8 Signs You Need to Rebrand

By Madison Taylor
February 24, 2021
Business meeting in room with whiteboard

Your brand is arguably the most valuable asset of your company. It’s your public face, voice, and personality. It tells your customers and potential customers who you are, what you do, why you do it, and why they should care.

But like any other business asset, your brand requires consistent attention to maintain it’s relevance and success. It may be difficult to determine when your branding has become tired or no longer resonates with your desired customers. To assist, below are key signs to help identify whether your brand is in need of a refresh.

1. Your Business Model Has Changed

When Samsung was founded, the company dealt mainly with dried fish. When Nintendo was founded, it sold printed playing cards. Today, these companies have evolved into two of the most successful tech companies in the world, and their branding has evolved along with them.

Your brand is designed to make an impression in the public’s mind. Once established, that impression is difficult to shake. If you change your business model or service offerings, your logo and branding need to change as well. Otherwise, your audience will associate your brand with their now-outdated assumptions about what your business offers.

2. Your Brand Name Has Become Constraining

In 1996, two Ph.D. students at Stanford University invented a new search algorithm that determined a website’s relevance based on the number of backlinks to that page — since their algorithm was based on backlinks, they named the product BackRub.

Today, that search algorithm is known as Google. Rather than referring to the backlink system, founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin decided to refer to the enormous amount of information their search engine could index. Now, Google is one of the most valuable and recognizable brand names in the world.

Don’t allow your brand name to be a hindrance to the brand itself. If your organization has evolved significantly and your brand name doesn’t encapsulate what you do anymore, don’t be afraid to let it go.

3. You’re Not Differentiating From the Competition

Competitive differentiation is crucial to any business’ success, but many brands still make little effort to stand out from their competitors. Wine bottles are a great example — three-quarters of them have a beige label with a picture of a farmhouse or a bunch of grapes and the name of the wine in curly script. There’s no way to tell from a distance which one is which or which one is the one you enjoyed when you last purchased it.

Every industry suffers from some degree of homogenization, and it’s crucial to recognize when it’s occurring. Examine your branding — your website, social presence, print collateral, packaging, and every other public face of your business — through the eyes of a consumer. Can you immediately identify your brand among the crowd?

4. You’re Undergoing a Merger or Acquisition

Mergers and acquisitions almost always require a rebrand. There’s a delicate balance to be struck. You want to keep the attention of both companies’ existing customers, who are familiar with and appreciate the brand while conveying to potential customers that the newly merged company is unlike the two companies that existed before.

Merging two brands requires a careful and coherent brand architecture to prevent redundancy, inconsistency, confusion, and brand cannibalism, which can create costly inefficiencies that undermine the merger’s success.

5. You’ve Hit a Price Plateau

Price is one of the strongest associations that customers make with your brand. Your customers have an internal perception of what your product is worth. No customer would pay $10,000 for a Timex watch, but they might pay that amount for a Rolex, even though neither one keeps time better than the other.

Many companies create distinct brands with separate pricing schemes underneath their corporate umbrella to get around the perception of value. Car companies are a perfect example — Toyota makes Lexus, Honda makes Acura, Nissan makes Infiniti, Ford makes Lincoln, and so on. By branding their “luxury” offerings differently from their “economy” offerings, these companies can capture a wider swath of consumers.

If you’ve attempted to raise prices, whether to increase revenues or keep up with rising expenses, and were met with resistance, a rebrand might help you push through that barrier. Casting your product in a newer, more premium light can change the impression customers have of your organization, increasing their willingness to pay more for a similar product.

6. You’re Targeting a New Audience

When you walk into a Target, almost every product in the clothing and home goods departments is an in-house Target brand. Target currently manages more than 40 private labels, each of them intended for a different audience. While Opalhouse decor is “eclectic, bold, and colorful,” Threshold is “relaxed, warm, and welcoming.” By creating distinct branding for each set of products, Target can reach a wider audience.

As purchasing power inevitably shifts from one generation to another, many brands have changed to meet new audiences’ demands and pressures. The last thing that young audiences want is to associate with their parents’ outdated brands, which is why companies like Old Spice, McDonald’s, Dominos, and the YMCA have updated their image in recent years.

7. You’re Modernizing

The global economy has undergone a significant sea change in recent years, shifting toward a more agile, flexible, and often purely digital model. The COVID-19 pandemic and ensuing economic impact only served to accelerate this shift, forcing many companies to undergo a “digital pivot” that completely rearranged their priorities.

Companies that prided themselves on helpful sales staff transitioned to live chat and phone help. Giant retailers like Walmart scrambled to implement digital systems that allowed their customers to shop online and have products delivered or brought to the curb.

If your company has historically struggled with the digital space and you’re transitioning to a more modern, high-tech environment, a rebrand is an excellent way to show your customers that you’re not the same old-fashioned organization that you were before.

8. You Need to Escape Bad Press

Every company does its best to avoid negative perceptions, but these efforts can’t always be successful. If your organization is weighed down by a poor public image or a significant scandal, mending your ways may not be enough to shake the negative stereotypes you’ve picked up.

The first step to moving on from bad press is to fix the underlying problem. On top of structural change, a brand refresh is an excellent way to reset your audience’s impression of your company.

Talk to Madison Taylor Marketing

A rebranding strategy isn’t something you can jump into lightly — the process of changing your brand’s voice, tone, and image is a careful and considered process that takes time and significant resources. If you’re starting to notice the warning signs that your current brand has run its course, talk to Madison Taylor Marketing. We’ll examine every aspect of your brand, marketing, audience, and public perception to create a brand refresh rollout plan that fits your company and your customers.