BRAND? REBRAND? EVOLVE THE BRAND?

When is it the right time to rethink branding?

Changing a company’s branding can be resource-intensive. Depending on the size of the organization, and the breadth of it’s communications, making changes can require a significant investment of time, energy, and money. The process can also be distracting and disruptive to day-to-day operations, causing strain as focus is drawn away from other important functions.

So when is it worth it to alter a brand? Or develop a brand in the first place? When can a company be confident that the desired ROI from a rebrand will be realized? What pains or sticking points in an organization’s history warrant taking on the challenges associated with brand development or rebranding? While marketers should always be aware of brand perception and its inevitable changes, here are some specific inflection points that can signal a time to take a deeper look at an organization’s branding, and consider strengthening it.

When changing strategy

Markets change and great companies make adjustments to stay relevant and profitable. New strategies are required, and with new strategies can come new audiences, new competitors, and new approaches to marketing. This is an appropriate time to rethink an organization’s existing branding, as it was likely developed for a now less relevant market and created to serve a different set of objectives.

When launching new products

Launching new products comes with the need for amplified marketing, therefore putting more attention on a company. This is a time to take a critical look at the brand. The increased focus that comes with a launch is a great opportunity, but it can also be a wasted opportunity if your branding doesn’t accurately communicate what you most want to covey to the marketplace.

When expanding into new markets

New markets require reaching new people who aren’t familiar with a brand, or who know it in a different context. Either situation can be changed for the better with a well planned and executed brand evolution. Being new in a market is an opportunity to express a brand and clearly tell its story to new people. Additionally, as when launching new products, new market expansion often includes new initiatives that will increase visibility. Knowing more eyes will be upon the brand, this is an ideal time to refresh and strengthen it.

When building brand awareness

There are times in a company’s life when building brand awareness is imperative. Often driven by growth such as entering new markets or going after a share of an existing market, building brand awareness is done with a variety of tactics. Smart marketers often reevaluate their branding prior to engaging in awareness raising efforts. You only get one shot at a first impression, and investing in the brand before investing in raising awareness is critical for an organization looking to define its brand clearly to its audiences.

When seeking funding

Venture capitalists and other funding sources are a target audience, and branding can help an organization make a strong impression, assisting in the raising of capital. Even the best, most innovative ideas need to be well communicated, and branding can help. Good branding not only attracts and assures investors, but it can also show how well a company is prepared to communicate to its customers when that time comes.

When existing branding sucks

Sometime a fresh take on the brand is needed because the current branding is bad. This could include a name that is confusing or misleading, a positioning statement that fails to differentiate, an unappealing visual identity, or brand language that doesn’t highlight important benefits. For a variety of reasons, companies find themselves with branding that shows them in a poor light. Maybe the branding was created without an understanding of the organization’s purpose or core customer. Or developed by someone who didn’t have the skills required. Or maybe an agency just didn’t do the job right. Whatever the case may be, there are times when bad branding needs to be scrapped and redone.

Rethinking, evolving, and creating brands requires investment. Money, time, and attention all are needed. We recommend weighing the costs against the potential benefits. Think about what the enterprise is facing today, and what it will be facing in the coming years. Ask what a successful trajectory would look like; Is more funding needed for a critical effort? Do the potential sales in a new market warrant action? Perhaps a specific launch goal for a new product will take your company to the next level? Then ask, “would branding, rebranding, or evolving our brand help in meeting these objectives?” If yes, than it might be time to change your organization’s branding.

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