Rebranding 101 - Why it is Important for Your Marketing Effort

What is Rebranding?

Rebranding is changing or reaffirming the existing marketing niche. It’s different than the initial launch because you usually don’t want to lose the existing brand equity that you have with your current customers and clients. In my experience the hardest group to influence and sway is the internal employees because they’ve been with the brand the longest and many a fiercely loyal to the “way we do things.” Usually the potential customers are the easiest because they have no attachment to the brand yet.

When should you Rebrand?

  • When you’ve acquired or divided so many times your brand is very fragmented.
  • When your core business/product is not reflected in the current branding
  • When your brand image doesn’t match your target market’s feelings
  • When your core users/employees can’t verbalize what your brand promise is.
  • When your logo has 3 different colors for 3 different applications and 5 different variations of those depending on who emailed the Jpeg.
  • When it takes you 5 minutes to explain what the brand promise is and there are a lot of “but we also” and “And not to forget” and other exceptions to your positioning statement.

How do you go about Rebranding?

Starting from “scratch” with a new position and look is easier than moving a current positioning. But that’s why it’s called Re-branding! Depending on how ingrained the current brand is with the people you care about (customers, employees, etc.) some rebranding effort are easier than others. Usually it’s a transition from the old position to the new position, a planned roll out.

  • Determine who you care about: the target market, customers, shareholders, employees, partners, vendors, community. Each one of these groups have a “stake” to some degree in the organization. Who’s opinion matters most? Who are your trying to attract, impress, please and influence. Being clear about this makes the rest of the process so much stronger and easier.
  • Gather all your existing marketing communication onto one table. Print out your web site pages, get all the business card variations, letterhead, brochures, trade show booth graphics, folders, letters to potential customers, etc. etc. Anything that you send out.
  • Determine your goal!! What is it your brand should really stand for? Quality? Delivery? Price? A special feature/benefit? Service? Speed?
  • Now ask yourself, “why?” Why did we pick that goal? that position? Can we deliver? Consistently deliver?
  • Put together a transition plan. Which month which part. The web site. The announcements to different groups. The logo style sheets. The stationery. Advertising specialties.
  • Make a production out of the change. Ceremonies help the “old guard” accept the change. Don’t just sneak it in or shove it down their throat. Acknowledge the change. It’s like blending a family, you can’t just call it done and we’re a new family. You have to go thru the process, especially internally!!

Why is Rebranding Important to your Marketing Efforts?

Rebranding brings your brand back into focus. It gets everyone marching to the same drum, singing out of the same hymnal and all the horses pulling the sleigh in the same direction… (what other cliche can I use!?! Sorry!)

What does it COST to rebrand?

  • By not rebranding, you are wasting your marketing dollars by being sloppy with your current brand.
  • Rebranding means you are giving up something. Giving up the clutter. Giving up trying to be “all things to all people.” It means giving up some of the fringe. Rebranding can be costly to the inflexible. Costly to the “old guard”. Change is hard for many people, especially change that is beyond their control, it feels like it is done TO them. That’s why nostagia marketing works. It brings back the old good feelings.
  • Rebranding, done incorrectly, can be very costly from a cash flow point of view. Consider the garbage collection company who just changed their logos on their invoices and envelopes, but forgot to tell all the consumers they have been acquired by another company. Consumers threw away that month’s bill because “that’s not my garbage company.” Ouch. There goes the cash flow. You must have a transition plan!
  • Reprinting stationery may seem expensive. But using up the old stuff is not the way to go. It never runs out at the same time in all places. There are more envelopes than letterhead. The old t-shirts, mugs, and advertising specialties will continue to hang around, some not used.

The better question is, what does it cost NOT to Rebrand?

Author: Chris Brown

Business owner operating a marketing consulting firm. Online Publisher. Keynote Speaker.

3 thoughts on “Rebranding 101 - Why it is Important for Your Marketing Effort”

  1. Madonna is the queen of rebranded, as William Aruda pointed out in his blog.

    Changing your Personal Brand is very hard with the people already in your network, but easy with those who are new acquiantances becuase they weren’t aware of your previous brand.

  2. Dan:
    Exactly! I can tell that you really get it. Personal branding is difficult and I am enjoying reading your blog about it.


  3. “The better question is, what does it cost NOT to Rebrand?”

    This is what business often overlooks, the price of maintaining the status quo is often more than it costs to make a move.

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