So you've been about for a while and things may not be working as well as you would like. Your business feels a little stale and it seems like the right time for a change. A new logo, perhaps a new website. A fresh look and feel with a new colour and style...
Rebranding your business is a bold step and for many businesses its a step too far. Firstly, any rebrand is expensive in terms of money, time and resource. And for more than 70% of businesses who rebrand its usually a total waste of money, time and resource.
Because the work that is undertaken is often not researched well enough to ensure the outcomes create the right opportunities.
It's true to say every business changes as it develops and grows, keeping up with competitors and the development of technology can mean brands can appear dated or perceived to be out of touch. Levis found themselves in this predicament in the 1980's. They had become very uncool. Jeans your Dad would wear. But rather than change the logo or the red colour they revamped the product and relaunched themselves with a very clever advert featuring a chap in his boxers in a launderette and a very cool 1950's rock track...The rest is history. They repeated this process again in the 1990's with twisted denim to keep up with changes in fashion trends. They retained their brand heritage and gained an entirely new set of younger customers. This success was created by understanding their market and what ultimately would improve sales.
When things go wrong
We all remember some of the famous rebrands over the last 20 years that must have started life as a good idea but ended up with very poor and ill thought out execution.
Gap, The Royal Mail, BP and the Pepsi tweak have gained column inches but not for the right reasons. Public response to these changes caused Gap and The Royal Mail to change back after considerable expense. So what went wrong? Well it could be said that these businesses hadn't researched their very loyal customer bases and underestimated how people felt about the brands identity. Which confirms the theory about branding and the emotional attachments people make to them because of how they see them adding value to their own lives.
Gap thought it was time to launch a new look with a new logo which was called "something from clip art" but had actually cost the best part on £10m to launch. The extent of the public backlash made the GAP board reverse the decision very quickly. We may never know what the research told Gap to take the decision to make the change but the damage to the brand on social media and customer loyalty knocked sales off course and made a dent in their global position as one of the top 3 clothing brands.
Getting things right
One of the clear priorities of any rebrand has to be customer opinion. The Royal Mail asked customers about their rebrand. But the need to appeal to a broader market in the face of increasing competition forced them to make the change to Consignia. Looking like a logo from one of those cheap logo maker websites this major change was again reversed with costs in excess of £1m.
If customers are telling you they like who you are leave well alone. But if they tell you they don't understand what you represent then its time to change. The change in customer feelings may have occurred because of market changes. Take Debenhams for example. As one of a growing number of struggling retailers, they decided to refresh their brand as part of a wider modernisation of the business. In part to attract new customers to their stores to signify change, the new logo also represents a subtle shift to not alienate existing happy customers.
What you should consider
The first thing to consider when reviewing your brand is its just that. It starts as "a review". You don't jump in feet first.
Start your review by doing the following:
1. Conduct some customer research. Ask questions to find out how they feel about your business and services. Ask what they don't like. What they do and who else they use and why. Be bold and ask. A simple survey will do the trick.
2. Conduct a review of the competition. You should be doing this on a regular basis but this is an opportunity to update what you already know. What have they changed? Has pricing changed? What is new? How do you compare in terms of your website and marketing? How do they sound? Then be honest and rate the competitor group from good to bad and be realistic about where you are on that list.
3. Review your products and services. Are they still relevant? Does your marketing do them justice? Are they easy to buy? All these things will help form a picture to determine if you need to change what you sell rather than who you are.
So should you rebrand? Well as you can see there is no simple answer. The trick to getting it right is thorough research. Without that you are blind to the real reasons things are not working.
Thinking of Rebranding Your Business?
For a no obligation chat call Stephen on 020 3053 8670 or email Stephen@stephenmoore.co.uk