Boost Your Startup's Success: The Benefits of Rebranding
During the early days of starting your business, developing a brand might be the last thing on your mind. You're too busy figuring out your product, finding your audience, sorting out your funding, and working out the logistics of getting the product/service into the market. The font and color scheme of your startup is likely an afterthought.
Or, to flip the script, you might be more of the design and brand-minded sort and perhaps had a snappy name and word mark already designed on a post-it note and ran with it before you realized that as you got deeper into building your business, it no longer aligns what your startup does.
Then you returned to the drawing board with something that worked in the interim just to get to market, but it doesn't speak to the 'spirit' of your business. And you find yourself dreaming of that original vision of what you wanted your brand to be.
However you got here, you might think that your brand needs a refresh at some point. Then, maybe you start to panic. But there's no reason. Every brand, large or small, has undergone growth and change and had to tackle a new identity.
But where do you start?
WHY do you need a rebrand?
First, recognize that rebranding a well-positioned brand can be a huge undertaking and complicated, so you must know the risks. Even the big brands have had missteps. Just do a quick Google search for rebranding failures, and you'll find significant mistakes from Uber, The GAP, Pepsi, and Kraft. These weren't changes for the sake of change but calculated and researched risks. But, ultimately, they didn't work.
Understanding the risk inherent to a rebrand will help determine if you're doing this for the right reasons. If you're going to undertake this because business is slow, your brand awareness is low, or you feel your direct competition looks 'sexier,' maybe there's a more straightforward answer. Look to your marketing strategy or do market research to find the underlying cause and rebuild your customer base.
But if the company's vision, values, mission statement, and target market have changed, a rebrand might be the right thing. According to Hubspot, there are four solid reasons that it would be wise to undertake a rebrand. If any of the following apply to you, then it's time to start thinking of a new favorite color:
Expanding to New Locations - If you're expanding to international markets that don't identify with your current messaging and identity, this is a chance to stand out with something new and relevant.
Repositioning in the Market - Your brand should be a connection between the customer and your company. If you are going to target someone new, whether through a new product, price point, or promotion, then a fresh identity can help.
Your Philosophy has Changed - If the business' mission, vision, or values have evolved, your brand should also. These factors should be the heart and soul behind your business, and your identity must pivot to match.
Any Mergers or Acquisitions - This is a common one. When two companies come together, it's a mutual agreement or a takeover. Depending on the circumstances, the merger can result in one company getting absorbed into a larger entity or both brands battling it out in the marketplace. A wise idea would be to merge and rebrand to create a new face to continue that trusted relationship.
These reasons are all about growth and moving into new and uncharted waters. While this isn't an exhaustive list, it's a good start.
On the other hand, where there's a right answer, there's always a wrong one. Companies have been known to rebrand for the wrong reasons, and if you find yourself in the positions below, know that it's not the right time to change your image. For example:
Boredom - Too often, a business will throw its existing brand because they're tired of seeing it daily. But your colors, tag lines, and logos mean something to your consumers. They're trusted, respected, and, to an extent, worshiped. It's not something you should discard just because you're feeling restless.
A Crisis Cover-Up - If there are internal issues or a public crisis, the last thing you want to do is to hide from the bad press with a new color scheme. Consumers are smart enough to see through the blatant deception, and you'll break the trust you've built and lose your customer base.
Ego (A Change for the Sake of Impact) - We've all seen it: a new manager or CEO wants to leave a legacy and make their mark. To them, the best way to do so is to change everything into their image for the sake of change. But without institutional changes and a solid foundation for the rebrand, it's just window dressing.
A Cry for Attention - When sales are lagging, and your brand awareness is nil, rebranding to make a splash and reinvigorate your market drastically is tempting. At best, you'll generate some short-term buzz, but it'll pass, lose brand recognition, and set your marketing efforts back to zero.
Again, it's all about doing it for the right reasons.
Partial rebrand versus total rebrand.
Now that you know you want to proceed, you must decide how extensive the makeover will be.
The longer you've been in business, the more you have to lose by throwing everything away and starting again. A partial rebrand serves as a course correction, aligning your business and philosophy to match your new offerings and the state of the market but remaining true to your identity. This could be as simple as modernizing a font or renaming one of your evergreen products and targeting a new demographic.
On the other hand, if your business is going through a complete identity shift and everything is in flux, then starting new and fresh out of the gate can make a huge impact. In a total company rebrand, everything is up for grabs: your name, your market, your purpose, and your entire identity. This is a dramatic makeover rather than just a touch-up, and there's no turning back once you do it.
Once you decide which route to go and you've got your research in hand, it's time to start tearing things down to build them up in a new and exciting way.