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Seven steps to remember when doing a rebranding exercise

A rebranding exercise yields the best results when done for the right reasons. At the same time, there are wrong reasons for rebranding too, which may prove very costly. Prabhakar Tiwari, Chief Growth Officer, Angel Broking, pens down seven things brands must consider before rebranding

Prabhakar Tiwari

Kraft Foods is one of the very well-known food companies worldwide. It has had a very bright history of managing brands such as Kraft Cheese, Philadelphia Cream Cheese and Maxwell Coffee House. The company also had a very strong snacks business, which was growing very rapidly across the world. Then Kraft decided to acquire the brand Cadbury’s. This made it imperative for Kraft to undergo a rebranding exercise that would create a globally recognised mother brand.

Kraft approached its workforce spread across the world to come up with a suitable name for the corporate rebranding exercise. More than 1,000 employees contributed with over 1,700 names. The winning name ‘Mondelez’ was selected from entries submitted by a European and an American employee. This is a combination of two Latin words – ‘Monde’ meaning world and ‘delez’ meaning delicious. Together Mondelez means ‘Delicious World’. Kraft then decided to continue with the name Kraft for its North American business as it had a very strong recall there, but for the global snacking business, it rebranded itself as Mondelez.

Mondelez is just one of the many examples where a company rebranded itself for a strong reason. But the million-dollar question is why does a corporate entity rebrand itself in the first place? What are the reasons that justify the act of corporate rebranding? Let us find out.

A corporate rebranding becomes necessary when one or more of the following things happen:

  • There is a big change in the vision of the company
  • An immediate solution is required as a major development has occurred
  • When the company wants to appeal to a new customer segment
  • When the business has recently been taken over and the new buyer feels that the current brand is no longer apt for the future
  • When two entities with diverse interests merge or demerge

A rebranding exercise yields the best results when done for the right reasons. For instance, when one realises that the current name, logo, tagline or the overall marketing communication elements do not speak the language that the company wants to portray, it is time for rebranding.

At the same time, there are wrong reasons for rebranding too which may prove very costly. These include reasons like trying to shore up falling sales numbers, an attempt to improve consumer awareness or even simply boosting up the marketing effort.

Hence, before rebranding, it is imperative that the right reasons are identified clearly or else the activity may backfire very badly. Assuming that the right reasons have been identified, then how can one go about the rebranding exercise?

Prabhakar Tiwari, Chief Growth Officer, Angel Broking, pens down seven steps that lead to a successful rebranding effort.

  1. Introspect

Knowing the current status of the brand is the most critical thing to do. Unless this step is achieved, the journey ahead may not lead to the desired destination. Rebranding is a costly activity in terms of money, time and stakes. Hence, introspection before embarking on this road always makes sense. Brands should answer questions such as:

  • Who is the brand?
  • What does it stand for?
  • What does the brand do?
  • Why does the brand need to rebrand?

It is also important to know the desired end result so that the road map can be made accordingly.

  1. Market Research

Branding, or for that matter rebranding, is always done keeping the customer in mind. Hence, before rebranding, it is always advisable to speak with the most important stakeholder in the entire chain, the customer. Speak with them to know their impression about you, their delight points, pain points, and their expectations from the brand. This will tell you the position that the brand currently occupies in their mind. It will also help you chalk the way ahead.

  1. Identifying your uniqueness

The brand USP should always be the focus of all rebranding activity. For instance, if you are a premium brand, it makes sense to undertake a rebranding exercise that will enhance it. Brands should not attempt to become a universal solution but stick to their strengths. Rebranding should be based on the brand strengths and effort should be made to enhance the strengths.

  1. Creating a list of brand touchpoints

Most brands, especially the smaller or the new ones, think that the logo is the brand. But a brand is much beyond the logo. While the logo is definitely a crucial element, there are other touchpoints such as packaging, websites, social media pages, business stationery, etc. For instance, in the case of a service brand such as Kaya Skin Clinic, the clinic itself offers huge opportunities of creating brand touchpoints. Inside the clinic, the reception desk, the staff uniform, clinic walls, etc., become brand touchpoints.

  1. Getting stakeholder buy-in

When a rebranding exercise is being done, it is important to get the buy-in of all stakeholders, especially the employees. If the employees are not convinced with the need to rebrand or the outcome of the exercise, then the entire effort is likely to fail. Hence, make sure that they are not only made aware of the need to rebrand but also trained or made aware of the new identity and the various changes in touchpoints.

  1. Revealing the brand to the public

Once you are ready with the rebranding elements, make it public ASAP. This activity should be done in one go rather than in a phased manner. People do not like change, but they hate the slower pace of change the most! Make sure that you prime your stakeholders with teaser communication before going public. It is important to tell stakeholders why this rebranding activity was undertaken in the first place. But more importantly, tell them how they will benefit from this activity.

  1. Gathering feedback

Once the ship has set sail, it is important to gather stakeholder feedback on the rebranding inputs. It will help you know the impact of the activity and also know what has worked and what needs improvement. 

Rebranding is like a rebirth of a brand. Think of it as an opportunity to get over the shortcomings of your previous life and create a better, stronger and fresher brand.

Remember, your brand is what sets you apart from your competitors and helps you connect with your customers. Rebranding is a second chance at improving things that were not right. So do it right and reap the benefits.

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