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Everyone can benefit from refreshing their personal image from time to time. An upgrade can be as simple as a new hairstyle or freshly-shined shoes or as comprehensive as an entirely new wardrobe and plastic surgery.

The same thing is true for companies and brands. Those that fail to keep pace with changes in their audience and in the world around them can suddenly find themselves asking, “Where’d everyone go?”

The dilemma for firms in this position is that they know they need to change something, but aren’t sure what. Do they just need a new haircut and maybe a touch-up on the roots or is it time for a complete facelift?

It’s important to understand that a rebrand won’t solve all your problems. That’s particularly true if you have issues beyond sales and marketing, as Comcast did when it changed the name of its cable/internet/telephone operations to Xfinity. The idea was to give the corporation a higher profile as it made major moves like the acquisition of NBC/Universal while distancing itself from the horrible reputation it had for customer service.

It was a good idea, but it really didn’t take. Customers still refer to Comcast as their service provider, rather than Xfinity, and if online comments are any indicator, they haven’t gotten much better at customer service. [Disclaimer: I’ve been a customer for more than 20 years and have always found their customer service reps to be helpful, courteous and able to resolve my issues.]

Sometimes a successful company will spruce itself up just to let the public know it’s paying attention. Last year both Google and Facebook gave their logos a refresh by simply updating their typefaces. Google made the more dramatic move when it ditched the traditional serif-loaded typeface they’d been using for 16 years for a more open, rounded and simpler one. Facebook took a more subtle approach when it opted to tweak its logo font and likewise made the letters more rounded, open and inviting. Neither company was in danger of losing loyal users, but both undoubtedly benefitted from helping their current supporters see them in a fresh light.

On other occasions the connotations of a brand’s name has become so negative that starting over is really the only choice. That was certainly the case when WorldCom rebranded as MCI following its emergence from accounting scandals and bankruptcy.

Rather than solving existing problems a rebrand can sometimes create new ones if it eliminates what attracted people in the first place.. But if what you’ve always been doing is no longer working, then perhaps it’s time to head back to the drawing board.

So how do you know when it’s time to rebrand rather than refresh? The checklist below can help you make that decision.

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Ten Signs Your Brand Needs a Rebrand

  1. Your company has stopped growing or has lost market share.
  2. Inquiries about your service or product have slowed. Those who do contact you aren’t a great fit for what you offer.
  3. Your existing clients aren’t aware of everything you do or are only taking advantage of one or two services.
  4. You’re facing increased competition across the board.
  5. More and more specialists are competing for your would-be clients’ business.
  6. You’ve changed what you do and who you do it for, but the market hasn’t noticed.
  7. Your clients have changed dramatically since you first started working together.
  8. Your pitches and presentations are built around addressing misperceptions rather than highlighting your great work.
  9. Your logo, website and materials feel stale and don’t garner a positive reaction.
  10. Your job candidates aren’t top notch—or you don’t get enough applicants to meet your open positions.

  

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