It’s a fact of life that sometimes things need to change. They need to change as one needs to repurpose, rebuild, and create a vision that impacts lives. To understand this change we need to start from the very beginning and understand why various brands need a makeover. While starting a new business, branding will most likely be the last thing on anyone’s mind. For most business owners branding simply translates to business name and logo, but to build a successful brand one needs more than just a name and a logo. It is a process of creating a strong perception of a company that establishes trust and credibility with the prospective clients and customers. Thus, to create a strong identity of the brand and to maintain it, it becomes necessary to change and evolve with the changing times. While most of the common reasons for rebranding are mergers and acquisitions, one may choose to rebrand to enter a new market, to change their company name if they think that it is limiting their success, other development such as a change in staff, a new company vision or to repair a damaged image also play a very important role.
Sometimes, you just have to start all over differently.
― Bernard Kelvin Clive
What is rebranding?
Rebranding is defined as a process of changing the corporate image of a company or an organization. It is a marketing practice that involves changing the name, logo, design, or any other defining aspect of a brand's existing identity and replacing it with a new and differentiated brand identity in the mind of the consumers. Although we mentioned earlier that branding does not only relate to the business name and the logo, but a company should choose a good name and a logo, as both of them are key ambassadors for any brand.
Rebranding, if done properly, can work wonders for any business but also can hamper their growth permanently if poor rebranding strategies are employed. Thus, it becomes imperative that you should know when to give your business a proper makeover and how to do it properly.
What is brand identity?
Brand identity is defined as the collection of tools or elements that is used by a company to portray the right image to its consumer.
Just like every person has a unique identity of their own, brands try to replicate this philosophy by creating a consistent and unique identity in the minds of its consumers. A brand with a unique identity can be easily distinguishable and recognized.
Brand identity is although different from Brand Image and Branding, they are often used interchangeably.
Partial vs Total Rebranding
A total rebranding of a company, as it is, should be very rare, and partial rebranding of a company happens more regularly and is less disruptive.
Partial rebranding of a company typically consists of minor changes into the brand’s look and feel which does not eliminate or replace the brand's signature elements, but enhances the brand image to the consumers or manage to introduce the consumers into their latest offerings.
Partial rebranding of a company is mainly done when a company is trying to attract a broader audience or when the target demographics have changed. The introduction of new technology, the arrival of new competitors, and a shift in current market trends warrant a partial change in the branding strategy of the company.
Total rebranding of a company is something that goes beyond a typical makeover, it’s a complete transformation with a new vision, new identity, and a new brand system having the same business name. By introducing a new logo design with fresh messaging, reinvented visual systems, and a transformed marketing program, a company tries to catapult the organization forward. Total rebranding is usually done when a company is undergoing a complete identity shift and they are completely rebooting their mission, vision, and values. This kind of rebranding is typically done in situations like a merger, product overhauls, and other similar foundational shifts.
Why should a company choose to rebrand?
There are many good reasons as to why a company should choose to rebrand:
- Evolving and changing is a part of the growth process of a company. To stay relevant to their target demographic, a company should use various rebranding strategies and make the consumers feel the need for their brand.
- In case of a merger, a company is subjected to two unique audiences. These audiences have different taste and to appeal to both of them, rebranding is a good strategy. However, in most cases, one brand remains dominant and the other brand undergoes renovation.
- Technology is changing every other day and to keep up with this ever-evolving technology, a company should adopt good rebranding strategies to follow the natural process of technological innovation.
- When a company is expanding and trying to attract new audiences for its services, rebranding is a great strategy to adopt. It helps the company by providing them a way to reposition their values and thereby making their brand familiar to the new audiences that they are trying to attract.
- Sometimes a company has a poor reputation can overcome it by adopting a total makeover of its brand. With the help of rebranding, the public outlook of the company can change and can become desirable to its consumers again.
- In situations, when companies are relocating to a new geographical location, the primary challenge that they face is to make their offerings more attractive to these new found consumers. Rebranding would be a good idea for these kinds of circumstances.
- Small companies who are just starting out, often have bad logos or other visual aspects of the business that are not up to the market standard. Thus, in their growth process, they may choose to rebrand this in order to make their brand look more attractive.
- When the mission, vision, and values that govern every decision of a company changes it is time to give you brand a makeover as well. Good brands often
Why should a company choose not to rebrand?
There are many good reasons as to why a company should choose not to rebrand:
One shouldn’t rebrand their company if it is too young. It takes time for a company to grow and evolve as a brand into something genuine and unique. It would be wise to avoid the costly process of rebranding in this phase. Changing for the sake of change is not a good reason to rebrand a company. The change should come organically and for the better good of both the consumers and the company. A company may decide to change their logo and its business name and yet keep all the other visual aspects of the company intact. This will most likely confuse the consumers and doesn’t do any good to the company’s brand or image. Hence, rebranding strategies like this are not fruitful for the company. In situations, when there is a change in management, the new management might decide that rebranding is the way to move forward. If it is accompanied by deep institution changes that actually reflect this new direction, rebranding works otherwise it does not.
Case Study: Successful rebranding strategies that worked
Britannia is one of the most loved and popular consumer goods brands in India. It is also one of India’s oldest brands and in the year 2018, it completed its hundred years of existence. Although few can question the popularity of this famous brand, they faced a severe challenge regarding their brand identity, diversity in portfolio, and to make their product distinct from their competitors. So to overcome these challenges they opted for a new logo focused their efforts in making the new brand centered around premium identity, luxury, and high brand value. They also inclined towards innovation which helped them to differentiate their products from their competitors.
In the year 2007, Vodafone acquired Hutchison Essar and is currently one of the leading brands in the telecommunication sector of India. The change from Hutch to Vodafone is one of the fastest transitions that has ever happened and it all happened due to Vodafone's extremely good rebranding strategies. They changed everything overnight into the red. From SIM Cards to call centers to their sales executive everything changed. They started playing advertisements with the messaging “Hutch is now Vodafone” on Star India and successfully managed to recall all their audiences.
UTI Bank became what we know as Axis Bank today. It was the year 2007 and to make the brand more contemporary looking in the visual aspect of schemes, UTI Bank decided to change the logo of the company and they also adopted a new name, Axis. This helped them to transcend the geographical boundaries and enter new markets. Axis Bank is currently the third-largest private sector bank of India.