As companies grow and evolve over time, they can become something quite different to what they were when they started out. Many brands reach a time in their life that a rebrand is in order.

The goal of a rebrand should be to refocus your existing brand to better attract your ideal client.

It should also help you sell more products, enable you to increase your prices, and make you less vulnerable to competitive pressures.

With this in mind, you might be thinking a rebrand seems like a good idea. Not necessarily. It depends on many factors. If you have a well-established brand, you should take care before jumping into a rebrand. We’ve all seen disastrous rebrand attempts. An unnecessary rebrand is probably worse than neglecting a rebrand. As they say: if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it.

So how do you know when it’s time to rebrand?

I will discuss some of the key signs to look out for to help you evaluate if your business is ready for a rebrand.

Your target market has changed

If your target market has changed (or is changing), you may be concerned that your current brand is not positioned well to resonate with them.

This could be a result of changing your business model or business strategy. Or it may be a strategic reason to adjust the definition of the market you are trying to reach.

The question is: does your current branding connect with your ideal client? Your brand should speak to the people you want to reach, so if this is not the case, a rebrand is probably a good call.

Imagine you want to attract a younger demographic, but your brand still looks like something from your grandparent’s generation. Rebranding lets you redefine yourself in a way that will attract these new audiences.

Note, you need to be careful that you don’t alienate your existing customer base when rebranding. The rebrand should enhance your identity in a way that attracts both new and existing target audiences.

Case in point: Tiffany’s rebranded in 2021 to focus on the younger demographic. The new communication style and edgy tone didn’t sit well with its loyal customers who have shopped from the brand for years.

You have expanded your business

Growing the business can sometimes result in a complex mixture of offerings with no unified character or message to bring everything together. If that is the case, a rebrand would be a wise choice.

It could be that you have expanded your range of products or services. Does your brand reflect your expanded range of offerings, or is it still constrained by your original product?

This issue often occurs with your brand name or logo. What seemed like a great idea ten years ago, no longer reflect what your company is about. For example, imagine you started off by selling women’s shoes. But now your brand has expanded to sell shoes for men and children as well as clothes. Maybe your name or logo is very feminine representing only women’s shoes and no longer represents your multifaceted offering.

Alternatively, it could be you are serving a new geographical area or have expanded to new locations. Maybe ecommerce has opened you up to the global marketplace. But the name, logo, or entire character of the brand is centred around the city it was founded. Will it resonate with people in the new locations you plan to expand to? Geography, language and cultural differences can really affect how your brand is received. Often, messaging and visuals don’t translate so easily across borders.

You don’t stand out in the market

It could be that your industry is observing rapid change and you are worried about your ability to compete. Your brand feels dull and outdated compared to your competitors who look fresh and appealing.

Sometimes companies in the same industry gravitate towards a certain look and feel. The problem? There’s no originality, no authenticity, and no differentiation. They all start to look the same. If this has happened to you, it’s time to reclaim your space and build a brand that is unique to you.

This is common with the use of colour. You see a lot of brands in the same industry use the same colour. Using a different colour can be a great opportunity to stand out.

After all, you want your brand to stand out on the shelf, in the social media feed, in Google, on billboards.

A visual revamp that is very different from the competition is a good way to get people’s attention. But remember, branding isn’t just about visuals.

What other characteristics set you apart from your competitors? Why should they buy from you? They need a reason to align, trust, and buy your brand besides price point. Competing on price is a race to the bottom. Get clarity on this and make sure your brand showcases your uniqueness.

Rebranding can help your business stand out from your competitors by showcasing what makes your company different or better.

Your brand doesn’t reflect your values

You may find yourself thinking who you once were in the past no longer reflects who your brand is today or aspires to be in the future. Your purpose, vision and values have changed as your business has evolved. Or maybe the values you once had are no longer acceptable in today’s society e.g. think about how attitudes towards the environment and equality have changed.

People want to buy products from brands that share their values. If your business has evolved or your mission and values were never properly articulated when your business was created, your brand may not reflect the values that you want to represent. The external look and feel of your brand may not reflect the values upon which it was founded (or you want it to be based upon). When business decisions don’t align with your brand strategy, it can result in diluting or even destroying the brand image.

This becomes particularly prominent when you see companies that say they represent certain values, but then a news story comes out which contradicts those values. Sometimes companies communicate values without doing the foundational work to properly incorporate them into the company culture or strategy. A rebrand can help customers see your company in a new light if you have gained a negative reputation or feel a lack of alignment with your branding.

This isn’t just important for attracting customers but attracting employees as well. Employees increasingly want to work with organizations that align with their own values.

You may find yourself in the position that a rebrand looks like a sensible direction. Whatever your reason for rebranding, ensure you do it with intention. Rebranding shouldn’t arise out of leadership ego or desire for a new look. It needs to arise out of a deeper problem. Before diving in, it’s important to get clarity on the problems with the existing branding and what isn’t working. With this in mind, you can evaluate if a rebrand is what you really need, or maybe it’s a refresh, or simply changing your website. Do solid market research and ensure everyone is onboard before taking any action.

Remember, rebranding isn’t an exercise in making things look pretty. If you do decide branding is the right direction for you, be sure to take a deep dive into your brand strategy and foundations, so you can be assured that they align with the messaging and visuals you create.

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