Have you ever wondered how brands like Apple, Starbucks, and Netflix manage to achieve worldwide recognition and success? The secret lies in their global strategy.
Branding is one of the most important tasks, not only for new firms, but also for those that have already established themselves on the market. It’s a process of building and consolidating a brand’s position. Recognizability and perpetuation of a good company image among the people from the target audience is the key to success. A legible logo, colors, slogan, motto, melody, employees’ costumes, public relations, specific products or any positive associations with the brand are essential. There’s also the concept of rebranding. Contrary to some beliefs, it’s not the opposite of branding.
What is a rebranding strategy?
The definition of rebranding strategy is very complex. In simple terms we can say that rebranding is a modification of one, several or all of the components of the brand. The main purpose of rebranding is to remake or refresh the brand by changing the logo or slogan, introducing specific qualities, making changes within the company or in the marketing strategy.
Rebranding is usually used when a decrease in the brand value becomes visible due to the changes in market trends, strong competition, merger with another company or acquisition of the company by another firm. The rebranding process is complicated and costly. Companies that want to modify their brand have to undertake new marketing activities – unique advertising campaigns, leaflets and company materials. It might be hard to convince the target audience that has already got accustomed to the previous version of the visuals and slogans. Rebranding must be completed quickly and efficiently.
Additionally, it’s not easy to maintain continuity – e.g. to keep at least one element that links the previous version of the company logo with its new image. All of the above activities that implement changes in the way a company functions is what we call the rebranding strategy.
Successful rebranding requires detailed planning and preparation. Efficient rebranding steps include:
- determining why rebranding is necessary – why are changes needed? You should summarize the current brand situation and catch all the elements that stunt its growth and further development. Check what are the most important questions to ask when rebranding;
- setting the rebranding goals – why do you want to rebrand? Think about the purpose. What do you want to achieve through your rebranding strategy? What needs to happen to accomplish those goals?
- deciding on what should be changed – you have to list everything you want or need to change;
- deciding on how to change those listed elements – determine the rebranding direction, i.e. plan how individual elements should look after the changes;
Rebranding a company step by step
Good company rebranding must not only refresh the brand, but also rebuild it in some ways. Because it has layers, any brand can be compared to an onion, and rebranding is like peeling through each of those layers. We can distinguish four layers of the brand that are important from the point of view of creating the brand image.
- The first outer layer refers to the appearance – here we have the logo, as well as company and advertising materials etc. Those elements are always modified or replaced during rebranding – they no longer fit after changes in the deeper layers are implemented.
- The second layer is communication, i.e. all advertising slogans and information sent to the customers. It’s not enough to change their wording. We have to make sure that the clients have a clear understanding of the brand’s new messages.
- The third layer focuses on the products and services. Remember, that every time you introduce new products, or change the already available ones, you affect the way customers perceive your brand.
- In the center, beneath all the layers, is the core of your firm. That’s the main association your brand evokes in consumers. It’s an anchor or brand mental image in the consumer’s head – it’s worth knowing the concept of brand positioning, which is not the same as website positioning. In order to change the way your brand is perceived by the customers, you have to rip out its core and then replace it.
Start rebranding activities from the core and work your way out from there – every change made in a deeper level will necessitate changes in the outer layers.
Are you still not sure where to start? Follow these steps!
- Analyze your company’s history and evolution. Why was it founded and where is it now? This will help you define the main reason for the changes.
- It’s worth doing research for a better understanding of customers’ needs, especially if you want to reach a new demographic. You can conduct surveys, communicate with the clients via social media or a company forum. It will make assessing how the brand is viewed by the customers easier.
- Analyze your contact points with your customers. How do you gain new ones, how do you contact them? You need to understand how your customers interact with your business. It’s also worth paying attention to your advertising materials – blog, website, social media presence, newsletters, leaflets. This way you’ll know what needs to be changed.
- It’s important to carry out a brand brainstorming with all employees – rebranding affects them as well. They need to be up to date with changes throughout the process;
- Rebranding launch strategy is the last step. The customers must know about the incoming changes. You should keep them informed and explain why they are being made. Make the changes seem exciting!
Successful rebranding strategies – examples
The best example of a rebranding strategy is the process that followed the ERA brand takeover made by T-Mobile. They changed everything – logo, slogans, color palette and even the name. The whole rebranding process was perfectly planned and executed. T-Mobile is now one of the largest mobile telephony operators in Poland.
The second example shows that rebranding is a process full of pitfalls. We’re talking about GAP, the American clothing company. At the beginning, it was decided that a small rebranding was needed, so they changed the logo. Capital white letters on a dark blue background were replaced by black lettering with a different font and a small square next to the letter “P.” The customers did not like it. They did not understand the brand’s motives at all. Moreover, the changes were carried out way too quickly. Rebranding should be fast, but there are still some limits. People simply didn’t associate the new logo with the brand they were familiar with. As a result, the company lost a lot of money and had to go back to the old and proven patterns.
Many companies decide to refresh the visual side of their brands. German airlines, Lufthansa, knew what they were doing. They planned a huge change of the color scheme in 2018. It was decided to remove yellow from the logo completely and leave the white and blue colors. Ultimately, however, the logo was slightly changed and the blue color got a little bit darker. These changes had a positive impact on the brand image.
Another example of a company that has undergone a solid rebranding is UBER. This company introduced a new logo and application icon in 2016. The changes caused a lot of confusion. They were criticized for the lack of consistency and visual communication. The brand introduced changes again in 2018. This time, they used their classic logo with a black and white design as a point of reference, which was definitely beneficial.
We should mention Alior Bank’s flawless rebranding strategy as well. They changed not only the wording, but also the connotations. Originally, the slogan read “Higher banking culture.” It was changed to “Higher culture. Bank of modern solutions.” The new message is a reference to the modern approach to banking. Alior Bank wanted to rebuild clients’ associations with the brand so that they would identify it with innovations in the banking sector.
Netflix is yet another example of a good rebranding strategy. Few people remember that initially it was a mail-order DVD rental company. As the Internet got faster, they decided to make films available online. In the next step, they moved from the role of distributor to that of a producer as Netflix started making its own series, movies and shows.
In order for the rebranding strategy to be carried out correctly, it should be commissioned to specialists who know what they’re doing. It’s worth entrusting a brand refreshment to a company such as Nopio.
We performed the rebranding for Genea. It’s a cloud-based PropertyTech solution tailored for modern times. This software works with most existing real estate hardware. Genea has built its reputation through excellent customer service. Over the years, they have gained the trust and loyalty of twenty-one out of twenty-five real estate companies in the USA. Genea took over the access control solution provider Sequr.io and had to make an elaborate merger of its corporate image with the SaaS startup. Thanks to the new brand and content strategy, Nopio designed a modern website and other marketing elements, creating Genea’s brand-new digital identity. If you’d like to look through the project click here.
Rebranding strategy – summary
Rebranding is definitely a challenge, as clearly demonstrated on the examples of GAP and UBER. Other cases show that a well prepared and planned rebranding can significantly improve the company’s functioning on the market and the way customers perceive it. In order to carry out an effective rebranding, you should plan all activities down to the smallest detail. If you do not know how to do it, it’s best to cooperate with a good, specialized company that will not only walk you through the rebranding process, but also provide you with rebranding tips. Choose a company with good customer feedback and portfolio. Only then you can be sure that everything will be done properly and your money will be well spent.
It’s not possible to determine exactly how much rebranding will cost, as the final price can be affected by many factors. Rebranding can be costly, but the expenses are spread over time. The implementation of changes and marketing activities created in connection with the introduced changes are usually the most expensive. The costs of visual changes (logos, slogans) do not account for a large part of the final amount.
However, it’s clear that if you want to rebrand, you need to have resources and patience. It’s not enough to implement the changes. Some time has to pass before you’ll be able to find out what effects the introduced changes have brought and whether everything went as it was specified in the plans.