A rebranding strategy is a step-by-step plan on how a company will rebrand. It is usually an upgrade of branding.
When branding, companies work hard to define who they are, what they do, and how they operate. They are intentional about what their customers and other stakeholders perceive them as. Then, they bring their ideas to life strategically, using their brand assets – colour, typography, voice, music, and anything else that passes the message to their target audience.
Branding requires close attention to Strategy, Design and Messaging. If the brand wants to reposition itself in the market, the company may need to re-brand. In this case, they reconsider, revamp and redefine who they are.
Many companies – big and small, have rebranded and redefined who they are and what they stand for. Some came out well, others, not so much. We have seen both sides, and we can tell you that it boils down to their Rebranding Strategy. How effective was their plan? I mean, their rebranding strategy plan.
Rebranding Strategy Plan
A rebranding strategy plan sets out the steps and plans a brand will follow until it completes the rebranding process. A rebranding strategy plan, in most cases, is a document that serves as a guideline for how the company will implement its rebranding strategy. In addition, it is a guide that states the steps in rebranding.
Steps in Rebranding
1. Reestablish your brand’s audience and market
The first step in rebranding is re-establishing your audience and market. For example, in Nigeria you have to go a long length to get your target audience. Then, when you choose to reposition, you take your branding up a notch.
2. Redefine your company’s vision, mission, and values
This is the strategy. When rebranding, the chances are that your brand does not stand for the same thing as it did in the initial branding. Redefine what you stand for.
3. Rename during a rebrand
Except for mergers and acquisitions, this is not a necessary step. Your rebranding strategy plan may cover it. However, in most cases, the name remains the same as when Branding.
4. Reconsider your brand’s slogan
One of the commonest steps in rebranding is a change in the slogan. Since there may be a repositioning, your rebranding strategy plan should include a change in the slogan so it touches a wider range of audiences or targets some people.
5. Rebuild your brand identity
This is one of the major steps in rebranding. What is the aim of rebranding if your identity remains the same way? It’s a must in any rebranding strategy Plan.
6. Track brand sentiment
What are people saying about your brand? This is a chance to correct any misconceptions or errors in your branding strategy. You can do this by creating a way to get customers’ reviews. Your rebranding strategy plan should track every sentiment and leverage them.
7. Plan a successful launch
Of course, what’s rebranding without a launch? Why should there be a rebranding strategy plan that does not include a launch? So, it would be best if you plan a successful launch. Put everything in place to ensure that the launch is successful and will be accepted. You can use a countdown and make sure your internal team is ready for it.
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The Dos and Don’ts of Rebranding Strategy
Branding has its code of conduct. What we should do and what we should not do. Rebranding being an upgrade could be taken lightly, except that any move could destroy the company’s image, which it has worked hard to keep or turn the company around for the better.
Here are the dos and don’ts of a rebranding strategy.
Do your research
In coming up with the right rebranding strategy, you need to do your research such that you can focus. While researching, you answer questions like ‘Why are we rebranding?’ ‘What are we adjusting or changing?’. Then, when you have answers to those questions, you focus on where and how to go about the rebranding process. Research gives you direction and takes you to the destination easier.
Rebrand with your audience in mind
What do your customers think?
When branding, it is important that you think of your customers. Your customers could be businesses or everyday people. It will help if you put them first. It would be best if you did not lose sight of your target audience when creating a rebranding strategy. It’s like putting a peg on them so that they stay where they are.
Your target audience is the reason for your existence as a company. You exist to solve their problems. If the process of rebranding, you lose sight of that – even by the tiniest fragment, your strategy is a sham. So prioritize your audience, those you had and those you’ve repositioned to get.
Look into your past.
Your past says a lot about the future of your brand.
What have you done before? You are an existing brand, not a new brand, so definitely, there’s a past. What record do you have? Do you have an award? Or have you solved some peculiar problems for your customers or community? All these things will take your brand forward if you leverage them.
When rebranding, you should put your past in perspective. Your past achievements help with retention. In addition, your past successes reduce the effort and energy you need to create an image of who you are.
On the other hand, if there are any ugly faces from your past, you must not neglect them in your rebranding strategy. It would be best if you did as much work to create that perfect image so your customers and stakeholders can perceive your brand the way they should.
Commit to what you stand for
What is it you stand for as a company? Rebranding is an opportunity to reinforce your values. It’s an opportunity to be more vocal about it. Do you care about the environment? Talk about it. Incorporate it into your rebranding strategy. Let people know.
This part of your strategy may be weak because some of your existing customers may not align with it. They see more clearly when you are more vocal about it, and you may lose that customer. But, on the other hand, by being more open and vocal about what you stand for, you could attract like-minded people, and you would have increased your market share.
Either way, commit to what you stand for. Do that!
See the brand as a full experience.
Your brand is not just a company that customers buy from; it’s much more than that. You need to see your brand as a full experience. Go through the customer journey, starting from what they can see. What’s your messaging like? How’s your marketing? Experience the full brand. Experience the strategy, your vision, mission, and values. Your rebranding strategy should give you that experience. What does it mean to be a member of staff? Your brand is holistic. Put yourself in everyone’s shoes. Feel it, experience it all.
Do it for your future company.
A good rebranding strategy will be future looking and not based on trends. Of course, there are trends. Things come and go, and every business may adapt to whatever changes there are in the marketplace. However, when Rebranding, you should not fall into the trap of trying to meet current trends only. Instead, get some binoculars, and look into the future. What does the future look like? Your company should have an identity such that by expanding, it won’t need to change its visual identity.
In the same way, you use your past, you also need to think of your company’s future.
Don’t try to be what you’re not.
Some companies try to be what they’re not and create an image that doesn’t represent who they are. For instance, there are many campaigns over Sustainable development goals and green energy. A company that is not into it can claim to be. However, they might be going against all the principles.
You are trying to be something else, which always ends up ugly, especially regarding ethics and values. So commit to your values, and don’t get distracted by other things that will push your brand into the mess.
Don’t lose your identity.
Your identity is who you are. You might find later a thing or two in your rebranding strategy, but don’t lose it all. If you do so, it’s like spreading a light cloth and not pegging it. Your competitors can easily sway your existing customers. It would help if you had a way of keeping them. If you lose your identity, it’s as good as losing them and every other loyalist.
Use your past for the future of your company. Don’t lose your identity. It also means that you don’t change everything in a snap. Take it systematically.
Don’t make it complex
When Rebranding, it’s easy to come up with a principle to explain what you’ve done, which happens to be so complicated that your stakeholders don’t even understand easily. Take a simplified, step-by-step approach. Know why you’re rebranding and what you’re changing, and don’t forget your values.
Don’t ignore the launch
The Launch is the determinant of the whole rebranding strategy. It would help if you did not ignore whatever happens then. How have people received it? What is the market like? How did you break the news? Don’t just straddle them with something new. Let them get hints that you’re cooking something for them. It could be a countdown.
Rebranding is beyond having an update to a company’s visual identity. It may also include an adjustment to the message they pass across. Rebranding should be for a valid reason. Hence, rebranding should not be done because of boredom or silly reasons. It could take your company back to ground zero. The longer people can identify you, your voice, your visuals, and every other brand assets you may have, the stronger you are in the market. If you choose to rebrand, there must be strong reasons to back it up.
Rebranding is not something you do every time. Hence, it could be challenging. Nevertheless, you need to make it right.
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