Corporate communications

Taking on the challenge of global corporate rebranding

February 2020 Written by Papirfly

The only constant in life is change. That statement is as true today as it was when Heraclitus said it millennia ago. Especially as a business, evolving with the ever-changing landscape is crucial to maintaining a powerful connection with customers, employees, stakeholders and the general public.

That is the essence of corporate rebranding. If over time your organisation’s values, offerings or dynamics shift away from your identity, rebranding can allow you to shift this into a more fitting direction. And it has become increasingly common since the turn of the century.

DID YOU KNOW? On average, a company goes through a rebrand once every 7-10 years.

Even Coca-Cola, the most eternal of eternal brands, has experienced corporate rebranding several times over its existence. At a certain point in the lifecycle of most established global companies, they will take the step of transforming their identity (ideally for the better).

What are the benefits of rebranding? 

A corporate rebrand is certainly not without risks, particularly for long-established entities. The more familiar a brand is in the eyes of their audience, the more difficult it will be for them to become accustomed to a change. Because rebranding a company is much more than replacing a name or logo – it is a significant adjustment in its complete identity. 

But, when carried out correctly and for the right reasons, a corporate rebranding strategy can result in several benefits, such as: 

  • Connecting with a new customer base
  • Distinguishing yourself from your competitors
  • Presenting a fresh, current image
  • Developing a deeper connection with your team
  • Indicating a change in your scale or capabilities
  • Disassociating your brand with negative perceptions
  • Reflecting your updated goals and values 

Consider the benefits that a successful rebrand brought to Burberry. At one point, the fashion line’s reputation was plummeting after being tied to chav culture in the UK. Their brand was overhauled with updated styles and a focus on luxury, combined with endorsement by high-profile celebrities like Kate Moss and Emma Watson.

Or what about Old Spice? When their brand was fading into obscurity, switching their focus to a hilarious digital campaign featuring former NFL star Isaiah Mustafa revitalised their product and created a fresh, up-to-date identity.

Even the most tenured brand may need to be reimagined at some point. Burberry was well over a century old when it took on a radical change in direction. But, especially for companies with locations worldwide, both taking this substantial step and making it stick comes with a range of challenges for the entirety of its corporate communications.

Here, we break down some of the most notable, and how you can resolve these before they cause any issues.

Overcoming the challenges of corporate rebranding

1. Rebranding for the wrong reasons

Before you even think about how to rebrand a company, you need to cement why you’re doing it. The successful examples mentioned earlier have something in common – their rebrand was in response to a legitimate need to update their image. Others have not been so fortunate, resulting in a rebrand that does more harm than good to their company.

Your brand is not something to be toyed about with. When Uber redesigned its logo, 44% of people had no idea what it represented. So, if you find yourself exploring the idea of corporate rebranding, consider the following before you make that sizeable step:

Right reasons to rebrand

  • Expansion into international markets
  • An increased offering of products/services
  • New philosophy
  • Mergers and acquisitions
  • Old-fashioned presentation
  • Change of target audience

Wrong reasons to rebrand 

  • Sales have been slow for a short timeframe
  • Immediate response to a crisis
  • Looking for attention/short-term buzz
  • New leadership seeking to make their mark
  • Boredom

Solution

Your first challenge of rebranding a company should be to clearly identify the reasons for the rebrand and receiving affirmation from the shareholders in your company. While hesitancy can sometimes be as risky for a brand as making a radical change like this, rebranding is not a process to be taken lightly.

Therefore, look at your reasons objectively and decide whether a rebranding strategy is in order, or if this can be resolved another way.

2. The scale of a corporate rebrand

For a globally recognised brand, the sheer scale of what’s required is a challenge in itself. It may incorporate a change of your visions, objectives, messaging, tone, voice, style – everything that contributes to your image. Nobody ever said that corporate rebranding was a piece of cake; it requires a comprehensive approach.

Without taking the time to effectively research, plan and organise your rebranding strategy, it could result in parts of your communications carrying your old brand image while you’re trying to move forward with a new identity. 

Consistent branding across all channels can increase revenue up to 23% – and prevent your worldwide audiences becoming confused about what your company stands for. 

Solution

Take the time required to granularly map out your brand and the channels that it is broadcast through. Bringing in a team of marketing is a significant but sometimes necessary investment to ensure that no stone is unturned when it comes to transitioning from one identity to the next.

Then, once you have addressed how each strand of your branding and communications will change as a result of this, it is essential your new vision and guidelines are kept in a central location where they can be easily accessed. That is one of the key features of our BAM solution, ensuring team members across the globe can educate themselves on what their organisation represents. 

3. Internally communicating your rebrand

While your corporate rebrand might be more aimed towards your customers, one of the fundamental challenges is getting your team members on board with this shift. Because they are the ones who will be responsible for carrying this message onto your external audiences. If they are unaware or unsure about the new brand, this will impact how they communicate with customers.

For organisations with an international reach, this is even more pressing. Without clear, efficient communication about your rebrand, it can be a painfully slow process to get every location to make the adjustment. Your global branding on one side of the world could be completely different at the other end – and in an increasingly connected planet, that will be picked-up on quickly.

Solution

Above all else, it is crucial that you inform your employees early in the corporate rebranding process about this change. Not only will this help to prevent any of your soon-to-be former branding collateral surfacing once you make the change, but it will make the whole transition much more natural.

Plus, investing in a tool that centralises everything about your brand and can disseminate this information out in a range of formats and languages will educate your team on the aspects of your rebrand, minimising the risk of mixed messages and making the adjustment period that much more straightforward.

4. Securing customer buy-in

Finally, one of the biggest challenges for any corporate rebranding strategy is getting customers on-board with the change. While it takes 5-7 impressions for someone to recognise a brand, that is significantly more straightforward than asking them to forget your old image and accept the new one.

How you overcome your customers’ past perceptions of your organisation and facilitate their transition to your new identity will play a key role in how successful your rebrand proves to be. Some will actively resist this change, so ensuring that the qualities of your rebranding shines through your marketing will be crucial in regaining their trust and loyalty over time.

Solution

As part of your preparation for your potential rebrand, you should take the time to research what your existing audience thinks about your organisation, by conducting surveys and market research. This will give you a clear indication about whether a corporate rebrand is a worthwhile step, and can provide feedback into what they would like to see out a revamped version of your company.

Furthermore, where possible, carry over certain elements of your previous branding that still fit into your new vision. This will ease the transition and ensure your existing customers maintain some familiarity with your new identity, so you have a better chance of keeping their loyalty while you simultaneously target a new audience. 

Maximising the potential for a successful rebrand

With a better understanding of the challenges involved in successfully completing a corporate rebrand, you can be more conscious of the steps you take to make this a positive change for your organisation. Rebrands can be a big risk, but knowing how you can overcome the obstacles along the way will make this transition that much easier to make. 

But knowledge can only get you so far – you also need the right tools to back you up. That is where our BAM solution comes into play. Our software can support your corporate rebranding strategy by providing a central repository for your updated guidelines, assets and collateral, accessible by your teams worldwide to eliminate inconsistencies.

Discover how BAM can help you own, control and enhance your brand like never before – speak to our team today.

by Papirfly

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