The pandemic highlighted business vulnerabilities and gave us the opportunity to rethink how and where we work.
As we enter this next normal, there is a need to rethink brands and strategies to develop new and innovative ways to drive growth.
Over the past two years we have seen a seismic shift in trading conditions for almost all businesses. From how they transact with our customers to a grinding shortage of skilled staff.
The effects have been far-reaching and for many longstanding. Many companies have fundamentally changed their business model just to survive, some just didn’t make it.
Recent research from McKinsey reported that 75% of consumers changed brands during the pandemic. This shift in consumer behaviour has driven businesses to rethink how they communicate their value proposition while still staying relevant to their audience. In the short term priorities have changed but in the longer term brands with a more refined value proposition have a distinct advantage.
This brings us to the universal truth that your brand is still a promise to your customers and rebranding sends a message to them that things have changed. They need to know that change is for the better because as humans we resist change, we fear the unknown. The way to overcome the resistance is confidence and empowerment through planned communication.
That’s why by approaching a rebrand with a defined process we can gauge if the current brand is fulfilling both the needs of the business, the market; now and into the future. Rebrand incorrectly and the exercise becomes a de-brand, potentially alienating customers and losing market position.
To get the right answers, it’s important that brand owners exercise perspective and revisit their mission, vision, values and ensure that their brand experience still resonates in what has become the next normal.
This journey often starts with one these red flags.
A decline in sales
Sales are the lifeblood of any business. If you’ve noticed a distinct change in that pulse and you are not selling as much as you originally did, it could be time to take a step back and pinpoint why you are losing the edge.
Are you still the “go-to choice?”
Do you still attract high-value clients?
The phone is not ringing like it used to?
Not staying ahead of innovation and changes in your industry landscape can slowly, but surely, cause your brand to fade into the peripheral view of consumers. Think about what parts of your business need to stay stable and what needs to change.
The brand looks tired
Often when businesses first start out, the budget is tight and a logo is produced quickly and cheaply to “just get us going”. You know it’s not great, but making do will not cut it as the business grows. Remember brands and identities are about what the market perceives and experiences, not what you think it is. An old tired brand can make every task in marketing the business more difficult. However no matter how dowdy an established brand may look, it will have some equity in it. That value needs to be independently researched and considered.
We don’t stand out
There is an old saying “You only get one chance to make a good impression”. Markets today are competitive and your brand must stand out, so that potential customers notice you and keep your brand “top of mind”. A brand that looks the same or similar to your competitors just won’t do that, no matter how much money you throw at it. An essential part of a rebranding strategy is a design that can be used across all touch points; including content marketing, social media presence – all of which will position your brand as unique.
Acquisitions, mergers and de-mergers
When businesses merge there is often a missed opportunity to stand back and look objectively at how the acquired brand fits with the parent brands architecture. A clear strategy will ensure all brands grow in value and prevent customer confusion due to a lack of brand alignment.
With growing access to global markets, it may be time to drop a generic name and lead with a brand that has more local resonance. The brand narrative can then be anchored around a customer focussed local mindset but aligned with global reach and aspiration. Conversely, regional businesses are often faced with the reality of a rebrand if they plan to expand their geographical footprint. Structured research will avoid marketing mistakes and potential product failure.
A change in company strategy
Audiences, positioning and market conditions can all change during a product or companies lifecycle. For example, Fonterra undertook a rebranding of its RD1 business – changing its name to Farm Source, to strategically broaden its retail appeal to encompass new and more profitable areas of the rural sector. Much like RD1, what was once a “cut through” product brand may now be holding your company back, which means refocussing to reach new audiences. Your brand needs to speak the language of that audience, don’t allow it to limit growth.
Changes in technology may mean that your business operates in a very different way from when it was first launched. Since the pandemic what were once viewed as traditional “bricks and mortar” businesses have quickly evolved into online enterprises, which can significantly affect the brand and how it is perceived. With this shift comes the redeployment of brands across third-party digital sales platforms and social media. This all requires a clear strategy.
Before the digital revolution, many brands consisted of just a logo and a font at best. This lack of strategy and design intent meant that over time logos were stretched, fonts substituted and colours were “tweaked” leaving the brand to be presented in a way that was open to interpretation. This often results in a brand that creates a confusing impression or tells the wrong story.
Brands today are deployed across a myriad of platforms; from the humble business card to digital billboards or to an app. This means that elements such as photographic style and visual narrative are integral parts of the brand ecosystem that need to be specifically designed and documented to ensure that the brand is in an engaging, recognisable and consistent context.
New leadership can give an organisation a completely new perspective and focus. Often there is no better opportunity to pinpoint today’s audience and step up a gear. Think Telecom to Spark. A bold and enlightened move, made by a leadership team who recognised that it had to become relevant to an evolving, tech-savvy digital audience.
I just hate it!
Your brand could be new, on-trend, and liked by many, but, if for some reason you hate handing out your business card, or make excuses about your website there is a potential disconnect. Brands have a strong emotional connection, and sometimes we just don’t resonate with a design. Our intuitive sense is there for a reason…survival.
In a modern context, we need to test our intuition with some solid perspective, expertise and data. Just because you hate it, it doesn’t mean your customers do. Often some quick analysis with a brand specialist can allay your fears or prompt some deeper research. Either way, you are moving your brand and the business in the right direction. You can fall back in love!
Rebranding can be one of the best long term investments you can make in your organisation. That’s because branding’s ROI is cumulative, building on increasing levels of brand awareness that has much more longevity over time than short-term marketing activations. In the long run, brand-building is a better driver of sales growth than repeated short-term marketing initiatives. We can show you the stats.
The decision to rebrand should not be taken lightly without sound strategic reasons for engaging in the process and the right branding partner to guide you along the way. If you’re interested in scoping a rebranding project for your company, make contact below. we can help you decide whether it’s time to rethink, refresh and revitalise your brand or just stick to business as usual either way, you’ll find the right answer.