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Refresh, Reposition or Rebrand?

difference between brand refresh, reposition or rebrand

The term “rebranding” is thrown around a lot these days as companies try to recast their identity to fuel future growth. We see 10 to 12 public press announcements each week of a company or organization rebranding by introducing a name change, a new logo or graphic identity. But there are several different interpretations of rebranding that one can take to renew their market position and company mojo. So it is important to know if you are refreshing or repositioning your brand or entirely rebranding.

At Rebranding Experts we believe true rebranding is the deliberate and systematic process of creating an inspired, forward-facing organization ready to grasp opportunity through the alignment and dynamic portrayal of your unique differentiators to customers. It is all-encompassing, transformative process to better positon the organization for success. That’s because your brand should be the heart and soul of your organization. It’s the collection of experiences and the presentation of your promise to customers. It’s what they trust you to always deliver. And increasingly consumers own the dialogue regarding your brand in their online digital interactions. So true rebranding is to update or evolve your core customer promise, to make it more future focused and aspirational.

To help clients determine just how aggressive they want to be with a rebranding effort, we have found it helpful to share an analogy between rebranding with how you might renovate your home. Here’s how they are comparable:

Refreshing your brand means giving your existing brand a contemporary makeover to update an outdated look. It entails mostly surface changes of the visual identity of your brand. For your company it could include an updated logo, maybe a tagline, energetic website and materials with an updated visual presentation. It would be equivalent to sprucing up the exterior of your home adding to its curb appeal, such as a new coat of paint, some shutters and landscaping. There are really no internal changes to the home or what it stands for but the curb appeal enhancements present a more contemporary image of your company to customers, and let’s face it makes all employees feel good. Many sports teams seem to be refreshing their brands these days with contemporized logos, logos and uniforms to ignite fan enthusiasm, but usually the coaching strategy or player lineup remain the same.

Repositioning your company means pivoting on its existing base to update the customer promise, and possibly a refreshed identity, but not changing the company name. Once again, your efforts are primarily externally focused and don’t include as many internal changes within the organization or to the structure of your business. The repositioning is delivered through an aggressive marketing effort that encourages consumers to look at you differently. Old Spice repositioned its stodgy men’s aftershave to fragrant man goods that better meet the needs of today’s young men.

Rebranding best aligns with a major business transformation, like an acquisition or

merger, the expansion of service lines or repurposing of your business to meet changing market conditions. Rebranding could be considered refreshing plus repositioning plus name change. It starts with revisiting your vision, mission statement and values; updating your brand essence and how your customers experience you; possibly changing your name and entire visual identity as in logo, and the look and feel of all signage, packaging and materials. Rebranding is like total renovation of a home, stripping it down to the studs and recasting the foundation of your business model or customer promise to make it more forward facing.

Then it entails reconstructing the interior walls and the roof, making all the necessary internal changes to deliver on that renewed promise and differentiate the business in the marketplace. Rebranding is the most resource significant renovation you would conduct for a company - or a home - but the one that best ensures a long-term increase in its value. As an example, Phillip Morris rebranded as Altria enabling it to improve its image and shed businesses while focusing on tobacco profits.

All three approaches present the opportunity to re-energize an organization. Only rebranding though reaches deep into the enterprise and realigns around a new foundation that sets the stage for long-term differentiation and growth.


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