A lot of factors make marketers think about rebranding their company’s image. Changing audience needs blur the brand’s existing position. At the same time, increased competition, driven by the emergence of new players in the market or innovative products, the development of new distribution channels, and the use of other means of promotion sometimes force companies to rethink their image or even start again.
Mihaela Tudor – Owner, and PR & Personal Branding Executive at Tudor Communications, helps us to understand who needs a new brand identity when the need for a change or update of public image arises and what are the factors behind a branding or rebranding process.
First, Mihaela Tudor points out that every organization or entrepreneur needs an identity because they want to develop, evolve, and stand out for what they are.
In a highly competitive and crowded market, the story that the company tells differentiates you. And it’s a long road to building your reputation and getting the right people to interact, to identify with your story. Most of the time, the people who represent the company matter the most. Because people trust people more than they trust companies. They can inspire you, and draw you into a community because you share their vision and/or values and like their story. This kind of “relationship” is what makes brands exist.
Identity change can alter ideology, values, strategy, and positioning. Given all these objectives, one wonders whether a brand consultant is a business strategist or a communicator. As Mihaela Tudor explains, a consultant is a strategic communicator experienced in building and maintaining a company’s image in the market.
At the same time, the business strategist is the one who clarifies all the aspects related to the company (vision, mission, values, market, products), also translated into a plan with the business objectives so that the communication and marketing people can propose the best way to achieve them. This process needs two different people to make an effective campaign in terms of perception and numbers.
There are no people who are good at everything, they can only understand some things better through experience gained over time. And agreed KPIs are ideal for tracking and evaluating results.
All major brands have personal values, but these values can vary according to needs, opportunities, and interests. How can trends and the ‘being trendy’ effect be avoided so that a company maintains its identity while adapting to new trends?
The solution proposed by Mihaela Tudor is that organizations should always think long-term when creating an image. It must be simple and high-end. It must be eye-catching. Know who their consumer is and who they can be years from now.
Even so, the way things are going, sooner or later there will be an identity change. This isn’t a bad thing. It’s just a new chance to be better, more innovative, and more complete. It’s a sign of maturity and respect for consumers.
The choice between branding and rebranding has to be thought through for each company. So, there is a “recipe” for identity change that every company should follow.
This is a strategic business decision and should be treated as such. It requires business analysis and some market research to get clarity on the new identity. It also depends, of course, on how modified it is. Are we starting from scratch or rebuilding on what already exists? Why do we do it, and with what effects? These questions need clear and detailed answers.
Mihaela Tudor, Owner, and PR & Personal Branding Executive, says it is important that once the new identity is created, on solid foundations, it is conveyed in a promotional campaign across all communication channels with the potential client.
There are several reasons for the need for identity change processes. Recommendations often come when the company is in a financial or reputational bind. At the same time, updating the public identity is necessary when the image is no longer in line with the times when the competition is more innovative.
Over time, we have gone through processes of identity change when major changes have been made in the area of products or services, with a strong impact on the business, but also when the entrepreneur no longer fits into the existing vision and message.
Companies often fail because their desire to achieve overly ambitious goals outstrips their actual ability to achieve them. Mihaela Tudor warns that in such cases, the consequences can be devastating: from loss of hard-won identity to loss of sales and even bankruptcy. Especially when this change of identity also affects the digital side of the business. The money invested in the rebranding campaign has to be taken out of the equation.
No matter how many measurements have been made, there have been catastrophic cases in the history of marketing. Mihaela cites a few examples: retail company GAP reverted to its original logo after six days and $100 million down; international chain Holiday Inn paid $1 billion for a rebrand – a trite logo and an ineffective story, over time.
As I said at the beginning, several factors lead some companies to decide to adopt an update or rebranding campaign, while others find it essential to create a new image for the business. However, Mihaela Tudor argues that most companies choose a rebrand. Some develop a strategic approach, in the sense of repositioning, and others when they are at a standstill or there are important changes in the company related to products and services.
By the book, a rebrand is recommended after about five years. The reason is that earlier can create confusion for the consumers – extremely dangerous for the business. Equally dangerous is to change the brand name, and hence all the elements that flow from it. This kind of decision should be taken in extreme situations when there is clear analysis and only one solution. The most common strategy is to change the company logo, the impact of which is reduced once communicated in a dedicated campaign.
Customer expectations are constantly changing, they want it all, and they want it now. We asked our interviewee how these expectations are reflected in the strategies adopted by companies, in terms of identity building and one-off tactics. Should companies choose to implement a single, complex strategy with long-term results or multiple measures, each with immediate effects on sales?
The right strategy takes this choice into account in the first place. It is constantly changing in terms of the tactics adopted. Everything needs to be tested, measured, and improved. That’s why strategies are made for three to five years, it’s an ongoing process.
At the same time, it is impossible to say what is harder to change: the company identity or the people perception. They are very closely related, even interdependent if the marketing team has done its job well. We can say, however, that people value the relationship between company and them, how it makes them feel, and what story it tells them.
As people are different, the criteria vary. The important thing is to always be aware about the criteria of most of your customers are.