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Top ten tips for a successful corporate re-branding

How to rebrand successfully

Sometimes managements find that they are running into a dead end, with opportunities beckoning while the company is not in a position to take full advantage of them because of its brand. If your company is in this position, the best way out could be to change direction and re brand. This path involves high risks (think “New Coke”), but could be the best way of taking advantage of new trends in the market or expanding niches.

Starbucks did this with great success when they wished to expand into slightly different markets: they handed the task over to Seattle’s Best Coffees. Without the baggage of the “Starbucks” label, this company changed focus on this different opportunity. But note that the Starbucks case was not a full re branding:They kept the original brand and allocated the desirable new markets to the reworked brand.

Here are what are arguably the 10 most important points to include in your plans:

|#1 ­ Re branding isn’t intended to fix a problem, and it also should not be seen merely as a public relations exercise.

The worst reason to try a re branding exercise is if your company has acquired a negative image due to poor service or some similar factor.In this case, trying to change the image of your business will not work unless you actually fix the reason for the problem, otherwise the perception will simply carry over: purely cosmetic changes will not be enough. this is much like a reorganisation, which gives the illusion of progress without accomplishing anything.

|#2 ­ Remember your website and social media campaigns.

These days, a website and social media strategy plays an integral role in any branding strategy. It is easy for senior management to overlook the importance of this factor, especially if they are more accustomed to older forms of marketing. Your plan must include provision for your existing customer database and ways of smoothing the transition without affecting existing SEO rankings and traffic numbers unduly. This is a complex task, and requires the services of a true expert in the field.

|#3 ­ Don’t try to do it on a shoestring budget.

While you should not simply throw money at the problem, skimping will not produce the results you are hoping for. The best way to keep expenses within bounds is with a comprehensive plan and tight controls. Having said that, programmatic marketing offers a way to get more “bang for your buck” in terms of advertising. This is particularly true if you operate in a niche market: mass marketers will be obliged to follow a more traditional route. If you have a choice, programmatic advertising is far superior to traditional methods.

|#4 ­ Don’t expect a first­rate job from second­rate people.

You must insist on the best people, so budget accordingly. This is the very worst place to try to cut costs.

|#5 ­ Be clear about what problem you are trying to solve and what you expect to achieve.

Ask staff who deal with customers if there are problems and how the company is perceived.. You really, really, need to know what the current perceptions of your company are. Don’t attempt to change your company’s image if it is not backed by the facts.

|#6 ­ Look at what your competitors are doing.

Is it working for them? Don’t despise a “me, too” strategy: giant companies have risen on the ashes of more innovative competitors by outdoing them at their own game. All the little rat­and mouse companies outflanked the mighty IBM to hijack the PC market. This might be a viable strategy for you. Look at what your competitors are doing badly, as this provides many excellent opportunities for your own position in the market. Also consider what other industries are doing, and see whether their strategies can be adapted to suit your purposes.

|#7 ­ Rather not re brand if your existing brand is well established and strongly associated with a particular market niche.

You have too much to lose and the danger of alienating your existing customer base is too great. The Starbucks option is a better bet, .allowing you to leave your existing brand intact but leverage its name to establish a secondary brand in a new niche. Remember that a supertanker has a much wider turning circle than a kayak, and a startup with your backing can adapt more easily. The New Coke, Crystal Pepsi, and other similar disasters should serve as a powerful warning.

|#8 ­ Seek partnerships.

Make sure any partnership is a win­win proposition which builds on the strengths of each partner. Consider buying a company which is already involved in your new market and building them.

|#9 ­ Be honest about the reason for the new brand.

If you are simply re­positioning to take advantage of new opportunities, say so. If you have problems you want to overcome, admit this and even make it a cornerstone of your marketing. “We’re No 2″, worked for Avis.

|#10 ­ Give it your very best shot.

Being half ­hearted about your new direction is a recipe for disaster. You might need to back out if it doesn’t work, but don’t make this contingency a large feature of your planning,otherwise you’re not likely to inspire great efforts from the people involved in the change.

Your employees must believe in the re branding: this will only happen if they see the changes taking place all around them. If it is merely a facelift, with business going on as usual, it will fail.

Synopsis

Even small businesses might need to be re­branded. For example, a small, startup, perfume manufacture brought out a line of quality, inexpensive, perfumes. Sales were dismal. The line was withdrawn, the name changed, and the same product was re launched at multiples of the original price, with stylish upmarket packaging.. The revised campaign was a huge success. There was nothing wrong with the product: Marketing had simply forgotten that price is part of the product in this case. After all, no women wants to be seen to use cheap perfume if she can afford something better.

In this case, a complete re branding was probably the only approach with any hope of success. Success was assured because the reasons for failure were correctly identified. There have been many highly successful re­brandings, most of which are simply forgotten because they are so successful. Failures are easier to remember, so it is much easier to point to highly publicised disasters. If the circumstances facing your company point to the need for this drastic solution, thorough planning and strong management should see you through to success. Get the right people to help you, and extend support for a sufficiently long after implementation of the change so you can adapt to any unexpected challenges.

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