Starting From Scratch: Why You Need to Take a New Direction with Your Brand in 2016
Are you looking to refresh your brand in 2016? A brand refresh doesn’t necessarily mean a top-to-bottom reworking of your company, it’s more about shaking up the image you project. Think of it as like painting your house – everything inside can stay pretty much the same, if you want, but it attracts a lot more attention from passers-by. Here’s why 2016 should be a year of change for your brand image.
Revamping your brand is a good time to take stock of your existing marketing resources, how they’re being used and with what level of effectiveness. Could new techniques be useful such as switching to more digital campaigning, trying out SMS marketing, or optimising your website for mobile devices? Look at which types of blog content you’re producing are getting the most and least attention, or what types of calls to action on your email and SMS messages get the most and least click-throughs.
A surprising brand makeover can have an instant effect if you are even slightly well-known. It enthuses existing customers, and attracts new ones. It could be as little as tweaking your logo, redesigning your website layout, or changing an old slogan. Probably burger company McDonald’s most familiar slogan in the UK was, ‘There’s nothing quite like a McDonald’s’ but they’ve enjoyed some strong success with ‘I’m loving it!’
It can go wrong of course – an infamous example was the Royal Mail’s horrendous attempt to change its name to Consignia – so when taking a major new direction with your brand, study customer reaction on social media and elsewhere carefully, and be prepared to revert should it all fall to pieces. Proceed with caution…
Refreshing your brand can also have a positive effect on your staff. It can give them new energy, motivation and purpose. That’s why it’s important when looking at a refresh to garner insight from inside, as it’s often said that a big part of a brand is the people behind it. If they’re not supportive of the new direction, it could fail to take off. So encourage them to give their input and you should see them becoming similarly revitalised.
For many companies, the big prize is to move into foreign markets. But the potential growth and profits of such an expansion is balanced by risks. Your brand image may work in the UK, but in another country it may not. That’s why we see some companies selling the same products under different names from market to market, or why others need to change the look of their logo. One clothing brand from India has recently made all the wrong kind of headlines because its marketing team really, really ought to have checked it first with a native English-speaker.
This is the right moment to reflect on past mistakes with your brand, and future opportunities. For instance, you may want to reposition it entirely, from low-end to high-end. Changing the ingredients of your burgers and the design of your restaurants will not be enough to make customers aware that you are now offering luxury food. You need to retune your brand so that it corresponds with the changes you’re making.
Markets fluctuate regularly, some more than others. The population of the UK is ageing, for instance, and issues such as feminism are having a big impact on marketing. Companies from countries such as China and India are looking to move into western markets including the UK, posing challenges to British businesses. In order to stay ahead of the competition, and stay relevant from year to year, brands need to refresh themselves constantly or risk falling out of favour. This is perhaps the biggest driver behind brands changing direction, and is one that no business should sensibly ignore. Evolution is critical.