Companies rebrand to reposition themselves in the market and grow their business.
So, what is rebranding?
Rebranding is changing the corporate image and perception of customers and the general public of an organization, its products and services. Creating a new identity often entails changing the brand name and logo. At the same time, rebranding strategies should also adopt new marketing and advertising campaigns.
When deciding how to rebrand your business, reputation and brand management are two essential factors at play. So let’s take a look at how rebranding impacts your reputation and how to do it right.
How Does Rebranding Affect Your Reputation?
Can your brand reputation management team handle any negative repercussions?
A successful rebranding should make your brand more appealing and lead to more success. It should help you gain more or new market segments to solidify your voice in the industry. As your customer base grows, so does the shareholder value.
Rebranding, though, is a complex process. For all the benefits a company may derive, there are risks too. Therefore, a complete understanding of how to rebrand a company and when to rebrand is necessary. In addition, the company should also have a reputation and brand management team monitoring and identifying any backlash.
Why You Should Consider Rebranding Your Company
There are several reasons why rebranding is necessary. Some are a response to worsening market conditions or to salvage a business, while others are to scale a business. So, let’s take a look at why companies choose to rebrand, how to rebrand a company and if or when you should consider rebranding yours.
1. Going International
A company may already be successful in the domestic market and ready to expand to other countries and territories. However, its brand name may encounter specific issues, such as infringing on a trademark or being culturally unacceptable.
Axe, for instance, ran into trademark issues when it launched in Europe. As a result, they had to rebrand to Lynx. Since then, they have also marketed their men’s product line under Lynx in China, Australia and New Zealand. So if you have a vision of going global, rebranding may be something to consider.
2. Brand Repositioning
Rebranding is a great way to reposition a brand in the market to capture more customers. It may be a calibration of a value proposition or response to competition and changing market preferences. Usually, companies that use online reputation management services can capture invaluable insights from both existing and potential customers, which leads to identifying new customer segments.
Starbucks positioned itself as a coffee shop where customers can connect. While widely successful, they also faced stiff competition with the rise of other brands. As more customers turned to more cost-effective options, they launched the “Coffee Value and Values” campaign to convince customers that their coffee was worth the extra expense.
3. New CEO
Sometimes, a company that finds itself in trouble will promote or hire a new CEO. Usually, there will be drastic changes, including reputation and brand management. If deemed necessary, they may also create rebranding strategies.
When Steve Jobs returned to Apple in 1997, the company was already in trouble and 90 days from going broke. So one of the most significant changes they made was to change their logo from the original rainbow design to the modern metallic design. This move marked the beginning of a remarkable turnaround that made them the most valuable company in the world with a market cap of over a trillion dollars, making them one of the most successful examples of rebranding.
4. Outdated Logo
Not all company logos can stand the test of time. It becomes outdated when a new generation of consumers find it unappealing. One example is Pepsi-Cola which has seen its name and logo rebranded 12 times since August 28, 1898.
Although the decision to change a logo might be a marketing recommendation, it may also be the consumers’ preference. For example, a company can conduct surveys in line with how they manage online reputation to determine what consumers think or feel about their image and identity.
5. Bad Reputation
Brand reputation management is essential to business. In its absence, the company is at risk. Of course, that is not to say that brand reputation monitoring is 100 percent successful, but it can help minimize the risks.
Unfortunately, certain situations may arise that cause irreparable damage. In this case, rebranding strategies may be the only solution, such as in the case of McDonald’s.
McDonald’s, seen as a cheap but unhealthy food option, suffered from customer attrition when the “Super Size Me” came out. In response, they rebranded themselves by introducing an earthy green color to their designs and salads on their menu.
6. Mergers, Acquisitions and Demergers
Companies that undergo a merger, acquisition, or demerger need to rebrand themselves. In most cases, rebranding must conform with regulatory and contractual obligations. It may also be a part of strategic rebranding strategies, such as positioning a more robust brand or making changes in the organization or product range.
The move made by Exxon and Mobil is one example. When the two companies merged, they integrated both brand identities to create a new corporate identity called ExxonMobil. Likewise, GTE and Bell Atlantic merged to form a new brand called Verizon, which is better suited to the rapid changes in the telecom industry.
7. Changing Markets
Markets change over time. For companies to be successful, they need to adapt to these changes by aligning their value propositions and brand messaging to the ever-evolving target customer segments.
Of the many examples of rebranding, one that stood out is LEGO. In 2003, the company lost $300 million and was projected to lose $400 million the following year.
LEGO responded by doing away with what no longer works and creating digital channels to engage children and parents. Furthermore, they also added LEGO and movie-themed entertainment venues to their franchises. As a result, LEGO achieved one of the most remarkable turnarounds in corporate history, which led some people to call them the “Apple of Toys.”
8. Improve Corporate Identity
Often, startups focus on creating value propositions and capturing value as early as possible. In the process, they also did not put too much attention and resources on brand design elements. However, as companies grow, they realize they need a consistent brand identity, thus meriting a corporate rebranding.
In the case of some other companies, rebranding is necessary after a botched rebranding. GAP is one such example. Following the Financial Crisis of 2008, the company changed its logo in 2010 in response to slumping sales. Unfortunately, the change did not sit well with customers, who expressed disdain on social media, which did not go unnoticed by the company’s brand reputation monitoring team. So five days later, GAP reverted to its old logo.
One lesson companies can learn from the “GAPGate” fiasco is the importance of online reputation repair services. If there is a backlash, the company must provide a solution immediately to prevent customer attrition.
9. Differentiate From Other Brands
If the corporate logo is too similar to another brand, it gives the impression that it is unoriginal, a copycat or an imitation. But more seriously, it may lead to costly legal action.
NBC is one company that comes to mind from many such rebranding strategy examples. In 1976, the company rolled out its much-touted new million-dollar logo. Unfortunately, it resembled ETV’s logo, with only two colors distinguishing them. As a result, NBC had to settle the lawsuit against them and change its logo.
How Do Companies Decide When To Rebrand?
There are countless horror stories of brand and reputation management gone wrong. One reason is terrible timing. So, here are signs it is time to start rebranding your business.
1. Time To Improve Brand Perception
A company that attracts the wrong type of customers may damage its reputation. Burberry, for instance, became the standard issue dress of gangs and thugs in England. It reached a point where pubs began banning any individual wearing Burberry from entering their premises.
Rather than changing its brand name, Burberry aggressively rebranded itself as a high-end luxury brand and launched celebrity advertising campaigns featuring the likes of Emma Watson. Eventually, Burberry distanced itself from the terrible association and became a successful clothing brand.
“Rebranding gives a company a blank slate allowing them to start almost fresh,” Tim Clarke, Rize Reviews’ Senior Reputation Manager, explained. “Some companies do it to escape a bad reputation, and it can work in some ways.”
2. To Tap Into a New Market Segment
Expanding into new markets is one way to scale a business. But because of the differences in market conditions and other nuances, companies must carefully consider their brand and reputation management strategy.
Consider one of the most remarkable rebranding strategy examples – Pabst Blue Ribbon. In the United States, PBR is cheap and favored by frat guys and hipsters. But in China, their marketing and brand reputation management group targeted the higher-end markets. Using innovative strategies to manage online reputation, they presented themselves as a luxurious craft beer worth the high price and raked in a fortune.
3. Adapting to the Changing Markets
Usually, founders establish their business with a vision or mission. Over time, though, the market changes. Technology, for instance, can transform entire industries. Consumer behaviors also evolve due to a variety of reasons. If you find yourself in this situation, it’s time to know how to rebrand your business.
Altify, for example, started as a cloud-based sales transformation solution. Their mission was to allow salespeople to have intelligent business conversations with their customers. While they may have started before cloud computing became mainstream, much has already changed, including the advent of big data. So the company rebranded and began serving the entire revenue stream, not only the salespeople.
Apple also belongs in this conversation. Before Steve Jobs returned, the company was a PC maker. But they have since evolved and created an entire category of consumer products – smartphones, tablets and wearables.
Harley-Davidson is another example of how to rebrand a company. While their brand name is well-known, their motorcycles were also expensive. By the mid-80s, sales dwindled, forcing them to rebrand. But rather than changing their name or creating a new brand, they focused on streamlining their organization and key processes. They also designed more affordable motorcycles that the new generation of riders patronized.
What You Need To Know About How To Rebrand Your Business
While there are things you need to do, it would also be best to know what you should not be doing. This way, you are likelier to achieve the goals of rebranding your business.
1. Research and Gather Necessary Information
Research is only as good as the information you gathered. So, ensure that you have data and other key metrics to help you make the best decision.
Some of the methods of gathering information is interviewing the stakeholders. It would also entail a thorough understanding of the markets, competitors and customers. Large organizations may also hire third-party services to provide premium industry data.
2. Reach Out to Customers and Listen
Companies that have achieved a degree of success might have nurtured loyal customers through engagements, and there is much to learn from them. But rather than limiting the field, you can also reach out to a broader audience. One popular method to do this is surveys.
Identifying market and customer needs and preferences helps you develop better rebranding strategies. Furthermore, with these insights you can create design elements and brand style guides that let you connect with more potential customers.
3. Plan for the Future
A company that has existed for decades (or centuries) would want to capitalize on its long history. Some may even want to hold on to their original goals, visions and missions. So one marketing strategy is to evoke nostalgia to target old customers.
The reality is that “old” may not resonate with the younger generation. So while a company can retain its rich heritage, it must adapt to modern times. So in conceptualizing a new brand identity, look to the future and what you want to be, not what you have become.
4. Be Committed
Rebranding is not merely a matter of changing a logo. To be successful, you need to make changes in the entire company and all its fundamental processes.
For instance, one of your missions is to reduce waste. So, it would help to stay committed to reducing waste in operations by using resources within the company. In addition, every design element you use must also convey this message.
5. Keep Your Positive Brand Identity
Rebranding can be as simple as changing a logo or as complex as changing the organizational structure and product line. Regardless, one thing that companies must do is to keep their identity.
If there is a reason not to, that is when the brand’s image has taken a hit. While online reputation repair services may help fix a ruined reputation, there is no guarantee of success. In extreme cases, a company may consider changing its identity.
What To Consider When Launching a Rebrand?
The success of rebranding your business also depends on launching strategy, so it should not be an afterthought. You may rebrand for the right reasons and have the right team to develop a comprehensive plan. But if the rollout of your new identity is too hasty, it may not generate the right impact.
Here are tips on launching your brand makeover.
The best way to ensure a smooth rebranding is to identify possible pitfalls. You do this to avoid the problem and determine the solution if it occurs.
Anticipating problems is better done while identifying the following:
- Target launch date
- People in charge of preparing assets needed for launching
- People in charge of notifying and answering the press and other stakeholders
During this time, it is imperative to create a checklist and assign and provide the people in charge with the necessary information and tools to effect a smooth launch. But, more importantly, everyone has to be on the same page, working as a team and meeting deadlines.
While identifying any possible problems, it is also a good time to optimize and streamline the processes involved to improve efficiency and reduce the use of resources.
A company that changed its logo design can swap its logo on its website, business cards and packaging labels. But it may not matter without a rebrand launch strategy. Sometimes, it might lead to visual inconsistencies and confusion for the organization and the customers.
Here are examples of rebranding touchpoints you should consider:
- Business cards
- Email addresses and signatures
- Internal and external documents
- Invoices and other receipts
- Briefings for stakeholders and internal team
- Public announcements and teasers
- Domain names
- Site titles, metadata, tags and the likes
- Logos and favicons
- SEO keywords
- Brand style guide and asset library
- Content guidelines
- Newsletter templates
- Promotional materials and media kits
- Descriptions and hashtags
Remember that rebranding should reflect on all aspects of your business to maintain consistency. You can also enable brand reputation monitoring to track the customers’ responses.
“We have a client with a bad reputation that rebranded, and people still complained about the old brand on Google reviews and social comments,” Clarke shared. In the case of this company, the rebrand helped them start fresh. However, if they continued using their old brand, it is unlikely they’d be profitable, as many consumers would avoid them after seeing the negative reviews.
The point of monitoring brand mentions, especially after a rebrand, is to watch out for a backlash and take remedial actions.
3. Have a Brand Style Guide
One of the most common issues after rebranding is confusion among employees. So, developing a new brand style guide is necessary to keep everyone on the same page.
Briefly, a brand style guide in branding is a rulebook that contains information on how the company wants to present itself to the public. It includes, among others, the logo, fonts, color palettes, content guidelines and many others. Essentially, it is a reference tool that helps the company maintain consistency in its brand image and identity.
4. Start With a Soft Launch Internally
Launching can begin within the organization. For one thing, it helps keep everyone in the loop and on board. In addition, if there are any issues, they would be easier to correct.
Here are some tips on the activities involved during a soft launch:
- Launch at least one month before going public.
- Get everyone onboard by explaining the reasons for rebranding and the problems you hope to solve.
- Have the rebranding team walk the employees through the brand story from conceptualization to completion.
- Get honest feedback and encourage a healthy discourse.
- Coordinate these activities across different departments and, if appropriate, multiple locations.
Another vital thing to do is to ensure everyone knows who to reach out to if they have questions. It will also save the point person a lot of time if the employees know where to find the company’s brand style guide and assets.
5. Make the External Launching a Thing
Once prime for launching, you can make it an event to capitalize on the publicity.
By this time, you should have a compelling brand story. You can, for example, let the public know the brand’s journey and walk people through the story. In that case, you’d need to create promotional assets for every channel. These would include informational and explainer videos, infographics, blog content, etc.
Promoting on social media is also highly recommended. “Start with positive reviews right away,” Clarke suggested. “The first 5-10 reviews are vital.” Generating authentic positive reviews is a brand and reputation management strategy influencing the public to accept the new brand identity and encourage business transactions.
What Is Rebranding for You?
Companies rebrand for different reasons, each with its unique take or approach. Fortunately, many rebranding strategy examples offer a glimpse of what it takes and the results.
Now, whatever strategy or changes you use, the ultimate goal of rebranding is to reposition your company to gain a more significant market share and generate higher revenues. In the process of doing so, you must monitor your reputation, making sure that you are creating a positive buzz.
If you need more information, call 866.325.0303 or contact our online reputation management services team for a free consultation on rebranding and reputation repair strategies.