Nothing in life is immutable. Even brands with a long history have faced, at some point, a transformation in their name or identity. These changes are not an easy challenge to tackle. There are many elements to take into account for a successful brand transformation and not the prelude to downfall and oblivion. When well executed, rebranding campaigns manage to reconnect with the audience and update the presence in an increasingly changing and competitive market.
When defining a rebranding process, different areas of a company are involved. Among them, market research takes on an important weight since it becomes the eyes of the entire team of a brand. Defining with clarity and meaning each stage of the transition from an old image to a new one is essential for consumers to make the change their own. Here are some tasks that market analysts can contribute their experience and skills to a robust rebranding project.
- Know the brand in depth. Although it may not seem like it, there are not a few brands that internally do not have their identity well established. This goes beyond the visual image. The brand involves elements as complex as the projected and perceived values, the emotions that arouse in people, the remembrance in the market, the imaginaries that are held about it, among others. Analysts can address these areas of opportunity with in-depth interviews and focus groups, to name just a few.
- Know the target audience. This point is closely linked to the previous one. Brands must clearly know who is directing their sales and communication efforts. This knowledge must be exhaustive because many of the actions must be based on this profiling, not only to change the brand image, but also those of an entire company. It is not enough to know the gender, age range or income ranges of our consumers. It is essential to list their motivators, lifestyle, values, consumption patterns, emotions, codes, among others. Both quantitative and qualitative techniques can help us clarify this point.
- Evaluate the new concept. Running pilot tests is an advantage that we cannot put aside for budget-saving reasons. Although it is not possible to fully predict the response of consumers to a brand change, it is possible to test transformation proposals to a sample in order to identify accepted and rejected elements. With this information it is possible to return the concept to be reintroduced to the design area to make the necessary corrections. A very useful technique to satisfy this topic is the concept scoring matrix.
- Evaluate communication of change. It is just as important to establish the most viable concept for a rebrandig project as the outreach, reeducation and communication campaign towards the target audience. Although it takes up findings from the knowledge phase of the target market, it should also include a review of the media, interlocutors and codes that are more familiar and valid for those of us who want to make the new image their own. It is possible to have a concept with all the elements to succeed in the market, but if mistakes are made in the presentation of the change it can have a counterproductive effect and throw away all the work of other stages. Media studies are very relevant to meet this requirement.
- Evaluate the effects of the change. After launching the new brand or image of it and we have finished the media campaign to socialize it, it is necessary to do a follow-up that allows us to know if everything is going smoothly. Except in very extreme cases in which the rejection of a rebranding is clearly noticeable in the income, we must consider measuring the true impact of the rebranding since not all the effects are seen in the short term. Some findings of this follow-up can yield findings such as starting efforts to reinforce communication or in some others, even returning to the previous image. Once again, quantitative and qualitative techniques help us to answer the questions that arise from this topic.
Redefining a brand can be more challenging than launching one from scratch. This is because the permanence of one or more companies that depend on it is at stake. Not all brands are successful in these types of projects for different reasons that can range from underestimating people’s reaction or executing these strategies at the wrong time. In any case, market analysts are allies to know how and when it is better to launch plans of this nature.
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