When is it the Right Time to Rebrand?
Branding is the most important aspect of any business regardless of size. It is a promise to your customers what they can expect from your products and services. Even so, there comes a time in every business’s life where they must change with markets in order to maintain their customer base. Here are three questions every business executive must ask themselves when deciding whether or not rebranding is the right marketing strategy.
- Is the business itself transforming or are the product offerings changing?
Message: This distinction is paramount to successful rebranding. Vocera is a perfect example. They offer a voice-controlled device that enables simple, secure communications in mission-critical environments such as healthcare. Moving forward, Vocera will utilize a device-agnostic platform which will allow users to access Vocera from their smartphone. Vocera, the business, is not changing its aims. They are still offering the same product, just changing how it’s being offered. This allows Vocera the flexibility to develop new product offerings and seize the opportunity to energize the brand for both external and internal audiences. This gives the brand a look of maturity to its audience, a feature that is indispensable in expanding consumer markets.
- Has the overall strategy or message changed?
Message: Shifting focus of marketing can be the difference maker in a business’s ability to adapt. If a business can’t adapt to changing markets, it’s doomed to fail. Let’s examine the case of Burberry—the English fashion behemoth. At one time, Burberry was seen a “gangwear” because the demographic it fit consisted of drink-loving hooligans that were banned from several pubs around Leicester. In order to drive up sales, Burberry had to escape this perception. Now, the brand has been endorsed by Kate Moss and Emma Watson, giving Burberry a more sophisticated marketing strategy to go along with their overhauled fashion design. In doing so, sales rose 27% in the third quarter of 2011, and another 11% overall in 2012, per reports by The Market Oracle.
- Are the company’s products and services still relevant?
Message: This doesn’t necessarily mean that your products or services are outdated in any way, rather, your business is adapting to accommodate continually changing consumer behavior. Target is a perfect example of capitalizing on this change. The retail megastore was once seen in the same light as low-brow competitors like Walmart and K-Mart until it began to offer exclusive deals with high-profile designers such as Issac Mizrahi, Mossimo Giannulli, Michael Graves, Fiorucci etc. that its competitors failed to reach. In doing so, Target set itself apart by offering discount products with higher-than-discount quality. This strategy was the foundational move that brought 150 Target stores to Canada in 2013.
Rebranding is the most difficult decision any executive can make, but it doesn’t have to handcuff the business from growing. Clarity is the most important factor in rebranding. If your plan is not clear, then there is no way to effectively execute a rebranding strategy.