Many moons ago, Greek philosopher Heraclitus famously quoted “the only constant in life is change” – and he was right.
The world around us is constantly evolving and the only way to keep up is to change. . On a personal level, we’re always changing something or the other – be it a snazzy haircut, a new diet or a whole new career direction.
The same logic applies to businesses as well. As companies grow and navigate changing circumstances, they need to make certain alterations along the way to remain competitive. Rebranding a company can be an opportunity to showcase these changes to the wider community and stakeholder network – but this is a huge (and sometimes risky) endeavour to undertake.
So how should one go about this?
What’s in a brand?
Before we discuss whether or not a company should rebrand, there’s a more important question to address first – what is a “brand” anyway? Famous marketer David Ogilvy described it as “the intangible sum of a product’s attributes”. In simple terms, it refers to the first thing that consumers think of when they hear the name of a company’s product or service.
Brands — much like people — have a distinct personality in the public eye. For instance, Apple is the cool guy with the latest gizmos, while McDonald’s is like an old friend who’s comforting and consistent. These associations develop in our minds over time and form the basis of our attachment to brands. They result from a combination of many things, but essentially it all boils down to three key factors – name, logo and colour.
Don’t believe me? Ask anyone for the first thing that comes to mind when they hear Apple and McDonald’s and it’s very likely to be a half-eaten apple and a red-nosed clown.
Why bother changing?
Over the years, many companies have made significant alterations to their brand identity in various ways. From Starbucks to Coca-Cola, many of today’s iconic brands started out with very different aesthetics.
More often than not, the main reason for a rebrand is because business leaders feel that the brand identity is outdated, creating a disconnect from its audiences. This happens when consumer preferences have changed and the brand’s persona needs to catch up in order to avoid losing market share.
Rebranding, done right
One thing to bear in mind though is that rebranding exercises are not always successful. Marketing history is rife with examples of brands that have failed in their attempt to pull off a successful rebrand – and many have ended up losing customers or damaging their reputation.
Changing brand aesthetics barely scratches the surface of what needs to be done in a successful rebrand. From a communications perspective, the work starts with deep changes to the brand’s positioning and core messaging. But words are not always enough, which means that the company also needs to develop actionable steps to showcase their commitment towards transformation.
Rebranding is an important business that needs proper time, attention and resources to meticulously plan and execute. Last year, we worked with brands including Singapore’s second largest telco M1 and leading Voice AI start-up AI Rudder to guide them through this process & secure epic results.
Need support for your rebranding efforts? Talk to us at [email protected].