prepared to change and stay flexible!
Now you have answered the above 15 questions, and you should have a much better idea of where to go with rebranding your product. Rebranding is expensive. You need to change your website, physical marketing materials, and more. You also need to ensure there’s no confusion and that your customers know what your brand stands for. This takes a lot of time and money. Start early, be thorough, and make sure you get it right!
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