As consumers are faced with the reality of quarantine, brands have been forced to identify how to survive and thrive in an at-home economy. The ability to reassess, reinvent and reposition your brand quickly have emerged as the primary survival skills of 2020.
Once we entrepreneurs and brand managers have landed on a set of characteristics that define our brand, one of the biggest challenges becomes acknowledging and addressing the false sense of security we get when we feel we’ve crafted the perfect story. It's true that the purpose of a brand iron is to burn a permanent and indelible mark, but what many seem to forget is that a brand is developed during a specific point in time, under very specific circumstances in terms of market conditions, social trends, political environments, and so on.
If COVID-19 has taught us anything, it’s that everything can change in a moment and agility is needed to meet the changing needs of our stakeholders.
Agility is the ability to understand, think and move quickly—much like a competitive athlete.
Well now that you're probably wondering where to start with your rebrand/brand pivot, here are seven questions you need to ask to make yourself more agile for the pivot.
1) When did you launch your brand?
Take a step back and evaluate what the landscape was when you first launched your brand. Then, compare that with the current culture, climate and consumer behavior patterns to determine if the product or service still meets a felt need. Is your brand dated? Could it use a fresher, hipper feel? Might renaming your brand tell the story better?
2) Do I really know my customer today?
A brand pivot/rebrand is the perfect time to assess your ideal customer today and determine if they are (or should be) the same type of consumer you were first targeting. People and companies change. The clients you started with may not resemble the ones you have today, or the ones you need to attract in the future. Perhaps your customers loved your product or service when they first met you, but their needs have evolved as technology has and the choices available to them have changed as well. Always be ready to reassess who your primary target market is, and what they need.
3) How does my customer feel about my product, service and story?
Yup, it's important for customers to actually feel connected to your story. Your ongoing engagement with customers is a good place to assess this, assuming you have been engaging with them. Emotional Branding goes beyond the physical identifiers of your image and is often an element forgotten when marketers develop and launch a brand, but it's a critical component in separating oneself from the competition. Customers that are emotionally connected to your brand or product are more willing to share their positive experiences with others simply because they want to.
4) Is my brand perceived as moral, and engaged in the world?
People pay attention to how socially conscious the companies they interact with are. If your brand is making a difference in your community or the world, customers are more likely to evangelize for it. With all that is going on in the world—global warming, the pandemic, emotional health issues, world hunger and homelessness, domestic violence, etc.-customers want to know if your brand stands for anything. Providing people with a sense of altruism when they spend their hard-earned money builds loyalty, because it gives them more than just what they paid for.
5) Are sales increasing or decreasing during the current market situation?
If the current crisis has caused an uptick in sales, perhaps there's a better way to tell your story to capture more of the market and gain a higher rung in the top-of-mind ladder. What you want to determine is who are your new competitors at this point, and how to differentiate your brand from theirs.
6) Is it time to pivot your brand, or your business model?
After you’ve determined your relationship with your customer and assessed who they really are today, you will need to determine whether you are pivoting your brand or your actual business model. Keep in mind that any change carries its own risks and rewards. But it marks a new frontier for your brand.
7) What is it about rebranding that you feared before the current situation?
It's human nature to be a bit afraid of the unknown, especially when it comes to whether or not a change we are considering will effect our bottom line. The silver lining during times of crises is that we no longer feel we have a choice and sometime the choices-changes-we make are exactly what we needed to do.
The English writer Samuel Johnson once noted, "when a man knows he is to be hanged in a fortnight, it concentrates his mind wonderfully." We are not so bleak here at Jungle, but we do want you to consider re-framing your thought process. Within reason, it can be extremely productive to think of stress and crisis as an opportunity. If you've considered rebranding in the past, it may be best to stop procrastinating!
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