Right now, it might seem like a bad idea to rebrand. But organisations have a lot to gain from taking risks and adapting to rapidly changing customer demands. What can a rebrand offer your organisation, inside and out? Paulina Lezama writes.
Political instability, the uncertainty of Brexit and global tensions are resulting in economic uneasiness. Yet there’s been a wave of iconic brands – Mastercard, Formula 1, the Guardian, Instagram, Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre – which have overhauled their brand in the last 18 months.
But why now? Why would anyone invest in a new brand in these tumultuous times?
My response would be, why wait? Technology is not only affecting how people interact with every product and service, it is driving a transparency and empowerment culture. It allows people across generations to demand and expect more from brands.
Now is exactly the right time to reassess who you are, what you stand for, and perhaps more importantly, where you are heading in this changing landscape.
A rebrand shouldn’t be seen as a vanity project. It is far more than a coat of paint. A rebrand demonstrates to the world that your brand is evolving and prepared for the next 5-10 years.
Managing director at Formula 1, Sean Bratches, stated on its recent rebranding last year, “We are trying to re-position Formula One from a purely motorsport company to a media and entertainment brand with the heart and soul of a race car driver in the middle of it.” F1 needed to signal change not just because of its change of guard, but because it needed to adapt to its competitive market and the fact that digitalisation is influencing brand marketing strategies across every sector.
Similarly, the Guardian’s new ‘tabloid’ look is a response to the increasingly competitive online market. By reassessing and strengthening its core values around meaningful journalism and embracing progressive perspectives, the rebrand is an opportunity to adapt to market conditions to remain competitive.
A recent rebranding success story is the LADbible. In 2017 it made an admirable attempt to transform the brash, sexist, obnoxious idea of its association with ‘lads’ into a publication which is mature, socially conscious and emotionally intelligent, with a strong focus on mental health in men. Specifically it, “Challenged preconceptions around men’s mental health with UOKM8?, flipped apathy into action with [pro-EU campaign] Knowing Me Knowing EU, and educated people about the environment with Climate Change.”
As a result, LADbible is now the tenth biggest website in the UK, with 33 million followers on social media, 1 billion monthly Facebook engagements and an almost equal male and female following. It’s proof that a strategic rebrand can widen your audience considerably.
So how do you know if you should be thinking about rebranding today? There’s no single answer, as every brand is different. But there are some questions you should ask yourself:
- Do you think your brand lacks standout in your competitive market?
- Does your brand feel out-of-sync with where the world is going?
- When you hand out your business card do you secretly think it’s a bit outdated?
- Are you going through a merger or acquisition?
- Are you struggling to recruit the right talent?
If the answer is yes to any of the above, it's time to consider a rebrand.
An effective rebrand is so much more than pretty logos or the fear of an expensive undertaking. It should be seen as investment in the future of your brand. It will give you a competitive advantage in an uncertain landscape. It will open up opportunities to innovate and build partnerships, as well as attract, and maintain, the right talent in your organisation.
Perhaps most importantly, it will be the starting point to engage with your audiences in more compelling and relevant ways. It is this which will ensure your brand is fit for the competitive landscape – now, and in years to come.
Paulina Lezama is brand director at Radley Yeldar