There is a dirty little secret in the business world: Sometimes it doesn’t matter how good a product is; it just won’t reach the potential sales it should. Sometimes you have a product that does well, but it’s overtaken by newer competition. Other times, it just falls into obscurity with time. It is a part of the changing market, and not everyone keeps up all the time.
This probably has you in a cold sweat. How do you get past this kind of drop in popularity or break into the market in the first place, especially if you have tried in the past and been unsuccessful? There are many paths you can take, but there is one that is more beneficial than any other: rebranding.
What Is Rebranding?
Image Credit: “Collected Backs”
Have you ever seen an old product suddenly adopt a new tagline or commercial style? Of course you have; it happens all the time. Products have to adapt to a changing market and new demographics. If you have ever seen a commercial from the ’80s vs. the ’90s, then pit them against today, you see a lot of popular brands that have changed slightly over time.
That is all rebranding is. It is taking either a major or a minor element of your brand and changing it. You might do this in a small way, such as changing the catchphrase in a series of commercials. Or, you could go all the way and change the logo, the name or even the target audience of a product.
Famous rebranding example: Apple was once fun and colorful, then it almost went bankrupt and got rebranded into white, minimal and shiny (read: stylish):
Why Is Rebranding Necessary?
Marketing gets stale over time. It is important to keep up with changing times and needs by adapting as you go along. A tiny change can go a long way, and a large one can sometimes be necessary for a struggling product.
Here are a few tips for optimizing your rebranding strategy, so you can get more out of the effort.
1. Don’t Wait for a Flop
Image Credit “Broken Key”
There is something called "proactive branding" that should always be a part of your overall marketing strategy. This is the process of making changes before you actually have to. Whether it is a whiff of competition intensifying or you just feel that the old brand needs a bit of a spruce, you can avoid problems by rebranding before you have any reason to do so.
Example: Intel dropped "Inside" tag from its logo (which had been since 1991) in response to the changing market (which also resulted in quite a storm of good press). By rebranding the logo, Intel successfully demonstrated that they established as a complete platform, not just a microprocessor supplier.
2. If It Ain’t Broke, Don’t Fix It
You need to know where changes should be made. Otherwise you will just make an unpopular change that could hurt your brand.
An example of improper and untimely rebranding effort is MSN. While the old logo was bold and solid, the new one reflects the uncertainty and looks absolutely amateur:
3. Keep the Audience in Mind
Image Credit “Warner Grand Theater”
Times change, and people change with them. You have seen companies adapt to the needs of their demographic many times in the past.
Examples: Nike started to advertise to those who were more serious about athleticism. Kentucky Fried Chicken changed to its initials due to a more health-conscious society. Bacardi began presenting itself as a social and trendy drink rather than a sophisticated one. When rebranding, think of whom it is you are speaking to and what it is they want.
Everybody has to rebrand from time to time. All you can hope is that you won’t be doing so owing to negative press or a PR nightmare. Luckily, most rebranding is done as a pre-emptive attempt to breathe new life into an old product.
What are some ways you are optimizing your rebranding strategy? Let us know in the comments.
Ann is the social media blogger for Elegantbrochures.com, the new printing startup.