Every business owner has been there. Having had the same brand for some time, you might feel like you are stagnating and that it’s time for a spring clean of your brand identity.
However, there are a number of cautionary tales out there, like the ill-advised GAP rebrand, that shows just how important it is to get it right.
While there is no rebranding recipe with a 100% success rate, there are a number of traps we know to avoid.
If you manage to not make these 5 critical mistakes, you’ll already have dramatically increased your chances of a successful rebrand.
Thinking that rebranding is purely visual
Experienced designers and branding professionals know that you can’t approach a brand identity from just one angle. Your brand is not only the way you look but also the language you use, what you associate yourself with, and your story.
It’s like a sweater. Pull one thread without considering the rest, and the whole thing might untangle.
If you’re sure that you need a rebrand, it might indicate that your entire identity is due for an overhaul. Whatever your reason is, approach it holistically and try to identify what else needs to change so that your brand is in alignment across the board.
This might mean retelling or rephrasing your story, updating your blog or content, and reshuffling your collaborations or brand associations.
This can be a daunting task if you have a massive blog or other content streams. A guest posting service can help you do this, without drowning your staff.
Not having a good reason to rebrand in the first place
Rebranding is always risky. So, without a good reason to do so, you’re placing a bet without even really knowing what the prize is.
A lot of noise has been made about brands uncreatively changing their logos to be similar. However, one good reason why for this is to adapt to users shifting to smaller devices like phones and tablets.
Serif fonts or over-detailed logos would just look plain bad or, at worst, be illegible. A company’s logo is an image or sketch, sometimes with words, that reflects its brand image. Apple’s logo is a black apple with a piece bitten off.
So, what are other good reasons to rebrand? Glad you asked:
- Your launching a new major or flagship product
- Your branding is out-of-date
- Your current branding caters for an audience that no longer exists, has changed, or is no longer your focus
- You aren’t distinguishable from your competitors
Having a good reason to rebrand will give the entire process a strong focus, increasing your chances of rebranding successfully.
Becoming a follower and not a leader
If you look at the Twitter feed above, you’ll definitely notice a trend. Brands have been shifting towards plain, sans serif fonts and minimalist logos. In the case of these top brands, their ubiquitous adoption and the fact that they are already pioneers in their field were enough to avoid a rebranding disaster.
All of them also already had a very strong and established brand identity, without any threatening competitors.
But, how many brands can really claim to be in the same position as these giants?
When rebranding, you have to ensure that your new identity maintains your unique positioning and distinct personality. If you’re revamping your identity, you need to make sure that your not just trying to step in someone else’s shoes. Chances are, you’ll lose out competing with someone on their own turf.
Guessing instead of testing
You might think after having gone through the empathize-define-ideate-prototype-test cycle once, you don’t have to do so again. Guess again.
Rebranding is a holistic process and is every bit as involved as launching a new major product. In some ways, and especially if you provide a service, your brand IS the main product.
For that reason, you shouldn’t assume that your customers will accept it readily because it feels that way to you. Customers might no longer even feel the same way towards your current brand identity, not to mention your new one.
To successfully “sell” your new brand to your customers, you should cater it around them by:
- Empathize with or put yourself in your customers’ shoes to see how they use your products
- Define any current problems or goals you have
- Come up with ideas on how to solve or achieve them
- Prototype and iterate your designs, increasing in their fidelity each round
- And, test your new designs directly with your target audience
Rinse, and repeat until you have a validated solution.
Forgetting your target market in the process
Forget your market, and they will forget about you. Just ask Gap or Tropicana. Both of these brands seem to have decided they need a rebrand without first deciding on why and then failing to validate their ideas.
In the case of Gap, they came off looking more like a SaaS company than a casual fashion brand. Tropicana, on the other hand, came off looking more like a cheap no-brand knock-off of the original. In both cases, customers hated it.
In their haste to rebrand, both seem to have forgotten the following:
- What customers liked about their brand in the first place
- The feelings or associations that connect people with their brand
Who their target market is, and how they interact with the brand.
Video – What is a Brand?
We have all heard and read the word brand. Most of us probably understand what it means. However, defining it is not so easy. Watch this Market Business News video to gain a better understanding of the term.