It’s a tough question for marketers and agencies alike: when is it time to change your brand?
The answer: it’s not about when you rebrand; it’s about why.
The “why” is the most important question in solving any marketing problem, and it’s especially relevant with brand evolution. After all, your brand is who you are. It’s your company’s personality, purpose and differentiator. Those things don’t just change over night. In fact, rather than changing who you are, rebranding is much more about delving deeper into who you are and conveying that to your audience.
At Lawrence & Schiller we work on branding projects for both new and established clients. But before we embark on any rebrand, we always ask “why.” Through research, focus groups, surveys, brand studies and more, we’ve learned if the “why” leads to one of these conclusions, it’s probably time to rethink your brand:
1. Your core audience has changed, or you want to attract a new one.
Audiences change and preferences evolve. Your brand needs to stay relevant to stay successful. We addressed this very issue when we helped rebrand Taco John’s in 2014. Research and sales data showed that Millennials (who represent a fourth of the population and $200 billion in buying power) weren’t attracted to the Taco John’s brand. But after we conducted focus groups around the country, we learned that Millennials actually loved TJ’s food and believed in everything the brand stood for – an original menu and a commitment to bold, fresh ingredients. We just needed to connect the two. With a bold brand evolution, we helped refresh Taco John’s look, voice and menu to attract a younger audience, increasing sales and transactions.
2. Your corporate philosophy and business approach have evolved.
When your company changes its primary mission, pivots to meet different consumer needs or starts down a new path of product development, it could be time to change your brand, too. After all, how will you effectively communicate new philosophies and benefits using the same old brand? You probably won’t.
3. Your brand doesn’t reflect who you really are.
This one might seem like a no-brainer, but it’s common for companies to gradually drift over the years until their current brand is a departure from where they started. We saw this firsthand at L&S. Nearly a decade ago, when we developed our 5280: The Extra Mile positioning, we envisioned ourselves as an ad agency of slick problem solvers, swooping in like the Men in Black to save the day for clients. But when we conducted research and asked our clients how they saw us, they said something else. L&S was described as a charismatic, collaborative partner who’s much more Tom Hanks than Tommy Lee Jones. We listened and responded, refreshing our own agency brand and giving our 5280 approach a new look, a friendly voice and an emphasis on our unique team structure.
Times change, and as your business evolves, your brand might, too. Just remember that your brand is your company’s first and lasting impression with consumers. Not only should it be engaging, relevant and memorable – it should be the real you. That unique personality and undeniable connection to your company’s purpose and vision is what will make your brand stand out.