First off, let’s be clear on what we mean by “rebranding”? Your brand is the identifying mark of your company, products or services. Your master brand usually starts at the top level, which is the company, and all naming and branding assets of subsidiaries, products, and/or services follow that master brand. So rebranding, is a change in that identifying mark, whether its visually (updated or new logo) or a change in complete identification (new company name).
Companies usually “rebrand” when a situation absolutely requires them to do so, which is after a merger, a take over, time in market (think bell weather brands like Coca-Cola) or (sadly) some kind of PR or financial disaster.
What ever your reasoning, rebranding should never be taken lightly. Your existing brand (assuredly) has good and bad qualities, and there is collateral expense to factor into your decision making process. But let’s start there….
When is Rebranding a Good Idea…
This may be misguided, but I tell my clients, if you are considering the question of rebranding then there has to be a good reason for it and that reason is worth exploring. EXPLORING…start there. It’s like the old adage, if it aint’ broke, don’t fix it. You have to find out as definitively as you can if your existing brand works. And how well it works. And where it falls short.
A company (perhaps through the assistance of a professional marketing company) can send out formal and informal requests for review to friends, family, co-workers, clients, customers, and brand new prospects to get a full view of the brand’s effectiveness. Companies should also (already) be taking note of what all these groups have said in reviews or word of mouth.
By taking the time to weigh the current state of your brand, you may discover that you just need to fix certain elements of your business (pricing, customer support or service, location of service, etc) which will bolster your brand positively. Some times you might also discover that you have no real marketplace brand because your audience is wholly unaware of your company. At this point, a reband is unnecessary. You need to take the current one for a spin first by utilizing a tactical marketing plan to “get the word out” about the who, what, where, and whys of your company.
I’ve done my homework, now what…
By changing your logo or updating your company name means you have to scrap and update every existing piece of branded “material” you have in use. Off the top of my head, that includes business cards, envelops, letterhead, invoices, signage, promotional items, apparel, email addresses, web domains, vehicle wraps, etc.
And depending if its a new name (which could mean a new domain), your company will have to update your business information with every major outlet out their (Google, Yahoo, Yelp, Yellowpages, Superpages, etc) as well as social outlets (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc). Also, you don’ t want to pull the trigger on changing your domain (OLDcompanyname.com to NEWcompanyname.com) and simply let the old domain die on the vine. You can “transfer” a lot of the existing traffic to your new location through a 301 redirect campaign. That means you won’t miss out on any existing organic, referral, or direct traffic to your web site.
Oh, and you can’t just go slapping up a brand new name and logo without doing some serious overhauls to the look and feel of your website as well.
So you see, there is a very real expense in both time and money when rolling out a “new” brand. This article is just scratching the surface. Depending on the level of rebranding, it may take some operational changes as well. For example, with banking or merchant services, your tax ID, business license, and who your clients write their checks to. On and on it goes.
If the math works out, you’ve got your answer.
Have you ever seen the movie Fight Club? There’s a scene on the plane where Ed Norton’s character is describing how his company decides on whether or not to do a recall on a vehicle. The basic assertion holds true in this situation as well. If you’ve weighed everything out, and it “costs” less (in both time and money) to rebrand then it would to just hold on to what you’ve got, then you’ve got a pretty good green light.
Swing for the fences…
The follow through with the rebranding campaign is all about careful planning. Consider each and every facet and factor that will be affected by the new logo and/or new name, and put it in an overall scheduling calendar. You can’t rush it, but you shouldn’t pussyfoot around the change either. Once “word” gets out, you want to make sure everything (as much as humanly possible) is updated across the board. Don’t roll that part out slowly. The slower you take the longer your “two” brands will co-exist in the market, deluding your efforts that you are undertaking in the first place. You’ll find yourself in a two steps forward, three steps back situation.
And make sure (I mean…you are rebranding after all) you tell the world about the why’s and how’s of this effort. Don’t just let them stumble upon it. The launch of a new brand is a great talking piece for press releases, social media, and blog content. Use it.