Rebranding, isn’t easy. We all can agree, right? This week I’ve been thinking about rebranding a lot. In my circle of people and clients there have been a few discussions whether to rebrand or not. As a brand strategist, I’ve obviously been asked my opinion. To me a rebrand is like getting a makeover of your house, or even of yourself. Would you dive into getting plastic surgery or would you give it a good thought? I guess you would really think about it right? Why would you do that? Not only does it cost a lot, but it affects both you and the people around you.
Let’s remain in this metaphor for a while. Who would you talk to before getting plastic surgery? I would assume a professional and loved ones. It’s no difference for a rebrand, talk to someone who knows a lot about it. However, most important are ‘your loved ones’, who would this be for your company? Those who care about the brand or the company. This is your target group.
I believe one of the biggest mistakes is not including your audience. While it’s important to analyze your brand and story first to see if it’s necessary. It’s more important to see what the changes will do to your audience. Remember when Gap did their rebrand in 2010 without even checking in with their audience? They completely blew it with their loyal customers. So, the lesson we took was this: before initiating a rebrand, articulate a well-defined vision and strategy that aligns with your company’s values and effectively communicate this to stakeholders.
Your clients are key. We often forget that our brands can be sentimental for users. Changing our story or identity can be devastating or even an alienating experience for the audience. Especially the loyal ones, so it’s necessary to communicate any type of change with them. While explaining the reason behind the change and how it will be done to meet the company value. Involve customers in the rebranding process and understand their perceptions, preferences, and expectations.
If you decided that a rebrand should happen, don’t rush the process. A rushed rebranding process often leads to oversight and inadequate planning. Airbnb’s 2014 logo redesign faced criticism as the new logo resembled private body parts to many viewers. This all happened due to a hurried process and lack of feedback and testing. The lesson learned here is that you should take time to plan, test and gather feedback before implementing feedback.
A successful rebranding requires consistent execution across all touchpoints. RadioShack’s rebrand in 2009 lacked consistency. The company changed its logo and store design but failed to align its messaging and customer experience with the new brand identity, resulting in confusion among consumers. So, you should ensure a cohesive implementation strategy across all aspects of the business, from marketing materials to customer service.
Finally, don’t overlook the importance of employees’ buy-in! It could undermine a rebranding effort. When Tropicana redesigned its packaging in 2009, the drastic change confused customers, resulting in a 20% drop in sales. This failure was partly due to internal dissent as employees were not consulted or prepared for the changes. Therefore, involve employees from the beginning, communicate the reasons behind the rebrand, and provide them with the necessary tools and training.
These are a few of my advice when it comes to rebranding. The process isn’t the same for everyone, but I believe the points noted above is something all fields and businesses should at least consider in their ‘rebranding’.