Glenn Michael, Owner, Business Communication Expert

If Shakespeare were around today he might write, “To brand or not to brand, there is NO question.” The same may be said for rebranding.

If your sales have flattened out or are going in the wrong direction, competitors are gaining ground. Or maybe you’re out of touch with your target market and what they are looking to buy.

As 2024 appears on the horizon, it may be time to revisit your brand and consider
a rebranding.

However, before we consider reasons to rebrand let’s first get some clarity on exactly what is branding. Branding can be defined as, “That which distinguishes a person, product/service, company, or organization from its competitors in the eye of the target market audience.”

Brand helps you stand out from your competitors, own first-place position in the mind of your target audience, and eliminate selling based solely on pricing.

Simply stated, when a prospect thinks of purchasing the products or services you sell, will they think of you first, second, or tragically, not at all?

To be clear, know that your brand is not your logo, corporate identity, advertising, or marketing.

Your brand is more about how your customer feels about your business. It is more about the emotions of confidence, passion, belonging, security, a set of values, and most importantly, trust because trust is the ultimate superglue. Know that if you are competing with similar businesses that do what you do and sell what you sell based solely on pricing alone, then you have not established your value perception.

Smart business owners understand that selling is the transfer of emotion, and as such their branding is specifically designed to evoke a perception that their business has the ability to deliver the products and services clients believe will deliver the greatest emotion of happiness.

Originally the word ‘branding’ was used to identify one’s livestock.  A brand marked that this particular animal belongs to me. Today however, a brand is a symbol of quality, be it a product and service, or source of value, and it is the consumer who decides if they want to be a part of your brand.

In today’s business world, you do not own your brand. Your brand is owned by the consumer and they determine whether you are current, relevant, and a business they want to do business with.

Although your business and your brand are two separate functioning entities, they must work together as one. Like two sides of a perfectly balanced scale, the external perception and the internal reality of your business must function as one.        

Consider brands such as Facebook, Google, or YouTube and how their names alone are now part of everyday life and our vocabulary. When you want to search, view, or connect we “Google, YouTube, or Facebook it.” Simply stated, “When people use your brand as a verb, your brand is relevant and powerful. 

Key reasons to rebrand

Take a look at your company internally and externally. Do your employees feel the same way about your brand as your target audience?

You do not have a clearly defined target market audience.  It has been said, “When you try to appeal to everyone, you do not appeal to anyone.” Therefore, forget trying to be or sell all things to all people as no one will know exactly what you do, what you sell, or what you are most known for.

Remember, “The riches are in the niches,” and the more you can niche down to define one clear specific target market the easier it will be to dominate in that market. Take a hard look at your service and product offerings and declutter those that are not profitable or dilute your message and image.

If your old branding is no longer relevant to today’s market or offerings, do the homework and the research. Remember, you are not in business to sell what you want to sell. However, you are in business to sell what your client wants to buy. In the words of Seth Godin, “Don’t find customers for your products, find products for your customers.

If your market position lacks distinction, ask yourself specifically what are you known for. What’s your special sauce and who wants to sample it?

Learn the language of your audience, be one of them, and speak their language at every touch point of your business, from the building, decor, and signage, to your social media and advertising. Your market wants to do business with companies that get them.

If your existing brand image just does not work any long, ask questions and dive deeply into what your clients want most to purchase. When you come to the realization, no matter the reason, external or internal, that the brand you love is not the brand your target market wants to buy, it is time for a change.

If you are planning to merge with another company. This is the perfect time to rebrand.  Look at it as an opportunity to start anew, or to refresh your brand.   

No matter your specific reason, embrace this opportunity for a rebirth, to renew, rebuild, reinvent, and reestablish your greatness as a brand that delivers confidence, belonging, a set of values, passion, security, and most of all, trust. 

Why Rebrand?

Rebranding is a process of changing or adjusting a company’s image, messaging, or perception in the mind of its market of greatest value with the purpose of increasing sales, raising prices, gaining and dominating market share, and out-positioning the competition. Rebranding helps to refocus an existing message to better connect with a clear and specific audience. A rebrand may include creating or providing new products or service offerings.

However, when branding or rebranding ask yourself these key questions:

■ Who specifically is my target market client?

■ What are their interests?

■ What are the triggers or pain points in their life, right now, that would make them want to purchase the products and services I provide?

■ How do they make decisions?

■ Who influences them? (Media, social media, peers, family.)

■ What are the differentiators that separate me from others who provide the same or similar products and services? (Remember, keep your differentiators emotional.)

■ What could I carry over from my old brand that is still relevant?