What’s “pulling a Miley”? Well, it’s an attempt at rebranding that has gone very, very, wrong.
I’m sure you’ve seen the new and not-so-improved Miley Cyrus since she’s, unavoidably, been everywhere – on our radios, in our Twitter streams, and traumatizing our eyes with a VMA performance comparative to that of a D-list stripper on her first day on the job.
What makes her rebrand so shocking? She went from a fresh-faced-family-friendly actress (who made millions off of her legions of devoted Disney-loving fans) to some kind of tongue-wagging-train-wreck version of her former self whom her fans can barely recognize.
And guess what? Her rebrand hasn’t received quite the favorable response she was hoping for. In fact, people are reacting with a whole lot of confusion and a little bit of terror at her drastic transformation.
Still, as your business and/or your personal brand develops and grows, it’s natural that the time may come when a minor – or major – rebrand is necessary. But how can you do it without pulling a Miley?
A rebrand is possible without alienating and confusing your current customers with some kind over-the-top change that shocks your audience. Check out the great tips below that’ll help you pull off a successful rebrand campaign — all while keeping your tongue in your mouth the entire time.
“If your campaign is not thoroughly planned out in advance, you could end up throwing something together, which could cause confusion among your current and potential customers. If [that were to happen] you could end up losing your client base,” warns Christian.
Christian advises that before you begin to create your new image, you should take a thorough look at your company and seriously consider how you want to be perceived not only by your current customers, but your potential customers, and others in the industry.
You should also predetermine what elements of your brand you are going to change, whether it’s your logo, company’s goals, message, culture, or all of it.
If you want to know what happens when you don’t plan out your rebrand attempt, just take a good look at Miley, mindlessly twerking herself right out of a legitimate career.
Maybe your fans aren’t connecting with your conservative brand and you think by spicing things up you’re going to finally win them over. This may be true, but if you’re heading in a completely different direction than you were before, it’s also a very risky move to make.
Instead of just going all balls-to-the-wall with your rebranding, why not make slow, subtle changes to see if your current audience reacts favorably first. This could be mixing in some controversial topics on your blog, switching up the language used in your social media posts to show a slightly edgier, lighthearted side to your brand, or taking a more fun, informal tone with your email marketing.
If you notice that your audience seems to dig the changes, then you might want to consider taking it further. What you have to remember is this: If your audience doesn’t like the brand you’ve developed – or the one you change it to – you’re not going to be successful. Being mindful of what they respond to, and what they don’t, is going to be key to retaining your current customers and gaining new ones.
Miley can definitely be used as a cautionary tale of what happens when you overdo a rebranding attempt. Yes, people are talking about her, but as we know, all press isn’t good press. More than that though, people are laughing at this new “edgy” brand she’s created for herself but instead of listening to what her audience is saying, she just keeps taking it further.
Don’t let your brand become a joke. Change can be a good thing but creating some kind of shock-jock brand will not lead you down the path toward a strong, lasting business.
A very important part of your campaign is letting your customers know that change is coming. Christian from Big Girl Branding agrees. “You cannot simply rebrand your company and throw it out in the world without any explanation or forewarning, as this too can cause (major) confusion among your customer base.” (Read: Rebranding Miley Cyrus-style.)
Here’s how to ensure you have a smooth rebranding process according to Lauren Drell from Mashable:
Since every company is different, it’s hard to generalize what will work for one and what won’t work for another during a rebranding campaign. Still, be very careful when deciding to make a drastic change as this is when things get extra risky. However, if you have a good reason for the changes, communicate this to your current customers, and you should be able to retain their business.
It’s also important to note that you aren’t ever going to be able to please everyone. There’s always going to be someone who doesn’t approve of the new brand you’ve created for your business – and that’s OK. What’s not OK is recklessly changing a brand without knowing if your audience wants or is even ready for a change.
By doing your homework and thinking logically and logistically about your campaign, you’ll be able to rebrand like a pro without pulling a Miley – no twerking necessary.