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experience designPerspectives on Branding and Identity from Franke+Fiorella
Issue No.57

Successful Rebranding Should Reach Far Beyond Short-term Campaigns

When it comes to the term “rebranding” we’ve learned that there are about as many perspectives as there are marketers in this world. What we know for certain after focusing on brand identity development for more than 25 years is that in order to truly reposition a brand, the work MUST go far deeper than a short-term advertising or branding campaign.

It doesn’t necessarily mean that you always need to change your logo. Certainly, there is a time and place when it’s appropriate to redesign everything including your logo—especially if you want to signal a change in strategic direction. But often, a brand revitalization can be accomplished without redesigning your logo. What’s critical to remember is that to be effective, any rebranding initiative needs to permeate the fabric of the organization. It should affect messaging, visual identity and brand behaviors including how customer-facing individuals deliver the brand experience. If a rebranding initiative doesn’t result in some shifts in how our clients do business, then we didn’t go deep enough.

Our clients often come to us with challenges such as: the market we serve is growing at a pace far greater than us and we don’t know how to fix the problem. Or, we’re not sure we’re relevant any more. Or, we think we might need a new brand or to resurrect an old brand. At the core, these questions demonstrate a need to understand audience needs, assess their business and then align the business with audience needs to create the desired brand experience. 

At the very least, any brand revitalization effort should touch on these six areas:

  1. Customer and end-user perceptions: What do your current customers and end users love about your brand? What do they wish you’d change? It’s important to fully understand this.
  2. Prospective customer and end-user perceptions: To grow, every business needs to attract new customers who aren’t using your product or service. So, how do prospects perceive your brand relative to the competition? What do you need to do to win them over?
  3. Brand strategy: What is your desired brand experience? How does it align with your value proposition? And, how will that be reflected in the customer experience? Having a well-articulated brand strategy allows you to align your brand with your business strategy.
  4. Messaging: What are those key message pillars that are both differentiating and relevant? We all know words matter, whether they’re spoken or printed.
  5. Behaviors: Are your brand behaviors aligned with your desired brand experience? What does a sales pitch sound like? What is your office vibe? It’s important that everyone in the organization is trained to deliver an on-brand experience.
  6. Outward brand expression: When a prospect engages with your website, what’s their experience? Does your product or service deliver what you promise? And, is the customer getting a better experience with your brand than they can get from your competitors'?

For some, these questions provoke a pounding headache, and if you fall into this camp, we’re sorry. For others, this all seems logical. Wherever you are on this continuum, one thing should be clear: for your rebranding initiative to be effective, it needs to go beyond developing an ad campaign or tagline.

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