When a company goes through a merger or acquisition, or when there is a deliberate and significant change in its business model, the reasons for rebranding are obvious.
In such circumstances, there is an urgency and excitement associated with rebranding as the company is anxious to present its new and/or improved offerings to its customers and partners. Heavy investments into marketing follow to grow the company’s customer base.
Other times, rebranding is necessary for other reasons. In fact, it is oftentimes a reactionary response to one of the following scenarios:
- An envied and feared competitor is capturing more, and more, and more market share.
- There is a noted trend of more customers “exploring their options” with competitors.
- Lengthening sales cycles.
- A realization that everyone else in the industry is growing and thriving.
- When a company cannot define its sales tiebreaker.
- When a company struggles to articulate its compelling, relevant, and meaningful reasons for why its brand should be the top contender.
By the time a company takes notice of any of these situations, it’s usually a costly sign that they’ve waited longer to rebrand than they should have.
Being a formidable competitor will require you to review and reassess your brand annually, at the very least. There are simply too many variables that can change from year to year – or even month to month – to wait any longer. Ask yourself:
- What changed at our company?
- Does our business model need to change?
- How has our competitive landscape changed?
- What new trends are impacting our business and industry?
- Is there a void in the market we can fill?
- What new opportunities are available?
- How have our customers’ needs changed?
- How have our customers’ buying criteria changed?
- What else?
These are just a handful of the questions you should be asking yourself often.
One of the worst feelings in the world is wondering why you didn’t think of the brilliant move your competitor just did.
As the saying goes, good things come to those who wait, but great things come to those who hustle. To this, I’ll add, the best things come to those who look for opportunities in unlikely places.
If you’re torn on whether to rebrand, consider that…
Your competitors know your weaknesses and are very likely exploiting them. Oh, maybe not directly, but the competitor that concerns you the most is likely keeping an eye on you and every move you make. (Much like you should be doing to them by browsing their website, reading and downloading their content, watching their videos, browsing their LinkedIn, etc.)
In a sales environment where they meet some of your customers, or when your name comes up in conversation, they may say that you’re a “great company,” but follow the sentiment up with “BUT…”and then compare their strengths to your known or perceived weaknesses to win a new contract or customer.
Your value propositions may not be as relevant as they once were, or do not tightly align with the criteria your customers use to select a partner, distributor or supplier. I’m surprised whenever I work with a company that never took the time to formally build out their buyer personas:
- Who they are
- Titles and roles
- Pain points
- Decision criteria
- Driving buying forces
- Educational backgrounds
- Size of companies they work for
- How their employers measure their performance
- Where they head to research products, distributors, and suppliers
- Associations and groups they belong to
Your brand needs a purpose. Purpose drives culture, and without purpose, creating a meaningful brand with a solid foundation – one that employees can embrace and believe in – will not be possible. I’m not sure how any company could hope to define a “value” proposition without first knowing its purpose. Purpose-driven branding and marketing is a prerequisite to success, no matter how you define it.
So, is it time for you? Only you can answer.
At the very least get into the habit of doing internal and external brand audits often to stay current on its strength and relevance among employees and customers. Such a small investment would have huge payoffs.