Now, you might think that an agency that does a lot of branding and rebranding would be a staunch advocate of medium sized enterprises rebranding every 3 minutes. After all, it’s more work for us right? Technically true, but businesses that are addicted to rebranding rarely achieve the traction they should and often ultimately fail. Which is sad. And doesn’t reflect well on us either.
As a medium sized enterprise, you don’t have a bottomless marketing purse, so you can’t do the same kind of heavy lifting as some of the big guns when it comes to brand building campaigns. Every time you rebrand, you set yourself back almost to the point of starting over. Which can be what you want in some instances, but definitely not always.
So, how do you evaluate whether you actually need a rebrand? Here’s how we’d do it:
Can I get away with refreshing rather than rebranding?
This is the first question we’d always ask a client. And that’s because you have spent time building the value of your existing brand. At the very least it’s who your existing customers base know and trust you as. Customers can find change scary and unnerving. Let’s not spook the ponies if we can possibly help it.
Rebranding addicts are often just bored with seeing the same old look and feel to their business. Which means they’ve not invested enough in the ongoing development of their brand, not that they need to change that brand altogether. Your agency should be delighted that you want to innovate and shake up your existing brand. It’s fun. And you’ll pay us for it. What’s not to love?
When might I really need to rebrand?
- When your business has radically altered course and your old identity just doesn’t reflect what you do now. So if Genius Marketing did a total 360 and moved into the wholesale fish trade, we might change our name. But if we add related services like printing or media buying there’s probably no need.
- When you’ve done something truly terrible. If you’ve gone bust, had a disaster to rival Deepwater Horizon or something of that nature that has you pressed to get the hell out of Dodge, you’ll want to change your business name when you start trading again. You may even want to change your own name. Kidding.
- When you have big ambitions and a brand you did yourself in PowerPoint 15 years ago. If you never really had an identity, more just wrote your name in a set colour and a slightly different font, it’s definitely worth creating one to support your business growth plans. Some industries don’t give a damn what you look like, but that number is fewer than it used to be. The internet has increased the design savvy of our collective consciousness and our standards are way higher than they were 15-20 years ago.
And how do I get it right when I do?
- Make sure you know why you’re doing it and what success looks like. Brands aren’t just about looking beautiful, they have to contribute to business success. So whether you measure your new brand’s effectiveness in growing sales, opening previously closed doors to bigger companies or increased consumer engagement, it doesn’t matter. But you need to know what you’re shooting for.
- Make sure you know what’s involved. Rebranding properly takes time, budget, and effort on your part, not just your agency’s. And the larger and more complex your business, the more work involved. Doing it right takes far more investment and effort than holding a logo design contest on Freelancer.com and popping the winner onto your website and auto-signature.
- Prepare to make tough decisions. And overcome some big emotions. Even if you think you hate your current brand identity and can’t wait to get a shiny new one, you’ll be amazed at how entrenched it is and possibly how attached you are to it, if not the actual identity then all that it stands for. And it’s not just about you. Expect strong opinions and even resistance from your staff. If they’re proud of where they work they may not take kindly to you meddling with that.
- Commit for the long haul – this is a marriage not a fling. Even if you’re a regular rebrand kind of company, you’re going to live with your new identity for a good few years, possibly and hopefully the rest of your time with the business. You need to have that in mind as you move through the project, you’re not looking for something that’s all pretty with no substance, you need an identity that can grow and adapt over time, that’ll be a great partner to you in all your endeavours.
Need any more convincing that rebranding isn’t always the best answer? Coca Cola have had basically the same logo for over 130 years. Make of that what you will.