Rebranding. Is it necessary?

BRANDING
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The brand does not always justify the forces and means invested in it. As a result, the business can be drowned out against the background noise of competitors and becomes uninteresting for your target audience. First, customers get bored with the logo, then they stop noticing adverts, then, they start to completely avoid using your products. Don’t panic. This does not mean that you need to immediately quit and close the company. There is an effective marketing technique that allows you to breathe new life into your cannabis business – rebranding. It is vital if you are completely sure that your company is losing its competitiveness, and your target audience does not perceive the company as strong as before.

Keep reading to figure out whether your company needs to rebrand and how to do it right.

What is rebranding and how can it help you?

Rebrading word is written on a colorful background.
Rebranding may become a new lifeline for a drowning business.

In simple terms, rebranding is a complete brand upgrade. It includes a whole range of marketing activities: changing the logo, updating products, invigorating customer focus or introducing new service rules. Indeed, even though many people value consistency in companies, rebranding can actually be a lifeline for a drowning business. If your concept is outdated, positioning does not help promote the product, and the brand itself does not stand out among competitors; that’s when you know it’s time for serious changes.

What problems does it solve?

The success of the company is closely related to brand perception. If the brand is built correctly, the business goes uphill. Yet, if it does not fulfill its main function - it needs to be changed. Then there is a need for rebranding. This solves several problems at once:

  • It can dramatically shift attitudes towards the brand. By creating a new concept, the company demonstrates it is ready to change for the better. This adaptability is becoming an increasingly sought-after skill as we face transformative forces in all aspects of market, society and the environment. So, being seen to be good at change looks great to customers and increases competitive advantage.
  • It increases your target audience. Initially, a brand product can only be targeted at a specific consumer. Then, realizing that you can win a larger audience, there is a need to update it to better tap into your potential market. The updated brand attracts attention and it is then able to form the lifeblood of your company.

When do you need to consider rebranding your cannabis business?

Cannabis leaves in black and white colors.
Rebranding of cannabis business may attract new customers and increase profit.

Many experts call rebranding a last resort. If the goal is to make the brand more stylish, simply update the design. Nevertheless, there are situations when a fundamental update of business concept and brand is required:

  1. Penetrating new markets. What is relevant in one country may not at all take root in another. So many companies were created with a focus on domestic consumers, and after entering the international arena, they realized that their brand did not reach foreign realities because they had not taken the new market conditions into account in their expansion strategy.
  2. Structural changes in the company. If there is a merger of two companies, the best option is to completely redo the concept, because in this situation everything changes, from values ​​to culture, and philosophy. As Peter Drucker said, ‘culture eats strategy for breakfast’. So, understand and integrate the two cultures, then build the concept and brand on top of that; don’t prescribe or assume anything.
  3. Change of scope. Everything should be logically reassessed here: a new market means developing a new concept based on the conditions observed; whether it’s your target demographics, legal risks, operations, logistics or cultural values.
  4. Change in target audience. The entire aesthetic and philosophy of the brand, from color to corporate character, are built on the tastes of the target audience. When a company selects a new audience, you need to rebuild the entire business concept and thus the brand.
  5. Poor consumer experience or negative PR. Rebranding can save a company with a bad reputation. If the brand is associated with low-quality services, it is better to limit collateral damage as much as possible, learn from the mistake, make course corrections, then resuscitate it accordingly.

Rebranding may also be necessary if the brand is outdated; if you are not innovating then, frankly, it will not catch attention and will be overshadowed by competitors. Sooner or later, everyone needs change. Avoid losing ground in conditions of increased competition by staying ahead of the curve.

How to conduct a rebranding?

Three wooden boxes with letters H, O and W.
Rebranding takes time and effort - take five essential steps to get the job done.

To rebuild the brand, you will need to go through five essential stages.

Stage 1. Marketing Audit

So, you have already created a brand, but for some reason it did not work. In this case, the first thing you need is to order an impartial external assessment. During the audit, the marketing agency will examine the current position of the brand in the market; this will help to identify strengths and weaknesses. Based on the analysis, a new marketing strategy is being developed. 

Stage 2: Repositioning

At this stage, an important question will be solved: how the new brand will be positioned. Perhaps a new target audience will be chosen, or an “eco” line introduced, which will help to distinguish it favorably from competitors. This step does not change the quality of the product itself, but how customers perceive it. Repositioning is the starting point for brand upgrades.

Stage 3: Restyling

External attributes change here: slogan, logo, corporate identity, office interior, employee uniforms. This will help to create an updated version of the brand. In 2020, cannabis brands try to be as concise as possible; this helps to align with modern consumers’ needs and wants.

It is crucial to understand though that restyling does not mean rebranding. This is only a small change in the visual concept of the brand – logo, color scheme, font.

For example, MedMen often changed the logo, making it more modern, but at the same time the main idea of the brand remained unchanged.

Stage 4: Quality Improvement

An important stage, without which all work can be pointless. It is important not only to declare your update, but also to carry it out. If the company has developed a bad reputation due to illiterate staff, you need to not only update the logo, but also increase the literacy, accuracy and professionalism of employees.

Stage 5: Getting to know the brand

In the end, what remains is to integrate the updated brand and to convey its core idea to your audience. Getting to know the brand is a serious marketing process. The company will have to re-conquer the market, and at this stage large investments may be required. But in the case of easy rebranding, small PR campaigns should be enough.

TOP 4 mistakes to avoid when conducting the rebranding of your company

Commin mistakes phrase is written on a broken piece of paper.
It's good to know the mistakes that other businesses have commited and try to avoid them.

Restarting a brand is a complex process. Companies often make unforgivable mistakes in this process.

  • Incomplete rebranding

It is imperative to understand that restarting a brand should holistically touch on all the details. It’s not enough to change the store’s signs and come up with a new logo; you need to change the business idea itself.

  • Neglecting Analysis

Without a thorough analysis of the competitive environment, market and the needs of the target audience, any business is doomed to failure. And even a quality restart will not help to fix this error. Ideally, you need to order an audit from an independent company, evaluate your capabilities, market position, and only after that, start creating a new image of the company. Be rigorous and thorough in your market research to avoid this.

  •  Lack of accounting for current position

Imagine that the company already has a significant position in the market, and suddenly it decides to completely transform the brand. In such a situation, it is very easy to lose your current position. And in the end, it may turn out that rebranding will repel regular customers from the company. A complete change in the brand is a serious step and embarking on it without assessing all the risks is a big mistake. Complete a full risk assessment to make sure you don’t end up worse off than when you started.

  • Premature Evaluation

A hand is going to write something in a notebook.
Rebranding may become a key to success of a cannabis business.

Rebranding, performed effectively, can really rescue a business from the brink of failure, but do not expect lightning fast results. For most consumers, the new brand will be unfamiliar; it will take time, care and attention before they get used to it.  The six-month period after the rebranding should be fully evaluated using brand ambassadors to collect necessary feedback on how it is perceived across the target audience. Make sure to capture the whole experience from rebrand to the evaluation point itself.

With this comprehensive overview of how to pivot on your brand, you should be ready to avoid the common pitfalls and execute a rebranding well, so that your renewed business concept has the best chances to thrive. 

Solver Author: Solver
02.04.2020

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