Parts of a Brand Relaunch
Brand relaunch. Important elements.
When it’s evident your brand is underperforming, then it may be time for a brand relaunch. Even if your business thrives, the metric of comparing growth to a competitor’s success might illuminate a weakness.
Experience tells us that this underperformance and market weakness is usually a result of insignificant meaning. For some reason, the brand is not resonating as strongly as it should. As a result, your market performance becomes less than expected.
Relaunching a brand is similar to rebranding. But rebranding brings some built-in bias in its very language. It turns out to be very similar in scope but it SOUNDS more drastic.
It actually is not drastic. Point-in-fact, rebranding requires a relaunch and a brand relaunch requires some elements of rebranding.
In our experience, you often find a weakness in brand meaning through market research. Here are some of the signs that a brand relaunch is well overdue and a brand intervention is needed:
Here are the top four reasons to consider a brand relaunch:
- Market research indicates quite clearly that the target audience cannot identify the brand’s strategy clearly. Respondents return table stakes of the category or generic meanings like “good company” when asked about your brand meaning.
- Research uncovers a brand meaning that is highly emotional and resonant with the target audience but is NOT the meaning you or anyone in your category currently claim.
- When the research reflects an erroneous or negative value about your brand, you need brand repair. If the brand returns a variety of values and none of them are negative or contrary to the new position, a brand relaunch without brand repair is in order.
- If the research indicates that the market landscape has significantly changed, it’s time to change with it.
- A new competitor enters the category, reshaping the market. Ignoring the arrival of a new and powerful meaning is how brands (and companies) die. No brand, regardless of its position in the category, can afford to ignore a sea change in the category for long. Remaining stationary while a new competitor reshapes opinions and preferences is a recipe for marketing disaster. The sooner your brand responds the better.
Planning is important
The elements of a brand relaunch require some well defined planning. Tough questions must be asked and the resultant answers addressed. Too often in our experience, brands back into a new positioning— thinking that all they need is a new tag-line and color palette. But the elements of success are broader than this.
Think about this marketing problem and subsequent brand opportunity logically. First, tell those who have awareness of your brand (based upon the market research) that something important has happened. That the brand HAS changed.
You may wish to do this on the cheap and change as little as possible. But relaunching to a new improved position comes with requirements.
Symbolism is key
To be effective, the new brand must demonstrate a new and important promise, thus occupying a new space in the mind of the prospect. It needs to have a single clarity of purpose that is so powerful no one in the target market can afford to ignore it.
We use that language purposefully. When the new position is powerfully identified there will be a sense of risk in ignoring it. We’re not talking about a new position that threatens the prospect. But think for a moment. What does it means to have a position that represents the highest emotional intensity in the category?
When this emotional intensity is real and urgent, it causes those that do not possess it to feel incomplete without it. There is inherent in this logic a sense of risk. A fear of risk is more descriptive of this phenomenon.
Brand Relaunch requires an outside-in focus
Focus on the beliefs, precepts, needs and wants of the prospect rather than the needs and wants of current customers. We’re not suggesting you ignore current customers. Just know that you own greater message flexibility with your current customers than you probably believe. To grow market share, however, you must reach those currently not choosing you.
Changing human behavior is not an easy task. That truth works both ways. It is difficult to dismiss a current customer through messaging alone. At some point, the brand would have to disappoint them in performance to actually lose them.
The only way you lose them is if a competitor promotes a stronger message. Just like you are attempting to steal customers from them, they are trying to take yours as well. But it’s HARD to switch, which is why the single most emotional message you can boost is the only way to create preference. (In our case, Stealing Share possesses ways to test the risks among current customers that ensure that you have NOT thrown the baby out with the bathwater.)
What needs to change?
So ask yourself, what do your prospects need that they currently do not.
We already discussed that they need to SEE that something has changed in your brand. At a quick glance, they MUST understand that the promise of the brand (the who it is for) is all about them personally.
Should your old logotype change? Probably. Maybe even certainly. We hesitate to change logos because, if your brand involves a service or destination, it requires expensive signage changes. ROI is important here. But what is the cost of doing nothing?
What is the cost of doing it on the cheap? The price of shortchanging your brand relaunch is almost certainly failure.
Do you expect a prospect to suddenly notice you and change preference when the external veneer of your brand has not changed? A new tagline is not enough to grant a new position. More often than not, the prospect will not get far enough into your brand message to read it.
They have already decided that your brand is not important for them. You need to use every equity in your quiver to change that perception. At best you want them to think, “I think this is important enough to check out the brand.”
Change the Logo?
Today we understand that the logo should work harder than that. It should symbolically reflect the brand strategy and position. Everyone should see that logo and mark and understand the full brand promise.
Design based on strategy. If you are relaunching your brand or rebranding— odds are your mark either reflects your corporate identity OR an outdated prospect message. Either way it needs to go.
Which elements should stay or go? Color palette? Font? Imagery? Style? What to reinforce and what to change. Once again, we can find the answers to these questions in the market research conducted to identify the strategy.
The emotional brand theme should be locked with the new logo. The new logotype should never be seen without the brand strategic theme locked to it.
We call this the logo lock-up. You need to make sure the brand is absolutely identified with the new highest emotional space. Leaving the logo to hang without the benefit of a theme is a waste of brand energy.
Make them FEEL as well as SEE
So it is important that the prospect not only SEE a change but FEEL it deeply. The form and substance of the relaunched brand needs to salute this emotional fiber. Keeping it simple. Making it clear.
Making it single-minded and having all meta messages in-line with the emotional position is a great predictor of success. Here are a list of brand relaunch caveats to avoid:
- Is your new brand cluttered?
- Are you saying too many things?
- Is the brand diluted through heritage messaging?
- Are company politics holding back the change?
- Has not enough symbolism changed?
- Is the theme just ad speak (is it too clever and sounds like an advertising tagline)?
When is the time right to relaunch your brand?
With the risk of stating the obvious, if you are reading this article then the writing might already be on the wall. It’s time to call rebranding companies (and we have one in mind). If you are asking the question at all then the efficacy of the rebranding and relaunching effort should be explored. Great market research is the place to start.
You can find definitive answers to these questions. But all research is not equal and you need to trust such an important task to folks who know how to do it.
The price of clarity is the risk of offense. We know how to do this and most of our competitors don’t.