Branding is something we haven’t talked about on this blog for a while – I like talking about branding, so let’s change that. I feel like branding and rebranding projects for marketers are like really strange medical cases for doctors – something we really like to talk about and really like to get our teeth into. At the end of the day, it’s the fundamental principles of marketing – how you’re presenting a business to the world. It’s got everything. The “fluffy” stuff – colours, logos, fonts, messaging. And the nitty gritty stuff – competitor analysis, research, project planning. Getting into branding and reasons why certain choices are made gives you a real appreciation for the stuff we see everyday – the Apple logo looks like that for a reason, Coca Cola don’t just use red and white because it looks nice, etc.
Anyway, I’ll stop rambling about how much I like branding and get to the point.
There comes a time in every business that’s been around for a while where you might start thinking about rebranding. As well we know, markets, trends and time don’t stand still. What looked fresh, exciting and modern when you developed it 10 or even 5 years ago probably doesn’t now. Your core values and mission might have shifted as you grew. The market and the demand for certain products has probably changed. These are all very good reasons to put your brand under the microscope.
Sound like you? Well, read on for a whistle stop tour of how to approach a rebranding project
Consider the current
The first fundamental question you have to ask yourself here is “why?” Why now? Is it because you’re bored and fancy a change, or is there a real commercial reason (like some of what I’ve mentioned above). An established business is just that – established – and a brand can carry with it connotations and expectations that may be jeopardised if you change them too drastically. I’ve mentioned a few very good reasons above: changing trends, changing market landscape, changing business values. Other things to consider include:
- Is your business entering into other markets? How does the brand translate there?
- Do you now have “sister” or subsidiary brands? Is there consistency?
- Is your brand used in different regions? I’ll use the C word again – is there consistency?
- Are there some negative connotations or associations with your current brand?
The next thing to consider is – what actually needs changing? We’ve explored this concept before – evolution vs revolution – are you looking at a complete overhaul, or some tweaks and adjustments? Whether you decide to go the whole hog or not will no doubt be related to your reason for driving the rebranding exercise. Another useful way to approach this is to analyse (I told you there’d be some analysis) your current brand’s strengths and weaknesses – this can include subjective analysis, holding it up against your competitors, research within your customer base.
Where do you want to be?
Once you’ve assessed where you currently are, you need to – you guessed, it assess where you want to be. Where you want to be as a brand is not just about pretty colours or using a cool font because your competitor is. You don’t necessarily need to be getting into too many specifics here – this is where a branding and creative agency will come in – but a general idea of the direction you want to take the brand in is very helpful.
Change for the sake of change isn’t where you want to be. As someone called Ellen Glasgow said, according to Google: “All change is not growth, as all movement is not forward.” To give your chosen branding partner something to aim at here so you’re all moving in the same direction, you want to be able to offer some general points about the positioning of your business and your brand and where you want this to be. This might be something like this:
- We currently sell mostly to x, but we want to appeal to y
- We want our brand to look more consistent across our various platforms and channels
- We want be more differentiated from our competitors
- We’ve reassessed our core values and want our brand to reflect them
These are very helpful pointers to any potential partner agency about the direction they should take the branding in. Without this starting point, it’s like looking at a blank page with absolutely no idea what you’re supposed to be writing.
Picking a partner
When embarking on a rebranding project – it is advisable to enlist some professional help. Going it alone as a business can be tricky – branding requires a mixture of skillsets and a fair bit of ongoing strategic, creative and analytical work to make successful.
Unless you’ve got a big internal team and the internal resources to dedicate to this kind of project, you’ll want some help. There are a couple of ways to approach this – some businesses choose to do it more formally, in the form of an RFP (Request for Proposal), and some might choose to be a little bit more informal – just engage with businesses they think might be able to help them and invite them to pitch.
It’s a good idea to at least get a pitch or proposal in front you before you proceed – for hopefully obvious reasons. If the agency in question doesn’t have the understanding of your business, your market or the creative or strategic skills to execute the project, you should advise them to exit stage left.
Inflowing’s team have nearly two decades of combined experience building brands. We cover all bases – strategic, creative, commercial – to help you create a brand with impact. If you’d like some help or advice with rebranding project – get in touch.