Are you in sync with your target market, or are you trying to attract a different customer demographic? Does your brand portray the right image, or does your packaging cry out for an update? Is your firm considered fresh and vital, or do consumers write you off as outdated?
There are many smart reasons to rebrand your company or a key product. Rebranding can revitalize your firm, refresh its image, attract new customers and place you in a better position to compete successfully.
McDonald's successful rebranding as a nutrition-conscious eatery is an excellent example. Decried as a leading cause of American obesity, McDonald's introduced salads and wraps and started offering fruit and veggie choices in Happy Meals. Vegetarian burgers have been introduced in British Columbia stores with a rollout in California planned soon.
But rebranding also entails a certain amount of risk. We are naturally resistant to change, particularly when it comes to companies and products that have become an integral part of our lives. If proper strategy is not executed, rebranding can alienate and even anger customers. Despite McDonald's new, healthier menu choices and a switch to non-saturated fry oil, it didn't take away from the iconic hamburgers that made the chain a household name.
Rebranding is not an exercise to be taken lightly or rushed into. Successful rebranding efforts require strategy, careful planning, creative insight, testing, evaluation, preparation for the rollout, commitment and patience. Here are six steps toward successful rebranding:
- Starting point. You have to know where you stand before you start making any changes to your brand. You need hard data that tells you who your customers actually are and why they buy your product. You also need data that indicates how your brand is perceived both on its own merits and ranked against competitors by current customers as well as by non-customers, staff, executives and other stakeholders.
- Goal setting. You need a clear idea of what you want rebranding to accomplish. Do you want to build a new customer base? Do you want to rejuvenate your image? Do you want to change your product focus? Your goals for rebranding can be as minor as updating your packaging or differentiating yourself from local competitors with a new tag line or as major as a complete change in customer focus or expansion into global markets.
- Action plan. Formulate a plan to meet your rebranding goals. What changes to your brand must be made to accomplish those goals -- name, logo, tag line, colors, graphics, design, website, social media, etc? A color or type face change may be all it takes to update a logo, but revising your product line or customer base may call for development of comprehensive inbound and outbound marketing strategies.
- Evaluation. Just as you tested to determine your starting point, you'll need to test changes to your brand before full rollout. Beta testing with client, customer, staff and focus groups can provide data that will help you fine-tune rebranding changes to ensure a successful rollout.
- Rollout. To be successful, rebranding requires a major inbound marketing effort on multiple social media fronts to make customers aware of rebranding changes and direct them to make the new association with your branding. Your rollout plan needs to address the emotional benefits of rebranding as well as any tangible benefits. Gaining emotional commitment is the key to a successful rebranding program.
- Commitment and patience. When companies or products are rebranded, consumers need time to adjust and rediscover your brand. You have to give rebranding efforts a chance to catch on. Careful monitoring and management of social media directed by an experienced inbound marketing professional will produce the fastest results.
Are you overdue for a brand refresh? We can help.