Recently, we came across a piece of industry analysis that questioned the value of branding, and to some extent, the very nature and purpose of our industry. The author, Robert Wynne, is a Public Relations consultant with a grudge against the branding industry. In fact, he seems to have a bone to pick with the very concept of branding itself, and especially the rebranding process. His basic claims come down to this: rebranding a company is expensive and doesn’t work. He’s wrong.
Here’s Why Rebranding Works:
If your business has been around for awhile, rebranding can be a worthwhile investment, provided it is undertaken following a coherent and well-crafted rebranding strategy.
Why Rebranding May Be Critical to Your Success
First of all, a shout out to PR professionals. We work with you; we love you; you’re awesome. Your services are a valuable addition to any branding, advertising, or marketing campaign. And that’s the point. They are just one aspect of an overall branding or rebranding strategy.
Rebranding a business is a complex proposition that involves a lot of moving parts, requiring a number of different components (advertising, PR, Social Media, Search, etc.) working together to realize a common goal. To be successful at rebranding a company, the rebranding process has to be driven by a cohesive vision, and implemented in such a way that all of those moving parts are working with each other.
When done correctly, rebranding a business addresses both of Wynne’s concerns: expense and effectiveness. Let’s take a look.
How Expensive is the Rebranding Process?
First of all, branding doesn’t have to be “expensive.” When you assess whether or not rebranding a company is going to be worth the time, headaches, and money necessary, the real question isn’t “how much does it cost,” it’s “what’s the Return on Investment (ROI),” for the rebranding process. It might seem impossible to measure the ROI on something like a brand that seems intangible, but it’s not.
Did you get the warm fuzzies when you saw Don Draper come up with the idea to buy the world a Coke on the season finale of Mad Men? That’s largely thanks to Coke’s strong brand, which it built over the years by creating impressions based around the concepts of authenticity and friendliness, creating a nearly automatic pathway to the hearts and minds of their potential clients. Successful branding happens when all elements combine to create a favorable impression in the audiences mind.
A brand is the sum total of the emotions & thoughts your audience has about your company.
Now obviously not everyone has the option to spend Coke-level money on their marketing and branding, but that doesn’t mean that without an investment in time and/or money you can’t make some solid ROI headway – assuming that you put forth a concerted, strategic, and consistent effort.
Vision, Planning, and Follow Through.
You can take a cue from my clients, Une Belle Vie Memorial Urns. They wanted to work with a small, local branding agency to launch their company. Their goals were to find an agency who could give them personalized attention and accountability for a reasonable price.
Great start. They were successful out of the gate and moving forward because they had a clear vision of their company’s potential. And they knew that to fulfill their vision of becoming a national resource for families seeking a more compassionate process for selecting cremation urns, they would need a coherent strategy and powerful, consistent implementation.
On a day-to-day basis, this means that every product photo, every google advertisement, every scrap of sales copy on their website must be the result of a smart, focused strategy, and disciplined tactical implementation.
Une Belle Vie succeeded because they took the time to conduct in-depth audience research to figure out who they needed to target, and where those potential customers spend their online time and dollars. Then they focused their branding and marketing efforts on reaching those potential customers with messages tailored to their platform, their demographics, and their conscious and unconscious needs and desires.
How Do I Know if My Company Needs a New Brand? — A 5-Question Brand Analysis
In order to determine whether your own business needs to undergo a comprehensive rebranding, you first need to undertake a brand analysis to assess the effectiveness of your current efforts.
1: Is your brand home-made or DIY?
If you created your name, logo, and tagline yourself, your brand may not be as effective as one crafted by assessing your company’s goals, and analyzing the needs of the market to whom you want to sell your services.
Denver Resource for Awareness and Prevention (dRAP) leveraged an in-depth discovery process, as outlined in Module 1 of the Build a Savvy Brand Series, to help establish an appropriate name, targeted messaging, and effective visuals focused on communicating how the organization’s services would benefit each of its target audience groups.
2: What does your current branding communicate?
Your brand should tell the market something positive and important about your company before a customer even picks up the phone or walks into your store. Does your name and tagline communicate warmth and professionalism? Does your logo resonate with your audience? Is your website easy to navigate and well-designed for modern and mobile browsers?
An important part of a successful brand analysis is an honest assessment of what you’re doing right now. The ultimate goal is to focus your new brand on differentiating your business in a crowded marketplace. Oromi Essential Oils accomplished this task in the especially crowded and fluid holistic health product space with the Build a Savvy Brand Series, helping to push their already successful brand to the next level.
3: Is your brand implemented consistently on all media?
When you examine your marketing efforts, are they clearly consistent in communicating your company’s goals and strengths? For example: are you using consistent fonts and colors across all of your print materials and website? Is your brand’s “tone of voice,” recognizable no matter where your audience encounters it?
When a customer looks at your brochure, they should be able to tell almost instantly that it comes from the same organization that owns your Website. A consistent look and feel is especially important if your company is pursuing branding or marketing across a wide variety of channels.
4: Does your brand differentiate and position your company?
One of the most important objectives of rebranding is to make sure your company is differentiated from its competitors and positioned effectively. Your marketing should clearly communicate what your company does, how it does it well, and what the benefits of that service are to your audience. It also needs to indicate what is unique about your company.
You focus your brand by understanding and communicating the needs of your audience and your industry—not on keeping up with the latest Web design fads, or stuffing your site with “cool,” bells and whistles. Module 2: Refining Your Brand Data explores audience profiles in detail. An example of audience-based recommendations is the clean and conversion-focused Website created for Restaurant Discount Warehouse.
5: Has your company outgrown its original brand?
Is your brand limiting your company’s potential for growth? Has your company evolved over the years? If your brand analysis indicates that your look and feel, or messaging is too casual to reach the larger, more desirable clients you are currently seeking, it’s time to consider a fresh start.
Refreshing your brand is a great way to reinforce credibility with your current clients by demonstrating your ability to be agile and keep pace in an evolving industry and marketing climate. A polished brand can also introduce you to a whole new set of clients, helping to secure your company’s future moving forward.
What if My Company Needs a New Brand?
So you’ve walked through the answers to these questions, written them down, and maybe even hashed them out with a marketing or business adviser. You probably have some questions of your own at this point, especially around the topics of the necessary time investment and how to establish an appropriate budget that will achieve your goals without breaking the bank.
Now is the time to reach out to professionals to guide you through the remainder of the exciting process of developing and implementing a strategic, effective branding plan.
You are in luck, and in the right place. We’ve been helping small businesses do this for years because we believe that successful branding isn’t just for large corporations. It’s a powerful tool for any business looking to grow and thrive in today’s exciting, fast-moving business world.