When should you rebrand?

AUK Iridium Insights Brand
By Sammy Mansourpour, Managing Director at AgencyUK

In a constantly-evolving commercial landscape, there appears to be a continuous stream of high-profile organisations undertaking rebrand initiatives in a bid to stay relevant, appear modern and stand out from the up-and-coming competitors.

As a result, a number of business leaders are asking themselves whether they need to consider a rebrand. While the idea of crafting a shiny new exterior on the foundation of an already established brand may seem appealing, it’s a decision that should not be rushed.

ITV2, Bernard Matthews, Google and Gap have all undergone a rebrand in the last few months, for varying reasons and to varying levels of success. ITV2 has moved to a digitally-led promotional model in order to appeal to a younger audience, including gif-style promos and an updated social feed. Bernard Matthews, on the other hand, has rebranded yet again (the third rebrand in nine years) in a bid to capture the essence of their brand and use it to appeal to new audiences (or cynically you might say it’s to shed their negative press). Google’s rebrand ties in with the introduction of its new parent company Alphabet and has been hailed as a “masterpiece in branding communication”; whereas Gap has been slammed for its efforts and is desperately trying to counter falling profits.

There are many reasons for rebranding, and a recent article on The Guardian has stated that 2015 is the year for businesses large and small to consider making a change. With so many examples of larger brands taking the plunge, other businesses can easily learn from their mistakes – or even make an educated decision that now may not be the time.

There are five questions to answer before considering a rebrand:

  1. Is the business out of touch with its audience, less relevant – perhaps outdated?
  2. Have the products/services offered evolved?
  3. Is the target audience engaged?
  4. Is the brand/business communicating consistently across all media channels?
  5. Has the brand received considerable negative press?

Answering yes to one or more of these questions indicates that a change needs to be made; but a ‘yes’ to one of the above doesn’t necessarily mean an entire rebrand is the solution. Businesses leaders must do their research before committing and we advise thinking about the following:

If the brand is outdated and the audience disconnected, what can be done to readdress the consumer relationship?

The consumer relationship is very important, as indicated by the questions above. A ‘yes’ to question 1, 3 or 4 means the consumer relationship needs to be reconsidered and adapted accordingly. The message, image and communication methods of a brand need to be analysed and adjusted to meet with the demands of the modern digital consumer. A brand needs to impart a compelling story that resonates with them. This will make the business modern and reconnect the audience – but is a large undertaking.

If the products or services have evolved, how can the overall brand image catch-up?

It may be that the company has evolved, and the products and services along with it. eBay is a current example of this, where it has become unclear how their services connect with the eBay brand. If this is the case and a ‘yes’ is given to question 2, then it is important to revitalise the brand and realign the overall image with the reality of day-to-day business. Consider what makes the products or services popular, and compare that to what makes the image less-so. Give the brand a boost to bring the two back in line, and hopefully broaden the audience base.

Rebranding can help a business to regain a competitive advantage and stimulate growth. Rebranding can result in global success – or global failure; if a rebrand is needed then the key is to keep it simple, original, recognisable, consistent and – perhaps most importantly – versatile.