To rebrand or not to rebrand, that is the question – and a difficult question to answer at that. Not only is it hard to identify when rebranding is necessary, but it’s also sometimes seen as synonymous with admitting failure. After all, if your brand was successful, then surely it wouldn’t need to change, right?
In reality, rebranding is inevitable for most businesses. In trying to create a brand that takes advantage of the current market as much as possible, branding becomes centred around adapting to the surrounding conditions, so it makes sense that brands need to readapt once those conditions change. Make no mistake, however, in thinking that rebranding isn’t a significant investment still. It’s important to be sure rebranding is the right choice before making a commitment.
Before we go into the signs a rebrand is necessary though, we should first understand what rebranding is and why it’s important.
What is rebranding, and why should you rebrand?
Simply put, rebranding is a process which aims to change the perception of a brand, typically by making it more appealing to a specific audience. Because branding itself is such a wide field that includes elements such as visuals ( brand logo, colours, typography) and brand identity (brand voice, archetype, taglines), rebranding can mean changing a range of different traits, and can either change almost everything or very little. It all depends on the reason(s) a business has chosen to rebrand.
So why rebrand, then? It certainly doesn’t come without its drawbacks. Rebranding requires a significant investment of time and money that could be spent on growing the business, and the changes you make could alienate some of your existing customer base and make your brand less recognisable as a whole.
But these are all short term consequences, and rebranding is done with a long term plan in mind. Branding is an excellent way to gather customers and boost sales, so if it was worth investing in to create your initial brand, then it’s clearly worth investing in a second time when your brand no longer aligns with the company’s needs. If nothing else, the longer you wait around with a brand that no longer fits who you are or stands out from the crowd, the worse it’s going to be when you finally cave and try to switch things up.
For a more detailed explanation on the importance of branding, you can read our blog, ‘Why Branding is Vital for a Successful Business’. For now though, let's cover some of the specifics of why rebranding is necessary and go over the four signs that your business needs to rebrand.
1. Your branding methods have fallen behind the competition
There comes a certain point where even the most standout branding becomes obsolete. Often this will be due to one of two things: either technology has advanced too far, or newer marketing techniques have become commonplace in the industry. For example, a business’s website might have been cutting edge when it was first released – back when the internet was still a relatively new phenomenon – but it was never designed to be accessed from a mobile phone, and so a considerable part of said brand’s consumer base falls through the cracks. And if your website isn’t up to scratch, what does that say to visitors about your business as a whole?
It can be easy to conclude that your current branding has survived as it is thus far, and is therefore ‘good enough’, but the most successful businesses will always leap at the chance of self improvement. Even if you aren’t choosing to adapt to the current market, you can guarantee your competition will. Adaptation is essential for long-term survival.
2. Your business has evolved beyond your current branding
On top of keeping up with the competition, keeping up with the developments of your own business is just as important. Businesses undergo many different changes in their lifetime. Sometimes they will broaden or narrow their focus in terms of the services/products they sell, or rewrite parts of their brand identity, and while just one change doesn’t necessarily call for a rebrand, everything slowly adds up. Suddenly the old coat of paint just doesn’t fit who you are anymore, and continuously making small edits to the same brand can end up making its messaging too convoluted for customers to understand.
In this case, rebranding is a way of realigning the original vision of your brand with its current identity and goals, while grouping everything your brand stands for together more succinctly. A business outgrowing its original branding is just like a child outgrowing their old clothes; it’s completely natural! The need to rebrand is just a result of how much you’ve grown since then, so embrace it and enjoy creating the new and more accurately focused version of your brand.
3. Your brand messaging appeals to a different demographic than your ideal target audience
Maybe your market research neglected to account for an important factor, or certain circumstances outside of your control caused a shift in your industry. Or, if you’re a business that’s just started out, it’s very common to make the mistake of being too open in defining your audience, meaning your brand is inclusive of everyone, but appealing to no one. Whatever the reason, sometimes we simply misjudge which people are most likely to be interested in our business.
As the primary way for businesses to appeal to its leads directly, the best branding aims to not only show what a brand does and what it stands for, but is also tailor made to suit a specific audience. Defining the demographics of an audience allows a business to make informed decisions on what advertising platforms they should use, what budget their customers are working with, what brand archetype they’re likely to identify with, and so on. It will always be more efficient to appeal to a target market than try to please everyone, so be sure to frequently check that your branding keeps this in mind.
4. Your brand struggles to stand out from the crowd
In track running, the front runner is the one that works the hardest. While they carve open the path ahead in a race, the other runners will lag just a little bit behind them, using the decreased wind resistance and mental energy to make their lives easier and burst ahead once the leader wears themselves out. The same is true for marketing. Even if a business is at the forefront of new marketing developments in their industry, others will quickly copy its success, and after adding their own improvements on top of that, the original innovator is left in their dust as a generic brand.
Similarly, it can be easy to rely on the work others have done before you and end up becoming just another brand in the homogeneous crowd. Rebranding can help to reevaluate the competition and identify the traits that make your business stand out above the rest, working to emphasise them so customers can clearly see your unique strengths at a glance. And if you can’t find anything that makes you different? That’s just another reason a rebrand might be needed.
Rebranding can be great! But don’t change for the sake of it
While rebranding is an excellent method for injecting new life into a struggling business, be wary not to take things too far. Especially if you’ve already built up a considerable consumer base, changing more than is necessary can leave you looking like a stranger to them, and requires scrapping past materials that might still hold value. Every step of a rebranding process should have a specific and achievable goal it aims to reach. It’s often a combination of the old and the new that allows a brand to reach new heights.
If you’ve read this blog and have identified your business could do with a rebrand, but are unsure where to start, don’t panic. We at Loved Brands are experts in taking the hard work of business owners and reinvigorating them, creating a brand that’s guaranteed to be loved. Book a call with us today, and we’ll help your brand become its best self!