Don’t Lose Your Message When Rebranding
Identify Your Audience
Understanding who your audience is starts by asking yourself who frequents your business and what demographic you appeal to. Try to identify your audience by a few key factors such as gender, age group, financial status, geographic location, and cultural leanings. By understanding who comprises your customer base, you can avoid alienating those people in the event of a rebrand. For instance, if you mainly serve middle-class mothers who enjoy cooking and crafting, be careful yo stick to elements familiar to that audience; you wouldn’t want to advertise as if you’re hosting a monster truck jamboree if what you’re actually promoting is an acoustic music show in a coffee house. When Old Spice rebranded in the late 2000’s, they did a thorough examination of their customers to find that, while most of the people using their products were men, most of the people purchasing their products were women. The changes revitalized consumers’ relationship with the company, making what was once a passive necessity purchase an active purchase based on attachment to the brand.
Understand What You Provide
Knowing whose interest you have can help your understanding of what your customers expect from you. Rebranding to emulate brands that don’t support your customers’ needs will eschew those who have been loyal to your brand as it is. Once you have a clear understanding of who your customers are, you can investigate what you actually provide for that group of people and make improvements to further benefit your existing customer base. Without compromising the things you already do well, you can improve upon the things that may be turning people away. Further, you must understand the actual product or service you offer, and how the essence of that product or service is best translated to your brand––the goal is to accurately show consumers not just what you offer, but the nature of your product. In Uber’s rebrand, former CEO Travis Kalanick observed not only what Uber offered, but how to accurately represent that service to consumers in a way that captured the experience Uber conveys.
Have a Working Knowledge of Social Media Representation
Not all media are made the same. Your target audience may be more keen on social media than television, or vice versa, and your audience’s choice in social media may dictate your approach to social media branding. Once you understand who you appeal to and why you appeal to them, begin to investigate the social media habits of your target demographic and what they expect from your business based on your competitors. It’s important to understand how certain themes and color palettes come across to customers, and how to use those elements to your advantage in order to accurately represent what you offer. If used properly, your social media should be a vivid and comforting reminder of what it feels like to use your product or services. If you operate a coffee house, for instance, your social media should evoke the senses relevant to the atmosphere of a coffee house; language and colors can suggest the aroma of a fresh cup of coffee, the warmth of an overstuffed leather chair, or the soft chatter of friendly conversations. The goal is consistency between the reality of your business and the face your business shows on social media.
Establish a Goal
Do you want to communicate more effectively with your customers?
Do you want to refocus to better reach the audience you actually serve?
Do you just want to increase foot or site traffic?
Having a clear, reasonable goal will help you focus your branding without sacrificing the qualities your customers are expecting from your business. Make sure you’re not only rebranding to increase business or customers, lest you run the risk of alienating your existing customer base with drastic changes out of line with those customers’ interests. If your brand does an about-face to disregard your current customers in search of new ones, you may lose existing customers and have neither old nor new business.
Know How to Move Forward
Once you’ve decided how to rebrand, there will need to be routine care in order to keep up the new face of your business. Your business must keep consistency among social media platforms and personal experience, and maintain up-to-date information about the products and services you offer as well as events involving your business. Staying current with the will of consumers likely points to more rebranding in upcoming years, but fear not, as rebranding needn’t be an overwhelming or impossible undertaking. With proper research, attention to customers, and willingness to learn, creating, maintaining, and retooling a brand can be manageable and rewarding.