DURBAN – Businesses often need to rebrand to focus on their target markets, says Gail Macleod, the chief executive of local and global branding and packaging design agency Stratcom Branding.
“Africa is unique and very often global companies moving into South Africa will fall flat when it comes to customer recognition and market share. The same goes for South African companies trying to launch into Africa and beyond.”
Here are some tips to determine whether your firm should rebrand:
Following a crisis
Whether you are at fault or not, a rebrand might help neutralise the negative sentiment towards your brand. But it must be followed up with authentic and transparent measures to set any wrongs right. In this sense, a rebrand will be focused on improving the trust factor.
Apologise sincerely and if you were at fault, fix it.
New technology in your industry
As new technology in packaging or branding enters your market you might have no choice but to follow suit. In this case and if vast changes are required, keep your brand identity similar or the same in order to help your customers recognise it. There are times when new technology necessitates logo changes. Macleod says: “We recently worked with an established national brand who had to rebrand due to their old logo not fitting properly on social media channels.”
Hot abroad, but cold at home
A brand that might be popular overseas could leave local customers cold. Brands out of touch with local cultures and tastes can result in intense dislike. Though big global brands might not be able to rebrand, there are subtle changes to the brand identity that can be made to help it thrive locally.
It’s just old
There is vintage and then there is just plain old. Although Macleod advises against a rebrand for a time-trusted product and rather a phased approach to rebranding, subtle changes can bridge the gap between old and new and gain access to a new market.
Moving into a new era, or offering different products
Companies like Verizon Media (previously Oath) which formed after merging Yahoo and AOL; or Samsung, who through its history has manufactured everything from appliances, to shipping, to chemicals, might go through many stages of rebranding.
If we use the example of Samsung appliances versus cellphones, branding that might appeal to someone choosing a new washing machine, might not convince a young professional looking to buy a cellphone. In this case, a researched rebrand could be necessary. In other cases, the brand identity might create trust and will encourage consumers to buy the new product type and should be kept the same.