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To rebrand or not to rebrand. How to know.

Companies often come late to the rebranding process. How do you know when it is time to reinvent? Sales may not be up to expectations or growth has slowed. Often, companies tweak their advertising messages or change agencies. They rarely work on their brand.

Moreover, what we’ve learned is that…
• 85% of branding work does not include a name change.
• 50% of the time the logo remains unchanged.

If the name and logo—what most marketers consider the foundation of their branding strategy—remain unchanged, what on Earth does the rebranding process entail?

The Rebranding Process
First, it entails discovering what the cause of the slippage in growth or preference really is. You would be surprised how often companies invest in marketing solutions that never address the underlying market space.

Discovery. That implies a process of digging, uncovering, and revealing. Make the effort to reconnect with your sales team, and your customers, and ask what appeals to them, what their expectations are, who is delivering, what your strengths are and weaknesses, who is the competition, and how you can enhance your offering to be the choice.

What you can learn from this process can help you refocus your messaging and ensure that your brand remains relevant.

So, let’s look at rebranding as the science of persuasion it is. After all, the only reason to do it is to persuade prospects to change their minds and prefer whatever it is you are selling. If you embark on this process for any other reason, you are just wasting your money.

And if you believe the look, feel, and attitude need refreshing, then you are really thinking that the current work is not as persuasive as it needs to be.

Your advertising and marketing campaigns never exist outside of the context of your brand. Take a long, hard look at this context, and ask yourself if your current messaging is a believable reflection of the brand equity you credit as owning.

Read more about “Truth in Branding.”

Your Marketing Message Revisited

That is a reflective process, meaning that your marketing message needs to seem natural to your brand’s equity. Starting with your brand promise, does your current marketing message say why that brand claim is true?

The best brand messages own an emotional intensity unique within the category in which you compete. All too often, a company’s claims are more indicative of their own mission statement than anything with emotional meaning to the prospect and customer.

Does your brand promise right now consist of meaningless drivel like the following?
Focused on quality
Delivered with integrity
Priced fairly

Ask yourself this: Is anyone in your category not claiming these values? Aren’t they more about themselves than about the you, the prospect?  If your claim is in any way like these statements, it is time to rebrand because it is not working hard enough for you.  The kind of brand message that creates preference is never about your product, service, or category. It is instead all about the emotional values that your target audience hold as important to their sense of self. You need to answer the question: why should they care?

You don’t choose a product just based upon rational values. You may convince yourself that you do. But if you were being absolutely dispassionate about it, you would admit that you rationalize the choice rather than making a rational choice.

Your prospects make an emotional decision about preference and then backfill that choice with rational support. If that were false, then the best product in every category would be the most efficacious. The market leader would always be the best.

Rebranding is about changing the rational meanings associated with your current brand and instead grabbing and owning the single highest emotional intensity that causes your prospects to change their mind and choose you. Again, capture that emotional “why should I care” mindset in your customer.

Your Promise to Customers
How strong is your current promise? That is easily measured by looking at how much more customers are willing to spend to own your brand and how willing they are to inconvenience themselves to own it.

It is not a coincidence that the iPhone and iPad are more expensive, offering Apple greater margins than anyone in its competitive set.

You don’t necessarily have to redo anything except your focus and meaning. But you must be willing to live up to your promise. Have a promise or a promise of an experience. And, then deliver on your promise at every level.

Apple promises its loyal band something unique. Apple says you are discerning and appreciative of great design and simplicity when you buy into the Apple brand. Delivering that promise requires discipline and patience on Apple’s part. The iPhone is not why Apple is Apple. Apple is why the iPhone was created in the first place. [ Sidebar: My whole firm is Apple! ]

Change can be unsettling. But, when you drive change rather than wait for it to happen to you, you can influence direction and behavior. Reinventing your brand and refreshing its appeal can keep you relevant and in a leadership position.

StimulusBrand helps companies large and small re-examine, refocus, reinvent, and refresh their brands. Learn more at

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