And when I use the term “rebrand”, I’m not talking about creating a new logo. I’m talking about redefining your mission, position, and strategy. When is it time to chart a new course? Here are five great reasons to seriously consider rebranding your company.
1. You have no competitive advantage.
Cool sells. Bottom line. Apple is a prime example of the ‘cool’ that other companies attempt to copy but rarely duplicate. Apple’s cool was not by accident. It is the result of a killer strategy and precision execution. Cool companies don’t chase or copy cool. They create it.
If you look and sound exactly like your competition what does that say about you? What makes you different? What makes you better? What makes you cool enough in the eyes of your potential customers that they must have you?
Did you write your cliché-ridden content yourself? Do you use lame, inexpensive stock images? If you do, you’ll find comfort in numbers because so does everyone else. Instead, why not hire a professional to write your content. Why not create your own photo shoot using real people — your people in real situations? Did you know that getting a professional writer and photographer is usually cheaper than doing it yourself?
You can’t fake cool. Either you have it or you don’t. If you are truly as different as you say you are, your brand needs to portray its uniqueness through everything you do.
2. It’s unclear what you do.
Don’t laugh. You’d be shocked at how many businesses strive to be unknown. The quickest and easiest way to become unknown is to expand your product or service offering. Sounds odd doesn’t it? I mean doesn’t expanding your offering communicate to your customers that you can fulfill their every need?
No. As the saying goes, ‘trying to be everything to everyone, means you’re nothing to no-one.’ Instead of trying to be pretty good at everything, why don’t you absolutely dominate one category? Own a position and leave your prospects with little doubt as to who is the best choice.
Sure it’s okay that you offer other products or services, but as Curly so eloquently put it in City Slickers, you need to find your ‘one-thing.’
3. You’re irrelevant.
Staying relevant has become increasingly difficult for companies over the years. Twenty years ago it was fairly easy to stay competitive. There weren’t as many competitors, products had longer shelf lives, and consumers were comfortable with using the same product for longer periods of time. Gradually the landscape changed. There’s now infinite choice, constant advancement in technology, and consumers have evolved. We’re smarter, better trained, and more apt to choose companies whose value systems are closely aligned with our own.
We especially respond positively to what is new. We are always looking for the newest smart phone, the newest paint colour, the newest car, the coolest hairstyle, the newest fashion…new, new, new, new, new.
And while new doesn’t always mean better, old is rarely better. Perception as I’ve already mentioned goes a long way. A brand can tell us how much they care about themselves and their customers by how in-tune they are with staying relevant. A tired brand; a brand struggling to remain relevant, doesn’t have a clear mission or position, it doesn’t have clearly visible values for customers to align themselves with, and it gives customers the impression business isn’t good. This usually leads customers to believe the product and service aren’t up to par as well. (And chances are they’re right.)
4. You look unprofessional.
Many new businesses leave the image of their brand at the bottom of their to-do lists. The reasoning is it allows the business to get up and running while dodging the initial discovery and design costs. This is totally understandable and depending on the type of business, sometimes I recommend it. The company needs to discover itself through the formative years. Quite often a company doesn’t realize their true identity or their niche until they have a few years of business under their belt.
That being said, there comes a point in time when your ‘DIY’ attitude towards business needs to stop. The problem is many business leaders don’t know when to put their company’s image to the firing squad. And because of this, there are many companies out there with images that represent the way they used to be.
A good rule of thumb is to update your brand image when it doesn’t portray the professionalism you want it to. If you stick to this rule it could mean that you’re re-imaging after a month, or even after a year if business goes well. You have to remember that whether you like it or not your company has an image, and good or bad, it’s always representing you. An unprofessional image can often do irreparable harm because much of our decision making as consumers is based on preconceived perceptions. If you don’t look the part, how can you expect to attract the right kind of business?
Business is like dating. And in this case, it’s like you’ve landed a long-shot date with a supermodel, and you decided to wear your Zubaz pants to the party. Impressive? Not so much.
5. You don’t inspire.
The best brands defy convention and build excitement. It’s important for your customers to feel something when they buy from you. How does a customer get inspired? Well, you’re a consumer — what brands inspire you? What’s so inspirational about them? Do they have a funky space you love to hang out at? Is their product so unbelievable that you tell everyone about it? Do they have staff that are so helpful, so knowledgeable, and so cool you’ve become their biggest fan?
Inspirational brands start by inspiring their employees. The employees should be as much a part of the brand as the brand itself because they are the ones delivering the experience. They need a brand they can believe in; and if they don’t, quite often it means it will be tougher to believe in themselves. When your employee pulls out their business card, don’t you want them to have the comfort of having a brand they can stand behind?
Too many business owners don’t build inspirational brands and then wonder why their sales team can’t sell. You might have the best product out there but if people don’t believe in you, you might as well pack your bags and call it a day. Crash the car. Go home.
When inspired, your employees can potentially become your biggest evangelists and thus your most inexpensive medium for advertising. It’s called word of mouth marketing (and as we all know, word of mouth marketing is the most powerful form of advertising around).