Today’s world is an image-driven one, the market evolving and target audiences changing generations. Today’s world is the reason why businesses constantly need to evaluate, adapt and evolve from their original branding and positions to newer and more relevant strategies and branding.
Snap judgements are being made about your company, some good, some bad. However, your logo isn’t the only part of your branding that your audiences are making snap judgements from. Branding isn’t just your face, it is anything that consumers might see or interact with, making it an important facet of your business you cannot ignore.
But you might already have your brand up and running, and maybe you’re happy with it, so how do you know when it is time for a rebrand?
When you only have a famous name
Sometimes you can’t deny that you’ve branded a strong brand. Everyone knows you, and you might be the main name called out whenever someone thinks of your product category.
Yet, you may be losing a lot of market share, have low growth or in danger while still being a major brand name.
Harley-Davidson is one of the most recognizable names in the motorcycle business, but the brand used to have major troubles when selling to younger generations. Back around 1985, the company had a big issue with being linked to heavy-drinking biker gangs.
The brand kept its logo but rebranded from within. In the 80s, the brand used its rebellious image with a small shift, moving towards a brand that would bring people closer to the road of freedom, to escape from everyday life and monotony. They built communities called HOGs (Harley Owner Groups), which gave both heavy bikers and hobbyists a chance to build friendly communities, many of which would go on to support various charities and community organizations.
Recently, the brand is shapeshifting again, keeping most of its original logo look but rebranding their beliefs from within. The brand is ditching their heavy bikes and leather jacket look to become a lighter, eco-friendly electric engine-driven mode of transportation to appeal to younger audiences.
Harley-Davidson’s story is important to consider if you are an established brand that is having a turbulent time in the market, and serves as a reminder that branding isn’t just your visuals, it is your company’s work and focus.
You avoid giving out your business card or website URL
Do you try to avoid giving out your business card? Or when you give your website URL, you feel the need to explain that the company is currently working or going to work on updating it?
Maybe your brand’s logo and aesthetic are dated, maybe your content is old and isn’t expressing what you do now in the best possible way. Perhaps your branding just isn’t modern enough to show how up-to-date and in-the-know the brand is.
Sometimes these small signs are trying to tell you it is time for a rebrand. Whether you feel your brand is incomplete, outdated, stale or boring online, it should tell you its time for a change.
You and your customers can’t differentiate between yourself and the competition
Branding has always been a main part of differentiating yourself from the competition, and if it is hard to distinguish yourself from others in the same industry, maybe it is time for your company to rebrand.
In today’s overly-saturated world, it can become hard to be seen above the sea of brightly, or similarly, colored competitors.
Reposition, rebrand your visuals, and capitalize on your USPs to make your brand stand out against the same of competition.
You aren’t attracting young and fresh talent
Talents are always looking for the best possible brands to work with, and younger talents are looking for more than a 9 to 5 desk job at a monotonic office.
If you’re having problems attracting fresh young talent to your team, or can’t seem to grab the attention of higher caliber talents to improve and grow your company, maybe your brand is being seen as old, irrelevant or unexciting to potential talents. Maybe your brand is seen as being less in quality than the competition.
How can you reach young talents? Read more about it > Talent in the Digital Era – How can brands become employee-friendly?
A rebrand helps you attract not only customers, but fresh new talent that can shake up your business for a better future.
The brand is complicated or has outgrown its purpose
If it has been a while, brands can sometimes lose their way. Are your messaging, positioning and design aligned? Do your marketing objectives or material seem outdated or not completely in line with what your company does today? Is your brand narrative still something that fits your values and objectives?
These are a few questions you can ask yourself about your brand before rebranding.
Whether your brand has evolved past its original branding, evolution is a fortunate obstacle, or your branding has just become a complicated mess of moodboards, contrasting content or is unable to keep your audience’s interest, then it’s time for an upgrade.
You are trying to escape a bad image or association
Similar to Harley-Davidson, you can’t always control who will use or buy your brand. Occasionally it might be that an untargeted audience may end up choosing your business as their main go-to, but the association is hurting your business.
Burberry is a great example on how to jump away from negative associations and image without compromising the brand.
In the 2000s, Burberry had the misfortune in becoming an iconic fashion choice for British hooligans and gangs, associating the brand’s famous check pattern with thugs or “Chavs.” It got so bad that some pubs banned Burberry and other gang-related clothed people from going into their locations.
In an aggressive rebrand, the brand was able to bring itself back into being viewed as a high-end luxury clothing brand without changing their prices or look. They embraced social media, live streamed their fashion shows and engaged with consumers online more often.
There is no telling if your brand can suddenly become a part of a negative association, but if nothing else seems to fix it, a rebrand might be the next step.
Your name doesn’t reflect the brand anymore
Acquisitions, mergers, region changes and so much more can make any original company name redundant. Fortunately, this is just a part of evolving, think of it as growing pains. These should be seen as a great opportunity to digitally transform and rebrand.
Changing markets, mixing companies and etc. allow brands a chance to reinvent themselves with a reason, as well as better align new objectives, strategic outlooks, and multiple brands (if merging).
There are various signs, reasons and questions to ask before looking into rebranding your company, but sometimes just one or two are enough to really show that it’s time for change.
When rebranding, simply remember that a brand is not your logo nor your visuals, it is the values, objectives, strategies and operations side as well.