The notorious rebrand is one of those things that most manufacturing companies know they need to plan, schedule, and budget for at some point in their brand’s lifecycle but inevitably procrastinate doing.
Why? Because rebrands take time, energy, and resources, it often seems easier to hold out hope that sales numbers will eventually tick upward or that the competition stumbles somehow giving your business a leg up.
A rebrand has the perception that it is an arduous task when in reality it can be an exciting endeavor that drives engagement and energy both externally with customers and internally with your own team.
Aviate Creative recently surveyed manufacturers to learn more about how they view rebranding, what value they see in a rebrand, and how they involve their teams when doing one.
How You Know That It’s Time to Rebrand
There are a plethora of reasons that should lead a manufacturer to a rebranding destination. These four ways below are some of the most obvious for looking closely at your brand and deciding if it is time to tackle some necessary rework.
1. Your company aesthetic is still living in the 90s.
The most obvious reason to rebrand is that you have outgrown your brand’s existing visual and story components. Brands organically evolve over time, even in manufacturing, and updating visual identity and voice to match that evolution is vitally important.
Many companies struggle to make changes to their brand’s image because over time it becomes like an old pair of jeans, familiar and comfortable, so there is no need to buy new ones.
Even the biggest brands change or tweak their identity every handful of years. In today’s world, it has become anticipated and expected for brands to reinvent themselves regularly.
2. You aren’t attracting new customers.
There is one guiding factor that must be the focal point for all of your brand’s strategic decisions: your target audience. Your customer persona(s) should be the single biggest influencer for your business strategies, marketing efforts, and sales mechanisms.
You need to focus on how your customers feel, what their pain points are, and the ever-changing factors that motivate them to make a purchase. The more you know about your customers, the more clearly you can create visual appeal and speak in a language that makes complete sense to them, and consequently, drives faster growth for you.
3. Your messaging is unclear (or inconsistent).
If a lot of people act confused when you explain what your brand is about or if visitors to your website are bouncing like ping-pong balls, that’s a sign that your brand narrative needs a serious overhaul. You want your “why” (why your company is doing what it does) to be a clear, authentic, and compelling reflection of your business offerings and your unique solutions.
It’s perfectly normal for a business to start as one thing and transition into other areas as it grows. If your brand has made a similar shift, is it reflected in your current messaging? The last thing you want to do is create a disconnect with your prospects about what you do or offer. Coming up with your brand messaging isn’t something you just do on the fly or something that changes from day to day.
Take some dedicated time to dig deep, distill down, and get crystal clear on the things driving people to look for your products or services and how your brand meets those needs.
4. Your online and offline branding are riding in different lanes.
Your brand’s online and offline channels must work together to drive profit. The marketing divide between online and offline spheres can be such a gaping hole that it is not uncommon to see separate print, web, and social media strategies within the very same organization. That will no doubt create confusion which will have a ripple effect within your consumer circles.
In a customer’s mind, they perceive one continuous brand. We live in a world where customers casually cross multiple marketing channels throughout the course of an hour, even in the manufacturing landscape. Optimizing the thread between different marketing platforms and grasping the potential that lies there can be the make or break point.
A Rebrand Indicates That a lot of Changes Need to Happen
Rebranding is an undertaking that companies should be prepared for because it is more than just changing a logo or revamping a website’s aesthetic, it is about reinventing the visual, verbal, and experiential image of your company and its varied touchpoints.
Almost always, it is necessary to revise your brand philosophy, story, and messaging to ensure it matches the evolution of your company and thus is relevant and continues to resonate with your staff/employees and your desired demographic.
At The Artus Corporation, Operations Manager, Noah Katzenstein explained that his company became cognizant that their existing identity and narrative weren’t firing on all cylinders so it was time to reimagine those.
“We decided to rebrand our branding, messaging, and visibility because it was outdated and ineffective.”
It is also imperative at the juncture of embarking on rebranding to redefine (or refine) your target persona(s) and check to see if you are speaking their language as vernacular changes swiftly amidst the constantly changing technologies, marketing platforms, and global events.
There must be a thoughtful and deliberate effort in place to ensure that any brand pivot will be well received by existing customers, potential ones, and internally within your staff.
Rebranding is a Soup-To-Nuts Process
Rebranding requires much more than swapping out some color palettes or redesigning a logo. It is essentially the creation of a new identity system through the eyes of all stakeholders.
Courtney Houtz, Marketing Manager for Butler Technologies, Inc. shared that they did a small-scale brand refresh when they recently embarked on an updated website redesign and that the endeavor ended up taking more time and resources, however, the outcome was certainly worth it.
“As a company always seeking innovation, we didn’t want to leave our brand behind. The driving force for our brand refresh was our website–it was scattered and confusing. We wanted to ensure our website was accurate regarding product offerings, but we also wanted to make the best first impression.
We quickly learned that writing the new copy, adjusting colors, and setting product messaging standards take a lot of effort and time. When you have a specific vision in mind, it is challenging to communicate and translate that vision into reality.”
Perception is reality and in this highly competitive era, it doesn’t matter what your widget is, getting noticed for all the right reasons is instrumental in molding the perception that will serve your brand well. There is value in the process because the end result is what you are putting out there to the world.
Don’t Let Audience Erosion Take Root
Forward-thinking brands that generate a consistent experience between their print, social, mobile, and virtual campaigns drive a connection and positive impact across their entire marketing ecosystem.
Many manufacturing business owners, especially those who have been at it for years, passively assume their brand elements are working for them. Until. Until the moment someone makes a remark about their brand’s dated look, inconsistent marketing, or weary website.
That stings no doubt. That’s because the comment has revealed a gap between how they view the strength of their brand presence and the actual perception in the market. This gap is where audience erosion begins to take root. And that’s scary particularly because it’s a blind spot. Realizing when a rebrand makes sense needs to actually come before the blind spot forms and takes you by surprise.
Mitch Kennedy, Co-Founder, of Factory of the Future, explains that “customer feedback is the best driver and rationale for considering a rebrand. Yes, branding changes can make a company take a collective pause before tackling but then there’s some relaxed understanding and acceptance that it is necessary.”
Rebranding Creates Brand Ambassadors
One of the many advantages of rebranding is that you can further develop brand ambassadors internally. They can act as a connective thread for marketing and sales. It can also encourage ongoing collaboration and creativity.
Noah Katzenstein from The Artus Corporation noted that to encourage excitement and engagement with the direction of a new look and feel they were intentional with including their staff from the outset.
“Our team members were in the loop throughout the process. When the details of the project were shared with the production staff, it was met with overall positivity. Everyone was excited about the modernization and social media presence we were planning on making.”
It’s important for any company’s employees to feel connected in the workplace so that everyone is working toward a unifying mission. Positive culture empowers and energizes teams to execute your organization’s goals and mission. Rebranding and all that it entails is a perfect way to show your staff that where they work and what they do matters.
A Rebrand is Always Worth The Effort
Take time annually to evaluate if it’s time to tackle a rebrand. A little housekeeping on a yearly basis will help you confirm if your brand continues to hit all the right notes or if it’s time for some essential retuning.
Change can be challenging but change indicates possibilities, a way forward, rejuvenation, a fresh awareness of mission, vision, and values, a united front, and future growth. Yes, a rebrand can be all of those things.
Paul Kiesche is the President of Aviate Creative, a branding and creative agency with an edge in manufacturing. He applies decades of experience and award-winning work in design and marketing to the manufacturing industry. Paul is also involved in several manufacturing associations, events, publications, and podcasts. He is an adjunct professor, speaker, author, and artist. Paul’s objective is to help educate and grow manufacturers through effective and proven branding and marketing strategies.
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