Why is it vital to upgrade your look?
The successful branding of your retail location has brought you many new customers in the past, but how do you determine when it’s time to re-brand or “update your look?” Many people don’t ever consider this, while many others think it’s completely unnecessary for them. To update your look is a process that every company should go through in order to remain alive and vigorous. Failure to evolve could cost you your business.
Avoiding the misconception: “Updating my graphics costs too much.”
We all realize that there can be significant cost involved in this task which will tempt retailers to defer updating their image in a timely manner. Do not believe that re-branding costs too much. Your company’s image is what brings in the revenue necessary to grow your business. How much is too much is the question you must answer in advance. Is spending $10,000 to update your brand too much when this move will generate an additional $200,000 yearly? Certainly not.
Every brand needs refreshing to stay relevant as markets evolve. How do you determine if the time is right to refurbish, update or modernize your brand or retail location? Perhaps the best way to determine the correct time is to take a closer look at events that cause brand deterioration. Define your brand before your customer defines it for you.
Rebranding means staying relevant.
Do not cling to history. Notice that even the most successful companies in the world undergo the process of updating their image on a regular basis. Pepsi is one such example.
Consider the changes Pepsi has undergone in its storied history:
In 1906 their logo and slogan were changed to, “The original pure food drink.”
In 1909 a slogan for Pepsi was, “A bully drink, . . . refreshing, invigorating, a fine bracer before a race.”
At the beginning of American involvement in World War II, Pepsi alters its logo to red, white and blue.
1961 sees the brand change yet again as Pepsi narrows its markets to young consumers, “Now it’s Pepsi for those who think young”
In the midst of political and social upheaval in 1973, Pepsi Changes their slogan to “Join the Pepsi People, Feelin’ Free”
In 1988 Michael Jackson makes Pepsi “The Choice of a New Generation”
In 1991 Ray Charles declares, “You got the right one baby, uh-huh!”
In 1993 the “Be Young, Have Fun, Drink Pepsi” campaign with Shaquille O’Neill is touted as one of the top advertisements in America.
These examples are but a small portion of the image enhancements that Pepsi has undergone in the name of increased market share and brand identity. Do you think the 1909 slogan would hold up today? Many of today’s Pepsi consumers wouldn’t even understand the sentence, much less rush out to purchase their drink. They know you have to update your look often. You must constantly assess your evolving position in the market and your target audience. The assumptions made on establishment may no longer hold true. Question if this is the case. If after careful reflection you determine that your image is resting on laurels you garnered a decade ago or no longer speaks to the audience you are trying to reach, then it is time to refresh.
Be aware of what your brand really is.
It’s not just your logo, stationary or corporate colors. It’s what customers perceive you to be. How they experience you, the look and feel of your location or products. Customer care, retail and web environment, sounds, smells, visibility and location. Remember the Andre Agassi commercial for the EOS Rebel? “Image is Everything.” (here’s the commercial on YouTube) Even 30 years later, the commercial is still memorable and it’s message is relevant. A brilliant campaign, but Canon did not rest on it.
Plan, Plan, Plan
Planning ahead means consulting with a branding consultant to determine the key objectives, target markets, budget and resources and time frame is of utmost importance. The best ones help develop new products, expand demographic focuses and even streamline business operations. Once defined it is necessary to have a point person who has the skills, time and resources whose job it is to keep everyone involved focused on the project as it progresses.
Determine the scope of the rejuvenation. Often a small evolution is all that is needed to reach your goal while unnecessary overhauls can irreparably damage your brands perception. Remember, “New Coke”? Consider the needs and mindset of your target market carefully to avoid alienating loyal customers.
Call your own number or receptionist to reveal the challenges your customers face. Is it a pleasant experience or or are you frustrated ? Is it true that, “Your call is important to us?” Re-branding doesn’t have to be just a logo or slogan. It may include a complete work-over of your customer service protocol.
The Internet. Your Best (and Worst) Sales Force
Navigate your own web site to buy a product or return something. Does it take too long to load? Is it easy to navigate? Is it informative without being overly verbose? Can your customer buy without having to fill in lengthy personal information forms or creating login ID’s? Is your product clearly visible or do you have to search and guess where it may be found? The value of perfecting your physical environment, marketing materials, website, etc., is decreased if your customers languish on hold for inordinate amounts of time. If your invoices and contracts are written in 7-point legal jargon, the brand experience declines. More than ever before, your brand is based on your customers user experience on the internet.
Do you believe your own ads?
Is your rebrand credible? If employees who live the brand day-to-day don’t believe, the target audience won’t either. Consult with your team members from executives to day laborers about their ideas on improving your image. Take the time to observe your customers in action. Remember “customers don’t do what they say, they do what they do”. Actual observation will get you the right solution.
Remember that rebranding isn’t about the money you spend. It’s about the money you want to make. A superior marketer with a mediocre product will outsell a superior craftsman who has no ability to market themselves. If you can avoid the pitfalls and understand your goal and timelines, you can successfully rebrand your company’s image and see the rewards that many Fortune 500 companies have also seen.