When we think of the top reasons organizations choose to engage in brand strategy work, the majority fall into the reactive category. In other words, after an event has happened or time has passed, an organization comes to the realization that its brand needs “fixing”. But, this shouldn’t be the case. Brands should be able to evolve and effectively respond to both the internal and external conditions that prompt a rebrand, such as:
- A merger or acquisition: This represents the most obvious trigger for a deep consideration of the brand strategy, often leading to a rebrand to clarify how the change in ownership impacts customers and other stakeholders
- A change in business dynamics: New leadership, a modification to a product/service portfolio, and/or expansion into new markets may drive the need for brand repositioning
- A change in market dynamics: Shifting consumer or market trends may cause an organization’s brand to lose relevance and become outdated
- Damage to reputation: A brand’s image may be unable to recover from an episodic event creating the need for a new brand identity
Brand owners can take a more proactive approach to the branding process when it comes to persistent changes in business and market dynamics by keeping a couple of basics in mind:
Brand and business strategy are inseparable
Organizations often focus first on its business strategy―how the company is going to fundamentally operate in order to be the most successful, but leave brand as an afterthought. What many organizations miss is that brand is the clearest expression of business strategy and should be developed in tandem. Typically changes in leadership, entry into new markets, or the development of new products/services take time, therefore an organization has time and should be proactive about how its brand should change to reflect these significant shifts in the organization.
Quantitative and qualitative methods can capture how consumers make decisions, brand awareness levels, and consumer brand perceptions, as well as brand performance scores. This information can arm an organization to make decisions about how to position its brand in the marketplace.
It shouldn’t take losing market share, the portfolio or geography outgrowing a brand, or a brand image failing to reflect a company’s vision to invest in branding.
Taking proactive steps toward integrating brand strategy with business strategy and conducting brand research not only makes a brand stronger, it also maximizes resources long term. These tactics give an organization the ability to make small tweaks to its brand in order to stay relevant.
Your brand is one of your organization’s most valuable assets―it deserves to be more than an afterthought.