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Branding Marketing

Is It Game Over For Your Brand?

By: Robert Wallace

It happens to the best of them. One day you’re at the top of your game, dominating the market, the next, you realize your brand may not have the competitive edge it used to.

Is it time for a rebrand? How do you know when it is?

Often companies realize they are in need of a rebrand only when it’s already too late – either they’ve started losing market share or worse they’ve become irrelevant. The best brands are so because they are proactive in regularly taking a hard look at where they are and how the market perceives them.

“But we’re in a boring industry,” you say. That doesn’t matter. Soap, mail and logistics, accounting services business, office furniture…not that sexy of industries, but Tide, UPS, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), Herman Miller, have figured out how to make them appealing and obtain a healthy share of their markets. Branding matters, regardless of the industry and may even be more important in a “boring” one.

So you’re on board to continue the branding conversation. Let’s take a look at a few scenarios when a rebrand may be in order.

Your company looks like it’s stuck in a time warp.

When your customers land on your website do they think it’s 2016, 2006, or 1996? Be honest. Ask company stakeholders, trusted customers and maybe even an impartial group.

Take a look at your competitors and peers in the industry, and ask the same question. Visually, what do their brands promise? How do they position themselves through their messaging?

Going through this exercise will help you identify any gaps in your branding and avoid myopia, or perhaps reaffirm you’re on point.

You fear getting sidelined by the competition.

Whether it’s a disruptive startup that has suddenly become the industry darling, or a veteran competitor has rendered your brand useless or dated, updating your brand can help you strike back. Had the below companies strategically rebranded, they could have avoided their near extinction or at least had a fighting chance.

- Stripe swiped a majority of the market share Authorize.net long held
- Quicken quickly became second fiddle when Mint came on the scene
- Uber pummeled an entire industry

Each of these has struggled to make a comeback, and that’s primarily because they opted to rely on the brand that got them to where they were rather than take assessment of the current state.

If customers and investors are flocking to your competition despite the fact you have a better product, or if you’re operating in a sector rife with competition, it’s important to develop a brand that stands apart, and exemplifies your core values and the market position, and enables you to maintain a competitive edge. To start, take a look at what the competition is doing right or wrong. Then take what they’re doing right and start thinking about how to do similar things, but with your own unique point of view.

Revenue is slipping.

How is business? Is revenue where it should be? Is it growing as you’d like? Are employees on board with, and excited about, the company and its purpose? Are investors, and all stakeholders, interested and happy?

A solid brand will help you hold onto customers and win new ones. In fact, brand can represent 15 percent of your revenue. Along with a solid product or service, your brand is what customers will latch onto if it’s on point.

Times are changing, and very fast. Moore’s Law is in full effect, causing companies to wrestle with relevancy seemingly all the time. And this is true for nearly every sector of business. Sometimes, however, a rebrand can help a brand remain or become more relevant. Just look at brands like:

Lego – it’s hard to believe now, but Lego experienced significant decline in the early 2000s. Within a few years, Lego had rebuilt a powerful brand by repositioning itself in the marketplace. It now encompasse a theme park, video games, board games, and movies.

Nintendo – when Sony released the Sony Playstation 2 in the 1990s, Nintendo's foothold began to slip. The brand made a comeback in the 2000s with the introduction of the Wii.

Honda – we now see Honda doing this with the Civic. Through strategic messaging and a new look, they are trying to shed the old association it had as a teenager’s first car, and working to make the brand appealing to adult generations.

If you find yourself floundering in a sea of competitors, keep in mind rebranding can be the shot in the arm your company needs.

Written by Robert Wallace

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