The word re-branding would immediately bring to mind names like VI (Vodafone Idea) that pretty recently is believed to have spent ~200 crores for an exercise that was visible at least in the form of updates to their signage. There are umpteen other names we see in the market that undergo a rebranding exercise, and mostly because as big brands, their visibility is high, there’s media coverage and it involves big budgets.
The immediate question that pops up: Is re-branding all about changing brand identity – name, logo, brand colours and spending huge sums on running campaigns? Is rebranding only for large companies that can spend millions? Is re-branding of any relevance to small businesses? Let’s find out.
A company in the adventure tourism segment built a decent brand over 2 years and they held a strong position. However, it could not defend its position any longer as new entrants started offering similar services. Customers no longer saw any difference between these companies and the race boiled down to price. And the only way to retain a strong position in the market was through establishing a fresh position. In other words, the company needed a rebrand.
Leading any market means your brand needs to hold a strong position. It means you are miles apart from competition. And your customers clearly recall your brand for the reasons you intend.
Re-branding is basically a marketing strategy adopted when you want to rejig the brand’s perception & messaging, enter into new markets or launch new products. It can be undertaken by companies small or big, of any size or form.
When To Rebrand
Rebranding exercise should not be limited to just design-related changes to your logo or colours. Even if it is a design upgrade, such efforts should not happen in isolation. This exercise is to be undertaken after establishing appropriate business needs that justify the exercise.
Most often, rebranding is to:
- Revitalise your business
- Reposition in the market / connect with a new audience segment
- Create fresh differentiation from competition
- Expand or a shift from earlier business mission
- Introduce new products, entry into a new niche that offers a bigger opportunity allowing your current business to leverage
The Approach to Rebranding
Clearly define what you intend to address via the rebranding effort. Outline your business reasons and validate them. And make sure these are documented.
Run External and Internal Survey:
Talk to your customers, review and analyse customer feedback. Talk to your prospective audience too and gather their perception of your current brand. Run an internal survey to get insights on how your team / partners perceive your brand.
Researching other players serves to provide critical inputs to your rebranding exercise, especially when you get to developing your repositioning and messaging strategies.
Define Your Audience:
Based on the goals you have set and the research conducted, outline the audience segment(s) you would be targeting. Build audience personas and clarify what problems and needs are most critical to address
This is one of the most critical pieces in the rebranding exercise and will form the basis for establishing the brand personality and messaging framework. It is important to get this right, else your rebranding efforts may lead to a wasted investment.
Create Fresh Brand Personality:
If it were a human, what would your new brand be like? Define how it will look, sound and feel. Build a fresh identity that resonates with the goals, values and positioning from the above steps.
Prepare Brand Messaging Guidelines:
Your brand’s messaging includes guidelines for both visual and written messaging (and verbal too, if necessary). This messaging needs to consider your current brand personality and identity and build the transition plan to the new brand identity. The brand’s transition story needs to be strong and well-told to ensure it resonates with your target audience.
The brand messaging guidelines need to provide coverage for your internal messaging as well.
Design Fresh Visual Identity:
Prepare revised visual guidelines and allow your creative juices to flow. Kickoff the design process for your logo design, colour palette and photography.
Create a Brand Rollout Plan:
Rebranding is quite a project in itself. Prepare a plan to rollout internally and then externally. It would also be useful to prepare a comprehensive list of stakeholders who could be impacted by this rebranding project. Tailor your messaging based on specific groups of stakeholders.
Rebranding is a great opportunity to infuse that zest into your business. Rebranding can be quite an effort. So, make the most of the opportunity and leverage it to meet the goals you outlined.