Brand loyalty has helped a lot of companies coast by on the same story for decades.
Then a global pandemic happened.
The COVID-19 pandemic forced everyone to step back and take stock — and 75% of Americans changed brands. In an August 2020 survey by McKinsey, the top three reasons cited for making the switch were value, availability, and convenience. This has led many leading brands to reassess and kick off rebranding campaigns.
However, a new logo alone won’t win you customers. Modern audiences are looking for an evolved brand story that is authentic, inclusive, and mission-driven.
Here are our tips for how to rebrand right.
Take a Poll
Customers’ needs have changed over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, and it’s up to businesses to figure out how to meet those evolving needs if they want to stay afloat. But how can you understand what your customer is looking for?
Now is a great time to invest in customer research — and it doesn’t have to be a hefty investment. Putting out a simple survey to your existing customers, or to potential customers via social media, is a great way to better grasp what your customers want. You can ask more abstract questions, like whether stances on today’s issues matter when they’re picking a brand to support, or more direct questions about whether cost or quality is the most important consideration in a purchase. Once you know the answers to these questions, you can build your rebrand with the customers’ needs in mind. You should still aim to stay true to your own vision, but you can more easily figure out which of your values to highlight when you know what matters most to your audience.
Define Your Objective
If you’re interested in refreshing your brand, you need to approach the process with a very clear objective in mind. What message are you trying to convey? You don’t need to throw the baby out with the bathwater here — start by reviewing your current mission, vision, and values. Identify what’s most important out of these existing traits, what you may want to remove, and what could be added.
Are there new circumstances that you want to ensure are tied in with your brand story? Are you rebranding because of a merger or a new product offering? Detail why you want a refresh, make sure the reason is compelling, and then go to work on the actual rebrand.
It’s important to be purposeful about the choices you’re making, because poor rebranding has backfired for companies in the past.
A brand story is only as strong as the people who champion it — and your employees are some of the most important champions you could ever have. When the people who work at a company work by the mission and values you set, it will shine through in everything from product design to customer service. So, it’s critical that you take your employees’ needs and feelings into account when you rebrand.
For example, if you’re rebranding around global changes post-COVID-19 and you champion the mission of protecting your customers, you need to make sure your employees are being protected, too. This consistency matters both because it’s the right thing to do and because websites like Glassdoor and other company review sites put power into the hands of employees. Consumers can see whether or not you’re living your values within your company walls.
Join the Community
One of the big trends in rebranding is for companies to take a stand on bigger issues. As a result of the pandemic, promoting togetherness has become an extremely important element to brands’ values. But what does this look like in practice, authentically? It might mean bringing your employees together to perform volunteer days out in the community; it could also look like networking events with new entrepreneurs of color to help provide connections, advice, and resources for helping them get off the ground. There are many creative ways you can incorporate events that are in line with your business.
The Partial v. Full
One thing to keep in mind is that your rebrand doesn’t have to be a complete overhaul. If you review your mission statement and feel you need a ground-up refresh, that is certainly an option. But a partial rebrand might look like a simple font-and-color-scheme update. Just remember that even if you end up doing a partial rebrand, it’s still crucial that you’re defining why you’re making these changes. Identifying the “why” will help inform your choices to be compelling to your customers.
Rebranding is a very important process your company can go through, and can yield new customers and a renewed outlook on your business. As long as you define the “why,” consider your customers and employees, and make meaningful changes, rebranding can help you reach new heights.