Ask Silver Bullet: April 2016
As an established company, how do we know when it is time to rebrand?
As the Bard may have put it, if he was marketing inclined, some are born branded, some achieve branding and some have rebranding thrust upon them! Start-up companies have the luxury of a blank page but the disadvantages of a lack of track record upon which to build their brand and usually finance to invest in their branding. Other organisations HAVE to rebrand due to mergers, takeovers, change of Directors, new competition, new markets, new technology etc, but for the majority of us, a rebrand is something we gradually come to accept is needed for a wide variety of reasons.
Rebranding can be a daunting task for any organisation so it shouldn’t be one that’s entered into lightly or without due consideration of the reasons, the costs and the consequences.
Whilst there are any number of learned articles on the whys and wherefores of rebranding (and they almost all start with a discussion of the differences between brand and logo and are worth reading for that alone), I’d like to address more practical aspects. In doing so, two expressions immediately come to mind – “if it ain’t bust, don’t fix it” and “throwing the baby out with the bathwater” – both of which I believe are relevant here - it may not be bust, but it also may not be running as well as it should be and whilst you want to embrace a new future, you also want to ensure you retain the best parts of your heritage.
We rebranded ourselves in 2007 because we felt the new digital technology had changed the way we worked, our offer to clients, the demand for our services, the competition and the skills sets of our personnel – the old Silver Bullet brand simply didn’t reflect the new company. We changed our logo, our offer to clients, our website and many of our internal systems to reflect a new way of working with new media and new opportunities.
BUT, and it was an enormous but for us, before we changed anything we had critically re-examined everything we did with the help of the Entrepreneurs’ Forum’s Business Breakthrough course. It was actually quiet a traumatic experience but we came out of it a far stronger but changed organisation with new personnel and a new offering to our clients.
So, our advice is to have a really close look at your own organisation and whether your brand reflects your offering – invest in some internal and external market research to find out what your own staff and your customers think. One way of thinking about this is look at external factors often used in PESTEL analysis - has the market, the technology, the competition etc changed – and internal factors - has your personnel, services or business strategy changed?
It may be that there is no mis-alignment between your brand and your offer so you have the choice of pro-actively evolving BEFORE a rebrand is required or carrying on as before. But, if you have a gut feeling that something is amiss, it probably is and you may well have to discard the comfy slippers of your old brand that has entrenched your business and rebrand.
The results can be fantastic – you’ve interacted positively with your own personnel and your customers and have come out with an offering that matches their requirements if you get it right. A rebrand can reignite your employees who take pride in their new offering and act as brand ambassadors to existing and potential customers. The costs incurred may have been considerable – market research, staff time, graphic design, stationery, web site, signage, Point of Sale and all types of marketing collateral – but the costs of not doing anything may have finished the organisation – standing still these days, unfortunately, is simply not an option in a rapidly changing world.
So do you need to be a bit more creative with your marketing? Do you need to review your strategy or do you have another marketing question we can help with? Talk to us. Email your questions anonymously to us today email@example.com or Tweet us (not so anonymously) @SilverBulletPR and use the hash tag #AskSB