Before 2010, Old Spice was languishing. The company wasn’t sizzling; it was fizzling. Its tired schtick and ho-hum advertising failed to attract Generation Xers, let alone the up-and-coming Millennials. Luckily, it had two secret weapons: Isaiah Mustafa and a rebranding plan.
One revamped and re-energized digital advertisement was all Old Spice needed. Today, that original The Man Your Man Could Smell Like campaign commercial has snagged nearly 55 million views. Old Spice used that success to wash itself of an outdated image, capitalizing on both the emergence of YouTube’s popularity and the desires of younger consumers.
This strategy is a prime example of how to properly rebrand a business. Like many corporations, Old Spice had outlived its heritage. After years on the market, it was forced to pivot, utilizing concrete data on everything from target audience to purchase drivers, and it has ridden that success ever since.
Any company can experience a similar epiphany. You don’t have to be Apple, whose rebranding strategy in the 1990s showcases the wisdom of risk-taking in the face of defeat. Even B2B startups can grow beyond their original plans within a short time. Unless they willingly face that fact and streamline their consumer connections through a face-lift beyond an Uber-esque logo and color change, they’ll be in a tight position to continue competing in an ever-changing world.
Evolving With the Times
Rebranding isn’t merely a method to encourage the spotlight to come your way. It’s a useful tactic that has long-lasting, varied advantages beyond some splashy public relations “We’ve changed, so check us out” campaign.
A rebrand allows you to redefine your product not only for your external customers, but also for the benefit of your employees. Consider employee engagement platform Emplify: The business started as an offshoot of church and tourism app developer Bluebridge. The CEO of both companies, Santiago Jaramillo, recognized that he and his team wanted to shift focus to Emplify full-time. They sold the church and tourism elements of the business so they could “turn our attention toward one product, one mission, and one brand,” Jaramillo said.
Rebranding also helps attract the right audience based on changing customers. Like Old Spice, your core buyers might have moved on; engaging new people requires a deeper understanding of what they want. For instance, if you’ve been selling to 35- to 50-year-old women since 2000, the members of your target audience may have shifted since then to include Millennials. Generationally, their needs are entirely different from those of Gen Xers and Baby Boomers before them, even though they are in the same age range you’ve always targeted.
Finally, investors like to see rebrands. Thinking of taking your company to the next level and looking for investment capital? Show that you’re staying at the forefront of evolution for your industry and target markets. No one wants to throw money at outmoded businesses.
Taking Your Business From One Stage to the Next
Wondering whether a rebrand is in your near future? You can usually tell by exploring a few common factors: Are your sales stagnant? Have you changed your vision recently? Do you need to advance your corporate legacy? Are you falling behind in a crowded or disrupted market? Chances are good that you need to rebrand.
Take my company, for example. We rebranded from Underground Elephant to UE.co when we rolled out a new technology product in hopes that prospects who knew about our previous work but could not use our services then would not discount our new offering. The rebranding opens the door for new clientele after we updated our product.
We’re not the only ones who have reinvented ourselves to woo a new market. Pabst Blue Ribbon beer might seem middling in the States, but in China, it’s it’s sold as a luxurious brew. Ironically, it’s the same basic recipe. The only change is that the Chinese audience had no prior relationship with Pabst Blue Ribbon. They’re willing to pay a premium for a beer that’s hardly expensive in its country of origin because it’s advertised as a high-end product.
If you think it’s time for your team to consider rebranding, use these strategies to build a solid foundation for your new style:
- Define your audience. Even if you think you know your audience, take time to identify the people behind each of your sales. The only way to know how your future messaging should sound is by truly understanding your audience’s motivations, habits, interests, and demographic information. The more you know about your audience, the more targeted, compelling, and engaging your rebranded messaging can be. Investing the time to research your audiences’ likes, dislikes, and buying behavior is well worth your time.
- Identify your best products and services. Knowing the key drivers behind the bulk of your business will assist in defining your brand. You might be surprised when you look at the data. For example, a towel company that sells bed linens on the side might discover that those linens are its most popular products. If the company’s name includes the word “towels,” they are telling consumers that is all they offer. If your corporate name or mission doesn’t align with your best sellers, it’s time to consider a change.
- Determine who you are now. Just as people change as they move through life stages, companies do the same. Take a moment to reflect and outline where you were when you opened your doors and to determine who you are now. When CVS changed to CVS Health from CVS Caremark, it rebranded its identity through a thorough fact-finding mission that informed every step of the switch. The more clearly you define who you are, the more clearly you can see where a rebrand can take you.
- Woo all possible customers. Your current branding might be too specific, leaving out potential buyers who don’t realize they can benefit from your offerings. Perhaps you started to add more SKUs to your online retail website in the hopes of driving business, but you never rebranded to make the most of your extensive line. Investigate each product or service to identify which you should keep, which you can merge, and which you can jettison entirely. Then update your branding accordingly, emphasizing the wide appeal of your offerings.
Rebranding your company allows you to stay relevant and successful in a complex ecosystem. It can help you clean up your messaging, attract new customers, and breathe new life into your company. Use the strategies outlined above to start giving your company a renovation from the ground up.
Latest posts by Jason Kulpa
- Rebranding Could Be Just What Your Company Needs — Here’s How to Get It Right - December 15, 2017