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rebranding of a company: meaning, types and key stages

A brand is a complex set of associations in the consumer's mind that allows a company to stand out from competitors and create additional value for its products. Over time, a brand "ages," prompting management to decide to refresh or completely change the brand image by commissioning a rebranding from an agency.

In this article, we will discuss the specifics of rebranding: what it is, what types exist, and what goals it pursues.

What rebranding means

Rebranding is the process of fully or substantially changing a brand. The company changes its style, position, goals, and starts communicating with customers in a new way, thus fundamentally altering the image in the minds of the target audience.

Let's delve deeper into the example of Magnit. Until 2019, it was a typical self-service store without a clear focus on a specific audience. Only the price segment was highlighted — economy. To emphasize the brand's identity and orientation towards families, the company underwent a rebranding process.

They focused on families and came up with more concise logos. In them, two lines, resembling human hands, "embrace" the M in the center. This reflects the care and attention of the business to its target audience. The names of subsidiary stores were changed, and clearer designations for cosmetic and pharmacy departments were introduced.

It's worth noting that rebranding is not always associated with commerce. It is also necessary for governmental and non-profit organizations. Thanks to brand updates, government structures and charitable companies connect with their audience and make the organization's concept explicit. A great example of such rebranding is the ACLU.

With the aim to unite the country and emphasize the commitment to inclusivity, the company abandoned its old blue brand (perceived as a partisan message) and adopted a palette of blue, red, and 12 additional colors. They also adapted the text for individuals with special needs.

Goals and objectives of rebranding

There is a planned brand modernization carried out every 7-10 years to align with trends and current agendas. Additionally, companies sometimes opt for unplanned changes when faced with a negative image.

Let's examine the main reasons for rebranding:

1. Sharp decline in profits (20%+) not due to poor service. Ordinary actions (promotions, advertisements) do not help. This was the issue faced by the airline "Sibir." Due to a series of scandals related to flight safety, the company quickly began to lose customers. The cabin occupancy did not exceed 70%, making some flights unprofitable. To get rid of the negative image, the company rebranded as S7 Airlines. It acquired a more modern and friendly look. Thanks to rebranding, the company increased the average cabin occupancy by 1.6%, which gradually started to grow.

2. Public opinion. Victoria's Secret faced a significant backlash when a top executive announced the company's adherence to the 90-60-90 standard during the body positivity movement in the United States. As a result, mass protests ensued, and the company underwent rebranding. Without this action, the store could have risked losing a significant portion of its audience, who oppose what they perceive as imposed standards.

3. The company's new position. Walmart reoriented its development towards the economy class and rational consumption, leading to the emergence of the new slogan "Save money. Live better." This allowed the company to attract people who want to save money while maintaining their accustomed lifestyle.

There are various reasons to order rebranding and update your business. For example, Delobank clearly indicated its focus on business through a new brand. Initially, it was a department of SKB Bank, serving individuals and legal entities.

To simplify marketing and tap into the trend of niche financial organizations, the bank rebranded its subsidiary. Delobank, through its name and positioning, emphasized its focus on small and medium-sized businesses and highlighted the uniqueness of its products.

In the case of Delobank, rebranding affected not only the external appearance but also the internal workings of the company. It focused on legal entities and optimized the entire service cycle for small and medium-sized businesses by discarding irrelevant methodologies and principles of SKB Bank.

The goal of rebranding can be increased profitability, margin growth, and other economic indicators. In our practice, we encounter various rebranding tasks:

  1. — expanding the target audience
  2. — shifting product focus
  3. — creating additional value for products

As a result of rebranding, the company begins to present itself differently in the consumer's mind. This can have both positive and negative effects, making it essential to carefully plan the tools to achieve the goal.

Types of rebranding

Depending on the tasks and scope of work, we distinguish two types of rebranding. Let's delve into them:

1. Comprehensive. This approach involves a radical change in the brand's concept and mission. Rebranding includes new visual elements, a shift in positioning, tone of voice, and other components. For example, after McDonald's departure from Belarus, Mak.by emerged. The company retained resonance with the old brand but emphasized regional attachment, while the heart shape creates a sense of warmth and coziness.

2. Partial rebranding. Also known as restyling, is a variant of branding in marketing where only external changes are made, such as new fonts, colors, or mascots. In partial rebranding, the mission and ideology of the brand remain intact. The brand is refreshed but not fundamentally altered. Examples include Kaspersky Lab, Android, and Detsky Mir.

It's important to distinguish between two different types of brand updates—repositioning and rebranding. Repositioning involves updating the ideology and positioning of the brand without fundamentally changing the company.

Stages of rebranding

The rebranding process typically consists of two main stages. Firstly, we conduct research on the product, market, competitors, and audience. Then, together with the client, we develop the specifics of the new brand. Here's what's involved in rebranding:

1. Research

  1. — analyzing the product or brand we're working with
  2. — exploring the market and trends in your niche or identify other promising business directions
  3. — studying competitors
  4. — conducting interviews with you to determine the desired state of the business using the SCORE methodology
  5. — defining the audience and map out the user journey with motives and barriers to decision-making in your favor to understand how to rebrand the company to create the right perception among the audience

2. Brand identification

  1. — developing the brand core: find the company's character, determine its position in the minds of the target audience, and explain to customers why the brand exists
  2. — creating a name, tone of voice, editorial policy, and image messages
  3. — defining the visual system: convey the character and emotions of the brand through color schemes, create the brand code, and typography
  4. — forming a brand guideline: guide that contains all the specifics of the new brand

Now you know more about rebranding and what it means in simple terms. It allows a company to rid itself of a negative image while maintaining its self-identity and established relationships with its audience. It's important to maintain continuity between the old and new "self" while emphasizing the new direction of the business.

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