By Tempest Wright, Staff Writer/Illustrator – May 13, 2021
The Journey of Rebranding
A brand is what consumers immediately think of when they hear a company’s name, and it is important because it shapes the company’s identity and creates awareness among its target demographic. In addition to awareness, consumers make purchasing decisions with an experience in mind, which is the result of successful branding. For example, someone who walks into an Apple store expects to be approached by knowledgeable technicians and helpful sales personnel upon entry. Additionally, an Apple customer expects products to be on display and easily accessible for testing out new devices and considering their purchase. Someone who enjoys off-roading is more likely to exhibit brand loyalty to Jeep than they are to Toyota. On a smaller scale, a person, such a parent, might spend more money on a Kellogg brand cereal than the bargain brand because they believe the former manufactures a better quality product than the latter. When a company knows what its demographic wants and is able to deliver, consumers associate the brand with positive experiences.
A brand is what distinguishes one company from another when they offer similar or identical products and services. A name, logo, design, tagline, social media presence, and customer interactions are the main components that comprise a brand. The act of branding requires market research, development, and practical application of said findings so that consumers associate the brand with its products and services. For example, ask almost anyone the first thing that comes to mind when they think of soup. The answer is likely Campbell’s chicken noodle, as they’ve branded themselves as one of the most quality household foods on the market. Branding, as a company’s identity and one of its most important assets, is a process that requires intuitive connection with consumers to decipher their wants and needs. Internally, it is the assurance that the company’s mission and message are both clear and comprehensible. It can be the difference between a customer’s support and their decision to shop elsewhere.
A rebrand is the process of changing the previously established corporate image, and it is a marketing strategy that is employed for various reasons. A company might launch a rebrand to expand its demographic, add new products, locations, or services, stand out from competitors, or as a response to changes within the market. Rebranding is important because it keeps the business connected to the evolving needs of their clients and consumers.
During the initiation of a company rebrand, it’s important to understand the company’s target demographic and how their needs have changed since the first launch. Additionally, it serves a brand well to observe their competition and pinpoint why their consumers might be buying from a competitor instead. Along with market research, it must be determined whether or not the company’s vision aligns with the rebrand and what subsequent adjustments need to be made. For example, when Dunkin’ Donuts rebranded, it expanded past coffee and donuts and introduced breakfast and lunch foods to its menu. To reflect this change, the company renamed itself, dropping “Donuts” and reemerging as Dunkin’. Similarly, McDonald’s combated its image as the driver of American obesity through a partial rebrand and added salads and fruit smoothies to its menu.
The process of rebranding doesn’t only reflect across goods and services. If the brand’s style guide is updated, the new colors, fonts, logo, etc. should still reflect what the company started with, so that brand awareness isn’t sacrificed. Otherwise, an ad campaign alerting the target demographic of the rebrand (such as a name change) is necessary.
While rebranding is often a successful business strategy, there are risks involved. In 2010, when GAP redesigned its logo for the first time in 24 years, the backlash aimed at the poor design was almost immediate. GAP strayed so far from its brand identity that it switched back to its 1986 logo just 6 days after the new logo’s unveiling. In the process of rebranding, it’s possible to alienate or confuse existing consumers, and this could drive them to the competition. However, when done right, a rebrand can be the variable that brings the company more profits.
Ultimately, rebranding is an undertaking that requires as much care and consideration as building a brand from scratch, if not more. Consumers have set expectations and companies have a vision to uphold. To tamper with this is a risk, but the reward is greater if the execution is carried out just right.
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