We all know the saying “New Year, new beginnings”. The same is true for most business brands – they evolve as the world around them changes.
With 2019 on the horizon, it’s an ideal time to take stock and consider whether your brand story needs a rethink.
Has it stood the test of time or are your customers changing and is the environment you operate within different from when you started?
Rebranding can be an expensive and time-consuming exercise, so it’s not something to take lightly. But if the reasons for changing check out, then its impact can be transformational.
Here are five examples of when a rebrand of your business is worth considering.
1. Your brand hasn’t moved with the times
What’s socially acceptable today is different from what was acceptable in the 2000s, let alone the 1990s.
Businesses must change the way they present themselves to appeal to the changing expectations and ambitions of their customers.
Imagine running the kinds of ads a cleaning products company ran in the 1950s, complete with gender-stereotyped housewives busy in the kitchen and a pipe-smoking husband sitting idly by reading the paper. As we know, that no longer plays well in the modern era.
Technological changes may also necessitate a rebrand. Businesses with names such as “Cassettes R Us” or “DVD Domain” aren’t likely to do as well in 2019 as in the 1990s when they first started, even if they are now stocking the latest gadgets.
2. The products or services you offer have changed
Sometimes the products or services you offered when you started your business now differ from those you’re offering today.
Perhaps you made a name for yourself selling business footwear, but you’ve since branched out into suits, ties and even corporate gifts.
If your logo, business name and key messages only reflect the footwear side of your business, you could be up against it when trying to communicate the broader range of services you offer.
3. You’ve moved to a new city or country
What’s desirable in one location isn’t always as appealing in another.
Sometimes cultural differences necessitate a change in how you present your business. In other cases, a region’s economy might dictate a re-focus of your products or services.
For example, a consultancy moving from Wellington to Tauranga may find that it needs to change its services to appeal more to small and mid-sized businesses than central government agencies.
4. Science says so
Views about what is acceptable change as new research is undertaken.
Growing awareness of climate change has led some companies to actively link their brand story to sustainability and its positive environmental impact.
Similarly, revelations about the health effects of smoking over the past few decades have forced tobacco companies to reconsider their branding.
Staying abreast of new research will allow you to align your brand to popular causes and beliefs.
5. You need to differentiate your company from competitors
If new competitors enter your market you may lose some of your points of difference.
You may no longer be the lowest cost option, or the only one that offers a money-back guarantee.
A re-brand can provide an opportunity to showcase a new point of difference, or communicate what it is about the way you do business that makes you the best choice.
Finally, it’s worth keeping in mind that your brand is how your customers think about you. It’s about how you do business, as well as the words and visual imagery you use.
A change in brand values will likely require you and your staff to adopt new values and a new approach to doing business.
You may also need to consider whether the products and services you currently offer are aligned with the brand you’re looking to create and the market position you’re aiming for.
Don’t forget a strong story is at the heart of any good brand, and that story needs to be believable and compelling if your customers are going to buy into it.