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When Is The Right Time To Rebrand?

Post by 
Pranav Savlani
October 19, 2021

A rebrand is a part of the cycle of a strong brand. A company’s owners, founder and heads should be aware of when a rebrand is required. The problem is that it is extremely hard to keep an eye out for the signs while running a business.

First, let's try to understand what rebranding means. Re-branding is the process of reshaping how a business and its products/services are perceived. A rebranding exercise can mean a complete overhaul of everything from a brand’s name and tagline to its logo, visual identity, verbal identity, website and marketing collateral.

An effective rebranding process caters to both Internal and external stakeholders and thus the process starts from a research phase. The research outlines the strategy to position the brand based on its customers, competition and opportunities. The next stage is brand identity where the visual and verbal design language is reimagined.

Visual identity includes logos, colours, typography, and photography. Verbal identity includes names, taglines, and messaging. It is important for visual and verbal identities to resonate together in the redesigned website. App and/or marketing collateral, that is revealed to the world during a brand launch.

So, why should a business rebrand? A strong brand attracts more customers who will choose your product or service over the competition. Unfortunately, there are a number of reasons why even a strong brand needs to consider rebranding, changing markets and shifting customer priorities.

We put together a list of 12 signs to look out for and decide if it was time to rebrand -

1. Your brand name and brand vision no longer align

Your business goes through a lot of decisions each day, over the course of time it is possible to overlook the fact that your business identity (the logo, the brand name etc.) or the brand itself (the emotion, values, mission or vision) do not align well with each other. What seems good at the start of the journey may not be relevant at the growth stage. Similarly, what seemed good 15 years ago may not be relevant to your brand today. Let’s take a look at a few companies that changed their name over the course of their journey:  

  1. Instagram - The first name given to Instagram was Burbn
  2. Google - Previously called Backrub
  3. Zomato - Foodiebay
  4. Relentless - Amazon
  5. Auctionway - ebay
  6. Matchbox - Tinder

There could be many reasons why your brand name doesn’t feel relevant anymore and that’s ok. You shouldn’t let the brand name hinder your brand itself. An ideal brand name is one that's memorable, unique and differentiates from the rest. It’s the name you would be known as, what your customers would see on billboards. You have to make sure you are proud of it. Coming up with a name isn’t easy. Trademarks, URL’s alone make the naming process difficult and we haven’t even considered it making unique and meaningful.

2. Embarrassed to show your website or hand out your business cards?

The easiest sign to spot you need to rebrand is if you feel embarrassed handing over your business card or if you give your prospects a disclaimer about your website being outdated/undergoing update.

Often enough our clients come to us because their website is the main issue. We typically end up asking about the brand and its journey and most often the brand is between 15 - 30 years old without any change in identity or without a rebrand.

If you are embarrassed about your website or brand it's likely others in your organisation also feel a similar way. This can have a negative impact on the team morale and probably the major reason why you are not able to attract top quality talent.

A negative feeling about your brand doesn’t always mean you need to undergo the entire rebranding process, you could simply opt for a brand refresh that updates the look and feel of the brand. It does not affect the fundamental market positioning of your brand and is merely a cosmetic refresh.

3. Your business model or strategy has changed

Businesses and Startups today pivot a bunch of times before finding their market. One cannot predict when the outside forces change the direction of the company, however, when the company direction changes, so must the brand.

Before conducting the rebranding exercise you have to make sure the brand compass - the company purpose; mission, vision, objectives, values are the same. The rebrand should solidify the company's purpose while catering to the customers. Answering the questions Why? What? and How? Is the starting point the rebranding exercise.

4. You cannot differentiate from your competition

If you are looking more and more like your competitors, it's possible it's time to rebrand. Customers seek the best and if the majority of competitors look alike, you will find it hard to differentiate, attract or retain customers.

Take a closer look at your USP (unique selling point)  and understand if you are able to effectively communicate what sets you and your brand apart from the competitors. A compelling pitch as to why you are superior should be accompanied with the right brand strategy and execution.

A rebrand lets you redefine your competitive advantage and business moat. The brand itself can be a competitive advantage in the right stage.

5. You are not able to attract top talent?

One of the major reasons SME’s especially in India struggle to attract top talent is lack of a cohesive brand architecture. The best talents want to work with the best brands. A rebrand would allow you to attract and retain not only current employees but also future employees.

6. Brand is too complicated

Brands can easily be confusing. If you are a large brand that has too many offerings, a brand that has grown too quickly without proper checks or you're a smaller brand that got lost in the daily hustle bustle. The task of keeping a brand focused overtime can be very challenging.

Unfocused brands end up copying their competitors without properly defining their unique selling points or competitive advantage. The more complex the brand, the harder it is for customers to make sense of it leading to loss of revenue or loss of opportunities. A rebranding strategy can help you focus. It can connect you to your customers and make your brand cohesive across your company offerings.

7. You’ve outgrown your brand

It’s possible that you have outgrown your brand. Branding follows a similar lifecycle to business or product. Each stage of the brand is different from the other and therefore you will outgrow your brand some day. While rebranding from one stage to the next you don’t have to leave all your old brand behind. You can keep your strengths and work on the weaknesses to accommodate for growth. A brand audit or a scorecard helps one to assess the areas that need to be worked upon making sure you keep strengthening your brand across the cycle.

8. You have expanded geographically

Another sign you may need to consider rebranding is if you have expanded out of your state. Expansion into a new state, region or country would always entail new customers with unknown needs. These unknown needs can only be catered through by conducting customer research.

9. You have undergone a merger or an acquisition

If you are undergoing a Merger or an Acquisition, you need to undergo the rebranding process. M&A leads to the max amount of failures from a business standpoint and misalignment from a brand standpoint is a leading problem. Rebranding with a meticulous focus on brand architecture is the best way to ensure the lasting success of all the entities involved in the transaction.

If you are considering a merger or an acquisition, it is extremely important to conduct due diligence to understand if the companies in question have compatible brand architecture. Ensuring optimal relationships among the newly merged brands, products, and services prevents redundancy, inconsistency, confusion, and cannibalization. These types of costly inefficiencies can undermine the ultimate value of a merger or acquisition.

10. You need to disassociate from negative publicity

Another sign you need to rebrand in todays day and age is if you need to disassociate yourself from any negative PR on any platform. Whether it be google, instagram or news publications. A rebrand is the simplest and most effective solution.

An example of such a scenario could be seen from the aviation industry. Typically a rebrand is announced once a tragic accident has taken place and the aftermath has put the airline under the spotlight with multiple fingers pointing to it.

11. You are struggling to raise your prices

If you are struggling to raise your prices in the market where the customer has gotten used to expecting a price for your product, a rebrand is an effective tool to break away. Let’s look at Coca Cola using a similar technique but instead of a rebrand it repackages its product.

A 300ml bottle would cost 30/-, the next package would be a 200ml bottle for 25/-.Making the 300ml now free to be introduced in the market for a higher price later on. A similar approach is employed by brands to raise their prices.

12. Want to connect with a new audience? Rebranding is the answer.

Your brand audience is never constant and is always changing. There are always new audiences spending money for your products in the market. If you are looking to capture or appeal to a new audience, rebranding can help you attract the new audience.

Now that you have decided to rebrand, what's next?

Once you’ve decided to move forward with a rebrand, there are a few important things to keep in mind. If you’re going to invest the time and money it takes to rebrand, it’s worth it to do it right.

Get Leadership Buy-In - The most effective brand strategy can only be devised if the company’s leadership is willing to play an active role in the rebranding process. It is extremely important that the company’s leadership understands the value of rebranding. You’ll get the best brand strategy when you follow a top down approach.

Build the Right Internal Team - Ideally, at least one representative from each department (leadership, HR, Marketing, Sales, etc) should be a part of the internal team you assemble for the rebrand. The internal team is almost as important as the design agency that you hire.

Define Your Goals, Budget & Timeline - The cost and timeline of a rebrand are going to be different based on the complexity of your business. It is important to set goals, timeline and budget for your rebrand.

Find the Right Branding Partner - You would want to find an agency that is skilled at both strategy and execution. But these are not the only factors that should determine which agency you partner with. Our next blog explains the factors that you should consider while choosing the right branding agency.