May 7, 2019
Over a company’s lifespan, it will undoubtedly build a reputation. From the customers that are serviced, to the type of goods produced, to the very logo of our business, we are always steadily building ourselves a brand: our company’s unique vision and process that makes us stand out to customers. But as time marches on, you will undoubtedly reach a point where the current model just isn’t working as efficiently as it could. To help you recognize when your company is approaching that point, we’re laying out the 5 signs that it’s time for re-branding.
The initial brand is no longer meaningful to societal values
Societal growth is the first, and arguably the biggest, cause of re-branding. Most successful businesses rise out of some societal need. As consumers find themselves wanting some certain product or service, businesses reach out and provide them. This symbiotic relationship has existed for centuries, and it’s the basis of every economy on Earth. But, over time, these societal needs have changed, and your business needs to evolve with them. A re-brand is the perfect way to keep your business following society’s many trends.
Trends such as industrial vs ecological values present unique opportunities to businesses and their brands. Decades ago, when post-war economic growth was society’s focus, businesses pushed their brands to represent American grit and hard-work, and factories were seen as symbols of prosperity. As time has moved forward, concern for the environment has overtaken this economic focus, and companies have had to shift their looks in the same way. Now, factories are seen as smoke-billowing evils, and the greener a company can look, the better. Starbucks just recently announced a new initiative to replace all of their straws with a new, biodegradable kind. This is a subtle type of re-branding that paints them in a more green-friendly light, and because of societal values in this area, they’ve garnered a lot of good will from this move. Your business can grow in the exact same way. Look at the many trends happening in your area, and ask if there are certain ways your business can change it’s look to better reflect these new values.
Customer expectations have evolved past us
The second sign that a re-brand is necessary is customer needs. Society is the general population that serves as potential future customers. Your customer base, on the other hand, is the group that is loyal to your brand and wants to continue their patronage. Over time, your customer base can find themselves drifting away from your company for any number of reasons. In times when you see your customers leaving your company, you need to ask if your brand is in touch with their needs. If a customer has certain expectations for your business, you need to make sure you’re meeting these needs, and remind these customers that their faith in your company was well placed.
A brand change can help accomplish this in multiple ways. First, changing up certain aspects of your identity gives you the opportunity to morph your business model into something that is more viable within your market. A new identity could easily lead your company to instituting new products or services that will reinvigorate your customer base. Second, the excitement generated by a new look will bring customers back in the door out of curiosity alone. This gives your company a chance to make a whole new impression on your customers.
Your logo doesn’t represent your company well
Your logo is one of the most important pieces of your business. It is the center of your identity, and will be a key part of how customers remember your business. But as your company grows, your logo has to continue to be a central icon that truly captures your business’s vision. If you want your business to be cutting-edge, you can’t be flashing a logo that looks like it’s an old antique. Logos are so important to our businesses because they stick in consumer’s minds; having a visual reminder of your company that can stay in a buyer’s head will undoubtedly help to bring more customers through the door. For this reason, it’s important to think like a consumer when you’re considering a re-brand.
If you want a customer to be reminded of your company often, then having a strong logo is key. Think about some of the goods you commonly buy, then ask how their logos represent them. Every businesses brand has to change over time, evolving alongside the current business marketplace. There are countless examples of long-term branding success, such as Coca-Cola or Apple. Over the course of decades, these companies have had numerous different logos, all of which had some aspect that reflected the cultural values of the time. Today, the current trend is towards simplicity: logos that aren’t cluttered and are easily mass-produced are seen throughout any industry. In general, always pay attention to the path your business is evolving along. As your company grows, always be sure to ask if your logo still captures the essence of your company. If it doesn’t, ask where it’s lacking. From there, you will start to understand the new identity your company needs to take, and re-branding will become much more straightforward.
Your business is expanding and you want to reach new markets
The growth of your business is one of the most difficult, yet exciting, aspects of management. Seeing the potential paths your company could take is invigorating to employees, investors, and customers alike. As you grow larger and larger, your brand becomes a guiding force that dictates where you will be able to succeed and how your business will make its foothold. As you reach your company towards new markets and ventures, be sure to ask how your brand can help your growth.
A company that operates in one single industry will oftentimes face limitations. There are only so many consumers that are looking to spend in any one market, and for that reason, diversifying your business can be a great way to bring in greater profits. If you do opt for this diversification, however, you have to ensure that your brand can support this. If your company appears to be too narrow-minded or niche, certain customers will be scared off. When you reach the point of expansion, consider changing the company name, logo, or certain practices to appear more approachable. A customer will feel more at ease working with a company that is both in tune with the modern world, and is built around an identity that truly embodies the industry (or industries) that you work in. Don’t limit yourself to one small market, and if your current identity is keeping you contained, that is how you know it’s time for a change.
Need to generate more excitement and interest in your brand
Finally, there are some emergency situations that can require a re-branding. Thus far, all of the signs that have been listed are situations where your company is slowly evolving over time, or looking to expand proactively. However, there are times when your company may face hardships, or a crisis of identity is felt. In these times, it’s important to be able to quickly identify the problem with your brand, and be willing to take the necessary measures to fix it.
A brand can face a crisis when certain external factors shake consumer trust. Whether it be caused by some large-scale market collapse, or from some external tragedy, consumer habits are shaped by the world around them, and we have to be able to respond to any of these changes. One such example of this is how Walmart reacted to the Great Recession of 2009. The CEO of Walmart knew that the massive economic downturn was certain to hurt middle class incomes, so he shifted his brands focus to supporting these types of customers. First, they changed their logo to include a bright yellow spark. It was a simple design, but eventually, the blue and yellow color scheme and the simple geometric design was synonymous with Walmart groceries. Additionally, Walmart introduced a new slogan, “Save Money, Live Better.” This slogan was absolutely perfect for the situation Walmart saw itself in. They knew that with the current economic forecast, they were likely to lose a massive chunk of their customer base. Rather than simply accept that, they responded to the crisis by re-branding, and inviting their customers back in with a fresh look and simple changes to their identity. By taking on the nurturing role that many consumers needed in this time, they managed to turn the negative recession into a positive. When crises hit your market, ask yourself what kind of company customers need. Then, re-brand so that you can fit that role yourself.
Ultimately, your company’s brand is an important tool to keep customers on your side. Your identity needs to be relevant to the cultural values that society holds so dear. At the same time, you need to cater to your customer base, and always keep yourself up-to-date. Make sure that your company can easily diversify with your brand, and make sure you’re ready to react to a crisis by re-branding. These signposts will guide your company towards a stronger, more relevant brand that will be sure to entice consumers and investors alike. Don’t be afraid to give your identity the touch-ups it needs to really shine.
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