When Should You Change Your Brand?

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Should you change your brand? Is it time to change your logo, your tagline or even your company name? This question is often presented to business owners when they begin to take their marketing seriously. Marketing agencies and designers love making new brands because it’s like getting a brand new car. Because of this, they are more likely to suggest starting over than building from what they see as “old.” So let’s talk about when you should consider changing your branding and when you should temper your overzealous marketers.

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Does your brand conflict with your goals?

Does your company name actually conflict with your current direction, market or goals? This is more important than just being “old” or “uncool.” Do you fix cars but your name says “handymen?” Do you clean entire houses but your name says “carpets?” Those are clear “need to change” conditions.

Is your brand virtually unknown?

Has your business grown pretty much on word of mouth alone, and people fall into the two categories of “customer” and “haven’t heard of you?" Then a rebrand, while maybe not a necessity, probably won’t hurt you much either. It might even excite your current customers to talk about you more if you do it right.

Is your brand infamous?

Is your brand well-known, but in a bad way? Nothing says “under new management” like a rebrand. Of course, you had better be committed to making major changes in your business and actively recognize and acknowledge customer ills. If you rebrand to fix a bad reputation, but still suck as a business, you won’t get a third chance. You will be forever putting new lipstick on a pig in the minds of your market.

Alternatives to rebranding

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If your brand has a good reputation and is known at all, there are good alternatives to a complete rebrand. Giving your brand an “update” instead of a change is still very impactful. Polishing up your look and logo, but maintaining visual familiarity, says “we like ourselves” and “we are growing.” Also, maybe your logo is “so out it’s in.” If your business is really, really old, tout your experience and embrace a “retro” feel.

Great examples of embracing “old” brands are Coca-Cola, Quaker Oats and Campbell's Soup. These companies have done a great job of keeping the same “brand” for decades while still feeling relevant and responsive. Being “cool” and “fashionable” are not as important as being consistent and reliable (unless you’re selling to pre-teens). Also, sometimes people still prefer to buy from “Awkwardly Named Mom and Pop” than “Corporate Jargon Inc.”

Your brand is more than a look

Your brand is ultimately about your reputation, not your look. Your look affects your reputation because it helps people form their initial impression of you. In the long run, however, it is your behavior that forms your reputation more than anything. Don’t think you can change the way people think about you without actually changing.