By Kimberly Hansen & Lisa Trachtman – January 4, 2019
Businesses and markets are constantly negotiating growth, downturns and changes. Just as individuals reach crossroads in their lives, businesses reach certain milestones where the changes happening within the company or in your marketplace need to be addressed. Your company’s brand identity reflects who you are in the minds of your customers. If your company or marketplace changes enough that your existing identity is no longer relevant, or you want your market to think of you differently, it’s time to consider a rebrand. Here are five situations where re-considering your company’s brand is strategically wise:
1. Recent Company Growth or Modernization
As your company grows and adds new products, divisions, or services, you may need to consider how your company’s mission, vision and values (MVV) have changed, and if that change is significant enough to consider updating or refreshing your brand and identity to reflect your new positioning. Corporate shifts such as a corporate merger or acquisition, new management, an internal culture evolvement, or large branded projects, such as a new website or tradeshow presence, may be an opportunity to consider how well your current branding reflects who you are, how you sell and how you want your target market to perceive you.
2. Address Challenges from Competitors
Sometimes new product development from your competition or behavioral shifts within your marketplace can impact your business. Competitive product features or a new way of doing business may suddenly put you at a disadvantage. You may need to address new threats or challenges, possibly by making changes to how you operate or strengthening your position within your industry or market. It may be time to re-evaluate your strengths and determine how to differentiate yourself to gain an advantage over your competitors. A brand update can facilitate a stronger market position, giving your customers new insight or a fresh perspective about who you are, and how your product or service can best support them.
3. Pursue New Opportunities or Markets
Entering a new market, whether in a customer segment or perhaps launching your product or service in a new country, offers an opportunity to look at and evaluate your brand positioning and key messaging as it relates to the new competitive landscape. Often some modification can be beneficial to help with clarifying and positively differentiating your brand. Whether you update your entire corporate brand or launch a new division, evaluating and fine-tuning your brand identity to encompass your broader presence is a smart idea.
4. Overcome Negative Perceptions
If your brand integrity has become compromised, whether by failing to live up to your promises, product failures, or losing ground to your competition, it is likely time to re-evaluate your brand identity with relation to how you sell, service and support your product and services. This is a good time to reflect on your original mission and key messaging, and modify as needed. A rebrand can offer you a fresh start and an opportunity to solidify, repair and improve your reputation.
5. Existing Messaging is Insufficient or Outdated
Insufficient messaging is frequently true with start-ups or young companies who hit the ground running with a new product or service. Newer companies are still building their reputations and understanding the role they play and their competitive advantages in the marketplace. In some cases, legal guidelines place burdensome restrictions on what messaging can be used. Claims about medical devices and drugs are very tightly regulated, so finding ways to position your company and product can be very challenging. If certain aspects of your business are tightly regulated, corporate branding may offer more opportunities for building brand identity and loyalty.
Conversely, your brand identity should be revisited and evaluated every 3-5 years so you do not become perceived as outdated and irrelevant as you grow.
Your company’s brand is a supremely valuable asset that is really the visual and cultural foundation of your entire enterprise. Like any foundation, a solid, well-thought-out plan will offer strong support for the long run. And as your company grows and changes, so too will these foundational elements need to be expanded, refreshed and modified to be able to continue to support all the other elements of the business. Before you embark on any significant changes within your company, stop and consider the foundation of your brand first. Remember to build your brand right along with building your products, building your markets, and growing your company.