Brand Overhaul

Do You Need a Company Brand Overhaul or Tune-up?

Earlier this week, I presented a BrightTALK webinar on behalf of the Sales Experts Channel, titled, Branding and Positioning for Market Leadership. With over 200 registrants, this is obviously a topic of great interest. As I explained, after making the decision to embark on a branding upgrade, there is a critical decision to be made: Do you need a total rebrand (overhaul) or to just improve the existing brand (tune-up)? Let’s discuss the options.

Signs that You Need a Company Brand Overhaul

  1. Your name/brand no longer expresses what you do. I often hear some version of the following: My brand made sense 10-20 years ago but it doesn’t describe who we currently are as a company.
  2. Your brand/market position is stale or outdated. The business world moves fast. If you believe your name/brand describes a Year 2000 company rather than a 2020 company, it may be time for a change.
  3. You believe your competitors have more effective branding. As part of our branding engagements, we research all major competitors.  If you are not at the top of the pack when it comes to attributes like compelling, differentiated and benefit-oriented, you need to take bigger actions to address this right now.
  4. You would describe your brand as boring, weak or mediocre. If any of these terms come to mind when you think about your brand, perhaps you do need an overhaul. However, I would caution you to make sure that your internal feeling about the brand mirrors what your prospects and customers think. You and your team may feel less positive just because you are tired of the brand (e.g. the “familiarity breeds contempt” syndrome).

Signs that You Need a Company Brand Tune-up

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Perhaps you can benefit from a much simpler and less expensive brand tune-up. Here are some clues:

  1. Your name/brand is acceptable. Perhaps your name/brand isn’t the greatest but it is functional and can be improved with a tune-up. It seems to be doing the job with prospects and you have good name recognition in the marketplace with a corresponding decent awareness level.
  2. Your brand still describes what you do. While you may come up with something more clever, just the fact that you have a descriptive brand may allow you to forego the high monetary and effort costs of changing.
  3. You are well-known under your current brand.  If you do have a large amount of brand equity, there is usually a price to be paid with a brand overhaul. This is often a good investment but perhaps a tune-up can get you many of the benefits at a much lower cost.
  4. Changing your brand would be costly. As mentioned earlier, brand overhauls can be quite expensive.  I’ve been involved in several multi-million dollar re-branding projects. All but one have returned great ROI. The exception was a poorly conceived and poorly executed project early in my career that taught us many valuable lessons of what not to do.
  5. You would describe your name/brand as dated or a bit dull but still relevant.  In this case, I usually advocate putting the focus on the messaging platform, including the brand promise, value proposition, elevator pitch, and key messages for both the company and your products and services. This step alone can bring many benefits at much less cost and time than a full brand overhaul.

In my experience as both a marketing executive responsible for company branding, and as someone who has worked with dozens of clients on branding projects, brand overhauls usually cost 2-5 times as much as tune-ups. Not only are there expenses for new graphic treatments, major website upgrades and re-doing corporate materials, but the promotional expenses are much higher. In a small company, this can cost as little as a few thousand dollars, but I have been involved with larger company re-brands with budgets in the millions. Either way, carefully think through these issues before embarking on any company brand tune-up or overhaul initiative.

For more information, download the whitepaper, Six Steps to Achieve Powerful Brand Awareness.

Christopher Ryan
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