This article was contributed by Diana Beyer.
Branding is so much more than a logo and color palette. It is the total impression and feeling that people have about you – in essence, your reputation both on the ground and in cyber space.
If your profits are stagnant or slowly declining, obviously something is not right. And it might very well be that you need a re-branding.
Before you plunge headlong into a re-branding effort, conduct a small amount of online research. First find some reliable experts on re-branding and read what they have to say. Second, take a closer look at your competitors. Are they looking more contemporary? Are they showcasing new products or services? Have they changed their branding?
Ask Yourself Some Questions
1. Are You Attracting the Right Customers?
Who is your target customer now? Has that changed over time? When you first launched, for example, you carried a lower quality product or a very limited number of services. Over time, you have added to that product line or services, but your “brand” reputation is still with those early products and service. You are still only attracting your original customer target types, not the newer audience you want. You will have to change your “image.”
2. Is Your Logo Dated?
Along with your original product(s)/services, youdesigned a logo that fits well. Does you logo still represent you effectively? It may have old art, fonts, or colors. If so, then the impression people have of you is that you too are old, worn out, and have old, cheap products or services. It also discourages trust. You cannot attract the new audience you want with an outdated logo, so part of your re-branding will include a new, contemporary design that reflects the new “you.” See below for some logo evolutions over time.
3. Does Your Branding Really Reflect Who You Are Now?
Good brandingcommunicates a definite message to customers, potential customers, and just visitors. If you have changed the value of your product/service; if you have product lines that no longer appeal to your original audience, then it really is time for a change. Your old customers may not want to return, and you have potential customers out there that are unaware of the changes you have made.
4. Have Your Updates Been Patchy and Things are Now Inconsistent?
If you have tried to update content, design, etc. on your website, has it been patchy? Have some elements and pages been re-designed but not others? If this is the case, you have lost consistency – something that customers rely on if they are to trust you.
5. Does Your Branding Seem too Generic?
Are you just “one face in a large crowd?” You may be offering new and unique, but with all of the noise out there, you are looking a lot like your competitors, as you always have. Part of re-branding is making changes in your design, in your content marketing strategies, and in your presence on social media – all of these should showcase your brand as unique.
If, after asking yourself these questions, you are sensing that your brand o longer represents your company and that you have evolved so much that you are significantly different from who and what you were when you began, then it is time for a facelift.
Successful & Unsuccessful Rebrandings
Here are a couple of examples of large companies that re-branded – one successful, one not. While these are much larger than your business, you can certainly take some ideas from them.
Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer
PBR was always the “working man’s beer.” It grew in Wisconsin and became the beer of choice for college students too – primarily because of its cheap price. Over time, Pabst began to lose business and profits, as other bigger beer manufacturers cut into its market. It became just a regional beer with stagnant growth and sales. Of course, it is still in business, but the company realized that its market in the U.S. would remain stagnant. How to re-brand? Go foreign. China has become the largest beer drinking population in the world, and it seemed like the perfect market for this small beer company.
Here is the Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer packaging in the U.S. and in China.
Pabst Beer 1844 (that’s its name in China) sells for $44 a bottle, and customers are grabbing it up. Granted the recipe is different too. But kudos to Pabst for identifying a new market, making a wise decision to upgrade for their new customers, and pulling off this great re-branding.
Radio Shack is gone. It was an icon in electronics retailers for years. It had every battery imaginable and lots of great stuff for hobbyists. As times changed, Radio Shack tried to keep up. For a while, it sold phones and even computers. And at Christmas, they had a pretty good inventory of kids electronics toys. But the big box boys came in, and there was just no way to compete. So, the re-branding effort began with a name change. The name was shortened to “The Shack.” While that was an attempt to “enter the 21st century,” the name itself is more reflective of a bar on the beach – not the image Radio Shack wanted.
The basic problem with the whole re-branding was that Radio Shack had nowhere to go in the electronics niche. Their stores were small and sold things that are now available at WalMart.
It’s unclear what might have saved Radio Shack. Clearly it was not the name.
So, do you need a rebrand?
If you are thinking about a re-brand, then chances are you probably need one. If done carefully and with an eye to why you exist, who your ideal customer is now, and how you can alter all that you do to showcase who you are now, in content, in a logo, and other design elements, you can have fun and look forward to some great days ahead.
Contact Jacob Cass if you’re in need of a rebranding.