Generally speaking, there isn’t a set time limit to maintain any specific brand image. A brand that was thoughtfully developed may continue to be applicable and relevant to the growing business and the ever-changing marketplace for decades. However, there will most likely be a time within the lifespan of any business in which a rebrand is in order. So, how do you determine when it’s time to rebrand? Let me offer a few scenarios to consider.
- The company’s mission or purpose has changed.
As organizations grow and evolve, it’s natural for the original mission or purpose to also grow and evolve. Opportunities may arise to expand a company and serve a more diverse audience than originally intended. And, as brands learn more about what their customers want, they develop new products to fulfill a different purpose for the company.
I’m not suggesting a company should rebrand every time a new product or service is launched. However, if the vision for future products or services is clearly veering in a new or evolved direction for the company, a rebrand should definitely be up for discussion.
- There are general misconceptions about the brand.
Putting aside situations involving a negative image, be it actual or alleged (as that deserves a paragraph all its own), sometimes a brand can be plagued by general misconceptions about what the company is or does. Often, this is because the brand was confusing or ill-defined to begin with.
Developing a brand is about so much more than choosing than a nifty name and designing a logo using your favorite colors. It’s important to really know and understand what the company is, what purpose it will serve and what its future may look like so that the brand can be developed to clearly represent and communicate those things. If your brand doesn’t communicate what you are as a company – or worse, if it communicates the complete opposite of what you are – then a rebrand is essential.
- There is a negative association with the brand.
Whether the brand has earned a negative association through missteps by the company or it suffered a misunderstanding that has tainted the brand image, if the brand has a bad rap it just can’t shake, it’s time to consider a rebrand.
Don’t get me wrong, a new logo or tagline won’t turn around a tarnished reputation by itself. At this point, it’s time to go back to the drawing board and re-evaluate the mission and purpose of the brand, as well. And in this case, it will also be important to create brand messages that communicate what’s different about the brand besides a new image. This can be accomplished through taglines, talking points, on-hold messages and a number of other communication vehicles.
- Competition is heating up.
Let’s be real. Customers can and will be lured away by your competitors if you aren’t careful. It doesn’t serve any company well to sit back and assume its customers – even its best, most loyal customers – won’t check out a new, “shinier” competitor at any time. When competition heats up, it’s important to stay ahead in the game!
If it’s been a decade or so since you created your brand image, consider what you’ve learned in the last 10 years that could be incorporated into an update. Pull out that qualifying differentiator and incorporate it into a tagline. Capture new product photos. Don’t assume you have to completely redo your logo. Maybe it could just use a refresh.
Above all, ensure that the new brand is transcribed across all channels of communication – from the website to social media to email signatures and every other digital and printed piece of marketing material you have. Consistency will be key in communicating the new brand so your audiences really “get it.” And, that’s what a rebrand is really all about!