Rebranding is not an uncommon business strategy among big and small businesses. If you’re considering a rebrand, keep reading to learn how to rebrand a company, when to rebrand, tips for a successful rebrand process, and the pros and cons of rebranding.
When a company rethinks its vision and identity through its marketing and communication strategies, rebranding is said to have been done. It can be accompanied by a new logo, brand name, language style and more. The aim of rebranding is to entrench a company’s new objectives in the minds of its customers and other stakeholders.
There are many reasons for a company to consider before rebranding. The decision to rebrand should not be baseless and should not be taken without undergoing significant research and crafting a proper execution strategy. Here are some of the reasons a company might want to rebrand:
1. Relevance: Many companies rebrand with a colour or logo refresh, for instance, to keep up with new styles and elements. In a world where rapid change is the order of the day, businesses need to remain relevant as customer behaviour evolves. If the look and feel of a brand is stale, it’s the right time to rebrand. Also, with technology, older brands might have to change their cumbersome logos that don’t adapt well to the web.
Ford and Shell plc are among the many brands that have changed their logo to accommodate contemporary trends in graphic design.
2. Mergers and acquisitions: When two companies join forces or when one acquires another, a new brand message and identity emerges. A rebranding would have to be considered to highlight new ownership or partnership, missions, and processes. On April 1st 2019, Diamond Bank was fully merged with Access Bank to build a new entity while retaining the Access Bank name with a logo that took the form of the Diamond Bank logo. The merger between the banks was to birth one bank with a strong capital base.
3. New direction: As a company grows and expands, it might require rebranding to encapsulate its new offerings. A company could rebrand to inform existing and potential clients of its new services, products or structure. This is because a brand, over time, could evolve into something much different than what it was when it first began. The original brand identity could thus become something of a liability, hence a rebranding is required. This is exemplified by MTN. Earlier this year, the company announced its decision to embark on another rebranding journey that will see it wear a new logo, and that is aimed at indicating the company’s evolution from a telecoms company to a technology company.
In the same vein, Guaranty Trust Bank (GTB) Plc, back in November 2020, announced that it had obtained approval from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to reorganise the company into a financial holding company. Guaranty Trust Holding Company Plc (GTCO Plc) was unveiled as the new brand identity and it commenced the listing of its shares on the Nigerian Exchange (NGX).
4. Stand out: A company could decide to rebrand to stand out from among its competitors and be different and original. A tech-savvy brand could disrupt the tech space with a different colour that is not blue, even though most service platforms in that industry have adopted blue as their brand colour. Rebranding is unique to each company. Offering the same tech-related services as competitors does not mean that the popularly used colour should be considered. When the target audience is drilled down and analyzed, a company’s distinct selling point might differ from that of similar brands.
A company should always speak to the people it is trying to reach, effectively communicating the uniqueness of its products or services.
Tips for a successful rebrand
The idea of rebranding always sounds exciting, but when it is poorly executed, it could leave lasting scars on a company.
To avoid mishaps, here are some of the things that you should bear in mind when initiating a rebrand.
1. Know your purpose: The question is why am I in business? This is the essence of a business; it influences everything from the products, to the communication materials, online presence and customer relations. When a brand hasn’t outlined its purpose, vision, and mission, it is easy to lack direction and a general sense of purpose. If you must successfully rebrand, you must identify your purpose.
2. Research: Before embarking on a rebrand, you should do some analysis and research to know how your brand is faring, what your target customers are saying, what your competitors are doing, and most importantly, where you want to be. The more you figure out these elements, the more you would begin to have a clearer view of the best rebranding approach.
Think about your future identity: You aren’t rebranding according to trends; you’re rebranding to help your brand grow into the future. As such, you need to build a flexible visual identity. Think about how your logo will look in five years, or how it might be perceived in the future. If you can think critically and anticipate these needs, you will rebrand successfully.
3. Gather feedback: Before going on a complete rebrand, bring in some stakeholders to share their opinions about your proposed new logo and key message communication. Also, ensure that you engage with customers once the new brand identity is unveiled to get their feedback, and to monitor how well the target audience has embraced the rebranding campaign.
Advantages of Rebranding
Having looked at the reasons to rebrand, and tips for carrying out a successful rebrand, it’s time to examine some of the benefits of rebranding.
Rebranding is done to improve a company’s image, ensuring that it becomes more relevant, competitive and profitable in the target market. Here are some of the advantages of rebranding:
- Customer retention and acquisition
Rebranding eradicates stagnancy in a business. It helps to rekindle a company’s image and perception by its target customers, thereby retaining them while also attracting new ones. With a new look and image, you can attract customers who might not have noticed your brand before the changes. Your old customers will remain because you are still relevant to them and their tastes.
- Achieve new goals with ease
When you rebrand, you can significantly shift the focus of your efforts, thus allowing you to achieve new goals. You can boldly explore other areas and pursue expansion without obstacles. Rebranding makes a business bolder and better.
- Increase visibility and sales
A rebranding campaign increases your company’s visibility. With the attention turned on you, people anticipate what you’re about to unveil. Depending on your campaign strategy, your rebranding process could attract more eyes to your company. You can utilise this opportunity to soak in the buzz, get people talking about your company on social media, and ultimately convert all the attention into leads that can buy what you’re offering.
- Staying on track
Your brand identity might become inconsistent over time. A rebrand provides the opportunity to refocus and deliver. It could also be that your target audience is confused about your brand and what it represents. An effective rebranding campaign will sufficiently address this.
Disadvantages of rebranding
While it is sometimes wise to rebrand, note that it doesn’t come cheap, especially if it isn’t done right.
Whether you implement a top-notch rebranding strategy or not, you risk losing some customers. You might lose more customers however if you are rebranding without adding any value to your target market. Even if everything is alright on that front, you might still lose some of your customers because they do not buy into your new and proposed offerings, which is fine. By clearly explaining your reasons for the rebrand, staying conscious of your customers’ needs, and remaining true to your values, you can minimize the risk of losing long-time customers.
Furthermore, a complete rebrand is anything but cheap. Imagine spending all that money and having nothing to show for it because the rebranding flopped! When rebranding, be prepared to spend money on developing a creative rebranding strategy, new content, graphic design, as well as marketing and advertising campaigns. It is worth ensuring that the rebranding is effectively done because of the amount of money invested in it.
Rebranding pays out over the lifetime of your company. When done right, with all the helpful tips in this article, rebranding a company is absolutely worth it. Your strategy should not stifle your brand image and identity, and it should separate you from your competition, and drive engagement, sales and growth.