When a brand loses it connection with its customers, company or constituencies, the solution most often recommended is a “Re-branding” program. The re-branding starts with “discovery” research into the brand’s current perception (both internal and external), attributes, benefits, values and utility, which provide insights then leading to the desired brand positioning. Usually, the next steps include re-naming the brand, re-inventing the verbalization of the brand’s Vision, Mission and Values statements, re-designing its visual identity/logo and eventually re-launching a re-branded brand.
But what if during the research phase you discover that nothing is truly wrong with the brand: the attributes and benefits are valued, the core values are admired, the visual identity is distinctive, and the brand position is respected. How do you re-fresh a brand that really doesn’t need a full re-brand? Then in this situation a brand re-connection is the solution. Brand re-connection is based on the premise that it’s better to re-deploy the brand’s current position and build on its existing brand equity, rather than re-building from the ground up.
An excellent case study for a brand re-connection is Investors Title Company (ITC), which rolled-out its re-connected brand just over a year ago. The Company had initially pursued a full re-brand, but during the discovery process it became evident that nearly everything was right about what the brand stood for, but what was not right was the clarity and amplitude of its brand communications. At the heart of the issue was the connection of the ITC brand positioning to its 20-year-old tagline “Innovative by Instinct,” and the linkage to its brand icon – a Canada Goose. To alleviate this situation, the tagline was re-defined and integrated into an updated brand standards guide and then introduced via employee and client communications. The re-definition created a logical linkage between the goose icon and the tagline. ITC also modified its visual identity to ensure that both brand elements received equitable visibility. To read the tagline re-definition and see how a brand re-connected with all the great things it has always stood for, go to Invititle.com.
How do you know if your brand needs to be re-branded or re-connected? Here are three telling signs.
- Your sales team infrequently uses brand marketing materials at client meetings.
- The business development team leaves the company logo/tagline off presentations or deploys their own version.
- When asked what the company stands for, your sales/marketing/executive teams reply with an inconsistent or generic brand description.
Going into a brand positioning situation with a preconceived view that re-branding is the cure for all that ails the brand could be counterproductive. The first question you ask in every discovery process should be “Why Re-brand?” Then evaluate the answers “arm’s length” before deciding whether re-branding or re-connection is the correct solution. Doing so could save you substantial time, money, resources and brand equity.
written by: Ira Lieberman – Brand Solutionist