Speaking of brand evolutions, companies and individuals are constant in a state of refining and/or redefining their brand's positioning and targeting. The question is often asked: What will it take to remake how we're perceived?
Over the years, I've reinvented my own brand more than a few times. This inevitably natural process always spurs thinking about these questions, especially after having launched new brand and content strategies for a loyal client (POOLPACT.com) this week. As a branding expert, I've had the opportunity to "rebrand" many clients who want to fundamentally redefine what they stand for in the minds of others. Here are four universal observations I can now share with you.
1. Start with the hard, cold truth about where you are today.
If you're in the process of rebranding yourself or your company, you need a very honest, detailed look at how others perceive you right now. There's often a great disconnect between perception and reality - and you need to clearly define exactly what those are. Traditionally, we've used interviews and focus groups to shed some light on your current brand - including basics like strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and goals. You'll gain more from listening to your target audience, although you may not like all that you get from them in feedback. Whatever the verdict, you'll establish a foundation of insights and qualities you'll build toward, including ideas on how to evolve.
2. PR doesn’t reinvent anything.
There are no shortcuts between your current and desired brand. New logos and taglines can't revolutionize your place in the market. True reinvention is hard, sometimes dirty work - and there must be substance to underpin your new brand position. You may need additional training - or simply a better product or service to start a true brand revolution.
3. Rebranding begins by demonstrating your value to others.
The primary mission of any great brand is to solve a problem for, or address a true need of someone else. Do it - don't say it. In today's hyper-fast, digital marketplace - an inauthentic rebranding can end a potentially good start before it even has a chance to begin. Taking time to honestly address your focus on providing people with a truly great brand experience is just the start. Defining that experience in fine detail is essential to rebranding. Take some tips from great brands by changing actions first before announcing them - and not just once, but over time.
4. Always tell the truth. Your story needs to make good sense.
You'll need to create a narrative that helps people understand how you, or your company, changed directions. Quick turns are common in today's fast-paced life, so shifts need to be understood as authentic and intuitive. People change careers. Products change packaging. People need a mental bridge between the old and new. The transition must be rational, while demonstrating how you've remained true to your mission. Make certain those who work with you believe in that "new you", so that they're partners in the process of reintroducing your new brand.
True transformation and reinvention is a very difficult task and process. It's also a necessary part of brand development over time.
As C.S. Lewis once said, “It may be hard for an egg to turn into a bird: it would be a jolly sight harder for it to learn to fly while remaining an egg. We are like eggs at present. And you cannot go on indefinitely being just an ordinary, decent egg. We must be hatched or go bad.”
Brands will hatch - and hatch once more. Reinvention awaits us all. Your brand will continue to grow if done with thought and sound strategic planning.