We all know the power of a strong brand and its ability to evoke confidence in buying decisions. But how do you know when a brand identity has run its course? When is it time for a rebrand?
Unfortunately, brands don’t have expiration dates on them. One’s reputation and market desirability can be a slow fade over time. A company can plod on with the same identity for years without recognizing the need for rejuvenation. It’s only natural to hold onto the goose that once laid the golden egg. Human nature makes us think it will never come to an end. But many times it does, whether from technological advancement or a gradual loss in market share. In this case, we must realize that rebranding alone will not save a product or service that no one has use for anymore.
However, for those who recognize the signs, the power of a revitalized brand can breathe fresh life into an organization’s image. So what are the indicators of needing a brand facelift?
The current brand no longer reflects the mission or direction of the company.
Admittedly, this one is fairly obvious but still needs to be identified. It often coincides with a change in leadership or market direction. Several decades ago, Chrysler hired Lee Iacocca to steer the company in a new direction. He created a new excitement that was reflected in the corporate branding touted as the “New Chrysler Corporation.” Of course, the reality of bad product choices like the K-Car tarnished the new image and led to its eventual demise—not even the “Imported from Detroit” campaign has helped reverse it.
Your target audience has changed.
Over time, your buyer personas can become less clear. What was once wildly popular with one segment, can shift and no longer be the case. If your business once catered to young families, but now is seeing that audience decline, it could be a sign that your target is changing. If you want to continue to reach them, you need to recalibrate your brand or refocus your efforts on the new target. The more refined and precisely targeted your brand is to reach your markets, the more likely the new identity will have success.
Your brand is not perceived as current.
Although this can be highly subjective, few brands age like fine wine. Even those with great staying power, like Coca-Cola, have been refined and updated over the years. So it is important to evaluate whether your brand speaks to your buyer persona in today’s terms. Ask the tough questions of customers, staff, and stakeholders: “Is our brand still relevant? Does it communicate who we are? Is there a negative market perception? If we were to launch this as a new business tomorrow, would we proceed the same way?”
You are losing market share.
Often, sagging sales are the most prominent indicator that the brand is in need of resuscitation. This is not just a few months of downward sales growth, but an ongoing pattern. This could signal it’s time for a brand change or even a retooling of the actual product or service. Many factors can contribute to a loss in sales, so weigh them carefully. Once the appropriate measures have been taken, there is nothing like a rebrand to indicate that the product’s identity has changed and is worth considering anew.
These are some of the indicators that should be considered when deciding to rebrand. In all, it is imperative to count the cost of rebranding versus not rebranding. Both options can have a significant impact on the bottom line over time, so evaluate and measure whether this step will yield positive results and not market confusion.