Brand evolution is part of any business’s life cycle.
Just look at web-hosting service GoDaddy. It’s working to shift its brand image from Internet bad boy to trusted small business partner. Even Chamillionaire, whose most popular song is about “ridin’ dirty,” is using his experience in the music industry to work with budding entrepreneurs.
Still, it can be difficult for marketers to know when it’s time to rebrand and how exactly they should do it.
A loss of energy, a lack of differentiation, and a loss of trust are some red flags, but to dig deep and determine whether you’re ready for a rebrand, you need to ask yourself how customers view your brand and whether their opinions align with your broader strategy.
If they don’t, it might be time for a rebrand.
Then, ask yourself whether your company is stuck in market share limbo and unable to distinguish itself from the competition.
If the answer is “yes,” it’s definitely time for a rebrand.
The Impact of a Rebrand
An effective rebrand can jumpstart even the most mundane businesses. In the ’90s, UPS was perceived as big and boring. After years of research and deliberation, UPS replaced its “Moving at the speed of business” slogan with “What can brown do for you?”
This slogan change (accompanied by commercials that displayed UPS helping CEOs and mailroom clerks alike) helped UPS surpass FedEx’s profit margin — and nearly double it in 2001.
UPS hasn’t stopped rebranding. It now utilizes the “We [Heart] Logistics” slogan, which has broadened its brand promise on a global scale.
How to Avoid Brand Stagnation
Once you’ve decided it’s time to rebrand, you’ll need to come up with a plan that consolidates your brand promise and articulates it in a clean, progressive way. In any rebrand, it’s vital to bolster rapport with current customers while drawing in new ones — assuming they still fall under your post-rebrand target market. Here’s how:
1. Make customers feel like they’re a part of something big. Your brand experience should linger beyond consumer touchpoints. When Salesforce’s CEO hosted Dreamforce, he made sure the event wasn’t just about software. The Beach Boys and Bruno Mars performed, and Hillary Clinton and will.i.am gave speeches. The thousands of attendees will forever associate Salesforce with an unforgettable experience.
2. Know that your brand is more than your logo. When Old Spice saw the opportunity to appeal to a new generation of consumers, it decided to take an unchartered path in its 2010 rebrand. Its “Smell Like a Man, Man” campaign featured bizarre commercials starring former NFL player Isaiah Mustafa. The brand supplemented its commercials with 186 online videos in which well-known bloggers and celebrities made cameos.
Old Spice’s sales rose 107 percent after launching this campaign. It completely revamped its brand experience and boosted sales by focusing on ads, viral videos, and social engagement — not logos.
3. Remember your roots. It can be easy to get caught up in the excitement of rebranding, but it’s important to keep your brand’s core values in mind and do thorough research and testing before launching anything drastic.
Gap learned this lesson in 2010. Out of nowhere, the company changed its 20-year-old logo and replaced it with something that looked like it was created by an amateur designer. The backlash was so severe that Gap reverted back to its original logo six days later. The whole snafu is estimated to have cost the company $100 million.
The question isn’t whether your company should rebrand but when it should. Make sure you stay true to your identity, conduct market research, and think outside the box. Follow these tips, and maybe you can be the world’s next (Cha)millionaire.