Rebranding companies must be experts in change
Rebranding companies like Stealing Share specialize in the application of rebranding science for many of its clients. Brand launches and the creation of new brands are a small part of what we do at Stealing Share.
Because markets are getting more and more competitive everyday the need to rebrand or update an existing brand is more common. As a result, rebranding has become more important.
Can you be only a rebranding company?
It is impossible to be solely a rebranding company. Rebranding companies must apply many of the tools utilized in a new brand launch when rebranding and redefining an existing brand. The skill set needed to create a new brand and the components of a rebranding project are similar. However, you must concentrate on the rebrand by looking clearly into the eyes of the prospect AND the current customer.
However, rebranding is even more rigorous than launching a new brand in the market. Why? Because everything you do must be tempered to retain existing customers and keep the values that are working for you.
Also, unless the goal is brand repair (for example, a brand that has withstood unflattering PR or a product failure of some sort), you must find a way to hold onto the equities in the existing brand. This is more difficult than it may appear because often the brand’s own bias clouds the view in deciding what is important and what must be left on the cutting room floor.
Rebranding requires market research
Research is a necessity in rebranding and all successful rebranding companies must have an in-house research company. Stealing Share has Resultant Research in-house (read about Resultant Research here) and its participation in rebranding is imperative and cannot be overlooked.
The questions that need answering in a successful rebranding effort can only be found in a fertile mix of both current customers and prospects. The research we require is always a projectable mix of qualitative and quantitative market research.
To often, rebranding companies use only existing research. It is a mistake. Talking only to your current customer base is deceiving.
Current customers already have a relationship to your brand and, while we need to understand the risks of brand change, we should logically be more interested in prospects.
Maybe it is Stealing Share’s own bias, but we believe the only reason to jump into a rebranding project is to grow your market share. If that is the reason, doesn’t it make sense that you need to understand the needs, wants and beliefs of those that currently have no relationship to your brand? Also, existing research was not designed to uncover the intricacies of rebranding and such a fragile and important project must not be left to chance.
Rebranding companies need rules to follow in a rebranding project. Here are ours.
Five rules for successful rebranding
1. What does the current brand mean right now? Does it create awareness among possible customers? Is it persuasive in terms of creating preference over competitors?
2. What do current customers attribute to the current brand? What are the risks in loyalty loss if change occurs in the way they receive the brand? How strong is their affinity to the brand and what is at risk in rebranding? What is the elasticity in meaning if the current brand is altered?
3. What opportunity exists in equity markers? Rebranding companies need to be able to actually measure that opportunity and compare it to a return on investment. Think about the internal costs with something as benign as a color palette change. Rebranding should leave as little to chance as possible. Again, brand research ensures fewer missteps.
4. Where are the rebranding opportunities? Once again, legitimate rebranding companies must understand the entire competitive landscape. At Stealing Share, our strategists carefully analyze the entire competitive category. We look to understand the brand promises of the competitors. We look at the color palettes and opportunities to differentiate the rebrand.
Creatively, we look at the meta messages inherent in color choice. Ideally, you want to choose an uncommon color in the category but you must make sure the color meets the emotional needs of the target audience. When we rebranded Blue Rhino (a backyard grill propane tank exchange company) some years back, pink and red were available colors but were both inappropriate for a market dominated by male purchasers and dealing with a flammable (LP) product.
5. How can the switching triggers uncovered in the research be incorporated in a new logo design and locked reflected in the brand theme? As a powerhouse of rebranding companies, Stealing Share asks more from your logo than that is simply and beautifully designed. We demand that it express the brand’s value and that the theme speaks clearly to your persuasive advantage.
An example of highly successful rebranding
Look at this example of a rebranding. Stealing Share rebranded ProAssurance, a few years ago. They are a dominant player in the U.S. medical malpractice insurance category. We identified the highest emotional intensity in the category (fairness) as well as the number one switching trigger —”I would switch carriers if I knew I would be treated fairly.”
The prior brand for ProAssurance was predominantly blue (like the competitors) and spoke of strong litigant defense and financial stability. In both of these cases, every competitor claimed (and owned) the same values. Yet no one looked into the emotional needs that prompted switching. No one sought to capture the switching customer’s voices. No matter the outcome —increased fees due to a lawsuit or a drop from coverage after a lawsuit — the physicians universally voiced “but that’s not fair.”
Notice that the ProAssurance theme (which is in a logo lockup with the word mark) is spoken from the perspective of the customer. It says “Treated Fairly” implying that the customers of ProAssurance feels that way. It would be much less powerful if it was written from the company’s perspective and said “We Treat You Fairly.”
For expert rebranding companies, the prospect comes first.
Rebranding companies need to remember that value is outside-in not inside-out. It must be from the perspective of the customer.
Even the mark itself must be designed from the perspective of the prospect. Note that the green plane is curling up to reveal a new beginning. Thus, even the mark represents a change from the status quo.
Not all rebranding companies are the same. Not all are equal. If you are considering rebranding and are compiling a list of rebranding companies, Stealing Share belongs in that list.
We promise you a different opinion and rebranding that moves the preference needle as well as demonstrating a change and an update.