1. You’ve changed — but your brand hasn’t
Over time, as your business has grown and the market has developed, you may have experienced change. What you do now, may be very different to what you did when you started.
Apple released its first computer, the Apple II, in 1977. Now it makes market-leading watches, iPads, iPhones and other software, as well as an array of personal computers, built around the user experience. In 1997 it was close to bankruptcy. Now, it’s one of the most successful tech companies in the world.
The Apple logo might seem set in stone, but it’s actually changed considerably over the years to keep accurately representing the ever-changing Apple business. From vibrant, to slick, to future-focused, to streamlined, Apple has transformed with the times.
Apple logo development over time.
When we launched, we were a branding agency called Being Brands. As our business grew over time, we added more to our offering — but this meant our name and logo no longer told the real story of who we were. So, we rebranded our identity while carefully maintaining the brand equity we’d built, to tell the next chapter of our story in a fresh, exciting and relevant way.
Since the change to The Being Group in mid-2020, both our staff and revenue have more than doubled, and we’ve established a permanent office in London.
The Being Group logo development over time.
2. Your competition is leaving you behind
It could be a new competitor entering the market, or an established rival unexpectedly changing tack and making noise. If your hard-won audience is suddenly fleeing your brand for another, it’s clearly time for a rebrand to tell your story in a better way.
Say you own a bicycle company. You’ve always made great bikes. And, just like your competitors, you’re branching out into electric bikes. But your brand was targeted at serious, lycra-clad cyclists — and now you need to show your products are also for a casual, fun, zip to the shop. You could rebrand completely, to show how your business has changed, or you could develop a sub-brand specifically for your electric bikes.
Virgin, which started as a record label, is an excellent example of how a great brand can be anything — Virgin Galactic is its space flight arm, Virgin Atlantic flies between the US and Europe, Virgin Mobile is a phone business, and Virgin Money UK is a bank.
3. There’s a new audience or product
Imagine you make the world’s best compasses. You’re the market leader. Then, the first iPhone hits the market with an in-built compass, and everyone loses their minds. You have to reply — or die. Perhaps you branch out into packs, boots, tents and canoes. One true way to show you’ve responded and changed is through a rebrand.
Is your data showing you a new demographic is interested in your product or service? That’s another great opportunity to refresh your branding to appeal to a new audience! Just be careful. The trick is making sure you don’t change so much your brand suddenly holds no meaning for existing customers. You want to grow your market share, not lose loyal consumers to get new ones.
4. Society has changed
Former brands like Uncle Ben’s Rice and Coon Cheese have transformed to Ben’s Original and Cheer Cheese to negate original, harmful stereotypes. At 70 and 85-years-old at the time of the rebrands respectively, it was definitely time to reflect the values of contemporary consumers. Old Spice, Burberry, Harley Davidson and LEGO, are just a few large international businesses that have successfully changed their branding to keep ahead of significant shifts in consumer tastes.
Your business might not be called “The Great Big Offensive Company”, but keep in mind many ideas and images that were once ignored or treated as humorous, even five years ago, may now be upsetting or alienating to modern consumers.
5. It could have been better
When you decide to launch a business, it’s often the hardest you’ve worked in your life. You’re looking after everything — from marketing, to sales, to supply chains, to finance, to hiring. There’s not enough money and not enough time. It’s no surprise then, that brands developed in the early days of a company’s life, often look like they were designed on a kitchen table. (They probably were.)
Businesses mature like people. As they become more sophisticated and contemporary, their branding needs to change too. (You probably wouldn’t wear the clothes you wore in 1996 now, no matter how cool they are.) Your business needs to look and feel like it’s modern and relevant, and that thought, care, planning, strategy and design have gone into creating your brand.