By Karthik Sridharan

In today’s realm of competitive marketing strategies and effervescent consumer attention, it is critical to have an effective brand identity that resonates well with your customers and shareholders alike. According to Forbes, brands outlive products because they convey quality, credibility, and experience. Apart from equipping customers with the required information, brands convey emotions, thereby, addressing a customer’s psychological needs.

What is brand identity?

In short, a brand identity is a perception that the world has about your company. By no means, is it only your company’s name or logo. It is an amalgamation of many different tangible and intangible elements.

Let’s think of your business as a person. What are the attributes that make up their personality? What’s its name? What does it wear (design)? How does it communicate (positioning)? What are its core values and what does it stand for (brand promise)? Who does it associate with (target market)? Is it well known (brand awareness)?

However, brand identity is not static. Due to the dynamic nature of markets and industries, every company inevitably needs to rebrand itself at some point in time. It is estimated that, on average, successful businesses rebrand every 7 – 10 years.

Key Factors That Drive Rebranding Decisions In The Industry

Rebranding reasons can be anything ranging from loss of relevance to the evolution of the marketplace. Netflix, a DVD rental company, rebranded itself completely to be known to the world as a streaming media services pioneer. Airbnb rebranded themselves to reflect a sense of belonging after they got into a complicated legal dispute with one of their hosts. The above examples clearly show the essence of rebranding when the need arises.

Internal Factors

First, let’s have a close look at all the internal reasons that could drive a rebranding decision:-

  • Evolution of Target Audience

At some point in their life cycles, companies look forward to expanding beyond the existing markets (geographically or product-wise). In such cases, new customers may not identify themselves with your current brand and a revamp becomes necessary.

  • Evolution of Business Model

Successful businesses evolve rapidly. As discussed, you may venture into diverse markets and cater to multiple product lines over a period of time. This results in the company outgrowing the brand initially created, thereby requiring a rebranding exercise.

  • Overcoming Bad Reputation

Rebranding gives your business a new start after your brand has suffered reputational damage. Take the case of McDonald’s that came under severe scrutiny for its perceived involvement in the obesity epidemic. Instead of being dragged down by this unhealthy reputation, McDonald’s spent a huge sum reinventing itself. It tried to revamp its image by introducing healthy eating options, a natural feel in its brand colors, and clean and hygienic restaurants.

  • Change in brand positioning

Brand positioning is not always the first priority of new ventures. At first, entrepreneurs work hard to figure out their core competencies and get their businesses off the ground. But once that has been achieved, as a part of taking the business to the next level, it becomes important to carve a brand identity to connect with customers.

External Factors

Apart from these key internal drivers, even factors beyond the control of the company can impact it in a way that requires a rebranding initiative.

  • Evolution in Design Sensibilities

Sometimes brands become outdated. With constant evolution in the likes and tastes of your customers, your brand identity may not continue to resonate with them. This might lead to brand obsolescence and rebranding might be the best way forward. A good example, in this case, is that of Shell which has updated its logo 8 times since 1909 to be perceived as a modern brand.

  • Evolution of Market

Markets evolve over time. Technologies become obsolete. New players enter the market and they bring new vigor with them. In such cases, you need to rebrand and evolve to stay competitive in the market. For e.g. Mastercard, changed its logo and optimized it to work on mobile. They envisaged a shift to mobile banking and made timely rebranding decisions.

  • Lack of Differentiating Powers

A brand should help you stand out in the crowd. If not, then it is not the right identity for you. Sometimes brands may become too similar to other unrelated players in the industry. At other times, they may be too close to competitors. Overpowering similarities can create confusion among customers. In such a scenario, you definitely need to change your brand identity to establish your position in the market as well as among customers.

Mapping the right path forward

No doubt, a firm has to put in a lot of effort in executing the rebranding vision. It needs to be prepared for post-implementation shake-ups while also considering the emotional and intellectual appeals of the new brand. Overhauling an existing brand is a long journey – nevertheless, the journey begins by first identifying the need to rebrand.

Karthik Sridharan is the Co-founder & CEO at Flexiple, an exclusive network of the best freelance developers & designers. A big believer in remote working, he is building for the remote community. @KarthikS2206

Brand stock photo by quietfall/Shutterstock