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Rebranding: What were you thinking?

By Adrian Pike,
August 11th 2017

Rebranding still is one of the most complex marketing exercises a company can go through. It all starts with making the decision to dive in and agree to change things around. Some companies who have been around for years or decades have seen their logo and whole identity evolve countless times over the years. Think of Coca-Cola, Shell, Starbucks: we tend to forget, but they looked quite different when we first encountered them.

However, a company’s first rebrand process is probably the toughest. Why? Because you are moving away from the identity that the company was built on. You’re moving away from its origin. This shift may especially be tough for employees that have been there since day 1, as they have connected and associated with what they perceived as being the brand. Changing that perception is without a doubt a challenge – so why do companies bother to rebrand?

Why do companies rebrand?

A rebrand does not have to be a completely new image – think of Google: it has definitely evolved over the years, and seen some major shifts, but essentially, changes were always along the same lines: playing around with the company’s 4 colours, changing the fonts to make it more current. It’s all about keeping the brand actual.

But sometimes, a rebrand needs to be more complex. Push a bit further. Because the company is not the same as it was when it was created, and the industry in which it lives, even more so.

Why is it important for a company to build a solid brand?

More than a logo, a company’s brand is also an identity, a mission statement and a promise. Those 3 pillars are vital to your company - Here’s why:

An identity

This one seems to be the most obvious, yet, it is probably the most important. Why is an identity important? There are many reasons. first and foremost, it shows the solidity and personality of your brand. Those assets will create trust from your audiences, whether their customers, investors or media. Second, a strong identity will make your brand recognizable in an instant and will improve awareness among your targeted audiences.

Finally, some companies will often neglect how crucial a strong identity is internally, but it matters so much, in all sorts of ways. First and foremost, employees want to feel like they belong to a group, to a unit that has a face, a color, a meaning. Very much like a promise, that unity is what will drive employees to work towards the same goal and to give their all for a company they believe in.

A mission statement

Strong brands always have that one sentence, sometimes just two words, that define their company’s identity. It’s often crazy to see how they manage to say everything in so little words. Take Nike for example: Just do it. It is a message for its customers to stop overthinking about working out, to stop worrying about the pain and what not. To just do it.

You can also see this as a motivational message for employees, to go above and beyond, to never let obstacles stop them. What matters is that the message of your branding should always be aligned with the mission statement and that statement should be inspirational to customers and aspirational to employees.

A promise

What every marketer or company engaging in a branding exercise needs to understand is that branding is worth so much more than just the value of your products. People want to buy an experience, an expertise, or even of way of life - that is what the promise of your company is. The prime example of that is Apple, of course. Why do you think some people are so fiercely Apple versus Android? Yes, technology has something to do with it, but a majority of Apple fans will simply answer that they like the brand, very rightly so, as Apple has since its origin portrayed luxury, high technology and style.

If you’re still not convinced that your brand is worth more than its products, think of the most worthless object: a piece of paper. But is it? Diplomas are printed on paper. And where a diploma comes from changes everything: whether it’s got the Harvard “branding” or a small college no one’s ever heard of reflects very differently on the product. This goes to show that your product is only as good at the promise that you put in it.

All those elements boil down to one simple fact: your brand needs to stay actual and relevant. A dated logo, an obsolete mission statement or a fast growth, these are all signs that is is time to rebrand. District m responded to those signs and decided to dive in and give the brand a complete makeover - discover the journey behind our new identity in Part II of the story!

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