Branding your business is tricky. You have to make sure it comes across as appealing, a ‘must have’ brand that’s not too pretentious.
Over time, your company will change leading to a need to refine your brand image, but even the smallest of changes can affect your target market and their perception of your brand.
Clive Rohald has written an interesting article in The Drum about how to give your brand identity a makeover without alienating your customers. Here are some of his thoughts.
Every company, at one time or another, will feel the need for a brand refresh. The question is, how can that be achieved without it turning into a disaster.
1. Why is there a need for change?
Clive’s first point is to identify why there is a need for change.
What is it that needs updating? Where is your current brand failing? How can your brand better service its employees and customers? Do you need to define a new brand or is evolving your existing one enough?
Its imperative you make the difference between your brand and operational issues. Clive uses the case of Malaysia Airlines as an example. In this case it’s issues were down to poor communication and its inability to act transparently, which are operational issues and can’t be solved by rebranding.
The key is to focus on ‘why’, not ‘how’ your brand needs to change and what the brand promises your customers.
2. Are you still relevant?
If your brand is to survive after rebranding you must ensure it remains relevant to your target market.
Research is everything; it helps you understand your brand perception, value and familiarity. If your research delivers strong results without an obvious threat to your brand, you may not need to review it.
3. 360 degree thinking
Your brand is more than just your logo, colours and stationery. It is also your tone of voice, customer service, stores and digital communications.
Trust comes from continuity; every time a customer comes into contact with your company the experience should be familiar, whatever form it takes. Your new visual identity should be a true representation of the new brand strategy.
4. Respect your heritage
Although your heritage shouldn’t hold you back, it should remain central to your brand. It is what makes you unique, offering customers a safe pair of hands. By introducing subtle updates your brand will move forward without losing the values it was built on and that attracted your customers in the first place.
5. Cultural perception and differences
Your rebrand must encompass and be accompanied by strong, relevant marketing messages that transcend cultural and language barriers. If you are a global player you must make sure your messaging and image translate into all markets. Clive cites KFC as an example when it launched a new campaign in China. It came unstuck when it discovered that its famous tagline “finger-lickin’ good” was understood locally as “eat your fingers off”. Ooops.
6. Acknowledge change
Even the best thought out plans can go wrong. When you roll out your rebrand – whether globally or locally – be sensitive to any issues it throws up and be prepared to be flexible in your response to any adverse publicity.