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How to successfully rebrand without losing your audience

15 Nov, 2022 Marketing communication

Rebranding can take many forms: It can be just choosing a new name, but it can also be the implementation of an entirely new business model. During these changes, businesses must continue to work on staying connected and communicating with customers. But how does a company successfully rebrand without losing and disappointing customers?

Here are tips on what you should consider:

The reasons for rebranding should be clear

A rebranding affects many areas – marketing, website, workforce, customers, and of course, the company’s mission. In order to bring the process to a successful end, there must be convincing reasons for a change. The customer should be the focus.

Anyone planning a rebranding must first consider how much time, money, and work it will take and whether the effort is in the right proportion to the result. Because in the worst case, there can be a breach of trust with the customers who have no understanding of the rebranding.

Especially at the beginning, some companies find it difficult to establish a brand. Sometimes only a subtle refresher is necessary, for example, the renewal of the logo or a revision of the design in the online shop. Perhaps the brand itself is not yet clearly positioned and needs a clear mission.

Brand

Firstly, let’s be sure of what  we are talking about. Many definitions can be found for “brand.” Prolific US marketing author, entrepreneur and teacher, Seth Godin, consistently and clearly defines a brand as:

“A brand is the set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to choose one product or service over another.”

Experienced marketers often consider the key tangible and intangible elements comprising a brand:

  • Intangible elements of a brand include product and service elements, customer attitudes, stories, and associations of the brand with other variables.
  • Tangible elements of a brand include names, logos, products, slogans, colors, cost, advertising style, and tone of voice.

Rebrand

In simple terms, a rebrand involves creating a new look and feel for an established product or organization. So, why rebrand? Changes causing a rebrand or refresh can include:

  • Adding to the products or services currently available for sale
  • A merger, acquisition or corporate restructuring
  • Purchase or sale of business interests or investments
  • New senior management intending to deliver new ideas
  • Changes within the competitive marketplace
  • Changes within the operating environment, including economic disruption
  • The need to update a brand’s outmoded visual elements.

Pouring cold water on a rebrand

A great reminder that timing is the most important factor with a rebrand happened very recently. The Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BoM), a federal government agency, sent a request to all news media to refer to it in future as “The Bureau,” due to an institutional rebrand. The timing was terrible. The request caused an uproar in the media because many country towns in the most populous States were suffering from record damage caused by rain and floods, with hundreds of residents evacuated. The media said the weather bureau should focus on its core role and not waste time on distractions of rebranding.

For an untold reason, the weather bureau wanted to change its commonly used name from “the weather bureau” or “BOM” to “The Bureau,” which didn’t make sense because the “Bureau” is such a bland, vague name. (It’s also the name of a very popular French TV spy thriller series that ran for 5 seasons.) Apparently the Bureau of Meteorology told staff to avoid the BOM nickname due to “negative associations related to the acronym.” Huh? The federal environment minister told the agency its focus “should be on the weather, not branding.”

Create a comprehensive strategy and employee analysis

Deciding on a rebrand can be easy and doesn’t take much time. However, it becomes more complicated when it comes to implementation. Many companies are surprised by the complexity of the process. Initially, only a new name and a suitable domain are planned. But then a new logo has to be designed, the products need new branding, or the website needs a new design and/or new content.

Plan your changes carefully before beginning the process. In a meeting, determine which team members are responsible for the individual areas – from design to communication with the public. It is necessary to pay attention to details in order to successfully rebrand.

When working online, which is necessary for this context, you should pay attention to your cyber security as well. It would be tragic if the rebranding process worked flawlessly, but then you become the victim of a cyberattack.

Your employees will use online tools for various purposes (design, website creation, social media, etc. For these purposes, it is recommended to use a VPN connection (VPN stands for “Virtual Private Network”). With this, your employees send their data in an encrypted form to a VPN server – only there is the data decrypted and passed on to the target server. This means sensitive information is always protected, particularly when customer or employee data is involved.

Since your IP address is encrypted, you can also use a VPN connection to ensure complete privacy when analyzing the competition. Because if you know the market and your competitors, you will get a better overview of what is essential when it comes to rebranding. If you want to find the most suitable provider for you, try various VPN free trials!

Be prepared for questions and criticism

During a realignment, if customers don’t understand the changes, trust will be lost, and revenue will fall drastically. This can happen more quickly in family businesses with a long tradition than in brands that have only recently entered the market.

In this case, it is important to address possible concerns and answer questions from customers before they switch to the competitor. But the company must not forget its own employees who implement the rebranding. If they have little understanding of the measures and are left in the dark about certain procedures and reasons, it will be difficult for them to convey a positive impression to customers. They are not likely to successfully rebrand.

Anyone who gets the employees on board at every step and has them on their side creates a more positive impression both internally and externally.

Make your rebrand known

The internet offers countless opportunities to communicate with customers via social media or a website. Use these platforms to create the greatest possible transparency to successfully rebrand. The customers will feel more like part of the change process and can even support the change measures with constructive feedback.

Conclusion

Every brand needs rebranding over time to keep up with the competition or to assert itself as a leader. Because market demands are constantly changing, it is important to involve customers and employees and ensure transparency. In this case, nothing stands in the way of a successful rebranding.

Further thoughts

You can read more information about developing a new logo in my article, “What type of logo is most effective?

 

About Kim Harrison – author, editor and content curator

Kim Harrison, Founder and Principal of Cutting Edge PR, loves sharing actionable ideas and information about professional communication and business management. He has wide experience as a corporate affairs manager, consultant, author, lecturer, and CEO of a non-profit organization. Kim is a Fellow and former national board member of the Public Relations Institute of Australia, and he ran his State’s professional development program for 7 years, helping many practitioners to strengthen their communication skills. People from 115 countries benefit from the practical knowledge shared in his monthly newsletter and in his books available from cuttingedgepr.com.

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