with Tess Robinson, Smack Bang Designs
Way back in 1964, athlete Phil and his coach Bill laced up their runners, shook each other’s hands and got to building an empire known as Blue Ribbon Sports. In their first year of business, Phil and Bill sold 1300 pairs of runners for $8,000 USD.
Fast forward 50 years, and old mates Phil and Bill now own this little company called Nike – you may have heard of it?
The transition from Blue Ribbon Sports to Nike was the ultimate rebrand. Phil and Bill traded the old for new, realising that they could no longer communicate their brand message under the Blue Ribbon Sports stamp. It’s perhaps impossible for our 21st Century Activewear-Obsessed to imagine life before Nike, so entrenched in our lifestyles the brand has become, so my gut tells me the change was a grand one. The name Nike led Phil and Bill to introduce the iconic swoosh logo and later down the track, the one of the greatest taglines ever, Just Do It. And really, let’s face it – is there a better known set of brand elements in the entire world?? (possibly the colossal heart-attack-on-a-bun travesty that is McDonald’s – did I just say that?!).
Nike proves that as a brand, there are few things more important than having a brave stab at redefining your brand to clearly communicate who you are, what your mission is and why your brand matters to the consumer.
It may not seem like it to an outsider, but a successful rebrand is a massive, multi-faceted task that involves almost every aspect of a business. If it were as easy as slapping on a new Pantone colour and tweaking a logo slightly, don’t you think Starbucks would have done something about that weird Mermaid icon swimming in a sea of olive green blurgh?
Not all rebrands are successful. Do you remember ‘New Coke’, for instance? Didn’t think so.
So, how do you ensure your rebrand is a Taylor-Swift-on-tour success? You do your homework, that’s how:
GET CRYSTAL CLEAR
The worst thing you can ever do apart from neglecting to call your mum for weeks and weeks on end, is entirely flip your business on its head and deck it out with a completely new look for no apparent reason. Before moving a rebranding muscle, get crystal clear on why you’re doing it. If you need help in this department, I’ve written another blog which might help you figure out if you truly do need to rebrand. Getting absolute clarity on the reasons behind your rebrand may take a lot of hard yakka, but this will save you loads of heart-ache and cold hard cash throughout the process. Your reasoning for the rebrand will set the intentions for the whole process and give you solid goals to work towards.
KEEP A CONSTANT
It’s important to take note of aspects of your brand that all your die-hard fans are drooling over. Appreciate what’s currently working for you and the essence of your brand – the things that make you… you. It’s those elements of your brand that you’ve worn as medallions on your chest until this point that you want to hold on to. You know how it goes: ‘If it ain’t broke…’. Holding on to your winning stars help to keep the brand recognition alive for your existing people. It is like creating a pathway from your old brand to your new so you don’t break ties with the legends who’ve stuck around for the long haul.
DEDICATE IT TO SOMEONE
Decide who this rebrand is for. Is it for your staff – to feel more realigned, on purpose and connected to the brand? Is it for your current market – to feel refreshed, rejuvenated and view you with fresh new eyes? Is it for a new market – to attract a different kind of customer, someone new? Or is it for you – to be able to show off a spankin’ hot new logo. Whoever it’s for, just make sure that they are front-of-mind with every rebranding decision you make. Let this special someone guide the whole process moving forward.
And lastly, be prepared to do the work. If you commit to a rebrand, commit to it wholeheartedly. Stick to your guns and don’t be afraid to live a little – push the boundaries and break through what you ever deemed possible. No one ever got far sitting at home in a constant state of Netflix ‘N Chill sipping skim milk hot chocolates.