Over the years, I’ve led several rebrands. And, as a consumer myself, I’ve observed many companies that have changed their brands. “Rebranding” has become a common occurrence. In fact, I feel it’s a bit too common. I understand there are situations when taking steps to change one’s brand make the most sense. But, I also feel that there are times when it can hurt a company – having a reversed effect from the objectives originally intended. There have been some great rebrand successes and plenty of disasters. If you can’t think of any great versus not-so-great rebrands, conduct a quick web search and you’ll find plenty.
My goal as you read this is not to talk you out of leading a rebrand at your organization if that’s something that you’ve been considering. Rather, I hope to provide you with some points to consider as you deliberate whether or not attempting to change your brand is right for you.
Understand your Brand vs. your Branding.
Before determining if it’s time to rebrand, you need to know the difference between your brand and your branding. Understanding the difference can help you determine how to best reach your brand’s goals and/or fix the problems you feel are associated with your brand.
A key distinction between the two is that your customers own your brand; whereas, your organization controls your branding. Your brand is how customers perceive your company and products, while your branding is the story that your organization delivers and promises.
What a rebrand really means
While the process of changing your brand’s name or logo is commonly referred to as a “rebrand”, I feel that calling it “rebranding” is more accurate. That’s because you can’t change your customers’ perceptions (brand) without first changing how your organization delivers its story (branding). With “rebranding”, you’re making changes to the branding strategy to modify what people think about your company. This may include changing the name and/or logo; however, it doesn’t always need to since those are just one component of your branding. In fact, simply changing your name and logo is not enough to entirely alter how your company is perceived by others. If you don’t believe this to be true, think about it in another way. Have you ever met a person with a name that didn’t initially match their personality? At first, the person and the name may not seem to pair, but as you get to know the individual, their name takes on a new meaning. That’s because names usually only make initial impressions. People are what make the emotional connections. The same holds true for your company’s branding.
“You can create a name and logo that make the initial impressions you desire. But, without all staff executing a strategy (consistently delivering the company mission, attributes, benefits/features and competitive differentiators that support the name/logo), the preliminary feelings associated with your brand will be replaced by your customers’ emotional responses, which are driven by the experiences your staff creates.” Heather Dowell, Break Ice Marketing
So, back to should you change your name and logo? There are many factors that can help you decide this. Outside of legalities and company politics, you should base your decision on what your potential and existing customers think. If there are no issues with how they’re perceiving your company, why go through the time and expense of making this change to your branding? On the other hand, if your name and logo are not making the first impressions that you want, then perhaps it’s time for a change. But, don’t make this change too quickly or with little thought. Spend some money on hiring a branding consultant. You need someone that is not already emotionally connected with your branding to help lead you through the process. Take time to do research. Collect the thoughts of your current and prospective customers. Don’t rely on your own emotions and assumptions.
When you change your name and logo, you should plan on using them for the long-term. You also need to be consistent. If you’re unable to make the change across all channels and with every interaction with customers, then don’t do it. I’ve seen many companies fail at effectively changing their name and logo by not consistently delivering all components of the new branding. This almost always results in customer confusion and branding that’s even weaker than before.
Ultimately, a rebrand successfully occurs when customers begin thinking about your company the way that you want them to. “Rebranding” is a process that sets the stage for this. Despite what most people think, a rebrand does not happen on a specific date. Your organization has the ability to decide when it launches its new branding, but it’s your customers that control the launch of your new brand.
Ready to rebrand? Or, do you still need some help in deciding if rebranding is right for you? Contact Break Ice Marketing to schedule time to speak with an expert brand strategist.