To Rebrand Or Not To Rebrand, That Is The Question.
I have often commented that I believe branding is one of the most misunderstood concepts in marketing. By extension, the idea of rebranding often leads to questionable decisions. Some organizations fail to rebrand when they possibly should while others rebrand when they probably shouldn’t.
Rebranding typically takes place when there is a significant change within an organization. It might be driven by something as basic as a name change prompted by a merger, acquisition or other form of institutional restructuring. Or it could be the result of a change in the organization’s business model, product mix or target audience.
It is important to remember that rebranding involves so much more than look and feel. It relates to the most fundamental attributes of the organization - attributes at the very core of its reputation, including its value proposition and brand positioning. As such, rebranding is inherently risky and often expensive. It is a decision that should never be undertaken without a good reason or without a sound strategy. So let’s consider some of the key reasons why an organization should, or should not, rebrand.
When to rebrand…
- Relevance to the market – Market conditions change. If the image your firm is projecting is out of sync with needs of your customers, rebranding may be a viable solution.
- Brand obsolescence – Perhaps your organization has been in business for decades or even generations and the products and services you offer today are dramatically different from those you had provided in the past. In that case, rebranding is almost essential to let your current and potential stakeholders know that you are no longer your father’s proverbial Oldsmobile.
- Attracting new customers – Customers tend to pigeon hole a company based on what they think they know about it. Rebranding can help shake up perceptions and make potential new customers more receptive to your marketing initiatives.
When NOT to rebrand…
- You’ve tired of your current brand – When you live and breathe a brand every day, the desire for change is part of human nature. But just because you’re tired of your brand doesn’t mean your stakeholders are. Change for the sake of change can, at best, create an unnecessary expense. At worse, it may mean sacrificing a tremendous amount of valuable brand equity.
- Systemic problems – When you are having internal problems, rebranding may be the worse thing you can do. Rebranding won’t solve those problems and if they start to become visible externally, your new brand will suffer accordingly – and perhaps irrevocably.
- If it’s not broke – don’t try to fix it. It takes years to build a solid brand. As long as your products, business model or value proposition haven’t changed, there’s probably no need to rebrand.
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