Nothing stays the same forever.
As much as we love the status quo, there is an interesting visual that shows our comfort zone as being a tiny bubble in the bottom left hand corner of a page but, the sphere where we evolve, grow and create is way beyond this.
You cannot run your company the same way, doing the same thing, over and over again, forever. Times change. People change. Your customers change. You grow.
The boundaries that were once so comforting, are now restricting you. Time has come for change.
For many businesses, this growth means re-branding but before you think this an expensive, potentially disastrous foray in which you will sink without a trace, there is, as always, ways and means of going about such a transformation – and doing so successfully.
Many brands have re-branded and revitalised themselves; take Burberry for example. Once dismissed as gang wear, the likes of Emily Watson now wear the instantly recognisable tartan pattern wear. With many other example of successful re-brands, if the time has come for your business to change, how do you go about it? What have the successful examples and the not-so-successful examples of rebranding taught us?
#1 Be ready for change
If you are in business, there will come a point where something has to give – it either grows, or it starts to retract. What was one perfect, is now changing to something different and this inevitably starts with what your market place is demanding. Society changes, as well as needs, demands and expectations and your business, in order to stay a viable business, may need to leap with both hands and grab on to this change.
#2 Determine a new or revamped mission
You need the bigger picture, not just a snapshot view; don’t forget the song that tells us we can only see a piece of sky through a window and that stepping outside expands our view. There is no time like the present to get to grips with a SWOT analysis of your business – what are its strengths and weakness, the opportunities and threats?
#3 Talk to people
If you are rebranding, the likelihood is you have a successful business on your hands, with customers and suppliers with whom you have a great relationship. Talk to them; ask them what they do and don’t like? What’s missing? What do you do well that could be expanded?
You need a mix of qualitative and quantitative market research…
#4 Your market
Rebranding essentially means branching out and thus, your portion of the market should be bigger but, within your current confines you will only be looking at a small section of it. Take a leaf from the book of Pepsi – considered by some as the poor relation to Coca Cola, Pepsi has quietly and stealthily buying soft drinks companies that not only diversifies it operations, but increases it market share too. The key question you need to answer is, how has your industry and market changed?
#5 Competition and allies
Every company has competition. Every company has allies. The best example of this is the rebranding by Seattle’s Best Coffee, part of the Starbucks brand.
They realised their industry was cluttered, with hundreds of names and logos in which their company was lost. They realised they needed to break out from the crowd and this is where they formed alliances with similar, but not direct competitors.
In the US, Seattle’s Best Coffee is now sold in many different outlets and franchises, including big names such as Subway, Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, Border’s Bookstores and so on. Their new logo made them stand out as a fun company, appealing to a new clientele.
#6 Re-thinking your customer base
Rebranding means re-targeting your view of customers. It is not about ditching the old ones, but appealing to new ones too. You may offering very similar services or products, just vamped up and with a wider scope. Don’t forget, even tried and tested customers will look for new, innovative products and delivery.
#7 The plunge!
Do you remember those first heady years of business, where you took the plunge and laid everything on the line? You are going to do it again and, like jumping off that top diving board feet in the air, if you think about it, you will never leap.
Once you have the suggestions you need, have realistically studied the market and impact, you need to make the decision – reposition your business or re-brand? And if you decide rebrand, don’t hesitate… But, now is the time for internal business analysis…
#8 Plan of action
Like a business plan that strategizes where you are going and why, you need to strategize your rebranding. What is wrong and why does it need fixing? Do you have all the facts? Are you making an informed choice? How are you going to do it? Is everybody on board?
Rebranding is just as much an exercise in communication as it is anything else. People need to know you are changing and what this means for them. Harness new ideas – why not create a YouTube clip that explains the new look business? – and stay on with social media channels such as Twitter and Facebook in your current form, whilst creating a crossover to the new brand.
#10 Be bold and brave
Change is invigorating. Rebranding your business, and growing it to the next level, is a courageous step and one which can reap huge benefits. There are many details to be ironed out, a lot of work to be done but with the right information driving it, a careful thought out strategy, your business can rebrand successfully.