To rebrand or not to rebrand? That is the question. To stay the way you are and hope that people will change their minds about you, or rebrand yourself and inspire them to change their minds about you!
If you and your company stay the way you are right now, chances are you won’t see any changes to your bottom line. People love to see products and services improve, which has led to that age-old advertising line, ‘New & Improved.’ That line is still being used today because it still works. People still want to believe it!
Great brands are always evolving. They have to in order to be great. Companies are never stable, they’re either going up or going down. Great companies are constantly striving to be better! They rebrand or reinvent themselves, trying to stay current and cool while making that emotional connection with their customer.
I was driving back to Los Angeles from my cousin’s wedding in Northern California recently, listening to a great radio station. They were playing a mix of songs from the 70s to the present. Rod Stewart’s first hit song “Maggie May” from 1971 played. An hour later I hear Rod Stewart singing a ballad from his 2002 Great American Songbook collection. These are songs from the 1930s and 40s written by people like Irving Berlin, Cole Porter, and George & Ira Gershwin. Hardly rockers. But, this rocker, Rod Stewart, whose songs like “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy”and “Hot Legs” put him on top of the charts in the 70s, reinvents himself 31 years later with a whole different genre of music. He’s back on top of the charts, wins multiple Grammy awards and gets inducted into the Music Hall of Fame.
New & Improved? Some people may think so, but Rod Stewart was just showing us a new facet on his diamond. He dared to be different. He wanted to make an emotional connection to new fans with new songs while keeping his loyal base happy as he had for the last four decades.
You have to have the courage to risk singing a different tune. You have to rebrand yourself and your company from time to time. You don’t wear the same clothes decade after decade, right? You change it up, experimenting with different styles of shirts and pants and shoes and eye shadows and lipsticks to appeal to the people around you.
Great brands are incessantly perfecting their look, from their logo, to their products, ads, website and to the interior and exterior of their stores. Look at the evolution of the Pepsi-Cola logo. They have rebranded their logo eleven different times since they began in 1898. Starbucks, Shell Oil and Apple and many others have all made changes to their logos along the way. They continually rebrand their brands!
No matter who you are and what business you are in, ask yourself, “Would I hire me? Do I truly know my business? Am I passionate about it? Do I look the part?” I see many overweight people in the fitness industry. Not just overweight, but obese. What message does that give a potential customer who walks into a fitness center where the owner and staff are out of shape? Human nature says, “If their product and service is so good, why aren’t they fit? Note to self, look the part!
I’m in a networking group and we meet at a prestigious and successful law firm in Beverly Hills once a month. Twenty-five of us from different industries sit around this huge conference table hosted by the managing partner of the law firm. Nothing is on the walls. No logos. No artwork. Stark, white walls with a flat screen TV for presentations and, oh yes, a small spindly $15 plastic plant on the credenza. I said to the managing partner during my branding presentation to the group, “This room is cold and intimidating. No warmth to it. If I feel this way, your clients and potential clients must feel the same. You lawyers here average $500 an hour and you can’ t afford a real plant?”He laughed along with everyone else at the absurdity of my point. I showed the “befores & afters” of the companies I helped brand. I also showed the group mock-ups of how much better that single conference room would look with the law firm’ s logo and tagline on the wall along with a real plant. Needless to say, the “after” pictures showed the value of rebranding.
If you have a health club or training studio, you are trying to inspire and motivate people to workout and get in shape and stay in shape, right? Then inspire and motivate me the moment I walk into your place like a Hard Rock Cafe, a Nike Town, or an Apple Store does. Show me that you “get me” and that you have the kind of place that I don’ t mind spending time at and giving my hard earned money to. I want to feel comfortable. I want a home away from home. Just like every other customer, I want to know that as I get better, you will get better. I don’ t want to outgrow you or get bored with you. Like any relationship, I want it to feel…new & improved!
Some fitness centers never get any better from the moment they first open their doors. No thank you! I want someone who is constantly on the cutting edge – someone who is always finding better ways to help me become “New & Improved.”
Like all customers, I want to trust you. A great brand is more than a trademark, it is a “Trustmark.” Then if it continues to emotionally connect with its customers, it becomes a “Lovemark.” And, if you’ve worked hard to get to that place, you have to continue to work hard to stay there.
The world today is full of one-hit-wonders. Anyone can be great once. It takes real talent, insight and hard work to remain great year after year, decade after decade. So, what kind of music are you making today? Is it the same song over and over again? Are you singing it the same way as you always did? Your customers on every occasion are looking for a new song – a new sound – a new experience. So, give it to ‘em! Rebrand your brand and rock their world!