Marketing expert Michael Kava looks at what motivates business owners to change an integral part of their business, and when might be the right time for you to consider doing so.
Most marketing departments and agencies try and make changes and new initiatives to many of their clients’ businesses to help them stand above their competition and to help them grow to best suit the ever-evolving marketplace. Many older companies try to be clever and different from others by changing something about their business that doesn’t necessarily need changing. Change for just the sake of it can really backfire and damage the brand and its reputation that has been built over a long time.
Loyal customers may not understand the change and opt out of your brand so it is important that many questions are answered and examined before any action is taken. Is the change subtle and gradual? Is it ever a good idea to even try?
Take changing a brand’s logo, for example. Logos can evoke all sorts of emotions, including trust, so if deciding to change a logo you need to consider the impact it may have and the perceptions of changing a logo can have. A company that recently changed a major part of its business is Rebel Sport. This leader in the sports industry has changed their logo to Rebel, with the second ‘e’ backwards and all in lower case.
“Rebel's new-look stores and identity articulates our commitment to becoming Australia's leading and most inspiring sports store destination,” Rebel Group Managing Director Erica Berchtold said.
Changing their iconic 27-year long branding was a big leap for Rebel and the revitalisation was probably necessary, but was a logo change the right way to go about it? Time will only tell if this rebranding of Rebel was a success, but to help with the transition, Rebel can implement strategies to assist.
The right thing to do
Changing your logo or name is a very big deal that can determine where your business will head in the future. If there is a passion and need for change to help bring a brand back to life, change is and should be encouraged, but perfect execution is essential. Change should be discussed with your target audience through all communication channels to help them understand why the change is occurring and how it is going to benefit them in a positive way.
When change is done right
Another recent example of a rebrand is the iconic McDonald’s that recently changed their name for a selected period of time to ‘Maccas’. The fast-food chain changed the signage on 13 selected outlets across the country in the lead up to Australia Day. This change was a great rebrand, as most Australians say ‘Maccas’ as opposed to ‘McDonald’s’, which helps accentuate the Aussie feel and love of this fast food restaurant.
A couple of years ago McDonald’s also created a fresh look with a new and healthier menu to help deter negativity about the health risks of eating their food. This new initiative was a very successful one as they changed every aspect of packaging by including nutritional information with their meals served and created a trusting relationship with their customers.
When change can turn you into a billion dollar industry
Nearly 20 years ago, Apple was close to bankruptcy, but after all these years Apple is a billion dollar company – by rebranding and producing elegant and reliable products such as Mac books, iPods, iPhones and more. Apple created a community for Apple users that also helped the change. All their products are linked, which encourages their consumers to return to their brand time and time again. From having an iPhone to link to your MacBook and iTunes to buying music for your iPhone and iPods, the connection is endless.
When it’s right for your small business
Change in branding for any small business is usually easier than rebranding a bigger company as many small businesses are not as well-known and have the luxury of making changes as they like. Changing a logo, positioning statements and overall creative can help enhance a business’s reputation and help stand out in the over communicated world.
A new logo redesign or adding a positioning to a business name can help boost your message out into the marketplace. Rebranding an existing business is usually a crucial step for businesses to be taken seriously as they expand into a more aggressive and technologically savvy marketplace. Even businesses in the tradie industry have had to evolve and rebrand to help keep up with this new need for a greener future focus in their industry.
The saying, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it?”. Well, this may be true in other aspects of life and may even be relevant in some parts of the marketing place, but change to an existing business of any size sometimes is crucial to the survival of a brand. This isn’t to say that executing a rebrand should be taken lightly, because even if you rebrand a business that may need it, you can help damage a business instead of help it if not done properly. So always do your research and communicate effectively.
Remember, don’t make changes to an existing business just for the sake of it, or to be clever or different. Only make changes when needed to help revitalise a brand or when a brand needs to keep up with its surrounding changes.
Michael Kava is Director of Little Marketing.
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