We all go through phases in our personal lives when we sense we have outgrown our fashion style, a piece of furniture doesn’t represent us anymore or we simply need a change of scene.
In business, some companies update their logos every few years or refresh their marketing templates every few months – all in the name of keeping their customers excited and maintaining brand positioning.
Although this keeps customers engaged, rebranding is a vital exercise that stretches beyond colour palettes and fonts. It’s about the evolution of your brand and its reinvention amid the changes your business goes through in different growth cycles.
When a business acquaintance decided to open a local speciality coffee shop a few years ago, his brand was designed to stand out in a sea of foreign franchised coffee labels. Back then, customers usually opted to purchase their coffee from foreign franchises and home-grown speciality coffee shops weren’t as popular as they are now.
What made his brand unique then was the local feel, the imported beans, coffee infused with local flavours and the fact he was present behind the counter to serve customers. His approach was directly in contravention to the market norms at the time and that helped him to stand out.
Today, local speciality coffee shops are present in almost every neighbourhood. They are trendy and have different home-grown brands – all competing to serve the same customer base.
What made my acquaintance stand out years ago isn’t unique anymore, and if he had continued down the same road, without reinventing, his business may not have survived. His brand needed to evolve. And it did.
As a consultant who has worked with different brands over the years, I found this is how your brand can constantly evolve and stand out from the crowd:
Does your mission reflect your brand’s current position?
The mission statement and brand values that guided you when you first launched may need some tweaking to match your brand’s positioning today. When my acquaintance started his business, he aimed to bring a local feel to the coffee experience.
As his brand evolved and more competitors entered the market, so did his mission. His product offering changed and he ventured into home catering and started to sell his blends online. He now plans to expand into international markets through franchising, where his offering can stand out amid a sea of sameness.
As your brand grows and evolves, you should revisit your mission statement and review whether or not it is aligned with the current position of your business.
Start slow and expand as business grows
When my acquaintance started, he offered a handful of products. He didn’t have an e-commerce website and neither did he export his products to clients in Asia and Europe, until years later. What started as a local coffee shop, grew into a lifestyle brand and talks of selling franchises of his brand to potential clients in Asia are under way.
As your business grows, your brand will need to evolve to reflect different offerings and cater to the expanding customer base.
When everybody goes right, go left
This is perhaps the ultimate question: when should you rebrand? When you no longer stand out and you have lost your differentiating factor. The sooner you take charge and realise that you need to rebrand, the better.
Your business has come a long way. You may have introduced numerous products. You may have expanded to new geographies, or you may believe in something completely different now. Go back to basics – how did your business evolve? And where do you wish to go from here?
Answering these questions would be the first step in the right direction.
Manar Al Hinai is an award-winning Emirati journalist and entrepreneur who manages her marketing and communications company in Abu Dhabi