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How to Rebrand Your Company
Posted on December 19th 2013
Rebranding a company can give your business a fresh start or produce disastrous results. It all depends on taking the correct precautions and planning while remaking your brand. There are five essential things companies need to do to make sure their branding does not flop.
Take time to plan the rebrand
The first thing you need to do before even considering a rebrand is to do research. See if the brand even needs to be remade. One way to do this is survey customers and non-customers about how they feel about the brand. Blind surveys will give you a good idea about how people react to the brand. If your focus groups exhibit negative or outdated feelings, then the brand needs to be redone.
After you decide to rebrand, come up with a detailed and strong plan. Anything that isn't thoroughly planned will confuse and alienate customers. Rebranding is a delicate process that cannot be rushed. It's easy to turn customers off to a new logo. Look at the major companies, like Coca-Cola and Pepsi, who have gone through many ups and downs with their rebranding campaigns in the decades of their existence.
Have the new brand tell the current story of the company
When planning the rebrand, make sure it represents the company as it currently stands. You need to think about how you want to be perceived by customers, potential customers, and competitors. The plan needs to decide how much of the old brand needs to be changed to make the company current. Rebranding can include the company's logo, goals, message, culture, or everything about it.
Consider what it is about the current company that needs to speak through the new brand. If your company is going to see growth and expansion in new markets, incorporate that idea into the brand. If the company is appealing to a new audience sector, consider what the new audience will enjoy in a rebrand. If merging with another company, incorporate the other company's brand into yours. And if the company has received some negative publicity recently, then a rebranding should completely reinvent the company so only loyal customers know they're the same company.
Put emotion into the new brand
Brands that offer an emotional response will be more liked by customers. This can be achieved in something as simple as color choices. Red causes people to pay attention and feel love, passion, or anger depending on the elements in the brand. Pink promotes energy and sweetness. Orange is inviting and friendly while darker shades remind people of autumn. Yellow symbolizes energy, light, and cheerful. Brown provides a feeling of substance and stability. Green symbolizes life. Blue is peaceful and cool and give a sense of order and logic. Purple is elegant and mysterious, reflecting majesty.
By the same token, neutral colors represent quality and support. White is pure and simple and has a technological look, particularly if the viewer associates it to Apple's use of white in brand. Black is classic and elegant. Make sure to choose the colors that will represent the mood you want your customers to feel.
Tell customers about the change beforehand
Let customers know the change is coming and get them involved in changes. Provide samples of the rebranding that you are considering. This can be through email marketing, or when they come into your business with new personalized pens and other promotional materials to see if there is favorable reaction to the new direction. It is always a bad idea to make all planned changes and throw it on the market without warning customers there will be a change.
Send your customers an honest and heartfelt message about how much you appreciate their business and loyalty, along with telling them about why you are rebranding and what exact changes to expect. Promise customers there will be no bad effects on customer service or product quality. Be ready to respond to any complaints you receive about changes. Customers come first during rebranding and need to be treated well to have a rebranding be successful.
Make small changes
It is never a good idea to completely deviate from the brand. If your brand has a calming and simple look and message, do not rebrand with an angry, red, rock and roll message or appearance. This will alienate loyal customers and confuse new ones. Rarely does a huge change work out in favor of the company. Make slow and subtle changes to the current brand to see if customers react favorably to the changes. This could be small, such as posting controversial topics on social media marketing schemes; or possibly change the language the company uses to be more conversational, technical, or edgy.
If audiences enjoy these changes, then keep taking it a few steps further. Make sure not to go too far, however. Rebranding is a very delicate balance beam. One wrong move and a company could fall off. Toe the line with care by making each new change smaller and smaller. That way if customers react negatively to one change, it is easy to undo it and try a different approach.
This is a technique that Facebook does well. Instead of completely overhauling user's profiles to what they are today from what they were three years ago, developers made very small changes. While there were user complaints for every change that was made, Facebook responded to them and made future changes with consideration to past complaints. They still have millions of active users because of this method.
Before crafting a new brand, make sure to do exhaustive research on other brands to make sure there is nothing similar in the world. Making a brand that is similar to others can lead to legal issues for trademark rights. After doing all the proper research and planning, make the brand relevant to the current company. Make any changes to the brand in small increments and be sure to put the customers first throughout the process. Taking these precautions will help businesses have a more successful rebranding execution.
Photo Credit: Company Rebranding/shutterstock