Top 10 mistakes marketers make when rebranding – and how to avoid them

1. Thinking the brand is just the logo, stationery or corporate colours. Brands encompass everything from customer perception and experience to quality, look and feel, customer care, retail and web environments, the tone and voice of communications and more.

2. Not leveraging existing brand equity and goodwill. Dismissing brand equity when rebranding alienates established customers, while unnecessary overhauls can irreparably damage a brand’s perception. Consider the needs and mindset of your target market before digging into the process. Sometimes a small evolution – or a new coat of paint – is all that’s needed to rejuvenate and make a brand relevant.

3. The rebrand lacks credibility or it is a superficial facelift. The rebrand’s story must be believable, given the existing brand experience and customer perception. It must also hold credibility internally. If employees who live the brand don’t believe in it, the target audience won’t either.

4. Bypassing the basics. The value of perfecting your physical environment, marketing materials and website is decreased if, for example, your customers languish on hold for inordinate amounts of time. If your invoices and contracts are written in legal jargon, the brand experience declines. Keep all customer touchpoints in mind when rebranding.

5. Forgetting that people don’t do what they say. Use caution when basing rebranding strategies on focus group-type research. Unless you are physically in the customer’s environment, observing them using your product or service, you are not getting the full story. Actual observation, while not perfect, will get you a lot closer to the right solution.

6. Getting strong-armed or intimidated by consultants. It is the marketer’s respons-ibility to reel things in when necessary. You still know the most about your brand and organisation, although there is obviously value in a fresh external perspective.

7. Not planning ahead for adaptation. It’s tempting for team members to walk away after the final rebrand presentation. However, this is just the beginning of the final stretch. The implementation process may require adaptation as the rebrand rolls out. Acknowledge the need to keep the team and consultants together throughout implementation.

8. Rebranding without research. There’s a lot of lip service paid in firms about listening to customers, but in brand strategy sessions they’re often forgotten. Current and prospective customers should be front and centre when creating solutions. After all, the customer’s reaction will be your ultimate test.

9. Basing a rebrand on advertising. An ad campaign and a slogan do not make a brand positioning. Brand strategy should lead advertising – not the other way around. Sometimes the most effective rebrands don’t include traditional advertising at all.

10. Tunnel focus. Focusing solely on your own industry can be limiting. When rebranding, cross-pollinate your thinking with what leaders in other industries are doing in regard to customer experience, retail experience and customer care. Pull in thinking from different industries and encourage your agency to do so too.

Source: Rebrand, www.rebrand.com

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