It frustrates me when companies waste their time and money.
One of the easiest ways to do this in business is to move forward with a rebranding project when you aren’t ready. Last year I gave five great reasons to rebrand. This year I thought it would be interesting to discuss five equally great reasons that simply aren’t good enough to rebrand:
1. It is a new year!
Bust out the bubbly because it’s a new year! It’s time to rebrand! The old collateral? We’ll keep the content (it’s “good enough”) and just redesign it. This old-school mentality to corporate image development is dead. And expensive. You wouldn’t treat your financial investments so frivolously, so why would you do it with your brand? Marketing is an investment in your brand and it should be treated as such.
Design is always based on content, and content is always based on message, and message is always based on brand. With that in mind, design should be the last step in your rebranding project. More importantly, you need to take the time to investigate, rediscover, plan, and execute a show-stopping brand activation even if it doesn’t fit nicely on a calendar. The extra time you invest in the beginning will pay huge dividends in the end.
2. The new CEO doesn’t like the company colours.
I once was in a meeting where the new CEO felt he could rebrand the company by simply changing its colours. He loved the colour blue; and had we not been there to guide the process, the company would have likely decreed blue on blue, with blue highlights was the new colour scheme.
Of course colour is a major component in telling your brand’s story, but there are much better ways for the CEO to put their “stamp” on the company.
Start by moving inward. What is the vision? What is the mission? Do your values align with your vision? What is the personality of the company? What is its promise? Is the customer experience mapped out? How is the company known by others? Does the company name still match the personality and communicate the current position?
Research is king. Poll your existing clientele. If you do a bit of research, you’ll likely come back with some great insights and interesting information. You may even find the results to be completely different than what you expected. Once the research is done, making a case for rebranding becomes much easier. A lawyer wouldn’t go to court without researching the case so why would you?
3. You need to validate marketing’s existence.
If you have a marketing team, you have them for a reason. Their job should be to create a never-ending stream of stories, campaigns, and business ideas, right? Wrong.
A new logo or brochure isn’t the cure to a bad sales outlook, it’s probably a part of the problem. In every case, the marketing team would be better off taking a break from the constant visual communication production.
Instead they should be communicating with the sales team, asking them what will help make their jobs easier. What road blocks do the prospects put up? Why do the prospects say ‘no’? Is the sales team confident in the product? The company? The sales team needs to be fearless and secure in what they are selling. Having a well-thought out customer experience and communications process guided by the brand strategy will better equip them to help the prospect.
“Help me help you help me help you!” – Jerry McGuire
4. An industry trend needs to be included.
The web and social media have created many design memes and in their wake a torrent of new businesses are born covered in cliché designs. Following a trend can be beneficial because it shows you are awake in a sleeping industry; but following trends is a dangerous game. There is always something shiny, new, and exciting, and because of this infinite evolution, your brand—if built on a trend, will become outdated just as quickly. Facebook, Twitter, and all the other book-of-the-month ideas will one day die sad and horrible deaths, and so too will the companies that rely on them. The greatest brands carry on because they have a solid, actionable and evolving brand strategies.
The greatest brands start the trends rather than follow them.
5. You think your company’s drop in sales is because of your outdated logo and weak marketing materials.
If this sounds familiar consider this an intervention. Your identity and your marketing materials aren’t to blame. They are just symptoms of the problem. Your company is suffering on a much deeper level and it probably stems from those people tasked with making the big decisions. Sure “look” and “feel” help to set initial customer expectations, but the fact remains…it’s just a logo, and it’s just a brochure. The prospect still needs to feel compelled to open it. What’s behind the logo and the brochure? Do you have a clearly defined position? Convincing key messages? A compelling offer? A narrative the customer can to relate to?
Don’t know what your clients want? Go on a “listening tour.” Concentrate on building the relationships you already have. It’s arguably easier and unequivocally more important to focus on client retention than client acquisition. Happy clients will sell you better through their word-of-mouth than a glossy brochure ever could. When you waste your time, money, and resources overhauling the aesthetic components of your brand based on a whim, it shows a lack of understanding in what your brand really is.
Instead companies should only rebrand to communicate a new vision.
They should rebrand to better reflect their purpose, position, core values, key messages, and story. Successful businesses are born from remarkable products, services, and people; but successful brands evolve through the implementation of sound brand strategies. With the brand strategy in place, move to build a strong corporate culture where everyone feels validated by great output. Once that’s accomplished; then—and only then, should you move ahead with updating the visual components of your brand.