Bottom Line Up Front: Branding is everything. We break down the basics of rebranding so you can ensure you’re positioning your business the right way — and accruing the results you deserve.
Close your eyes. Think about what the concept of a brand is to you. It can be any brand — globally recognized or locally beloved. Size does not matter here.
What does matter is identity. Personality. Story. The way you, the consumer, perceive the brand to be — and the behavior you embody as a result. A brand you like, you’ll likely buy from; a brand you’re repulsed by, you likely won’t.
A brand you remember? That’s brand loyalty. A brand you forget? That’s bad branding — hard stop.
See, branding is the purposeful molding of a company’s identity — how it wants to be perceived by its audience — in order to stay relevant, compelling, and progressively more profitable. And, in the digital age we live in today, it’s never been more important.
Think about it like this: your brand is what attracts your customers to you. It’s what builds and retains your real estate in the market, and it’s what decides the staff, the talent, who’ll be inclined to help you steer the ship.
Your brand is your success. It’s your rate of conversion and your rate of retention, and it’s the deciding factor in whether your business has what it takes to stick around for the long haul.
Okay, but what is it, really? It’s your business name. It’s your tagline and your logo, your packaging and your signage. It’s your ad campaigns and your IG profile, your branded staff attire and every page of your website. Your branding is all of it. The full gamut. The whole 9 yards.
But that doesn’t mean that the branding you have today needs to be the branding you have tomorrow. We’re all comfortable with the notion that businesses are constantly growing, evolving, agile, so why is it so much more difficult for us to recognize that those businesses’ brands are too?
The longest running brands are the brands that have been the most open to change. Whether a change in who they’re targeting, what they’re selling, or simply the messaging they stand on — they’ve been receptive to the evolving times. And they’ve been smart enough to capitalize on them to remain front of mind.
Rebranding is the best friend of any business that’s outgrown their original brand. It’s the sidekick to any business looking to infiltrate a new market (or audience), and it’s the secret weapon of any business ready to get serious about its growth. So? Let’s take a look at what it entails.
Rebranding: The What
We’ve covered the basics: the vastness of branding as a concept and the power it wields when done right. But now, it’s time to get specific. What, exactly, is branding? What are its facets — and why do they matter so foundationally to a business’s operations?
Brands are the sparks of understanding, of identity, that live in the minds of the people watching. The customers and employees, the investors and the reporters; whoever it is, they’ll be forming opinions. And those opinions become fact for how the business is seen. And interacted with.
Now, just like every other opinion a person can have, brand perceptions are malleable. You can have one perception about a brand today and an opposite one tomorrow — and the funny thing is, each perception is enough to singlehandedly alter your buying behavior.
That’s right: branding doesn’t just trigger you to have your own opinion about a business. It actually triggers you to act, or not act, in a specific way. By engaging your mind and building out an identity in your line of vision, it’s establishing itself as a unique source of value — and influencing your likelihood to hit ‘purchase’ as a result.
Rebranding comes into the picture when a business’s current branding isn’t triggering the right opinion — or the right action. (Remember: we know that perceptions = behavior.) Most typically, the underlying rationale for an underperforming brand is…
- Outdated: Maybe the brand name no longer represents the business authentically, or maybe the business cards and site pages no longer serve as top-tier points of pride. Maybe there’s a new merger or acquisition to take into account, or maybe the overall brand image has simply been outgrown. Whatever the case, every business deserves branding that speaks to its mission, ethos, and identity today — not as they were five years prior.
- Unclear: When it comes to a business’s branding, clarity is everything. If it’s dealing with vague or poorly articulated messaging, content that’s too complex to make sense of, or collateral that’s all over the place and lacking a solid through-line, then it’s time for an overhaul. (Because asking an audience to do the legwork is never a strong strategy for long-term staying power.)
- Limiting: Whether the business has added new offerings, infiltrated a new regional (or otherwise) market, or taken steps to analyze why it’s not performing the way it should be, its branding should not be responsible for holding it back. Like we said before: branding is malleable — and if a current variation is leading to stagnant, illogical, or less-than-ideal results, it should be changed.
Just like branding is malleable in the depths of your audience’s minds, so too can it be in its operational process. And that means that rebranding doesn’t have to be a total overhaul. It can be small, it can be piece-by-piece, or — if you’re ready to dive in at full speed — it can be a bottom-up renovation.
The point is, rebranding can be as involved as you want it to be. Because it’s a strategy to serve your business — not the other way around.
Rebranding: The Why
And serve your business it will. In today’s competitive market — for all industries, but for our industry particularly — staying relevant is everything. With the whole world spending so much of their time online, it’s not enough to have a brick-and-mortar store that’s known in its community; you’ve got to be findable in the digital realm.
And not just findable, but memorable.
So that’s your biggest source of fuel for the why: giving your audience the clearest picture of who your business is, and why it should matter to them, today.
Maybe you named your business Shirt Shack when you first opened up shop because shirts were all you decorated, but that’s no longer the case. Maybe all of your signage has “Michigan’s Own” written across it, because you were once only operating in the state of Michigan. Maybe you started out only targeting musicians and performers, but now you do way more than tour merch.
Rebranding helps you step into the present with flair. It helps you own your offerings, command the attention of your ideal target, and infiltrate markets with impact. It helps you tell the story of today — and it’ll help you hold onto your retention, and boost your conversion, all the while.
Here are just a few of the results it helps generate:
- Brand Equity: As in, an increased value premium that earns you the ability to price higher, negotiate more, and up market share. By a lot.
- Brand Authority: Want to be known as the best expert out there for your particular niche? You can be — it all comes down to the messaging, the story, you’re putting out there.
- Brand Promise: A deeper connection to your audience is waiting. All you have to do is articulate, with clarity, exactly what you’re there to do. Do that and build trust seamlessly.
- Brand Loyalty: Where there’s trust, loyalty follows. Generate a specific value promise, meet it, and retain your customers for the long haul.
- Target Customers: Evoke the right identity and values, and you’ll attract the exact right demographic(s) of consumer. They’ll become brand advocates — and be willing to pay premium prices.
- Discount Competitors: When your brand identity is so starkly differentiated, you’re turning every other option in the market obsolete. A strong UVP can change the game.
- Top Talent: With a distinctive identity and compelling culture, you can attract the exact workforce you’re looking for — easily. And they’ll contribute to an enthusiastic morale.
- Premium Pricing: We know that consumers are willing to pay higher prices for brands they trust. With sturdy branding, you can leverage that.
So those are the positives that rebranding — of any sort — has the power to wield. Now let’s look at the consequences of keeping hold of your current branding long after it’s past its prime…
Customers who forget about you — or get distracted by the other guy. The wrong sort of prospects. Insight that can’t be heard over the market’s noise. An audience that doesn’t know just what you have on the table, and an audience that doesn’t care that they’re missing out.
Decreased earnings. Increased pressure from competitors. Getting even further behind.
With rebranding in your corner, you can get a handle on things before your relevance — and profitability — begin to lull. You can achieve clarity and uniqueness, and you can attract, engage, and retain the right people. For years to come.
For decorators and print shops, rebranding is the key to maintaining real estate — both in the physical market and in the digital one. In Part II of this rebranding series, we’ll break down exactly how you can take the reins of your own rebranding process. That’s right: no expensive agencies and no external opinions. Just your business strategizing the way it does best. That — and more — is in store.
And, of course, there’s no better way to get your branding front and center in the digital space than with InkSoft’s Online Stores. Whether it’s a logo and slogan at the bottom of your customers’ Stores or a quick message on the checkout page, the Online Stores solution helps you ensure your business gets the attention it deserves. From everyone.