Is a New Year’s Rebrand the Right Move for Your Retail Business?
As a new year approaches and people’s thoughts turn to all kinds of new beginnings it is not unusual for a small business owner to step back and wonder if the ‘brand’ they have created for their company is sending the right message or is as effective as it could be. Maybe it is time to make a change, freshen things up a little. But is that really a move that you are ready to make?
Everyone Does It
There are very few companies, especially in retail, that have not ‘evolved’ their branding as time has passed, some with far more success than others. Take the Pepsi Cola company for example. They have been around now since 1898 and as you can see, they have made a number of logo changes in that time:
Although the latest logo is criticized by some as too simple it still identifies instantly as Pepsi, so on the whole each “progression” has been a successful one.
The there are the not so successful attempts at a fast rebrand. The most commonly cited fairly recent example of this is the rebrand launched by The Gap in 2010. Essentially the clothing company had used the same logo and branding on everything since the first stores opened in California in 1969. The decision to change things was made hastily and the new image was so hated by customers it resulted in such a social media backlash that the new logo was dumped within two weeks, at a cost of who knows how many thousands of dollars. And the Gap logo has now not changed again in almost ten years (and is unlikely to anytime soon, the company learned their lesson).
And while any company brand is about much more than its logo , the logo is a key ‘ambassador’ , hence these examples. Before you even seriously consider rebranding your business though, there are certain key questions you need to ask yourself (and the rest of your staff if you have them).
- Why are we considering a rebrand?
- What is the current problem that a rebrand would solve?
- Has our customer base changed, warranting the overall change?
- Are we stuck with a brand that the company has outgrown?
- Can we create a brand that will remain relevant for the next 5, 20, 15 years?
- What is the ROI on the rebrand likely to be?
- What will our customers think?
Get Some Feedback
Before you commit a great deal of time and money into a rebrand you should also solicit the opinion of the most important people of all – your customers – and fortunately social media makes this pretty simple to do. Had The Gap taken the time to do so before foisting a brand new logo on the public they would have discovered just how unpopular it was, saving themselves a great deal of money and avoiding the negative press that the move garnered as well.
Make Smaller Changes Instead
Maybe you don’t need a complete rebrand, maybe all you really need is a website makeover. In fact, is it has been more than five years since you last changed things around it is almost certain that you do. Most websites that are older than that are hard to make as mobile friendly and that is a must right now as far as Google and other search engines are concerned. Many older websites also contain other frowned upon elements – like lots of Flash elements – that may damage both the user experience and the site’s position in the SERPs. A new site launch – or a full rebrand – also offers an additional benefit, you can create a nice marketing buzz around it, and make the whole thing a bit of a ‘big deal’.
Finally, if you do decide it is time for a change bite the budget bullet and go pro. There are several good sources of high quality graphic design and web design that are relatively affordable and it is an expenditure that is worth making as the investment you make now will impact your company for years to come.