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Is it Time to Rebrand? Here’s How You Know

by Jessica Lawlor

Rebranding is a natural part of the life cycle for businesses, no matter how small or large. As eras come and go, popular opinion shifts and new trends surface, brands must be flexible.

Change or be left behind, right?

As with most things however, change can be extremely difficult, especially when it disrupts “business as usual.”

We know — having gone through the rebranding process before. More on that below.

Even though it’s a natural part of growth, rebranding isn’t something that should be taken lightly, and you better make sure it comes at the right time.

What makes up a brand?

Overall, your company brand is your consumer-facing personality.

It represents your vision and helps to shape customer attitude towards your business.

Your brand is represented by various tangible elements, from your logo to your color palette to your letterhead to your website design.

Our branding story

In the beginning of 2016, we went through our own rebranding.

Back in 2008, Digital Ink was a one-man-show in founder Jason Unger’s basement — hence the original name, Junger Media.

Over the years, things began to shift and change. In 2013, Unger brought on a creative director, Jason Forrest. Then, the business went from solely helping clients with WordPress websites to expanding services into graphic design and creative development.

We needed a new name and vision to reflect the current state of the business, and thus began a six-month long rebranding process that led to the Digital Ink you know today.

We are a digital and creative services firm that provides innovative products for our partners, and we’re changing our identity to align with that value and mission.

I’m excited to announce that, come January 1, 2016, we will no longer be known as Junger Media.

We are Digital Ink.

When is it time to rebrand?

Maybe you’re not so sure you need a rebrand.

If you’re feeling confused about whether or not it’s time, look for one of these telltale signs.

1. Your target audience has shifted

Whether you’re launching a new product or service, or feel like you’ve been going after the wrong market, a shift in target audience is the perfect opportunity for a rebrand.

It seems like simple logic: What attracts a 21-year-old male to a brand is going to be much different than what attracts a 54-year old female to that same brand.

Staying on top of changes in demographics makes good business sense. What makes even better business sense? Adapting your brand to engage those demographics.

Consider the evolution of the Old Spice brand.

Before 2010, popular opinion pegged Old Spice as a brand for older generations. After deciding to shift its focus to target millenials the folks at Old Spice knew a rebrand was necessary.

To reach this new group, Old Spice launched a new marketing series starring athlete Isaiah Mustafa, which drew upon elements from pop culture that helped to connect the brand with its new target.

2. Your company brand is going stale

If you’re embarrassed to hand out your marketing materials, it might be time for a rebrand.

Even industry giants need to update their look from time to time to avoid being perceived as stale by their audience.

Keds, the popular American shoe brand, hit the market with a bang in the early 1900s by doing something no one else had done before: Targeting women who wanted something other than high heels to wear. With a legacy lasting more than 100 years, a rebrand seemed inevitable for Keds.

Yet for many years, the retailer failed to keep up with current trends, falling out of favor with the millennial market.

In 2012, President Chris Linder knew it was time for a change. Keds found a way to reach the younger generation while remaining true to their roots, launching the Ladies First Since 1916 campaign.

The shoe brand hired Taylor Swift as their spokesperson, and joined the growing conversation about female empowerment and equality, resulting in a huge comeback for the brand.

3. Your vision or strategy has changed

If sales are stagnant or a company is experiencing profit loss, a shift in brand vision or marketing strategy may be on the table.

In most cases, if a company is going to fundamentally change its business model or strategic objectives, it requires a rebrand. Whether that rebrand is an overhaul or a minor tweak is subjective to the situation.

One of the most successful rebrands that came about as a result of a change in strategic objectives comes from a little company you might know as Apple.

In its early years, Apple lacked a true brand. It didn’t stand for anything and consumers had a hard time gauging the company’s vision and personality. As a result, sales were abysmal and the competition was cornering the market.

When Steve Jobs took over the company in 1997, he knew things needed to change. Enter the minimalistic, modern image we associate with Apple today.

Thanks to its rebrand, Apple was able to reach a new customer base, effectively establishing themselves as leaders in the tech industry.

4. You’re failing to stand out from the competition

If your brand doesn’t stand out from the crowd, consumers will have a hard time understanding why they should choose you over a competitor.

If your brand is your company personality, it should creatively represent your unique value propositions and differentiate your company from any others in the industry.

Take Target for example. When the chain first opened in the 1990s, consumers lumped Target in with other industry big box stores like WalMart and K-Mart. The store was indistinguishable from its competition.

How did they change things? When the chain shifted its vision, focusing on offering designer merchandise at discount prices, they also shifted their brand to match.

This resulted in Target becoming the second largest big box retailer in the U.S. and a beloved brand amongst affluent millennials who appreciate the high-quality items at lower prices.

While a rebrand may sound scary, in these cases, it’s more than necessary.

If you’re considering a rebrand in your near future, don’t take on the process alone.

Working with an experience team of branding experts and designers can make the difference between success and failure. Find out how we can work together on your rebrand.

Did we miss anything? Tell us how you know it’s time for a rebrand on Twitter.

Photo by Neven Krcmarek on Unsplash

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About Jessica Lawlor

Jessica Lawlor is the president and CEO of Jessica Lawlor & Company (JL&Co), a specialty communications agency focused on content management and creation, public relations and digital marketing. She blogs at JessicaLawlor.com about getting gutsy: Stepping outside your comfort zone to reach your goals and live a life that makes you truly happy.

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