Rebranding: the “Should you / Shouldn’t you” guide

Rebranding can revitalize a company… But should you do it?

 

Have you ever thought about rebranding?

If you’re like many business owners, the answer is a resounding yes.

After all, in the face of stagnant sales, incessant competition and changing markets, the idea of becoming a new, “different” company can be alluring.

But rebranding isn’t a walk in the park—and if you do it wrong, the consequences to your business can be dire.

Should you consider rebranding?

Here are some scenarios where overhauling your brand might make sense.

  • New product. If you’ve recently launched a new product or service that has the potential to confuse your customers, you might think about rebranding that part of the business. We don’t often recommend this approach, though. At BRANDING FOR THE PEOPLE, we feel it makes sense most of the time to create one Master Brand and then roll out sub-brands underneath it.
  • New mission. A shift in your most basic reason for being definitely merits a rebranding conversation. For example, if you’ve been providing services to clients and now want to focus exclusively on teaching them, a rebrand is probably in order.
  • New image. If you’ve had a PR disaster—or an actual one—and you’re trying to distance yourself from it, rebranding may help you achieve your goal. This is difficult to do though, especially in a world where the internet can help even the least savvy customers see through your efforts. Witness tobacco giant Philip Morris and their attempt to rebrand as Altria.
  • New customers. If you’ve managed to attract a new market—whether by choice or by accident—rebranding may make sense. In the early 2000s, for example, Andersen Consulting split from its parent because its best clients wanted only consulting services. It then rebranded to Accenture to further distance itself from the accounting giant. (Good thing, too, as Andersen collapsed over its ties to Enron.)
  • New needs from current customers. The Canadian arm of Radio Shack, after being bought out in a consumer electronics deal, initially rebranded as The Source by Circuit City. But when its new owner began to falter, it became simply The Source—a move whose timing couldn’t have been better. Circuits and radios are things of the past, and the new name suggests that no matter where electronics go in the future, The Source will be there to provide that tech to its customers. (And both Circuit City and Radio Shack are now distant memories.)
  • New competition. To say things were different in the 90s than they were in the 50s is an understatement. But through that whole time, Kentucky Fried Chicken had the word “fried” right there in its name. 1991 saw a move to KFC, however, in a move away from that F-word. Too many healthy restaurants were giving the chicken giant a run for its money—so the move made sense. (Unfortunately, they handled the rebranding poorly; rumors persist to this day that they switched to KFC because they were no longer legally allowed to claim their product was “chicken.”)

When shouldn’t you rebrand?

Occasionally, businesses undertake a rebranding for the wrong reasons. Here are three.

  • New management. If all you’ve changed about your company is the management group—and the same problems you’ve always had continue to exist—your rebranding will never work.
  • New whims. Department store Macy’s lost a staggering amount of brand equity when it moved to a “one-brand” policy and renamed iconic brands like Chicago’s Marshall Field’s and Memphis’ Goldsmith’s. At the time, the decision was seen as foolish; Macy’s seemed to have recovered by the beginning of this decade but is struggling again.
  • New internal issues. If you’ve identified that you’re having trouble connecting with your market, is that a branding problem? Or is it because your marketing is horrible, or your customer service is poor, or your services aren’t delivered well? Be careful—not every issue is one that rebranding can solve.

Takeaway

In a perfect world, your competition would never change their strategy, your customers would stay loyal forever, and you’d see exponential growth year after year. This is obviously not the case—and while you don’t want to be too hasty with a rebranding exercise, don’t discount the power of reinventing your brand, either.

 

 

Is the latest Uber rebranding enough?

If you follow branding trends, you undoubtedly heard about the most recent Uber rebranding. They’ve replaced 2016’s odd, blue circuit board pattern with a simple, clean font, and in doing so, invited the opinion of every branding professional, designer, and enthusiast.
According to Fast Company, one of Wolff Olins’ primary goals was legibility. The old logo had caused problems both being viewed at higher rates of speed and distance and across languages. They wanted something clear and visible. They developed a typeface for the brand with this in mind. It’s worth reading into the thought that went into its creation with respect for these points.
But it’s difficult to see this rebrand as separate from the controversy the company is already well-known for. From “Boober” to spying on Beyoncè, to Trump ties, to sexual harassment, to a Google lawsuit, to Travis Kalanick, Uber has a significant reputation problem.
The question is, is yet another Uber rebranding—this rebranding—enough to help Uber move past it’s short, dramatic life? Maybe.

It’s a strategy.

It may appear like simply a bid to shed an old persona when the old one no longer serves, but there is a method to it.

“We tried to kick out all the micro-moments where trust was eroded,” says Forest Young, Creative Director at Wolff Olins, the agency who did the rebrand. This meant every moment where a rider couldn’t reconcile the old, atomic logo with the vehicle in front of them had to go. They had to re-create trust with customers in a tangible way, not from a high tower.

It’s not immune to criticism.

Our own creative team had mixed reactions. Some felt the changes were too safe and even safe to the point of disingenuous.  “The logo seems to get safer as their reputation gets worse”, one person said. “Design saves, but not if your vision and purpose are polluted by your actions” was another.  Some felt exasperation over the frequency leading to customer confusion, and some were disappointed they abandoned the old design. At the end of the day, it’s indisputably well-done. But whether or not it changes minds or eases suspicion is hard to predict.
Uber has an uphill challenge to undo the damage to their reputation. This rebrand may represent a step in that direction. It’s certainly clearer, less confusing, and more visible. But at the same time, rebranding too frequently may raise questions of credibility and instability.

Our 7 most popular branding blog posts

Fonts, mood boards, touchpoints, attributes: branding can be a complex process. If you’re new to branding, we’ve put together a list of some of our most popular branding blogs from the recent past to help you on your way.

How to make a mood board

Mood boards can be elusive. Most people more or less understand what they are, but are less clear on why they need one and what they can look forward to in the process. This post explains what a mood board is and what it does, when you should make a mood board, and how you can do so. This is a great starting point for those who are looking to crystallize the “mood” of their brand and a reference for those who are starting the Visual Identity process.

How to find a font that matches your personality

This is a fun, visual post breaking down 23 fonts you may or may not know. Fonts are critical to brand identity, and you need to know what kind of message your fonts might send. If you want to create an effective brand, you need to create a cohesive, comprehensive experience for your audience. Knowing fonts is a key element.

Building a brand of affordable luxury

This post both explains the concept of affordable luxury and teaches you how to achieve it. Michael Kors, Tory Burch, and other fashion names used the concept to propel them toward massive profit from slumping sales. We detail some of the key takeaways you can use in your own branding and brand messaging.

Branding vs Design

These two concepts can be easily confused, especially if neither is what you do. This post helps to break down the finer distinctions between the two. Think of the brand strategist as the architect of the brand, and the designer as the contractor who puts that design into physical being. Learn more about why it matters to you.

Are you using your archetype?

Jungian archetypes come up frequently when we talk about branding. They help provide a framework for bringing your brand to visually, in writing, and in presence. They’re an essential part of branding, plus… they’re fun!

Here a touchpoint, there a touchpoint, everywhere a touchpoint!

A branding touchpoint is more or less exactly what it sounds like: the points where you come in contact with your target audience. This post outlines strategies for both making those points happen, and what to do at those points.

Brand Attributes

This post has everything to do with the perception of quality. Brands of similar or equal value need to set up ways of differentiating themselves, or risk being seen as the inferior product despite the raw quality. Learn more about what you can do to create a perception of high quality.

Did we miss any? Let us know in the comments!

Burning Love (For Your Brand)

5 Branding Lessons from the Cannabis Industry

Cannabis branding in the United States is, relatively speaking, in its infancy. Similar to alcohol post-prohibition, it’s an industry that has a tricky, controversial past, and no clear roadmap to the future. Even if you’re not in the industry, there are relevant branding lessons from the cannabis industry to consider.

Give yourself permission.  

All too often with well-established industries, there are certain conventions, expectations, and histories that we adhere to. Sometimes to the point of stagnation. Say, for example, you’re in vitamins and supplements. That’s a marketplace that can feel so crowded that it can be hard to imagine a product that doesn’t feel like a riff on GNC.

But if you imagine yourself in your industry with permission to break the mold, possibilities open up. Your supplements can be beautiful and luxurious. They can educate rather than obfuscate. They can be whatever you want.

Of course, in both supplements and cannabis, there are regulations to follow and respect for history to consider (as AdWeek discusses regarding those still incarcerated or having a record for infractions before a law change).

Stereotypes suck.

We talked about avoiding the trap of using stereotypes a little while ago. In cannabis branding, there are some very obvious stereotypes that might immediately spring to mind, but are now obsolete. The Atlantic cites Olivia Mannix, founder of CannaBrand, as saying “A lot of clients come to us saying they want to look like Apple.” That’s a far cry from your Deadhead uncle and, as they detail, language like stonerganja, weed, and pot.

How does this translate? Two ways: in the language you use and make part of the industry’s new lexicon, and in how you imagine your ideal client, both of which we cover while creating a Brand Platform during a Branding Intensive.

Don’t be so literal.

This one’s obvious. When you look at better-known cannabis and hemp products, what do you see?

Very little green, and if you see a hemp leaf, it’s discrete and stylized.

Your customer isn’t that guy from that movie. 

As Fast Company points out, the target audience for cannabis isn’t Harold, Kumar, any of the guys from Half-Baked, it’s not Cheech or Chong, and it’s not Matthew McConaughey in Dazed and Confused. It’s (at least at the time of publication) women, older individuals with health issues, and sometimes children. Your message to any of these audiences is immensely different than that first group.

The lesson here is that it’s worth checking on your own statistics to see who’s paying attention. Relying on the same old same old might be hurting you.

The crowd is real. 

Not unlike craft and microbrew, there are lots of new cannabis brands vying for attention. Eleah Lubatkin writes for the Huffington Post: “When faced with numerous competitors, this ethos of independence and innovation became an asset for craft brewers who invested in scaling that ethos with sophisticated design and messaging into lasting brand value.”

And this is a cue cannabis has taken as well that translates well. Thoughtful branding, including a strong visual identity and brand message will go a long way for brands that want to establish voracious connections early on (which is, or should be, all of them).

What do you think? Unexpected, or obvious? Let us know in the comments!

Is Your Brand Proactive—or Reactive?

When we say “proactive” and “reactive”, what does that mean—and what does it mean for your brand’s positioning and longevity? 

When we talk to clients about branding, we talk about a brand’s position—how your brand differentiates itself in its market. No matter what your product or service is, you can be sure you’re not the only one doing what you’re doing. You’re part of a history (even if very short). It’s impossible to exist in a vacuum. But is your brand’s position proactive or reactive?

A proactive brand is, basically, a brand with a plan. It knows itself, it knows its place in the market, and it knows how to occupy that position effectively through what it does—and doesn’t—do. A reactive brand, by contrast, is one that does just that—reacts to whatever is going on around it at the time. With modern consumers ‘trained’ to see organized, cohesive, consistent brands, being more reactive can come off as erratic and alienate your customer base. Equally worrying, being too reactive can rely on consumer awareness of what you’re responding to. Let’s look at a recent example: Pepsi’s entry into the sparkling water market, bubly, vs seltzer juggernaut LaCroix’s long game.

bubly’s parent company, Pepsi, knows their market and their competitor—and they should. Despite the fact that you’ll be hard-pressed to find an article that mentions bubly without mentioning LaCroix, they have managed to differentiate themselves. Here are some key takeaways for your small business:

 

 

Knowing your audience is critical

A quick Google search will tell you that bubly (that ‘b’ is lower-case on purpose) hits the millennial market HARD: cute, all-lowercase messages on the can’s tab, bright colors, simple, clean, minimalist packaging, omitted vowels. Every box is checked and ready for consumption in a market where cans are a significant part of the experience—and your consumer’s identity. Everything is on point, and poised to bring in a projected $100 million.

The trick? Knowing both what you are and what you aren’t as a brand, and a crystal-clear vision of the position your brand occupies in its market.

 

 

“I don’t want to talk about authenticity”

‘Authenticity’ is, notoriously, a moving target. bubly doesn’t try to hide what it is: Pepsi’s well-funded entry into the sparkling water market. Will this turn some people off? Sure. Is that a bad thing? Not necessarily (we’ll see if, longer-term, bubly goes the way of Crystal Pepsi).

For a small business, an “authentic” identity can actually prove counterproductive to your goals. That grassroots feeling can be a part of your brand’s identity. But, just like “professional”, “authentic” is not a personality.

 

 

Your brand’s identity only exists in relation to another brand

Reactionary branding is bold—in the short term, this could be a good thing. It could allow for short-term recognition—but longer-term, it’s difficult to sustain and may limit your brand’s ability to develop its own identity. But with growth comes change—and, especially in small business, change without a plan can be disastrous.

Your takeaway? A strong brand identity grows and changes over time. A solid identity is agile—able to seamlessly adapt and respond to current events or changes in its own voice—rather than just responding and making things up as you go.

The bottom line is that your brand needs to be proactive in developing its identity in order to maintain the trust you’ve cultivated with your customers. Big-name brands may look like they’re making things up on the fly, but behind the scenes, there’s a clear plan in place. If any of this sounds familiar, we’re here to help!

“Hey, What Do You Think Of My Logo?”

Why A DIY Rebranding Isn’t Worth The Savings

We’ve talked before about signs it may be time to rebrandIf you’re feeling off-track, incohesive, if you’ve had PR problems, or if you’ve outgrown your original brand, you know you need to make some changes – but where to start?

If you’ve seen our founder, Re Perez, speak, you’ve probably heard him say that one of the most common questions he’s asked is “hey, what do you think of my logo?” (and not to ask that).

Knowing Just Enough To Be Dangerous

Maybe you’ve heard of the concept of “knowing just enough to be dangerous”. This 2015 op-ed from the New York Times describes an English-speaking critical care doctor working with a Spanish-speaking patient. The doctor knows just enough Spanish to communicate with the patient, but the conversation lacks nuance, context, cultural positioning – all things that we take for granted speaking in our native language.

“I do not know what I might have missed that night,” the doctor concludes. “And what scares me now, looking back at this and countless other similar stories, is that I will most likely never know.”

Here’s the connection to trying to DIY rebranding: Like the doctor diagnosing the patient with only very basic, decontextualized information, asking a branding agency or professional to ‘diagnose’ your logo with no other information may not kill your brand – but it’s tough to do without nuance, context, and any other information regarding your brand as a whole.

Not Knowing What You Don’t Know

These days, it’s not that difficult to find programs that will generate a logo for you – but as we know, audiences hate change. It can be hard enough to rebrand with a strategy, but downright disastrous without.

Here’s the thing: DIY rebranding may seem cost-effective in the short term, but could cost you big by alienating your target audience, not being clear, being strange, clunky, or incohesive.

Even larger brands can make this very basic mistake. Remember back in 2013, when Yahoo rebranded?

“We need to be really entrepreneurial and our attitude is to be really scrappy, and the way that we did the logo — we kept it in-house, we didn’t have someone, you know, as an external firm or consulting firm, we didn’t spend millions of dollars doing it. We did it in a way that came from a very authentic place,” Marissa Meyer said at the time.

But Mayer’s DIY rebranding approach didn’t quite land.  “Authenticity” isn’t a synonym for “amateur”. When you’re dealing with something as critical as your brand’s identity, there are so many ways you can go wrong if you’re not quite sure what you’re doing – even if you are a CEO.

In Conclusion

Your brand much more than your logo, and trying to rebrand yourself might seem like a good, “authentic” way to go, but it can cost you dearly in the long run. If you’re pretty sure it’s time to rebrand, do it right from the beginning with our 7-POINT BRAND AUDIT.

Is your font stolen?

Owning your fonts is every bit as important as owning your images.


Do I need to own the fonts in my brand?

To answer this question simply, Yes. Font ownership for small business is something that needs to be addressed in every rebrand.

Picture this: You just completed the creative process, and decided on your final unique logo that will be the visual interpretation of your brand. What’s next? You might have already received a magical brand bible that holds all the necessary information about your brand, also known as your brand guidelines. One of the most important but often overlooked pages in your brand guidelines is the Typography page. But What is Typography exactly and Why is it important? Typography is the art and technique of arranging letterforms and transforming them from verbal language to visual language. Typography is important because it helps readers to visually perceive the information they are reading. With the correct choice of color, font, messaging etc. it can be a vital tool to attract your ideal target audience. Think about it, the typography that The New York Times uses is very different from the typography that USA Today uses. It helps each of their readers know where the info that they are reading is coming from, and reinforces each brand.

Once you’ve chosen a font that matches your brands, the next step towards finalizing your brand identity is owning your font. To the unfamiliar, font ownership for small business websites may be a little scary, often people are very confused and unaware what they are doing or what they’re looking at… some people are so overwhelmed or even surprised at the costs of some fonts that they begin to ponder…Do I REALLY need to own these fonts??

Yes! In the long run, these fonts are going to help you generate revenue. They are a piece in the puzzle that attracts the clients you want by effectively transforming your verbal language into a visual language to peak the interests of your target audience. Why not give credit where credit is due? Fonts are made possible by Type Foundries (companies that design or distribute typefaces) and Font designers who spend countless hours over a course of months, or even years developing fonts that have several weights, styles and thousands of glyphs. These artists are often overlooked and taken for granted, even though Type is EVERYWHERE.


What is a font license?

A font license is a type of font ownership for small business that grants the purchaser, a certain right/freedom to use the font/typeface as they see fit, for both commercial and non-commercial works.

 

Some variables to look out for:

  • Some fonts come with 1 license, and others come with 5 or 10. licenses. A font that comes with only one license means that you could only install that font on one of your computers. If a font comes with a 1-5 licenses, then this allows you to install the font on five computers. If there are additional members of your team that need the font, then you would need to purchase another instance of the font that allows more than five users to install the font on their computer.
  • Who should purchase the font? The designer or client? The answer is the client. If the designer were to purchase the font, and the client uses it for commercial use, then the client is at risk of legal issues for using fonts that they do not have legal rights to.
  • If the designer is using the font for the sole purpose of the project, and is not intending to produce work in a commercial environment with said font/typeface, then it is not crucial for the designer to have licensing to the font.
  • What about Free Fonts? We’ve all come across websites that allow you to download fonts for free. But just like in life, nothing is ever really free. Oftentimes, these free font resources have restrictions that allow you to use the font privately but are not allowed to be used for commercial purposes, some may even only allow permission unless you get permission from the designer.

 

Are you hesitant to believe that companies have faced legal issues for font licensing? Well, in 2009, one of America’s leading type foundries, The Font Bureau, sued NBC Universal for failing to secure the rights to several trademarked fonts- which were used to promote programs such as The Tonight Show, Saturday Night Live, and Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. To read more about this legal dispute, read the article here.


Takeaway

The lesson here is, just buy the font! It’s better to be safe than sorry. You’ll save yourself the headache, the hole in your wallet from legal fees, and you’ll sleep better at night knowing that you have a solid visual identity system.

Below is a list of resources of some of the best type foundries to choose from if you are on the hunt for a great font:

You don’t NEED a Personal Brand

IS BUILDING A PERSONAL BRAND THE MOST PROFITABLE STRATEGY FOR YOUR BUSINESS?

 

Building a personal brand seems to be an increasingly growing hot topic for entrepreneurs, corporate executives, and employees, particularly because it’s commonplace to find well-heeled articles online, including Entrepreneur’s 5 Reasons Personal Branding is Non-Negotiable for 2018 or Inc. Magazine’’s How to Build a Personal Brand (and Why You Need One)! And, even this Forbes article that teaches 7 Things You Can Do To Build An Awesome Personal Brand.

As a branding agency, with a name like ours, we often get asked if we specialize in personal branding (perhaps the term ‘people’ signals this perception). The truth of the matter is that we build brands. To be technical, we build business brands.

Here’s the thing. You don’t NEED to start building a personal brand.

You may WANT a personal brand, but this post is about helping you decide whether or not you NEED one.

Let’s explain. Since we primarily speak to entrepreneurs and small business owners, we will address this in the context of these audiences.

Below are 4 important and strategic questions to ask yourself BEFORE drinking the Kool-Aid that you MUST build a personal brand — and certainly before you hire someone who claims to help you build your personal brand.

 

Question #1: WHY do you want to create a personal brand?

Let’s get crystal clear on the motivation to create a personal brand. Has anyone ever asked you WHY you want a personal brand in the first place? Or have you fully clarified what you want a Personal Brand to do for you? Here are some questions to explore:

Do you want a personal brand to help you:

  • Launch a new business or expand an existing one?
  • Get booked on speaking gigs?
  • Sell your services to new clients?
  • Sell your books or products to new customers?
  • Position yourself as an expert or thought leader?


If you answered “yes” to most of these questions, the good news is you’re already off to a good start to potentially needing a personal brand. If you answered “no” to most or all of these questions — and you simply want to have a personal brand just for the fame and glory, we’ll caution you right now, your personal branding efforts will have a short shelf life.

That said, we have more questions to explore…

 

Question #2: Are you willing to invest time AND money into building a personal brand (at the expense of building your business brand?)

This question is vital because oftentimes people embark on building a personal brand and don’t really think through the various costs to do so. Personal branding is an ongoing process and journey that takes time, money, and energy — daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly.

Remember, the truest indicator of a real business brand is that a business can generate revenue with AND without the founder (who is typically appointed the personal brand). If your business CAN’T do that, then maybe what you’ve been doing all this time is actually building a personal brand!

If your business can operate, grow and scale without you, and you’re still weighing the idea of building a personal brand, ask yourself if your business will benefit by having a personal brand MORE than it will benefit by focusing on building the business brand. Where is your time most profitably spent? As a branding agency committed to inspiring you to create a memorable AND profitable brand, we advise you to focus your energy on that which will best meet your business goals and your ultimate end-game. Why? Because building a personal brand takes patience, endurance, and intention. Your time is limited, so you should choose wisely.

Another question to ask yourself…

“Is a personal brand more important to me than a business brand?”

How can you tell? Well you can always tell what’s important to you when you look at two things: your calendar and your bank statements. Look at where you’re spending your time and money and that will give you insight as to what’s most important to you.

If you’re not willing to put the time in AND put your money where your mouth is to build a personal brand, you might want to rethink personal branding as your long-term strategy in your playbook.

A third option (there is always another option, right?) is to do what our private client Malorie Tadimi of Tadimi.com did. She built a personal brand in the context of her business brand. In other words, she built a business, while also making sure her services and methodologies could be delivered by her team, and not her. Even though her business name caries her last name, her brand isn’t about her per se. Similar to the likes of Ford or Chanel. Once Malorie created the business (and the business brand to support it), it then made sense for her to express her personal brand by hiring a stylist and photographer to capture images of her that best expresses her credibility and personality.

 

Question #3: How much do you want your personal brand to be the reason your client or customer buys your product or service?

It is no doubt that we buy from people we trust, like and respect. And, there are many personal brands such as Steve Jobs, Oprah, Richard Branson, Jeff Bezos, or Elon Musk who can influence and impact our buying decisions. However, while aspirational, not every entrepreneur will achieve the same level of these extraordinary powerhouses.

For the majority of entrepreneurs and small business owners, it’s more important to build a business brand — a brand that is centered around a business, product, program, or service. If you use this approach, you’ll establish a precedent that your clients and customers are buying your products, programs or services because of the trust you’ve build in the brand itself, not just because of you. This is far more long-term thinking and transcends the power of personal branding in it of itself.

So, ask yourself, how much do you really want your sales to be predicated on the strength of your personal brand (as opposed to the strength of your business brand)?

 

Question #4: Will your personal brand help you scale or eventually sell your business?

This question is similar to #3. However, the distinction here is about scaling or selling your business (not just about generating sales or revenue).

If your brand relies primarily on you, the ability to scale or sell your business will always be correlated with the strength (and weaknesses) of the attributes of your personal brand. And, the degree to which your values are aligned with the values of the personal brand. We all know that we’re likely to buy from companies who have CEOs that admire, respect and love. Conversely, we may not buy from companies who have CEOs we strongly disrespect and hate (we know that’s a strong word, but think about it, have you ever discontinued buying from a company because you hated the CEO or founder — or what he or she represented or stood for?

Another angle to think about is whether or not your company would fall apart without you at the helm? If you get sick, will your company be ill as well? If you want other leaders in your company to be part of your company’s growth plan, then it would better serve you to have a brand that’s not just about you. Instead, build a brand that is about a bigger mission, purpose, or movement.

For example, our friend and client, Tucker Max, a New York Times Best-Selling Author of several controversial and entertaining non-fiction books including I Hope they Serve Beer in Hell and Assholes Finish First, strategically launched and scaled an entirely new business and brand (Book in a Box) which has nothing to do with his own personal brand as Tucker Max.

Rather than relying on the positive and/or negatives of his personal brand, Tucker created Book in a Box with a bigger purpose and mission —  to unlock the world’s wisdom through a new book creation process that avoids the time-consuming and painful nature of traditional writing and publishing.

Tucker can’t sell his personal brand as an author, unless it is just the royalties, which probably won’t continue to grow unless he authors another book, but he can certainly sell Book in a Box if he chooses to. And that business brand can certainly grow with or without Tucker Max, the personal brand.

 

TAKEAWAY

Personal branding can be an important and game-changing strategy to grow your business, but it comes with some pros and cons. Before embarking upon building a personal brand, take a step back and determine whether or not building one will help or hurt your long-term business strategy, scaling strategy, or exit strategy.

 

If you want to explore how we can help you build either a business or personal brand, let’s have a conversation.

Evolution or revolution: Is a brand refresh enough?

BRAND REFRESH OR BRAND OVERHAUL? IF YOU CAN’T DECIDE, READ ON.

Thinking about a brand refresh for the New Year? Maybe you actually need a full brand overhaul instead.

In this post, I’m playing Judge Joe and weighing in on some common scenarios.

But first…

 

BRAND REFRESH… BRAND OVERHAUL… WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE?

Pretend, for a second, that your company is a home.

Performing a brand refresh would be like making over the house. Maybe you just need some fresh paint; maybe you want to tear everything down to the studs and rebuild. Either way, the frame of the house still stands through it all.

Tearing the house to the ground and building something different—or moving to another house altogether? That’s a brand overhaul.

As you can imagine, one takes a lot less time, effort and money than the other. But which is appropriate for you?

 

HAVE YOU ADDED TO YOUR SERVICE LINE?

We get it—things change, and no brand stands still for long.

If you’ve moved into consulting and away from products, for example, you may feel you need a clean break from what your business was in the past.

But take a look at your customer base—perhaps they’re willing to change right along with you. A full brand overhaul here could confuse your current buyers, and cause you to lose a lot of potential converts. A brand refresh is more in order.

Verdict: Evolution

 

HAVE YOU BEEN DRAGGED THROUGH THE MUD?

Perhaps your founder has been involved in a scandal, or you’ve had a major client very publicly threaten to sue you, or you’ve fallen victim to any one of a thousand other things that can destroy a reputation in today’s fragile online age.

When all other hope is lost, rebranding is often the only hope left. Here we’d recommend picking up the pieces and starting again fresh.

Verdict: Revolution

 

ARE THINGS LOOKING TIRED?

Business owners often have a hard time looking at their own brands. As we’re fond of saying, “You can’t see the label on the bottle when you’re INSIDE the bottle.”

And this means that they’re often the last to know when a brand is outdated and in need of a refresh.

However, if those twinges of intuition DO come, it’s important to listen to them—but it’s also important not to make too much of them.

If your gut is telling you that there are too many fonts on your home page, too much going on in the logo, and too little clarity in the message you’re putting out to customers… Fine. It’s probably time for a rebrand. But don’t get carried away; you wouldn’t move to a new town just because your house needs a new coat of paint.

Verdict: Evolution

 

 

DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOU’RE DRIFTING—OR HEADED IN THE WRONG DIRECTION?

There’s a lot to be said for knowing not only which way you’re going, but also where you want to end up.

Ask an airplane pilot… Author Brian Tracy often talks about how, 99% of the time, airplanes are off-course. The job of the pilot, he says, is to constantly make course corrections to ensure that the passengers reach their destination.

But what kind of course correction do you need to make if you’ve been feeling LAX—but headed for JFK?

It’s not often that a simple refresh will help you out of a crisis of purpose. You may need to take all the baggage off the plane—pun intended—and chart a new flight plan entirely.

Verdict: Revolution

 

 

DO YOU BLEND IN WHEN YOU SHOULD STAND OUT?

It can be hard to make a name for yourself in a sea of identical competitors.

And while competition is healthy—it shows, at least in theory, that other people are willing to pay for what you’re offering—that doesn’t make it any easier to deal with. ESPECIALLY if you look the same and talk the same as everyone else in your space

If you’re finding yourself constantly competing on price, and not on anything that you feel makes you different from all the rest, then it’s time to think about overhauling your brand.

Going through each of the 7 points in our 7-Point Brand Audit and consciously differentiating yourself is the first step toward rising up and claiming the position that should rightly be yours.

Verdict: Revolution

 

 

TAKEAWAY

Not every brand needs a complete overhaul. In many cases a brand refresh would be sufficient—at least until it’s actually time to remake your brand.

But the flipside of that is also true. Sometimes a simple refresh just won’t accomplish what you need and more drastic measures are in order.

If you’re having trouble making the call, then call us instead.