By Mathew Evins, Chairman, EVINS Ltd.
Brand health is inherently tied to effective branding. Many businesses realize this too late, with a sudden or drastic decrease in market share and brand resonance.
In the twenty-eight year history of our agency, we have directed and handled rebranding efforts for dozens of clients, all of whom came to the conclusion that their branding no longer aligned with their brand objectives. Through our work with clients, as well as the agency’s own recent branding as EVINS, I have developed and utilized five main questions that every business should ask before rebranding.
These questions help to determine whether a rebranding exercise is necessary, as well as reveal the best path to create a lasting and relevant new identity. Whether you are rebuilding from the ground up — with a new visual identity, website and mission as EVINS did — or you are simply looking to fine tune your company, these are the essential questions to ask of yourself and your employees:
1. Are Your Employees Passionate About the Brand?
There is a marked and perceptible difference between the results garnered by a business staffed with passionate and dedicated employees, and those results driven from low worker morale and dedication. Although low morale and a lack of passion on the part of your employees can be indicative of many things, it is important to ask your staff what they would change about the business if given the opportunity. This can be accomplished through a staff town hall or an anonymous web survey (sites like Survey Monkey are perfect for this), and can yield incredible insight regarding the effectiveness of your brand positioning, as well as the overall health of your business. In fact, simply asking the question often raises morale.
2. Does Your Branding Reflect the Offerings of Your Business?
Brand essence is a hot topic of conversation these days, and for good reason. Social media has brought the issue of essence and communication to the forefront, and caused many brands to question whether their branding accurately represents their business. When Evins Communications began the rebranding process, the main impetus was that our name denoted one specific service, when in fact we had grown to offer a variety of services beyond public relations and communications. Many prospective (and current) clients were unaware of our expanded capabilities. Asking whether your brand essence and brand presence are in sync allows you to take stock of your position in the marketplace. If the answer is no, it is imperative to create that alignment.
3. Does Your Brand Resonate With Consumers?
Many businesses wrongly adopt the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” approach, which can lead to disastrous results down the line. Examples like Kodak and Borders remind us that your customers’ loyalty only exists when you listen to their wants and needs, and “staying the course” is not always an option. Businesses need to evaluate whether their brand aligns and resonates with their consumers, and adapt if they do not. Rebranding can help freshen up a business, reestablishing it as a viable choice among consumers who may have migrated away from the brand.
4. What Is the Brand Positioning of Your Competitors?
When is the last time you evaluated the abilities, successes and shortcomings of your competitors? Competitive set analysis is a service that EVINS offers our clients, but it had been awhile since we analyzed our own competitors. By aggregating, categorizing and examining the companies whose services and business targets were most similar to our own, we gained amazing insights into the strengths and weaknesses of our own business, and discovered opportunities to differentiate ourselves from the pack. The most helpful part of evaluating your competitors is the ability to identify an under-serviced portion of the market, which can become a focus of a rebranding effort, and a major source of new revenue.
5. Does Your Brand Deliver on its Promises?
It’s not your brand promise, it’s delivering on the promise that will keep customers returning and help drive advocacy for your business. A luxury resort, for instance, would want to focus on customer service above all else, while a Swiss watchmaker would want to focus on the hand-crafted expertise of its product. If your brand is unable to condense its promise and focus to the core pillars, it is highly unlikely to succeed in delivering a transcendent experience to your customers. Rebranding can help sharpen the lens — and allow your business to focus on what is truly important to your consumer.