I was speaking to a new client the other day who will be undergoing a rebranding project with us. He knows that their brand including logo, website, and other marketing collateral is “tired” and “outdated.” They aren’t growing as much as they’d like in their new markets even though they are coming off of one of their best years yet. But, like many starting this process, he has a lot of anxiety as he begins this journey.
He’s worried that rebranding his company means that people, particularly those aware of his company’s brand and associate that with their high-level of service will no longer recognize them. As a result, his years of hard work in developing his brand name and reputation will be lost. I can understand his concern. After all, he has put years of sweat-equity into the company. So why go through it? To do nothing means he will continue to lose ground particularly in new markets to more established companies. Sometimes differentiation between a company and its competition comes down to the things like your website’s functionality, their familiarity with your brand, or even things they don’t even know sway them one way or another, like color. With a tired brand, it allows his closest local competitor, his proclaimed nemesis, an opening to one-up him and eat into his revenue with new marketing strategies while he’s left behind in the dust. He can’t let that happen.
Companies rebrand for many reasons. Typically, companies who are considering rebranding have noticed a dip in revenue gains or slower growth than they’d like to have. Some have noticed that more of their business is going to competitors. Anyway you stack it, they are losing money.
Others may have had higher revenue gains, but not when compared to their competitors who are still outperforming them. Many of these companies have realized that they haven’t responded to the new digital age in which more and more customers are making decisions by researching online before they buy. This new buyer behavior requires a discussion on how their online experience is or isn’t competitive and does or doesn’t make them different from the rest of the pack. If the company isn’t competitive, then those revenues could continue to flounder, and more business will go to the next guy. If done the right way, rebranding can help steer the ship in a new direction.
For companies at the start of their business journey, they need to launch a brand that truly tells their story and exudes the experience that their target prospects can expect. Many companies put loads of time and energy in the physical space of their business or their products and services but have no plan on how to launch a brand that can propel them into positive revenue earnings within the first few years. Even if you have a product or service like no one else around, you shouldn’t skip the branding and marketing strategy for your company. The days of relying on word-of-mouth or waiting for them to find you while driving around are gone.
Not having a branding and marketing strategy in place is like building a house without a blueprint. Or, think of the Three Little Pigs story: each pig built a house, but two of them didn’t consider the ‘what-if’ scenario of a hungry wolf. What happens when a hungry wolf enters your industry and blows your house down because you didn’t build a structurally sound one? Build it upfront and adjust as market trends change, but don’t skimp on this step even just a little bit.
If your product or service truly is unique, then your marketing, particularly your website, should pull people simply based on how unique you are – it should differentiate you so that cost becomes less of a concern. If there is a disconnect in your messaging, people won’t value what you thought they would — and you will lose business to the competitor who offers a similar service or product at a lower price. This forces the consumer to make a commodity driven transaction decision only.
Good branding or rebranding should first come with analysis and a strategy that aligns with your business strategy. More than just a page or two in your overall business plan this needs to be a fully integrated strategy that aligns with everything else and gives an outline to how you’ll reach your goals. Our approach here at Boldthink is to understand what your competitors are doing so we can be sure to differentiate you or as we call it “define your essence, find your space.” We look at multiple resources, do a whole lot of research and even include targeted surveys to help us arrive at answers. Next, we build the strategy that will best help get you where you want to be. If we understand the heart of you, the essence that is your brand, we can help steer your ship in the right direction. Is your ship headed in the right direction?