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Does your brand need a brand-new avatar? | Slangbusters Blog
Dec 9, '19

Does your brand need a brand-new avatar?

Gandhi once said, be the change you want to see. If you are thinking that you might need a rebrand, there is a very low chance that you don’t.

Here's the skinny: Do you think when you talk to your clients about your brand, it feels as if, 'Ah, once upon a time…?' Do you think that you haven't quite given your logo a second thought since ages or haven't changed your company's marketing message since the time you launched it?

Think of it this way: As individuals, we all need a new look every few years. It could be that cool hairstyle you spotted on a perfect face while walking down the aisle or that flashy color combination, the lady next door sticks to during the weekends.

Well, brands are no different. As time changes, as cultural landscapes evolve and as competition rises, it is important for your brand to cut through the noise and re-emerge itself. And what do you call this process? Rebranding, of course. To underline a simple definition it is more like shoring up your brand's foundation in a way that your offering is clear, authentic and downright relevant to current and forthcoming times.

The whole process of rebranding is more like building a house from scratch. Just like how you can't think about creating your home's interior without first building the basic structure, likewise, you can't be thinking about a rebrand without realizing your brand's truth. It's good to have a brand assessment or some sort of brand tracking to help you measure where you stand and where you want to reach.

To be able to bridge the gap between these two, you need a strong brand strategy, which obviously requires an upfront investment of time and resources. However, it's long term return on investment is invaluable.

But when should you upgrade? You may find yourself at the fork in the road and not be able to decide if it's the right time for your business to undergo rebranding. Most often, the red flags go unnoticed in the pursuit of focusing on core business competencies. And you fail to pick up the receiver and place a call to your branding agency.

Remember, it's important to build the structure of the house first. And having said that, the following set of questions will probably act like a mirror held up against you for you to self-analyze your branding needs. The following are the situations in which you should consider calling a branding studio for a rebrand. More the nods, clearer your choice.

Painting of a person cleaning glass window, in a pattern forming a question mark

Your brand name doesn't reflect your brand vision any longer

So you did this long exercise years back when you wanted to give an apt name to your business. You researched and studied various brands. You asked the experts; probably even consulted a brand strategist. But now several years later, you are there from where it all started. Your business has grown, your provisions have undergone upgradation and now, your brand name does not reflect this change anymore. Like it or not, but chances are that what seemed like a great name many moons ago, now no longer represents what your brand is all about.

People grow, so do brands. No one is bound with stagnancy unless they chose to stay. Even the brands created using timeless principles might need rebranding.

As time flies, changes in cultural context can change the meaning of the brand. At other times, the name just outgrows. But whatever the reason, it's not a wise call for you to let your brand name be a drag on your brand's identity.

Photo from outside a Dunkin Donuts store

Very recently, Dunkin' Donuts thought that it isn't really necessary to put labels on things. Based on this, the brand trimmed its name by fifty percent (anyways, alliteration is a tactic of the past). Now known as just Dunkin', the brand has also extended its product range that includes other food items, such as breakfast sandwiches, coffee, etc. And then again, who remembers Lucky and GoldStar not as LG after it rebranded in 1995? A change for the better, isn't it?

Does the answer to this question already give you answers? No need to read further, contact us now.

You are failing to differentiate from the school of dolphins

Can your customers easily recall you? Does your communication stand out? Are you able to make your mark, amidst hundreds of other players in the market? No matter what, when the sun settles, branding is all about competitive differentiation and positioning. If you feel like your brand has dissolved in the saturated pool of marketplace sameness, it could be time to take a strategic and creative jive.

Maybe when you started your brand story, your approach was humble. But now to cut and rise above the competition you need to get a bit bolder about the overall brand look and feel. You might feel that your brand sits inside the heads of a few people and you would want to reframe company vision and goals entirely. Repositioning and capitalizing your unique value propositions makes your brand visible to consumers seeking unique solutions.

De Beers said, "A Diamond is Forever" as they still do. Maybe for De Beers, that's still working.

Photo from outside a Nike store

(Photo by Thomas Serer on Unsplash)

For Nike maybe it wasn't. That is why the brand rebranded to now claim the phrase, "Just Do it" from the earlier "There Is No Finish Line." You clearly remember the former.

Now, where do you stand? What's your answer to the above question? Maybe you do want to contact us.

The systematic chaos has evaporated in thin air

Someone wise once said, 'If you conduct a grueling session with your employees and they just occasionally nod at you, understand something is amiss'. In the majority of the cases, your staff members are the first set of people to tell you that you need a new avatar.

If your company's brand guidelines were created decades ago and you haven't changed any of it yet, chances are that it's still relying on the founder's vision. You might want to consider fresh ideas coming from employees, stakeholders and several other loops knitting your business together. This approach can make you future-ready for whatever the market holds. Also, they are a part of your brand as much as those sentences in your brand book

When there is a lot of internal chaos in the organization, your employees are left directionless. This can also happen when there is a leadership change or company expansion.

Most organizations hire a branding agency that comes up with strategies and ideas for rebranding. These are then distributed amongst employees and feedback is collected basis their experiences with customers and market knowledge.

Your personnel is your primary audience to connect with your brand. To claim new fame, you first need a go-ahead sign from them. Besides this, your organization can maintain systematic chaos if everyone is focused around the same consistency. This is good for boosting employee morale too.

Considering adding a branding partner in the list of people working on your brand? We want in!

You are expanding through merger or acquisition

As part of a major industry deal, United Technologies UTX nodded to buy Rockwell Collins COL for approximately $23 billion. This is one of the biggest moves in aviation history, as people say. This merger gave birth to an aerospace giant to focus on the manufacturing of aircraft parts (touchscreen cockpit displays and jet engines among several other things). United combined its aerospace business with Rockwell Collins, creating a new unit named Collins Aerospace Systems.

These may be some heavy names for you and you might be coiling in a small corner, still struggling to keep your boat steady. But you can always watch, observe, gain insights, learn and implement, right?

There is a clear takeaway here: If your brain baby (read: brand) is not growing on its own accord, maybe you want to draw the curtains and look for merger and acquisition options. This can often lead to brighter, bolder, prouder and a bit cooler version of your original identity. But the important bit is to have this new brand architecture be in alignment with the parent company to maintain cohesion even in the new member(s) of your brand.

There is a shift in your target audience

Let's talk about a much loved local brand– Sosyo! It used to come in glass bottles. That brown colored liquid that tasted nothing but 'fruits'.

Sosyo as a brand is older than you can imagine. It is older than us millennials. It was one of the first fizzy drinks produced during the pre-independence era. As time passed, other drinks took over and all you could see was people moving around with cans and bottles of a variety of aerated liquids.

Soyso cold drink glass bottles stacked in multiple containers

When the brand evaluated itself, it concluded that the sales have gone down, their creatives feel dated and the customer numbers have plateaued. It also realized that a sharp sales downturn can't be reversed with just a new website or ads.

What happened here? The customer base shifted. Their market experienced multiple rounds of division. Those youngsters who consumed Sosyo then, had turned older. Some of them have become parents and parents of quite elder children- the target of the new aerated drinks with eye-catching packaging.

But, since a new life phase has a major impact on customer's needs and values, Sosyo adapted to customer's wants faster. It came up with a new logo, fresh packaging and tried a better brand messaging - all in alignment with the new-age customers, their lifestyle and their choices.

You see, brand guidelines should be flexible. In a way, it should adapt to ever-evolving customer needs. Sometimes, rebranding can be the hack.

You agree? we agree too, let's shake hands on it.

The negativity has spread like wildfire

Would you like to be associated with a brand that does not align with your own values? You may be a philanthropist, a person giving much important to nature's goodness or somebody just caring only for the labels. But in any case, the character of a brand you choose to use, matters to you as a customer.

Brand character is often referred to as brand image. One dent and it can ruin everything that the brand has developed over the years. It also means losses in business and never-to-return-customers waving their goodbyes. More so, the negativity that stems up remains in the minds of people for years!

Nowadays because of digital freedom and connectivity, news travels like wildfires. Mose so in the case of negative news. People (and competitors) love tragedy and controversy when it is not in their backyard.

It doesn't matter that you want to open the newspaper first thing in the morning and look-see positive content. Resentment is a great factor that makes negativity spread faster. But when you take care and modify perceptions through rebranding, it can do your brand a whole lot of good. Not only does it help you suture your brand image, but you can also attract top industry expertise; maybe even rise your product rates and service costs.

We are aware that market leaders Johnson & Johnson was questioned about dyes and fragrances in baby care products. Immediately after this, the brand set to relaunch itself with a focus on emotional appeal, with science in the background. 'Gentle' is the filter through which the team tackled every aspect of rebranding. However, the repositioning was inspired by Johnson & Johnson's 'pure, milk, gentle' tagline that zoomed less on the science side and more on the desire to raise children in a gentle world.

Photo from outside a Johnson & Johnsons office

So? Did we help clear some doubts with these case studies? We're tempted to ask. But you and only you know your brand better than anyone else. However, if your case matches even one of the above-mentioned hypotheses, its time. Very often, the first sign of rebranding is that when you start wondering if a rebrand is necessary. Whatever eventually impels you to reach out to Slangbusters, you can rest assured you're going the right way.

Since there are loads of measurable benefits coming from our branding studio, the investment is likely to pay off many times. Last question for the day. Do you need a rebranding that's rightly strategized and coming from the brand passionists? Or do you still have some doubts before you consider rebranding? We can clear them for you. Over a coffee or an email. Your call.

— by Tasneem Baldiwala, Freelance Content Writer, Slangbusters Studio

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