Rebranding Gone Wrong

I have been part of a few rebranding projects with different companies over the years. They have all basically followed this same formula.

  1. Hire an agency to conduct market research
  2. Ask your target market what they believe and what is important to them
  3. Pick whichever belief gets the most votes
  4. Create messaging saying that is what your brand believes too
  5. Keep all the same people as before and tell them this is what we believe now
  6. Repeat in 5 years

Not to get all Simon Sinek-ish but this seems backwards to me. This seems similar to people who are in a relationship on the brink of ending and one of the people saying “I can change.” It’s doubtful it will work out and you would probably be better off to find someone who is happy with who you are.

I think this is why so many brands seem the same. They go after the same market, so their messages sound the same and try to address the concerns and needs that come up during the surveys and research. I would bet that many times what people say they want isn’t actually what they want. We all want more legroom on planes until we have to pay for it.

That brings us to having the right people in place. Market research may indicate that your prospects and customers are worried about the environment. You write some compelling copy and produce some bullshit numbers that show you are concerned about the environment too. However, you aren’t actually concerned about the environment, or at least as concerned as you are with driving revenue. Eventually the shtick is up, your true colors are exposed, and you lose credibility. You get thrown in the pile with every other brand saying the same thing. Time to re-brand with the same people. This time don’t forget to add “transparency”. Everyone wants transparency.

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