With all of the debate currently raging in New Zealand about the potential to change the flag, it seems like a great opportunity to review the merits of rebranding your business or product. If you’re worried that your customers and your branding may have parted company, or your competition may have moved in on your territory, then read on for our guide on what to consider before rebranding your business.
Creating a brand and an identity for your business is essential to making your product or service capable of building a relationship with your customers. But it’s not uncommon for the brand that we define for ourselves at startup to lose alignment with our customers as our business grows. So how do you manage the evolution of your brand to support the growth of your business?
Keep your eyes focused on your customers
Your target audience is everything, and great branding begins and ends with a clear understanding of your customers – both real and potential. Some of the biggest rebranding mistakes have come from repositioning a business to new customers and consequently alienating an existing loyal base of clients.
Whatever changes you make need to be driven by insight into your customer’s needs, and should consider the potential to grow sales. Conduct some sound research – identify what your customers want and what they think of you and your competitors in the market. By mapping your existing brand against others you may highlight opportunities or territories where you can differentiate yourself.
Be prepared to integrate your brand into the way you do business
Remember that a brand is not just aspirational: it has to follow through with tangible delivery to be real to your customers. That means that just because you may identify ‘being green’ as an opportunity, it doesn’t mean you can position yourself as eco-friendly if you don’t follow through with the detail in terms of product, packaging and business practices.
The original brand you created for your business would have had its own territories, values, personality, and specifications. Consider all of these elements and how you can take them forward to build your customer profile and grow your business. They must integrate with the new brand position that you choose in the market, otherwise your brand evolution will not appear to be genuine and will be rejected by your customers.
Rebranding your business is about more than your logo
Your brand is a lot more to your customers that just your logo. It is their combined perception of every element of your business: from your product to your staff; from your prices to how and where you sell.
If your rebranding exercise is simply that your logo no longer represents the position of your company and no longer appeals to your customers, then by all means consider evolving it to align it with your customers’ tastes and the way that you work.
But if you are seeking a full rebrand that will update your brand and its appeal to your audience, starting with the logo can be a big mistake. Begin by aligning yourself back with your target audience, understanding what they want and need, and then review your business from the inside. Repositioning your brand may lead you to redesign your logo, but if you do your existing customers will need to understand the reason for the change with tangible examples of the way your brand operates.
Consider the cost of rebranding
Rebranding your company is not cheap. There are the design experts, the costs of changing all your business cards and company stationary, signage changes, website updates, and so the list goes on. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t do it, but it does mean you need to have your eyes on the cost vs. the revenue potential when you do.
It’s also important to consider how you are going to communicate your new identity. Rebranding your business is an excellent opportunity to market your brand. Consider how you can position your change to both your existing customers and potential new markets. It’s important to take loyal customers on the journey with you and ensure that you do not alienate them with the change.
Rebranding is an excellent opportunity to ensure that you remain competitively positioned to your target audience, and that you can build a relationship with them that is supported both emotionally and physically in the way that you do business. But it’s important not to rush into it without being aware of the full implications of the process. If you find that your brand and your customer are no longer aligned, rebranding could be essential to keep yourself in the market. But rebranding comes at a cost, and is rarely as simple as just updating a logo and changing your website. It’s important to consider the whole picture before you begin this important journey towards the next phase of your business growth.
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