Why Rebranding Is Probably Not Necessary

A compelling argument for rebranding? If your business has expanded via acquisitions and you need to combine many entities into one, call Pixabay and Pexels
Businesses rebrand for a variety of reasons, some positive and others not so good.

The vanity project rebrands, often with new-broom marketers wanting to create a reputation for themselves, as well as those motivated by boredom, fall under the heading of "not so good."

You'd be shocked at how often rebranding initiatives are the consequence of companies feeling their brands are becoming stale.

It's quite improbable that your clients share this opinion. In branding, familiarity does not lead to dislike, despite the cliche (quite the opposite).

But it doesn't mean you should never rebrand. There are sometimes some excellent justifications for your decision, including:

  1. If a significant material change has happened in the market that means your current brand in its current form places you at an inherent disadvantage.
  2. If you need to consolidate multiple companies into a unified whole, e.g. a business that has grown from acquisitions.
  3. If you need to signal a clear change of direction to your market that aligns with a new or refreshed vision.
  4. If your current brand has picked up some toxic associations (though a rebrand alone will not fix this, and it may not save you).

As an example, the business I worked for acquired hundreds of smaller businesses, each with its own distinctive brand and different market power. The company had to support a diverse range of subsidiaries, which put a strain on marketing resources and made cross-sell and up-sell chances more difficult than they needed to be.

This firm had a very compelling reason for investing in a rebrand: to unify everything under one distinctive brand identity, which would make it simpler for them to generate more sales across the board, put them above a dispersed competition, and also increase the company's market value.

The golden guideline, though, is to only rebrand if you have no other option. Rebranding requires a lot of money, effort, and time. It should be handled carefully.

There are often other, easier, quicker, and far more affordable methods of reaching the types of goals that a rebrand promises.

You may not even need to update the appearance and feel of your brand if it isn't connecting with a core market or if that market has shifted. Instead, you may be able to change your message and posture.

Consider your audience first when you figure out how to update your content. What is important to them? What are the aches and pains? What issues can you help them with?

Look and feel rebranding processes might take a long time. They include a lot of steps, and the price tag for new signs, agency time, and other expenses may be enormous. Additional considerations include company interruption, cultural concerns, potential SEO effects, and backlash from irate shareholders (you spent how much on that logo?).

Rebranding involves a lot of risk. There are many instances of disastrous rebranding. Like the time Mastercard played around with one of the most recognizable logos in the world—the overlapping circles—before quickly apologizing.

You may also recall that in 2001, the world's largest oil company, BP, spent $200 million rebranding itself from "British Petroleum" to "Beyond Petroleum" in order to promote itself as a more ecologically responsible company. It was a branding fiasco that overtly smelled of greenwashing and was inconsistent with what the fossil fuels industry titan was doing at the time.

There are many more strategies to enhance engagement that begin with actually knowing and understanding your consumer, so don't underestimate the real-world expenses of a rebrand, even if Mastercard and BP's brands are subject to considerably more scrutiny than the typical firm. Look into all your possibilities rather than assuming that a brand-new, eye-catching logo is the sole solution.

Thanks to Jason Ball at Business 2 Community whose reporting provided the original basis for this story.

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