Refresh An Aging Brand: What do Cher, Amazon, and Apple all have in common? Because of continuously evolving branding, they’ve successfully weathered years of cultural change and continue to remain relevant. If you want your company to enjoy the same generation-hopping success, refreshing your aging brand can help.
Refreshing Your Brand Creates New Energy
Refreshing your brand with a new look, a new personality, and new messaging every so often reinvigorates interest, bringing in new customers and re-energizing past clients to do business with you again. While there is often strong value in the long-term trust and nostalgia that give brands a solid foundation, human beings simply can’t resist the temptation of something that’s “new and exciting.”
Does Your Brand Need A Facelift?
It’s easy to find out. If you’ve saturated your market, and your profits have stagnated or you need to reach new consumers, then the answer is “yes.” Giving your brand a new look and feel allows you to tap into new markets and expand your growth. If you were looking at your success as a line graph, your brand needs a facelift when it hits a long-standing plateau.
Refreshing Your Brand In Five Simple Steps
Here are five steps to rejuvenating your brand in a way that will help you step into new markets without undermining your current success.
Step 1: Determine Where Your Brand Is Now
The first part of plotting your refresh is understanding where your brand is right now. Don’t rely on your own opinions, because they’re probably not as objective as you think. Instead, use surveys, internal data, focus groups, and third-party data to answer these questions:
• Who are your current customers (age, location, interests, etc.)?
• Why do people buy your product over your competitors’, or at all?
• What market segments are your brand currently saturating?
• When people think of your brand, what image does it conjure in their minds?
• What is truly great about your brand?
• Where does it need improvement?
• Is your brand just familiar, or does it also drive purchase consideration?
• When are people deciding to buy your products?
• Are you investing in the right media vehicles?
Step 2: Define Your Finish Line
When we were refreshing the Bowflex brand, we knew that we wanted to help people be more fit and healthy. That was our big, noble mission. But we didn’t really know if we were meeting that goal, because we didn’t know what happened to our at-home fitness machines once we shipped them. Were customers using them, or were our products being used as coat racks? Our finish line became using customer insights to build long-term engagement and develop products that accomplish our mission while allowing us to track results.
The finish line for your brand could mean that you want to attract a younger audience, a wealthier customer base, or step into a new segment of the market altogether. Maybe you want to incorporate more social responsibility into your work. Your finish line should be more than a numbers goal. It should be heartfelt, achievable, and in line with your mission.
Step 3: Look At Adjacent Areas
The easiest jump from your current customers to the next new market segment is probably right next door. Once you define who you’re selling to currently, you can start to look at adjacent segments of the market. Though it sounds fairly basic, in all of the brand transformations I’ve been involved with, the companies were operating on an outdated understanding of their customer base. They often could not describe their target segments with enough precision. Therefore, it’s critical to define your current market accurately before searching for adjacent segments.
Our early segmentation work found that Bowflex was over-indexed on customers who needed help to start exercising and under-indexed on people for whom fitness was already an important aspect in their lives.
When Covid hit, we were ready to leverage a market segment adjacent to our current customers: people who usually go to the gym. These folks wouldn’t usually buy at-home gym equipment like ours, but now, they were locked out of their gyms. They needed a way to work out at home.
Refreshing your customer segmentation is usually not very difficult or expensive, and it often leads to important insights into where your brand is currently and where you can go for new customers. Define a few possible adjacent markets that your product might sell well in that you haven’t actively pursued with marketing and branding. What opportunities exist that would help you reach into that adjacent market? How can you talk to those customers in a way that will make them listen?
Step 4: Adjust Your Messaging
Now that you know who you want to target and what angle to take to tempt them, bring it all to life with a new look, logo and messaging.
In Covid, we changed our messaging to reflect the needs of our new target market: hard-core gym lovers who now had to work out at home and rediscovered the convenience of doing so. We still touted the benefits of our machines like always, but we changed the angle to show how our product could replicate the gym experience at home with personal-trainer-like suggested workouts and streamed classes.
In addition, we learned that escapism was more important than ever, so we doubled down on our immersive workouts, like biking in the Alps or running in Tiananmen Square, in our advertising.
Changing your messaging doesn’t mean starting from scratch. Instead, present the best features of your product from a slightly different angle that will appeal to your new audience.
Step 5: Look For Red Flags
The last thing you want to do is spend a lot of time and money reinventing your brand and have it all fall flat. Fortunately, in this day and age, you’ll find out pretty quickly whether or not your brand refresh is hitting the mark. Broad reach media, such as TV, is still important to drive awareness. But digital can provide faster feedback at more reasonable costs, and it shows which targeting and messaging efforts are working quickly. Invest in social media listening and watch the numbers on your digital ads. If it looks like your rebrand isn’t performing like you wanted, go back, analyze, and try again.
Ever-Evolving Branding Is How You Become A Legend
If you want your brand to stand the test of time, keeping it fresh and relevant is how you make it happen. Use these steps to harness the same power as the timeless brands you admire, and you can create longevity for your brand, too.