The traditional definition refers to branding as a set of mental associations people have in relation to a product, service, organization, person, geographical area or cause. An extremely important idea that is not mentioned as often as it deserves is that the most important component of the brand is the product or the service itself. And this perspective changes the definition, the brand becomes a promise of value respected on the long run, a commitment to deliver value that impacts buying decision.
Branding is not logo or nice-looking design. It’s the strategic process by which the brand owner ensures that the associations in the mind of the consumer are unique, exclusive, strong and positive. In time, even the best-built brands are worn away, because the product, the values and the communication no longer align with the present circumstances or with the business strategy.
Organizations used to change their identity at every 7-10 years or more but nowadays, in a fast-paced environment this interval diminished significantly. Brands feel the need to reinvent themselves, refresh their rhetoric or visual identity and to align their products and services to contemporary trends every 1-3 years. In online retail and other dynamic sectors it’s an ongoing process.
When is rebranding a necessity?
- When the company goes through substantial changes, acquisitions, mergers, internationalization or when it enters new markets.
- When the portfolio of products or services changes. Brand architecture needs an update that can refer to the relationship between the corporate brand and the product brands, to the need of brand extension and so on.
- An outdated digital presence: even if perceptions around the brand are positive, if the digital environment is of great importance in the overall strategy of the company it needs to constantly adapt to the latest technologies and trends.
- When the brand lacks a strong emotional connection with its consumers. There are industries based mainly on rational factors, but in most industries, even b2b, brand empathy is essential. Strong brands have a high dose of seduction.
- Positioning in a different category or niche sometimes triggers the need to change the brand promise, slogan and/or and visual identity.
- When the overall image (logo, applications of visual identity and visual communication) are anchored in the past in a world where everything changed. The need to reinvigorate the image, the brand rhetoric and the brand experience must be balanced with the brand heritage and its intangible assets.
- When the brand plays an important role in managing change internally and rebranding becomes a factor that can inspire employees and audiences. Brand management is part of the strategic arsenal of a company with huge influence both inside and outside. The employer brand is built in close relation with the company brand.
- In the unwanted case of legal problems related to trademarks and access to new markets that were not initially on the list of expansion targets.
- When a new name is needed, relevant for the European or global market.
- Reputation issues reflected in the business results may be a reason for rebranding. PR crisis management campaigns may sometimes need more long-term changes that include revitalization of the brand identity.
Rebranding is so much more than the redesign of logo, more than the facelift of the website because the brand is first and foremost its products, services and the real values of the people who work for the company.
A rebranding process we developed: Dare Digital.