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Consider “Why” When Rebranding Your Firm

     -     Jul 24th, 2014   -     Accounting Marketing, Accounting News, Creative Design   -     0 Comments

In a previous FlashPoint Marketing blog post, we discussed Five Considerations for a Rebrand. Today, we’d like to discuss “why” a rebrand happens.

Why do companies rebrand?
Rebranding occurs when a business or organization decides to change a significant element of the brand. Such a change could be glaringly obvious like a new brand name or logo, or it may be more subtle such as a slight shift in messaging to better communicate a more relevant brand promise.

Anyway you slice it, rebranding is extremely important. Not only can it be expensive to execute, it can also be risky. No matter what the reasons are, those reasons can always be categorized as either proactive or reactive. Let’s take a closer look.

Proactive Rebranding
Sometimes a company sees a reason to rebrand in an effort to seize an opportunity or counter potential threats in the future. For example, proactive rebranding might happen in the following situations:

  1. Predicted Growth
    When a company is preparing for growth, it might rebrand products and services into one consolidated brand. This is often done for consistency and to save money over time. This type of rebranding is also done when a company simply needs to create a greater sense of brand unity across its business.
  2. New Line of Business or Market
    When a company enters into a new line of business or market that is not cohesive to the existing brand identity, a rebranding might be in order. Do you remember when Apple was known as Apple Computer? As the company evolved into new lines of business beyond computers, the original brand name was too restrictive. A simple snip of a word in the brand name in 2002, and the brand was ready for new growth and opportunities.
  3. New Audience
    When a company wants to appeal to a new audience, a rebranding might be necessary. Do keep in mind though, the rebranding might not require an actual name or logo change. As an example, think of McDonald’s referring to themselves as MickeyD’s in commercials. By doing this they were able to target a different demographic compared to their traditional family audience.
  4. Relevancy
    When a company realizes its brand is losing relevancy in consumers’ minds, it could be time to rebrand. The Yellow Pages rebranding effort is a perfect example. When the printed version of the Yellow Pages began declining, Yellow Pages rebranded to “YP” and began to focus more attention on the digital space making it significantly more relevant to the world of today.

Reactive Rebranding
Other times, companies rebrand in reaction to an event that is so significant that the existing brand has to change. For example, reactive rebranding might happen in situations such as:

  1. Merger or Acquisition
    When companies merge or acquire other companies (and even when they break apart), rebrandings are often required. That’s how we’ve gotten brand names like Pricewaterhouse Coopers and Bank of New York Mellon. When AT&T broke up into three separate companies in the late 1990s, Lucent Technologies was born. These types of rebrandings are very common and often go through multiple iterations.
  2. Legal Issues
    There are a number of different legal issues that could cause a company to rebrand. Trademarks are often at the root of these rebranding examples. That’s why it’s so important to conduct an exhaustive trademark search and obtain the trademark rights to your brand name prior to launching it.
  3. Competitive Influences
    Sometimes a company’s competitors’ activities can be the catalyst to a rebranding. When a competitor renders your brand useless or dated, a rebranding could help you regain a foothold in your market and give you the facelift you need to effectively strike back.
  4. Negative Publicity
    Remember a company called Andersen Consulting? It was part of a larger company along with the accounting firm Arthur Andersen that was tied to the collapse of Enron. Andersen Consulting was granted independence from its parent company in 2000, and on New Year’s Day 2001, the consulting company was reborn as Accenture, representing a great example of effective rebranding in response to negative publicity.

Whether it’s your own strategic goals or macro-environmental factors that necessitate a rebranding, realizing that it might be time to rebrand is taking a step in the right direction for your firm. Next you’ll need to determine the extent of your rebrand and how to get it done. Stay tuned for a future post that will discuss just that!

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