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Revitalizing Your Brand

By: Chanie Pritchard at Sage Media

Submitted on Wed, Nov 22nd, 2006 12:00 am

Building a strong brand takes commitment, time and hard work, but the result is one of the most valuable assets a company can own. That said, not all assets are static, and your brand image is no exception.

In building your brand, you are creating a new definition with the aim of making it a household name. When people think of tissue, they instantly think of Kleenex. Thats the sort of association you want. Instant identification in the mind of the customer is not enough though you also need that identification to represent competence, quality, authenticity and credibility. At the same time, your brand needs to remain dynamic, relevant, and at the top of mind while retaining its established heritage and identity.

In the end, the message your brand puts forward must ring true to your business, in its current state, its history, and in what you hope for the future. When your brand image doesnt represent the message you want to convey, its time to consider making a change.

Many CMOs feel that brands follow a distinct and irrevocable stage pattern:
  • inception

  • maturation
  • plateau
  • decline
  • death
Brands in decline are thus generally (and literally) allowed to starve to death. Dollars are reallocated to growth brands instead, leaving the declining brand without any market support, and leading to its imminent demise. By the same token, new brands and products require a very heavy investment. More companies are seeing the benefit in the revitalization of diminishing brands reinventing the wheel is a cripplingly arduous (and redundant) option, when all you may need to do is refill the tires.

Get to know your business from the outside in:
  • How do your customers view you, your heritage, your values, and your ability to meet their needs?
  • What do they see as the points of differentiation, or unique selling proposition of the brand?
  • How many pleasant associations and experiences have consumers had with the brand?
  • What are the negatives, if any, associated with the brand?
  • What is the perceived value of the brand?
  • Is the perceived value of the brand active or dormant? How does it stack up against other brands?
  • How relevant is the brand?
  • What do customers believe the brand can do for them, to add value or more desirable attributes?
  • How much loyalty is there to the brand?
There are more options in revitalizing your brand than simply changing your business name and mission statement. In general, you have three main areas to consider:

1. Rebranding the company from the inside out
2. Updating the brands products and product attributes with better, demanded features
3. Redesigning materials for a more contemporary brand image to appeal to new generations of consumers

Redesigning brand image materials is the most logical place to start; while it has the potential to produce sweeping improvements and revitalization across your brand, it also requires the least amount of investment and represents the smallest risk of consumer alienation. It is important that your business remain current, while retaining the reputation and recognition you have worked hard to achieve (and ultimately, to improve them as well).

Product packaging becomes outdated at an increasingly high rate it is important to keep ahead of the curve, or get lost in the dust thrown up by your competitors. Your website must be current (you absolutely need to have a website), and it must infer the highest levels of credibility and authenticity on your business. Your materials should blow the audience away - the method of course depending on your key demographic and business model.

In all brand revitalization endeavours, it is important to keep your brand image relevant and attractive to existing core customers, while also attracting new ones. You need to ensure that your brand retains continuity, has relevance to todays market, and has sustainability for the future. The best balance can be summarized in three segments:

1. Acknowledge your heritage (10%)
2. Address the needs of today (80%)
3. Look forward to the future (10%)

The bottom line is that periodic and well considered brand revitalization is an essential component of brand management. Revitalization, as inferred by the name, gives new relevance to what could have been perceived as an outdated, tired or just plain amateur business image.

Sage Media is an international corporate design firm based in Ottawa, Ontario.

About the Author

Chanie Pritchard
Sage Media
Chanie Pritchard, D.A. Founder, Sage Media Design Co.

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