Ever get that feeling that your once comfortable clothes are a little too snug? Ever pass by a mirror and think that maybe you could do with a style upgrade? Brands are no different. Whether it’s grown too big for its britches or has become tragically unhip, every brand will have to redefine itself at some point.
The value of rebranding as a long-term investment is borne out by brand metrics. It can infuse your marketing efforts with relevance and vigor, separate you from the pack, enable you to reach new audiences, attract top industry talent—even allow you to charge more for your products or services.
It can be hard to know if you’re in need of a rebrand. Too often the red flags get lost in the hustle and bustle of workaday madness. And even when you do notice them, the decision to actually embark on a rebranding initiative is rarely an easy one. So, how do you know when it’s finally time to pick up the phone and call a branding agency?
The following are signs that your brand is probably ready for an update.
1. Your brand name no reflects the vision.
It happens. What seemed like a great name 15 years ago now no longer represents what your brand is about. Sometimes changes in cultural context can change the meaning of a brand name. Sometimes the name just outgrows its welcome. Whatever the reason, you shouldn’t let your brand name be a drag on your brand itself.
2. Your website or business cards embarrass you.
This happens a lot. If you cringe a little when you reach for your card, or if you feel like your website should come with a disclaimer about needing to be updated, it’s probably time for a rebrand. Outdated, stale, boring, unoriginal—if your corporate identity or online presence falls under one or more of these descriptors, get thee to a branding agency.
3. You’re failing to differentiate yourself from the competition
At the end of the day, branding is all about competitive differentiation. If you feel like your brand is lost in a sea of marketplace sameness, why not rock the boat a little? Repositioning and capitalizing on your unique value propositions can make your brand exponentially more visible to consumers searching for unique solutions.
4. Your brand has become overly complicated
Is your messaging and design scattershot or confusing? Has your business become a hodgepodge of offerings with no unifying brand narrative? If your messaging is making your audience glaze over, it may be time to take a step back to simplify and focus. When it comes to branding, increased complexity means decreased cohesiveness. A rebrand is the best way to remedy this problem.
5. Your business model or strategy has changed
Sometimes the strategic objectives on which a company is founded are not its same goals five years down the road. Whether it’s unforeseen market opportunities or changes in technology, business models change. And when your business changes, so must your brand. The way your company is perceived by those it serves (i.e., your brand) should always align with the way it operates behind the scenes.
6. You’ve outgrown your brand
One of the more fortunate problems to have when it comes to business changes is that of scaling. If you’ve outgrown your current brand or need to account for sudden and unexpected gains, you should definitely consider a rebrand. To compete at a higher level with higher-tier brands, it’s often necessary to leave your old brand behind.
7. You’re undergoing a merger or acquisition
If they’re not growing on their own accord, businesses often do so alongside other businesses in the form of an entirely new entity. Mergers and acquisitions should always be looked at as an opportunity for rebranding. It’s critical to look at how the acquired brand fits into the brand architecture of the parent company. All too often brands fail to think this through. The result is that both brands suffer due to the confusion that comes from a lack of brand alignment.
8. You’ve moved or expanded beyond your original geography
Regional businesses are often faced with the reality of a rebrand if they hope to expand (or flat-out move) their geographical presence. More often than not, such rebrands will entail a renaming initiative. Sometimes, however, a regional name can simply be repositioned for national or international relevance.
9. You need to disassociate your brand from a negative image
These days it doesn’t take much for a word or concept to take on devastatingly negative connotations. Thanks to social media, political missteps, and business faux pas can spread like wildfire, transforming a once-innocuous brand into a veritable hot potato. Rebranding is often the simplest and most effective remedy in these situations.
10. You’re trying to connect with a new audience
Today it’s millennials. Tomorrow it’ll be post-millennials. However silly the moniker, there’s always another generation hot on the heels of those who are spending money in the current marketplace. A rebrand allows you to redefine yourself with the goal of reaching these new and untapped audiences. Staying on top of demographic shifts is good business. The last thing a savvy young demographic wants, after all, is to associate itself with the stodgy brands of their parents’ generation.
11. You’re not attracting top talent
The best talent wants to work at the best brands. It’s as simple as that. If you’re having trouble recruiting the caliber of employees that is necessary for the advancement of your business, it might be because your brand is associated with subpar industry standards. A rebrand allows you to redefine yourself, not just for your customers, but for your current and future employees as well.
Whether they’re plain as day or hiding in plain sight, signs it’s time to rebrand can be just about anywhere. Often the first sign is that you’re wondering if a rebrand is necessary! Whatever eventually impels you to reach out to a branding firm, you can rest assured you’re making the right decision. With the amount of measurable benefits that come with rebranding, the investment is likely to pay off many times over.
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