Rebranding: When it’s Time to Revise your Brand’s Positioning

More companies go through rebranding than they do branding.

When is it time to rebrand?

  • When the company outgrows the brand.
  • Sometimes when ownership changes.
  • When the vision changes.
  • When the type of customer changes.
  • When the products and services change
  • When the way the products and services are delivered changes.
  • When the branding wasn’t very well put together to begin with.

My company, Marketing Resources & Results, usually gets called for a branding consultation when one of these events have triggered a need from a client. Some of the things I hear during the initial conversation:

  • “We’d like to grow to the next level.”
  • “Our company name uses the name of a former owner.”
  • “Our brand doesn’t fit who we are anymore.”

Branding is much more than a logo or a tag line. The logo & tag line simply reflect the positioning or niche that the brand holds. They are part of the communication. The clothes the company wears. Branding begins inside.

Some mistakes I’ve witnessed:

  • Focusing on the features of the brand. Not the benefits.
  • In consistent use of the brand communication elements because not everyone bought into the new branding.
  • Using up all the old letterhead/envelopes, brochures etc because it seems like a waste to throw it away. (This is the same client who printed 10,000 brochures because it was .25 less per brochure.)
  • Asking the employees what they like the best. Or the spouse. Or the friends. But not asking a single customer.
  • Focusing more on execution before strategy. “Just make a few logos and we’ll see what we like.”

I know it’s hard. In fact, we are working with 3 clients who are right in the middle of their rebranding development right now. It’s easier if you accept that it is a growth process, a learning process, an education process. Just like if you try to write a book, you don’t start with a final draft. Here’s the process:

  1. What positioning do you want to own? What’s the emotion you want your brand to evoke? (trust? confidence? security? fear? anticipation? happiness?)
  2. Do any of your direct competitors already own that same positioning? What is their positioning?
  3. Is a name change necessary? Ask all the stakeholders — especially your customers (ie: clients, patients, referral partners) — of course employees and spouses too.
  4. Have a 3rd party conduct the research or you’ll hear only what you want to hear. Does the new positioning really reflect the company or product you are branding?
  5. After your positioning is clear… then start the logo designs, the tag line brainstorming, the name generating, and other creative works.
  6. Make selections to pay off the positioning. Expect at least 5 rounds of revisions. The more work you put in upfront in determining the positioning, the better and faster the creative stage moves.
  7. Once you have your communication tools created, be consistent in execution. Put together a branding policy. Make it easy to do it right. Make the information available to the proper employees. The ones who reorder the letterhead must have access to the Pantone numbers, the letterhead PDFs and style sheets for the business cards. Don’t reorder the new baseball caps with the old logo just because you’ll have to pay a new computer fee to get logo programmed into the embroidery machine.

So three main re-branding steps: Positioning with the emotion. Creating the communication. Developing the process for consistency.

Then you start developing the strategic marketing campaign.

Tags: Small Business Marketing Branding Businesslogos Rebranding

2 thoughts on “Rebranding: When it’s Time to Revise your Brand’s Positioning

  1. Very good insights!

    I would add that it’s time to revise your brand when you find yourself selling on price rather than the value communicated by your brand.

    Weak brands and shrinking margins often go together.

    Thanks for expanding on the of branding conversation!

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