Rebranding: One Giant Leap or Many Small Steps?

Our recent Build Your Brand series answers a lot of questions for companies who have yet to develop a significant brand reputation, but what about those who are established but in need of a reboot? Even if you've spent years developing an identity for your business, there's every chance that it's in need of refreshment. Brands don't become old or out of touch overnight, but it's all too easy to coast on a good campaign or trade off a reputation that was established years ago. That's all well and good until the momentum runs out. To ensure that doesn't happen to a brand you've already built, regular reviews and understanding the value of limited rebranding are important. Faded Coca Cola brand sign Image Credit: Brent Moore

Is Your Brand Trusted or Tired?

As we've said, brands require refreshment every so often. Logos become tired, campaigns end and reputations fade, and familiar imagery becomes outdated. But equally customers become attached to what’s familiar. Even when a rebrand is necessary, changing too quickly runs the risk of alienating more existing customers than it attracts new ones. So much investment goes into creating, developing and protecting brand assets that in most cases it makes sense to make changes gradually. There have been plenty of examples over the years of brands that changed their identity too quickly, only to be forced into an embarrassing retreat. Yes, even the biggest and most valuable global brands have made mistakes by moving too quickly. The often cited example of Coca-Cola’s “New Coke” and, more recently, Gap’s hasty retreat on a new logo, show just how badly established brands can get it wrong. Those international brands have deep pockets and the ability to recover from such setbacks. Your business budget is unlikely to cover major mistakes, though, and the chances are you have to be a lot more careful when it comes to repositioning your brand. The action you take depends on a number of competing factors and will define whether you pursue a slight shift or a major change with your rebranding strategy. Brand Marketing Pieces

One Giant Leap or Several Small Steps?

No matter how well-intentioned a brand update is, fans will make it known in no uncertain terms when they disapprove. A situation like this can easily leave your company stuck with the worst of both worlds, not only a significant write-off in the marketing budget but a major dent in public credibility. Because this is what rebranding is generally intended to prevent, it usually makes sense to move slowly and monitor how well each step to a new brand identity is received. It's important to understand where your brand is on the line of decline. Does it need a gradual change or some serious course correction? If your brand is not significantly well known or, worse still, in reputation free fall, then by all means attempt a giant leap with your rebranding efforts.When you have something of value that a core of customers still love, however, it's smarter to ease your way into a rebrand with many small steps.    

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