Thinking about rebranding your business can be a bit scary. After all, it can require an overhaul of everything from your logo design to your website. Still, your brand is how people recognize you and how you appeal to and attract new customers and employees.
The importance of a strong, positive brand cannot be overstated.
So, do you need to rebrand? Here are seven clear indicators that your brand needs a makeover:
If people don’t understand what you do, a rebrand is absolutely necessary. When people visit your website, read your emails and other marketing materials, and see your logo, they should understand what you do and the market you serve.
This one can be tough because it could require starting from scratch and redefining your mission and vision as an organization. However, it’s worth the effort, as it very well could save the business.
If your business has been acquired or merged with another company, a rebranding can help you assimilate into your new organization. This type of rebrand requires more heavy lifting than most because it typically involves blending two organizational structures and identifying a new hierarchy.
You’ll need to determine, for example, whether your brand will nest within the brand that acquired you (like Old Spice and P&G), or if you’ll form a dual-brand with the company you’ve merged with (like Intuit QuickBooks). In some cases, two brands fuse to create something entirely new — like when social media software companies Lithium and Spredfast joined forces to become Khoros.
Some organizations assume that because they’ve reached household name status, a rebranding would be wasted effort. But this couldn’t be further from the truth. With time, brands can become stale and may eventually fail to represent the caliber of products or level of service they represent. Take Apple, for example. In 1997, 20 years after it was founded, stocks were tanking, and the company was on the brink of bankruptcy. Consumers found the brand dull and uninspiring. Re-enter Steve Jobs, who revitalized the company with the “Think different” campaign and sleeker, more premium-looking designs. He also ushered in the era of the iMac, iPod, iPad and other iconic products. Thanks to the foundation he laid, in 2018, Apple Inc. became the first company valued at more than $1 trillion.
A new product launch or deviation to a new business model is another excellent opportunity for a rebrand. When market opportunities change, strategic objectives shift, or if you’ve developed several diverse offerings and need one unifying narrative, a rebranding can give you the fresh and cohesive identity you need.
Social media giant Facebook, for example, initially launched as a Harvard student directory called “The Facebook” and has evolved dramatically over its 15-year life span. It’s also acquired several other businesses, including Instagram, WhatsApp, Oculus and more. In 2019, the company launched umbrella organization FACEBOOK (all-caps intentional) to reintroduce itself as a suite of products rather than a single app.
No doubt, this is the best reason to rebrand. Perhaps you’ve started selling new products or services, moved into a niche market—or expanded into others—or made big changes to your overall vision and goals.
The name, logo, slogan, website and more that you created years ago may no longer reflect your new business model, company culture, customer demographic and more. It may even seem outdated, so rebrand to reflect your business now.
Perhaps you were recently all over the news for a scandal. Or you gained a bad reputation because of a flawed product or poor customer service. The past is officially in the past, and the business is back on track, but customers and consumers still associate your brand with all the bad stuff.
Rebranding—and telling the world that you are a new company with a new vision—is often the best way to move forward.
If your audience considers your brand and your competitors interchangeable, that’s a good indicator it’s time to rebrand.
For example, in the 1990s and early 2000s, Target was just another discount superstore known for selling cheap goods at low prices — synonymous with brands like K-Mart and Walmart. To set the brand apart, the company began selling affordable lines by well-known designers like Mossimo Giannulli and Isaac Mizrahi.
The company also refreshed its logo, store designs, and ad campaigns to target hipper, more style-conscious shoppers. Today, Target is the second-largest discount retailer and has amassed a cult-like following among Millennials. Meanwhile, it’s former competitor, K-Mart has endured two bankruptcies and closed most of its stores.
In some cases, your brand may not resonate with the buyers you want. This often happens to companies expanding into new regions or territories, or national organizations seeking to go global. But a rebrand can help you appeal to a broader audience. For example, in 2015, healthcare provider North Shore-LIJ Health Systems wanted to expand outside the Long Island area into New York City and become a nationally recognized name. The organization rebranded as Northwell Health and replaced its simple, generic blue logo with an eye-catching and colorful logo. Today it’s the largest healthcare provider and private employer in the state — largely thanks to its impressive rebrand.
If the market price for your products or services seems hopelessly fixed, despite the rising costs of materials, a rebrand can be an effective way to break free.
Because brands ultimately boil down to customer perception, the value of your offerings is entrenched in the minds of those you serve. Rebranding gives you the power to redefine the value customers place on your offerings—and raise your asking price accordingly.
Time and again, research has shown that strong brands are more profitable, build more equity, and sell at higher multiples. That’s because strong brands are more than just sleek logos and clever taglines. They have significantly more pricing power than weaker competitors.
One telltale sign of when to rebrand is that you’re struggling to raise your prices. The pricing power that strong brands command helps them dominate their respective markets, revitalize underperforming assets, and insulate against competitive threats. Pricing power drives growth like few other market factors.
A rebranding isn’t something your company can do in a week or even a month. In most cases, a thorough rebranding takes at least a quarter or two — but the results are well worth the investment. By overhauling your brand, you can prepare your organization for its next and most successful chapter yet.