A bitten apple was first depicted in rainbow colors. A change in the C-level management and the emergence of new market trends later that same apple turned chrome. Apple is one of many examples of successful rebranding stories. And with Facebook converting to Meta to pave the way to virtual reality rebranding has become a trending topic again. So, what makes companies rebrand?
What is a brand?
Your brand is the single most important investment you can make in your business.”Steve Forbes
You might not be a customer of a business to recognize its logo. The constant exposure to advertisements, very likely word-of-mouth too, created that unique image of the company called the brand. Brands are the most critical asset of a company. They often reach deeper into the subconsciousness of their audience than by just being a logo or a name. But they, too, just like companies, transform.
As a reflection of changes businesses go through, brands are given a new look and feel. They adopt a new logo, typeface or color palette. Slogans may change too, more so if the strategy changes radically. Those changes are known as a rebranding process. And as some rebranding campaigns have yielded public’s acclaim, others faced backlash from their fervent followers, compelling companies to revert the changes. If the process is so risky, the question that comes to mind is:
What makes companies rebrand?
There are several reasons for rebranding, and those can be labeled as reactive and proactive.
The proactive ones usually come from within the company, anticipating unfavorable developments in the market or foreseeing growth opportunities. The rebranding is therefore proactive when the company:
- Sees the need to shed the old ways of doing what they do.
- Has undergone significant organizational changes by appointing new C-level suite members. This transformation is often followed by adopting a new image and strategy.
- Leverages the heightened demand for services they have not been delivering so far. Thus satisfying the ambition to venture into new territories in terms of business lines or geographical areas.
- Merges or acquires another company moving away from their market segment. It becomes a brand-new player creating a new brand identity.
Reactive changes are a product of being oblivious to potential perils in the market. Implementing a facelift to the current logo and slogan is inevitable. It carries additional risks – hasty decisions that may end in a failure aggravating the situation. The triggers of such a situation might be:
- A reputational crisis that inevitably spurs the attempts to start fresh with a new image.
- Becoming aware that the competition is creeping up and taking the market share the company has achieved over the years.
What makes rebranding a success story?
Rebranding is a monumental task companies need to handle with care to make it a success. Some indispensable tactics need to be set in motion to mitigate the risk of falling short of expectations. Or worse damaging the company’s image or exacerbating the ailing one. Before the company sets out on a rebranding journey, there are some points to check off on the to-do list:
- Test waters. Research the market and the audiences’ tastes before they launch changes. This will hint at to what extent rebranding is necessary.
- Choose the right timing. Anticipating changes and ramping up for those allows the company to be in charge of the process. Unlike in the case of necessary rebranding to dispel negativity surrounding the brand. Payoffs are there if rebranding is done at a suitable time. Refreshing the image that resonates with what’s in now is a reason enough to rebrand.
- Inspire with a vision. Having a vision is often a guiding light for the company, its stakeholders and its customers. But an inspiring vision is something that persuades people to choose that company over others. So, if an inspiring vision brought the company to rebranding, the process will likely be a sweeping success.
- Keep the audience in the loop. Many companies announce changes long before they see daylight. They build up expectations, prepare the audience for the launch, thus adding mystery and drama before the reveal. And often making this period a very successful time to gain more attention and attract more followers.
- Keep tabs on the feedback. The company’s audience provides a wealth of information about whether the rebranding was a success or a fiasco. The widespread use of social media allows having a quick insight into people’s reactions. Thus establishing metrics to measure success and keeping an eye on them is vital to accurately assessing the brand’s current position in people’s minds.
Rebranding is an enormous undertaking. Companies ponder the possibility to rebrand at least once in their market lifetime. It is crucial to have reasons backed up by thorough research to determine it is time for a makeover. Otherwise, the attempt might be futile, leading to an embarrassing failure.